Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada


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June is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada – equivalent to 6% of all deaths. Each year, more than 89,000 Canadians suffer a stroke and 878,000 live with stroke symptoms. But thanks to efforts across the country over the past 30 years, Canadians are much more likely to survive a stroke than they were in the past.

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Stroke is a medical emergency. Recognizing and responding immediately to the warning signs of a stroke by calling 9-1-1 can dramatically improve chances of survival and recovery. If a person is diagnosed with a stroke caused by a blood clot (80% of all strokes), doctors may give anti-clot medication. This drug (tPA) is only available in hospitals and is effective only a few crucial hours after the stroke symptoms are identified.

Stroke is treatable, so it’s important to recognize and respond immediately to the five main warning signs of a stroke.

Weakness – a sudden loss of strength or onset of numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary

Difficulty speaking – sudden difficulty speaking or understanding, or sudden confusion, even if temporary

Vision problems – sudden visual disturbance. Again, even if the problem is temporary

Headache – a sudden, severe, unusual headache

Dizziness – a sudden loss of balance, especially when combined with any of the above signs

If you, a friend, neighbor or loved one has any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 and go to the nearest hospital.

As with most serious conditions, prevention is key. Research has shown that a predisposition to stroke can be linked to family history, age, gender and ethnicity. We cannot control these factors, but fortunately there are many other risk factors that we can be aware of and deal with appropriately. The risk of stroke increases with obesity, poor diet, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, stress and high cholesterol.

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Knowledge is power, so help prevent a stroke by learning more about risk factors and how you can make lifestyle changes to yourself and those around you to minimize risk. The website I went to for this column was and it has a wealth of information, including interactive risk assessment tools, healthy recipes, research information, and health programs. physical activity.

Since 2014, the FAST campaign has been helping Canadians recognize and take action on the most common signs of stroke:

· Face – is it droopy?

· Arms – can you lift both?

· Speech – Is it scrambled or confused?

· It’s time to call 9-1-1 right away.

In Hastings and Prince Edward, there are community stroke support programs for anyone who has had a stroke. Call CCHS at 613-969-0130 and ask to speak to Lorraine for more information.

June is also Seniors Month in Ontario and the Belleville Library is hosting a free webinar. Solicitor Ryan MacNeil of Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP in Kingston will discuss the unique legal issues and needs of older adults, including capacity issues, the importance of powers of attorney and remedies for exploitation finances of the elderly. Learn about the rights and responsibilities of seniors and their caregivers under Ontario law. Presented by the Elder Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association. Friday, June 24 at 2:30 p.m. Go to for the link to register for this free event.

The information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee Wert, CCSH, 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1. Please visit our website at or email me at [email protected], or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information and advice. ‘assistance. Community Care is proud to be a member agency of United Way. Partially funded by Health East Ontario.


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