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Stroke awareness in a Sri Lankan community Introduction

Authors:

U. K. Ranawaka ,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About U. K.
Institute of Neurology
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H. De Silva,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About H.
Institute of Neurology
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J. Balasuriya,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About J.
Institute of Neurology
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S. Puvanendiran,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About S.
Institute of Neurology
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B. Jayasekara,

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About B.
Institute of Neurology
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J. C. Wijesekera

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, LK
About J. C.
Institute of Neurology
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Abstract

Objective: Knowledge regarding stroke is likely to influence treatment seeking and preventive behaviour. We sought to assess stroke awareness in a Sri Lankan community.

Methods: Adults and schoolchildren in 750 households in the Kelaniya Medical Officer of Health area selected by cluster sampling formed the study population. Knowledge about stroke was assessed using a pre-tested, structured, interviewer administered questionnaire. Level of knowledge was categorised into five groups using a composite score.

Results: 711 adults and 155 schoolchildren were studied. Only 36.8% recognised the brain as the organ involved in a stroke. Main presenting symptoms identified were unilateral weakness (93.9%) or sensory symptoms (88%), and speech difficulty (88%). Stroke was considered a cause of sudden death by 58.4%. Many recognised hypertension (74.3%) as a risk factor, but awareness was inadequate regarding diabetes (60.5%), heart disease (60.9%), hypercholesterolaemia (62.5%) and smoking (61.3%). Of the respondents, 60.1% considered stroke was preventable, 74% were aware that stroke could recur, 91.3% believed early treatment would improve outcome and 88.8% considered stroke an emergency. 43.3%, and ‘very good’ in only 0.7%. Majority were graded as average (46.8%), ‘poor’ (5.9%) or ‘very poor’ (3.4%). There was no significant difference in knowledge between adults and schoolchildren. Having a friend or a relative with a stroke was the commonest source of knowledge (61.5%). Doctors (32.2%) and other health workers (9.1%) were poor sources of information.

Conclusions: Knowledge about stroke is deficient in many aspects. Health professionals need to play a greater role in improving awareness.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jccp.v47i1.7767
How to Cite: Ranawaka, U.K. et al., (2016). Stroke awareness in a Sri Lankan community Introduction. Journal of the Ceylon College of Physicians. 47(1), pp.31–35. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jccp.v47i1.7767
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Published on 27 Sep 2016.
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