Stroke Awareness – What to look for & what to do

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 cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • 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.

Fitness ideas for aging bodies

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.

Other symptoms of a stroke can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or loss of co-ordination
  • Intense headaches

Here is a video from Heart and Stroke Foundation about what to look for:

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