Monday, 10 June 2013

June is Stroke Awareness Month

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the interruption of flow of blood to the brain (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). The interruption of blood flow or the rupture of blood vessels causes brain cells (neurons) in the affected area to die.

  • There are estimated 50,000 strokes in Canada each year. That’s one stroke every 10 minutes (Hakim, Silver, & Hodgson, 1998).

  • About 315,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke (PHAC, 2011c).

  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada. Six percent of all deaths in Canada are due to stroke (Statistics Canada, 2012).

  • Each year, over 14,000 Canadians die from stroke (Statistics Canada, 2012).

  • Each year, more women than men die from stroke (Statistics Canada, 2012).

The effects of a stroke depend on where the brain was injured, as well as how much damage occurred. A stroke can impact any number of areas including your ability to move, see, remember, speak, reason and read and write.

Stroke is a medical emergency. Recognizing and responding immediately to the stroke warning signs by calling 9-1-1 or your local emergency number can significantly improve survival and recovery.

Learn more about what a stroke is and the different types of stroke, please visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation's website.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

Weakness - sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary.
Trouble speaking - sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary.
Vision problems - sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary.
Headache - sudden, severe and unusual headache.
Dizziness - sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Are you at risk of a stroke? Assess your risk and receive information and tool to reduce your risk with this online tool.

Learn about risk factors you can control and stroke prevention, here.

Eat a healthy diet to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to intense physically activity each week. Being active can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and it can be as simple as going for a walk each day. Learn more about the basic principles of activity and determine your basic needs here.

Read the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.