Stroke Awareness Month

Stroke Awareness Month

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips

June is Stroke Awareness Month in Canada so we wanted to take the opportunity to discuss the signs and symptoms of a stroke and what you can do if you, or someone you know, is having one.

“Every year in Canada, there are over 50,000 new strokes—that’s one stroke every 10 minutes.”

 – Ontario Stroke Network 

Knowing the first signs of a stroke can make a significant difference in the outcome. If you think you, or someone, is experiencing a stroke, call for medical help immediately.

Types of Strokes 

Ischemic Stroke 

Most strokes are caused by a blockage or clot in a blood vessel in your brain, which is called an ischemic stroke. The blockage may be caused when plaque builds up on the inside wall of an artery. Heart & Stroke states the following: “The blockage or clot grows as blood cells and fat cells stick to the plaque. Gradually, it grows big enough to block normal blood flow.” The blockage or clot may form in an artery in your brain, or it can form in another artery and travel to your brain. 

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) 

This type of stroke is caused by a small clot that briefly blocks an artery. Symptoms may disappear within 24 hours (can be as quick as one hour). If symptoms occur after 24 hours, it would be considered a stroke, and not a TIA. Since TIA’s can be a warning sign of a future stroke, they need to be taken seriously and you should call 9-1-1 at the onset of symptoms. 

Hemorrhagic stroke 

When an artery in the brain breaks open, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs. Heart & Stroke explains that “The interrupted blood flow can cause brain cells to die leading to injury to the brain.” A main cause of this type of stroke is high blood pressure as it makes the arteries weak over time. When weak spots in the arteries (called an aneurysm) stretch too far, they eventually burst.  

Signs of Stroke 

Knowing the signs of stroke is important, as time is imperative if you, or someone else, is experiencing one. Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms, call for medical assistance right away. 

The FAST signs are the most common signs of a stroke, and are symptoms that are more likely to be caused by stroke than another condition: 

  • Face: Is it drooping? 
  • Arms: Can you lift both 
  • Speech: Is it slurred or jumbled? 
  • Time: Call 9-1-1 

Some signs of stroke are less common, and can include the following: 

  • Blurred or double vison 
  • Sudden and severe headache (typically combined with other common signs) 
  • Numbness (usually on one side) 
  • Issues with balance 

Stroke Prevention 

Prevention is important, and this can start with knowing your risk of stroke. Heart & Stroke reports that, “Nine in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for stroke or heart disease. Almost 80% of premature stroke and heart disease can be prevented through healthy behaviors.” 

While some factors such as age, heritage, and family medical history can’t be controlled there are some risk factors you can mediate through healthy eating, moving your body and staying active, and living smoke free. 

Recognize the signs of stroke and seek immediate medical attention; it could save a life.