August 18, 2009 --
Many older people fail to recognize most of the important warning signs and risk factors for stroke. Researchers in Ireland conducted a survey of more than 2,000 men and women around 74 years old. They found that fewer than half knew that dizziness, numbness, weakness, and headache are common warning signs of stroke. Only half listed slurred speech as an indicator of stroke.
When asked to list the most common risk factors for stroke, less than 40 percent knew high cholesterol and smoking increase stroke risk. Only about 10 percent knew diabetes and alcohol use are also risk factors.
About 6 percent of the participants had reported a prior stroke.
This study is in the journal BMC Geriatrics.