Background: Stroke is the leading cause for mortality and morbidity inIndia. Effective stroke prevention programme should be focused to improve the public awareness about the early warning signs of stroke, modifiable risk factors with prompt medical referral and treatment. Most of the awareness studies had been hospital based surveys, However there are less retrievable community based studies in India about the public knowledge and awareness of stroke warning signs and risk factors.
Objective: The objective was to assess the public awareness in stroke which includes risk factors, warning signs and immediate treatment strategies in Mangalore, Karnataka, South West India.
Materials and Methods: A community-based survey was conducted between September 2011 and June 2012 by the Department of Physiotherapy, KMC, Mangalore, Manipal University. A convenient sample of urban residents participated and responded by means of structured, pretested, self-designed questionnaire.
Results: Two hundred sixty seven individuals were interviewed during the study period. Hypertension (81%) and High Cholesterol (36%) were identified as two major risk factors. Around 40% of the respondents knew more than one risk factor, 6 % of the study respondents did not know any risk factor. About 9% of the subjects did not know a single warning symptom, while majority 75% knew more than 3 warning symptoms.65% of subjects reported that they would visit a hospital for management and 41% believed in oil massage and 2% in witchcraft.
Conclusion: This community-based survey reveals that awareness of stroke warning signs, risk factors and management are inadequate. Stroke related education is needed to increase public awareness in risk factors, warning signs and modern concepts of its treatment.
Key words: Stroke, Awareness, India