Stroke Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness of this life-threatening condition.
Stroke is one of the most preventable of all life-threatening health problems and, although most strokes occur in people older than 65, Canadians of all ages should take action to help reduce the risk of having a stroke.
A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). Depending on which part of the brain is affected, there may be different symptoms of stroke.
Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising, and keeping blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels within normal limits help reduce the risk.
Unfortunately, stroke is still a leading cause of death in Canada, and about 310,000 people are living with the effects of a stroke. Recovery from stroke depends upon many factors, including how much and what parts of the brain were damaged, a person's overall health before the stroke occurred, and how early treatment and care were initiated.
It is important to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of stroke, since early treatment can help limit the damage:
Research is essential to preventing strokes and the resulting effects. Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Government of Canada has invested more than $110 million, over the past five years, in stroke research, including over $20 million in 2010-2011.
I would like to recognize the work of the Canadian Stroke Network and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in advancing the Canadian Stroke Strategy. This strategy focuses on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and community re-integration for those who have had a stroke.
During Stroke Awareness Month, I encourage all Canadians to learn about the risk factors for stroke and to take action to prevent them.
Minister of Health
Government of Canada