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Stroke. 2001 Aug;32(8):1926-30.

Knowledge of stroke risk factors, warning symptoms, and treatment among an Australian urban population.

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  • 1Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, New South Wales, Australia.



Reduction in the risk of stroke and increase in the speed of hospital presentation after the onset of stroke both depend on the level of knowledge of stroke in the general population. The aim of the present study was to assess baseline knowledge regarding stroke risk factors, symptoms, treatment, and information resources.


A community-based telephone interview survey was conducted in the Newcastle urban area in Australia. A total of 1278 potential participants between the ages of 18 to 80 were selected at random from an electronic telephone directory. A trained telephone interviewer conducted a telephone survey using the Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) program.


A total of 822 participants completed the telephone interview. Six hundred three participants (73.4%) correctly identified the brain as the affected organ in stroke. The most common risk factors for stroke identified by respondents were smoking (identified by 324 [39.4%]) and stress (identified by 277 [33.7%]). The most common warning sign of stroke described by respondents was "blurred and double vision or loss of vision in an eye," listed by 198 (24.1%). A total of 626 (76.2%) respondents correctly listed >/=1 established stroke risk factor, but only 409 (49.8%) respondents correctly listed >/=1 warning sign.


The level of knowledge in the community of established stroke risk factors, warning signs, and treatment as indicated by this survey suggests that a community-based education program to increase public knowledge of stroke may contribute to reducing the risk of stroke and to increasing the speed of hospital presentation after the onset of stroke.

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