Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Symptoms, causes of strokes not well known: survey

Staff writer, with CNA

Results of a recent survey indicate that nearly 50 percent of people in Taiwan cannot correctly describe what causes a stroke, despite having heard of sudden cerebral hemorrhage.

The survey on Taiwanese knowledge of strokes, released on Saturday, showed that 94.4 percent of the respondents said they have heard of the disease.

However, 49.4 percent of them could not correctly answer questions about what leads to a stroke, while 28.5 percent were totally unaware of the causes.

The survey also showed that 61 percent of the respondents knew that high blood pressure is a cause of strokes, but 70 to 90 percent did not know that diabetes, high blood lipid and high uric acid levels, irregular heartbeat and carotid stenosis are also risk factors that can predate a stroke.

As for the symptoms of a stroke, the poll found that 20 to 50 percent of the respondents know stroke patients would suffer from “weakness of limbs,” “sense of numbness” and “difficulty speaking and swallowing.” Nevertheless, more than 90 percent did not know that stroke patients would also possibly suffer from “a loss of vision” and “a declining cognitive ability,” according to the poll, which was conducted on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 through telephone interviews with randomly selected people around the nation.

Moreover, the survey found that less than 3 percent of the respondents knew that as long as patients received proper emergency treatment within three hours of having a stroke, or medical care within three to six months, they would have a high chance of recovering.

Physician Wang Hsin-min (王新民), who heads a clinic specializing in strokes, said people’s lack of knowledge about strokes has often delayed treatment being given in a timely manner.

Citing results of joint research by his clinic and Tzu Chi University, Wang said as long as the high-risk stroke factors are properly treated, the chances of having a stroke drops from 3 percent to 0.1 percent.

Proper medical treatment and rehabilitation after a stroke could even prevent a second stroke from occurring, he added.

The survey received 1,101 valid responses. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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