Stroke is the second-leading cause of death globally, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with hypertension being the predominant risk factor. At-risk individuals experience stroke symptoms but remain undiagnosed. However, no data exist on stroke symptoms and their associated factors in KSA. We assessed self-reported stroke symptoms and their association with pre-diabetes, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and health-seeking behaviors.
We conducted a nationally representative multistage survey of individuals aged 15 years or older on socio-demographic characteristics; tobacco consumption, diet, physical activity, health care utilization, different health-related behaviors, and self-reported chronic conditions. We used a backward elimination multivariate logistic regression model to measure associations between symptoms of stroke and risk factors.
Between April and June 2013, a total of 12,000 households were contacted, and a total of 10,735 participants completed the survey (response rate of 89.4%). Overall, 579 (4.8% age-adjusted) respondents reported experiencing at least one symptom of stroke, while 55 (0.4% age-adjusted) reported being previously diagnosed with a stroke. The likelihood of reporting symptoms of stroke was associated with sex, older age, high levels of physical activity, and a history of diagnoses of any of the following conditions: pre-diabetes, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension. Our study showed that a high percentage of Saudis reporting stroke symptoms have undiagnosed or uncontrolled blood pressure. Moreover, 61% of those reporting stroke symptoms have never been to a doctor.
Our study showed that a high percentage of individuals with suspected stroke have not sought medical care. Moreover, a large proportion of those with reported symptoms have uncontrolled conditions. To reduce the burden on stroke in KSA, prevention and control strategies should be accelerated with a focus on use of free preventive care services.
El Bcheraoui C, Basulaiman M, AlMazroa MA, Daoud F, Tuffaha M, Wilson S, Gonzalez-Medina D, Memish ZA, Al Saeedi M, Mokdad AH. Reported stroke symptoms and their associated risk factors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2013. Journal of Hypertension. 2014 Oct 1; 3:177. doi: 10.4172/2167-1095.1000177.