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Awareness of stroke warning signs among individuals diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes in Nigeria

Grace Vincent-Onabajo, Jummai Y Mshelia, Chuka Umeonwuka.

Abstract
Background: Awareness of stroke warning signs is considered a vital prerequisite for seeking emergency stroke care. This study assessed awareness of stroke warning signs and its associations among individuals at risk of stroke.
Methods: A cross-sectional design was utilized to obtain information on awareness of stroke warning signs among 200 individuals diagnosed with hypertension and/or diabetes at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria. Data were obtained using researcher-developed questionnaire. Descriptive and bivariate analyses were used to respectively summarize data and examine associations between awareness of warning signs and selected participants’ attributes.
Results: Mean age of the participants was 49.7 ± 16.3 years. 73.5% of the participants identified at least one stroke warning sign. The most reported sign was headache (57%) followed by weakness of the limbs and/or face (34.5%) and dizziness (34.5%) while disturbance of vision was the least (6.5%) identified warning sign. Significant associations were observed between level of awareness of warning signs and family history of stroke (P = 0.049), and employment (P = 0.047). A higher proportion of those with a family history of stroke (39.1%) were aware of 3 or more stroke warning signs compared to those without (19.4%). More civil servants (37.8%) and retired civil servants (29.4%) were also able to mention ≥3 warning signs compared with those in other occupational categories.
Conclusions: Awareness of stroke warning signs appeared to be generally high with headache being the most known sign. Efforts at improving awareness of more distinct and less easily ignored warning signs may however be required.

Key words: Awareness, stroke warning signs; hypertension; diabetes; stroke; Nigeria


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