UCLA Survey: 73% of Young Adults Would Delay Stroke Care
Nearly three-fourths of U.S. residents under age 45 would delay going to the hospital if they experienced symptoms of a stroke, according to a national survey by Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Aguilera, "KPCC News," KPCC, 1/11).
About 800,000 strokes -- across all age groups -- are reported annually in the U.S. Of those, about 610,000 are first or new strokes. Meanwhile, about 130,000 deaths annually in the U.S. are attributed to stroke (Feller, UPI, 1/11).
The number of hospitalizations for young adults experiencing strokes has grown over the past 20 years (Thielking, "Morning Rounds," STAT News, 1/11).
According to experts, it is crucial that individuals experiencing stroke symptoms -- such as numbness, difficulty with eyesight or speaking and severe headache -- obtain medical care within three hours of the onset of such symptoms.
However, 73% of survey respondents said they would not seek care right away if they experienced stroke symptoms ("KPCC News," KPCC, 1/11).
David Liebeskind -- head of UCLA Medical Center's outpatient stroke and neurovascular programs and leader of the survey, said -- "The natural tendency is to be positive and have wishful thinking that any concerning symptoms of stroke would diminish or abate without treatment" ("Morning Rounds," STAT News, 1/11). He added, "A younger person is more inclined to think that perhaps symptoms that they do recognize as possible stroke warning signs may be more likely due to something else" (Thielking, STAT News, 1/11).
Liebeskind said the findings show that more education on stroke should be provided to younger individuals ("KPCC News," KPCC, 1/11).
"Timely treatment for stroke is probably more important than for almost any other medical problem there is," Liebeskind noted, adding, "There is a very limited window in which to start treatment because the brain is very sensitive to a lack of blood flow for or to bleeding, and the longer patients wait, the more devastating the consequences" (UPI, 1/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.