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Stroke. 2005 Mar;36(3):644-8. Epub 2005 Jan 20.

Public awareness of warning symptoms, risk factors, and treatment of stroke in northwest India.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Punjab, India. jeyarajpandian@yahoo.co.in

Erratum in

  • Stroke. 2005 May;36(3):1113.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

This study assessed public awareness of warning symptoms, risk factors, and treatment of stroke in Ludhiana, Punjab, North West India.

METHODS:

A hospital-based survey was conducted between February 2002 and September 2002 by the Stroke section of Christian Medical College. The study subjects were relatives of patients without history of stroke, attending the outpatient department of the hospital. Trained medical students, interns, and a nurse interviewed subjects using a structured, pretested, open-ended questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Nine hundred forty-two individuals were interviewed during the study period (56.4% men, mean age 40.1 years, age range 15 to 80 years). Forty-five percent of the subjects did not recognize the brain as the affected organ in stroke. In the multivariate analysis, higher education (P<0.001; odds ratio 2.6; 95%, CI 1.8 to 3.8) and upper socioeconomic status (P<0.005; odds ratio 1.6; CI, 1.1 to 2.2) correlated with a better knowledge of which organ was affected in stroke. Twenty-three percent of the participants did not know a single warning symptom of stroke. Twenty-one percent of the subjects could not identify even a single risk factor for stroke. Seven percent of the study population believed that oil massage would improve stroke victims. A small proportion of subjects believed in witchcraft, faith healing, homeopathic, and ayurvedic treatment (3%).

CONCLUSIONS:

This hospital-based survey reveals a better awareness of stroke warning signs and risk factors. However, knowledge regarding the organ involved, etiology, and treatment of stroke is lacking. Considerable education is needed to increase public awareness in modern concepts of stroke treatment.

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