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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004 May 7;53(17):359-62.

Awareness of stroke warning signs--17 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 2001.


Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of disabilities among adults. Since 1900, the number of stroke deaths has declined, and substantial advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of ischemic stroke during the previous decade; however, the proportion of deaths that occur before patients are transported to hospitals has increased to nearly half of all stroke deaths. One of the national health objectives for 2010 is to increase the proportion of persons who are aware of the early warning symptoms and signs of stroke (objective no. 12.8). To assess public awareness and knowledge of the proper emergency response, CDC analyzed 2001 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 17 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that public awareness of several stroke signs is high, but the ability to recognize the five major warning signs is low. Education campaigns are needed to increase public awareness of stroke signs and the necessity of calling 911 when persons are suffering a possible stroke.

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