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January 17, 2020

What causes strokes?

In Canada, a stroke occurs every 10 minutes; and, every year, 50,000 people die or are left severely disabled following a stroke.

Who is concerned by a stroke?

What is a stroke?

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

The after-effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain involved and the extent of the damage. A stroke can impact any number of faculties, including the ability to walk, see, remember, talk, reason, read and write.

What are the types of strokes?

A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

What are the risks of a stroke?

  • Age: After age 55, the risk of stroke doubles every 10 years
  • Gender: Men are more likely to have a stroke, but women tend to die more often from it
  • Family history
  • Ethnicity
  • Prior stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack).  

What are signs of a stroke?

Warning signs of a stroke

Only 20 to 25 percent of people who suffer a stroke receive emergency care and treatment within three hours of the start of symptoms – the critical period during which clot-busting drugs are most effective.

Since a stroke must be treated quickly, it is important to recognize its warning signs:

  • 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 if accompanied by the other warning signs

To recognize the signs, just think FAST:

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Speech
  • Time

If you recognize any of these signs, dial 911 immediately.  

Treatments

A stroke requires immediate medical attention. Medication can be taken afterwards to prevent the formation of blood clots.

To learn more

Heart and stroke website 
Healthline - Prevent a stroke
 

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