June is Stroke Awareness month in Canada and the USA. Per the Government of Canada, approximately 741,800 Canadian adults over the age of 20, or the population of New Brunswick, live with the effects of a stroke. And ¼ of those are under the age of 65.
Some factors that can contribute to strokes include:
Your age, as the majority of strokes occur after the age of 65
Men are at a higher risk of stroke than women, but only slightly
Family history – if your immediate family members have had a stroke you are at a higher risk due to genetics
Personal history – if you have previously had a heart attack or stroke you are at a higher risk
While the previous factors are generally out of your control, some controllable factors also include:
High blood pressure
High alcohol consumption or recreational drug use
High levels of stress
Many of these factors can be controlled by making simple changes in your life, and if you need assistance you can speak with your doctor or other health care providers to put together a plan of action.
The key things to remember if you suspect that you, or a loved one is having a stroke is F.A.S.T.
F – Face: One side of the face will become visibly droopy or uneven
A – Arms: Ask the person to raise their arms. They will have difficulty lifting one above their head
S – Speech: The person’s speech will be slurred and have difficulty
T – Time: Call 9-1-1 if you suspect they are having a stroke. Time makes all the difference.
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