A study organized by the Trinidad and Tobago Heart Foundation and the Emergency Health Services of Trinidad and Tobago about four years ago showed some startling findings. Based on a sample size of 700 persons, which is a good representative sample of the population aged 11 and above, the survey shows the following:
Eighty percent of the target population are unsure of the differences between Heart Disease and Stroke.
Twenty nine percent could not identify early symptoms of a heart attack.
Forty three percent could not identify early warning signs of a stroke.
Only one in three persons is aware that lack of exercise, high blood cholesterol and stress are important risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Approximately eighty percent of the sample did not know the phone numbers of the Emergency Health Services.
That is why the Heart Foundation responds to the need for public education about healthy lifestyles and heart health in our country. In this effort we need the help of all relevant stakeholders, the Ministries of Health and Education and, very specially, the media of mass communication. The Newspapers are doing a very good job of public education with regard to health. I am also aware that the ubiquitous radio and television, which transcends the bounds of illiteracy to a certain extent have a very important role to play on the onslaught against all forms of cardio-vascular diseases and the risk from stroke.
Dr. Allan McKenzie President, The Trinidad & Tobago Heart Foundation