Women Heed Stroke Warnings Better Than Men
I read an article from the American Psychological Association Monitor. The article deals with women and the fact that studies show they heed stroke warnings better than men do.
A stroke awareness program in central Illinois significantly increased public knowledge of stroke warning signs, but more among women than men, a team of medical researchers found.
According to the article, the study’s lead researcher, psychologist Wayne Dornan, PhD, believes the key to women’s better performance can be found in the results of a two-year-old study, which found women fear motor impairments from stroke more than death and men fear death more than any deleterious consequence of stroke.
In the more recent study, Dornan and his colleagues evaluated people’s understanding of the risk factors for stroke among residents of the twin cities of Bloomington and Normal in central Illinois before and after they implemented a five-month intensive stroke-awareness campaign.
Overall, the number of people who knew at least one stroke warning sign—including weakness or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking or understanding simple statements, and sudden blurred or decreased vision increased from 57 percent to 78 percent. But most of that increase could be accounted for by a rise in women’s awareness 67 percent to 81 percent. Men’s awareness barely increased at all apparently, more than half were unable to name a single stroke warning sign before and after the awareness campaign, the researchers found. The researchers obtained their data by surveying a random sample of more than 1,314 of the 100,000 residents of the twin cities before the campaign and 1,216 residents afterwards.
Dornan said in the article that new time-sensitive pharmaceutical treatments for stroke have made it more imperative than ever that people recognize the symptoms of stroke and seek immediate treatment,. And another new study, noted by Doman published in an issue of Stroke suggests that the number of strokes in the United States is dramatically higher than previously estimated: 700,000 annually as opposed to the earlier estimate of 500,000.
Dornan’s study shows that knowledge of stroke is poor, especially among men and all people ages 55 to 75, which is the age group at greatest risk for stroke. Future awareness programs should find ways to target these populations, in my opinion.