Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Ignorance about stroke can kill or disable

If you're here, chances are you've had a stroke or know someone who had a stroke. That means you're likely more educated than most people about stroke risks, signs and the potential outcomes, both good and bad.

I ran across a couple of articles about the lack of knowledge in the United States - where this blog is based - and halfway across the globe. One article reports that more than half of Americans don’t know if they are at risk for:
Despite the prevalence and potential severity of stroke, many Americans still don’t know the risk factors or signs of a stroke. About one third of Americans are unable to recall the warning signs of a stroke, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Nearly 60 percent of Americans don’t know if they are at risk for the disease, the American Stroke Association (ASA) said.
Twenty-five years ago, National Stroke Awareness Month was launched in an effort to educate the public about stroke and, in turn, reducing the mortality rate. Jacob Kitchener, MD, a neurologist with the Clinical Neuroscience Institute said awareness campaigns have helped, but there is still much work that needs to be done to ensure people receive the best care possible.
“I think in the past decade people have become more aware of the signs of a stroke,” Dr. Kitchener said. “We are seeing patients coming into the ER quickly, but there is still a percentage of people out there who don’t realize if they or a loved one are having a stroke, so they don’t get the proper help in the optimal time.”
And far away in New Zealand, poor understanding of stroke signs causes concern:
Mark Vivian, CEO of the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand, said recent research into stroke awareness in the Waikato alone has shown alarming results.
“Last month the Stroke Foundation conducted a survey of 352 Waikato residents over 45 years of age to gauge their understanding of the symptoms of stroke. Only one in five could correctly identify three typical signs of a stroke,” said Mr Vivian.
“These figures are incredibly concerning because if we can’t recognise a stroke from the onset, that causes a delay in getting to medical intervention and treatment, which can have tragic consequences, including further brain damage or death,” he explained.
There's so much work to be done - so please, let people know stroke signs and how to moderate stroke risks.

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