Community knowledge of stroke signs and risk factors in Germany is poor, while lacking knowledge is an important cause for delays in hospital admission. In the Wesel district (North Rhine-Westphalia) the local health conference put this issue on its agenda and initiated a phone survey. The aim was to assess community knowledge of stroke symptoms and risk factors as well as self-reported prevalence of established risk factors; in addition, the role of information on stroke risk provided to patients by the general practitioner (GP) was to be estimated. The study population was defined as comprising all residents in the district of Wesel between 18 and 87 years of age (approx. 385,000 people). The sample of 1,089 persons was drawn randomly and the telephone survey was carried out by the CATI-Laboratory (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews) at the Institute of Public Health (lögd, Bielefeld) between 18 February and 28 March 2002. A total of 1,089 people were interviewed, of whom 31.9% knew no symptom, 25.7% could name one symptom, 23.8% two symptoms and 18.6% knew three or more correct signs. Weakness/paralysis was named most frequently by 43.6% of the respondents. The majority of respondents named smoking as a risk factor (59.6%), while hypertension was mentioned by 39.4% of the participants. Among 555 respondents aged 45 years and older, 75.1% said they had never received a GP's advice on stroke risk, while 75.3% among these persons reported to have at least one risk factor. The present study shows a persistent lack of community knowledge about stroke. It is recommended that knowledge be improved especially with regard to (a) proper action: "stroke is a medical emergency-call the emergency telephone code 112", (b) symptoms and warning signs and (c) major stroke risk factors, especially high blood pressure. Moreover, information and advice on stroke should play a bigger part in the doctor's daily practice; patients should be made aware of their stroke risks and ways of prevention.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz|
|Publication status||Published - 01-05-2006|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health