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Assessing Women’s Knowledge of Stroke Warning Signs

Assessing Women’s Knowledge of Stroke Warning Signs

According to national estimates, stroke is the third leading cause of death among women in the United States, and the aftermath of these events is significant among survivors. Studies have found that about one-third of women who survive a stroke will need help caring for themselves, whereas 16% will require institutional care, and 7% will have an impaired ability to work. Each year, about 55,000 more women than men will have a stroke. There has also been a rise in stroke prevalence among middle-aged women that has not been seen in their male counterparts, highlighting the need for a better understanding of stroke among women of all ages. Research has shown that women from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds experience a disproportionate stroke burden. For example, African-American women have an incidental stroke risk that is almost twice as high as that of Caucasian women. Some studies indicate that the prevalence of stroke risk factors may be higher among Hispanic women. “Considering these risks, it’s important to assess the ability of women to recognize stroke warning signs at their onset,” says Heidi Mochari-Greenberger, PhD, MPH. “Early recognition may lead to more rapid access to emergency care, which in turn may result in decreased stroke-related morbidity and mortality.”   Surveying the Scene To improve outcomes and reduce disparities, it is important to address gaps in women’s knowledge as it relates to stroke warning signs. In 2012, the American Heart Association (AHA) commissioned a national survey to determine women’s cardiovascular disease awareness. This survey also included an assessment of knowledge relating to stroke warning signs. For a study published in Stroke, Dr....
Heart Disease Awareness Among Women

Heart Disease Awareness Among Women

In 1997, a national survey commissioned by the American Heart Association (AHA) documented that awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among women was low. Since that time, the AHA and other organizations have launched campaigns to raise awareness and educate women about the hazards of CVD. In 2003, the AHA named its national initiative Go Red for Women. During the decade after the initial launch of this campaign, the rate of awareness of CVD as the leading killer of women nearly doubled. During that same time, the mortality rate caused by CVD dropped by about half for both men and women. Analyzing Trends of CVD Awareness in Women Since 1997, the AHA has conducted similar surveys triennially to evaluate national awareness of CVD among women. In 2013, the AHA published the results of the most recent survey in Circulation as part of a study that evaluated trends in awareness of CVD among women between 1997 and 2012. The analysis also assessed knowledge of CVD symptoms as well as preventive behaviors and barriers to CVD prevention among women aged 25 and older. According to the findings, the rate of awareness of CVD as the leading cause of death in women nearly doubled over the 15-year period, rising from 30% in 1997 to 56% in 2012 (Table 1). The most common reasons for women taking preventive actions were to improve health and to feel better, not to live longer. In 1997, women were more likely to say that cancer was the leading killer of women, but that trend reversed in 2012.   “The rate of awareness overall has not changed significantly in the...
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