Disparities in Stroke Symptomology Knowledge among US Midlife Women: An Analysis of Population Survey Data

May N Lutfiyya, Lauren Ng, Nesher Asner, Martin S. Lipsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: A higher prevalence of stroke appears to exist among women aged 45 to 54 years compared with same-aged men. In addition, compared with their male counterparts, women have a threefold risk of delay in hospital arrival time. Inadequate knowledge of stroke symptomology may account for this disparity in hospital arrival time. We assessed current knowledge of stroke symptoms among US women in midlife and examined the relationship between symptom knowledge and race, income, education, deferring medical care, having a primary care provider, and health insurance status. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study analyzing 2003-2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data. From the 7 stroke symptom knowledge questions asked on the survey, a Stroke Knowledge Score was computed for each respondent. Multivariate data analysis techniques were used. Results: Multivariate analysis revealed that US women aged 45 to 54 years with low stroke knowledge scores were: more likely to be Hispanic (OR = 4.44, CI = 4.37-4.51) or African-American (OR = 2.55, CI = 2.52-2.58); have less than a high school education (OR = 2.67, CI = 2.63-2.71); have an annual household income <$35,000 (OR = 2.00, CI = 1.98-2.02); have a primary care provider (OR = 1.78, CI = 1.75-1.81); have deferred medical care because of cost (OR = 1.35, CI = 1.33,1.36); and are less likely to have health insurance (OR = 0.70, CI = 0.67- 0.71). Conclusions: Disparities in stroke symptom knowledge exist along racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines. Nevertheless, mid-life women have high levels of knowledge about the symptoms of stroke, hence strategies aimed at encouraging women to act promptly when experiencing symptoms could yield more benefit in reducing delays in stroke treatment than educational programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data
  • Midlife women's knowledge of stroke symptomology


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