Would you know if you were having a stroke? Stroke is the third leading cause of death for women in the United States, and fourth for men and women combined. But one in five women could not name a single stroke symptom, according to a new study published in the journal Stroke.
A stroke is a serious and sometime fatal condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. The good news is that rapid treatment with anticoagulants can reduce or eliminate lasting effects from a stroke.
Learn the symptoms of a stroke so you can get quick medical help. This is an important step in protecting your health and the health of your family.
According to the study by the American Heart Association, about half of the 1205 women surveyed knew that sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body was a sign of a stroke. Difficulty speaking or understanding speech was listed as a stroke symptom by 44 percent of the survey group, more often by white women than by Hispanics.
But less than one-fourth of the women in the study knew that sudden, severe headaches could be stroke symptoms, and only 18 percent were aware that sudden dimness or loss of vision could be a sign of a stroke.
Approximately 84 percent of all the women surveyed knew to call 9-1-1 if they suspected they were having a stroke.
The study team concluded that the nationally representative sample of women showed that most women are not adequately aware of the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
The American Stroke Association suggests using F.A.S.T. to remember the four main stroke symptoms:
F – Face Drooping.
Check to see if one side of the face is droopy or numb. Is the smile even on both sides, or only lifted on one side?
A – Arm Weakness.
Check to see if one arm feels weak or numb. Raise both arms and watch to see if one arm drifts down or is harder to hold up.
S – Speech Difficulty.
Is speech slurred? Is it hard to understand what is being said?
T – Time to call 9-1-1.