Kevin O’Connor, MD
Mszar R, Mahajan S, Valero-Elizondo J, Yahya T, Sharma R, Grandhi GR, Khera R, Virani SS, Lichtman J, Khan SU, et al. Association Between Sociodemographic Determinants and Disparities in Stroke Symptom Awareness Among US Young Adults. Stroke. 2020;51:3552-3561.
Although the majority of U.S. adults know at least some stroke symptoms, awareness is lower among the younger population (i.e., age 18 to 44 years) and in various sociodemographic subgroups. The 2017 National Health Interview Survey assessed the participants’ (n=26,742) awareness of five sets of stroke symptoms: “(1) sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side; (2) sudden confusion or trouble speaking; (3) sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; (4) sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance; and (5) sudden severe headache with no known cause.” Mszar et al. compared survey responses to evaluate knowledge of stroke symptoms and understanding of the importance of contacting EMS for stroke symptoms.
Among 9,844 adults age < 45-years (39.7%), 7,126 (71.1% [95% CI, 69.6–72.5]) identified all five stroke symptoms. The most infrequently identified stroke symptom was severe headache (n=7,709 [77.5%; 95% CI, 76.3–78.7]), and 242 were unable to identify any stroke symptoms (2.7% [95% CI, 2.2–3.3]). Adults 45-64 (n=6,477 [76.0%; 95% CI, 74.8–77.3]) and those age 65+ (n=5,044 [77.9%; 95% CI, 76.5–79.3]) had greater awareness of stroke symptoms. Hispanic ethnicity (OR, 1.96 [95% CI, 1.17–3.28]), non-U.S. born immigration status (OR, 2.02 [95% CI, 1.31–3.11]), and lower education level (OR, 2.77 [95% CI, 1.76–4.35]) were associated with lack of awareness of any stroke symptoms among young adults.