I just returned several days ago from the International Stroke Conference held in California and wanted to share some interesting info that was presented.
The ongoing Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC) project reported an increased incidence of stroke in neighborhoods that had more fast food restaurants. They found that the more fast food restaurants a neighborhood had the greater the likelihood of people exerpiencing a stroke. This information needs to be validated in larger studies and involving other demographic areas but suggests that stroke education initiatives may need to focus on areas where fast food is more prevalent.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System evaluated over 86,000 US adults and found that people at the highest risk for having a stroke were the least likely to know the warning signs of a stroke. The elderly, people with lower incomes, less education and those who had already experienced a prior stroke were less likely to know the common stroke warning signs. Women and whites were more knowledgeable about stroke warning signs than men, African Americans and Hispanics. About 93% of adults knew that sudden weakness in the arm, leg or face was a warning sign while only 59% were aware that a sudden severe headache with no known cause was a stroke warning sign.
Data from the Young Stroke Registry found that younger adults who present with a stroke are often not diagnosed quickly or their strokes go unrecognized. The investigators stated that the underrecognition of strokes in young adults may be because health care providers typically think of strokes as more of an older persons disease. If the stroke is not diagnosed early enough (within the first three hours of symptom onset) patients may not be eligible for clot busting medications that can prevent premanent damage.