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Do You Know You’re Having a Stroke? ~~ Symptom Awareness Can Improve Recovery

Posted Dec 07 2008 12:09pm

A Mayo Clinic study shows a majority of stroke patients don’t think they’re having a stroke — and as a result — delay seeking treatment until their condition worsens. The findings appear in the current issue of Emergency Medicine Journal.

Researchers studied 400 patients who were diagnosed at Mayo Clinic’s emergency department with either acute ischemic stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain.

Less than half of the patients — 42 percent — thought they were having a stroke. In fact, most in the study did not go to the emergency room when symptoms appeared. The median time from onset of symptoms to arrival at the hospital was over three and a half hours. Most said they thought the symptoms would simply go away. The delay in seeking medical help was the same among men and women.

When asked how they knew about stroke symptoms, nearly one-fifth said they thought a stroke always came on gradually. Just over half (51.9 percent) said they thought that seeking medical care immediately was important.

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