Although strokes appear to hit victims indiscriminately, they often occur when precursory signs go unheeded. For example, individuals who have untreated hypertension (high blood pressure) are at higher risk of having a stroke.
Among the various types of strokes we find the ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot interrupts blood flow to the brain, and the hemorrhagic stroke, caused by ruptured blood vessels in the brain. Between 40,000 and 50,000 Canadians have strokes each year. Close to one third of the victims will perish within the next ten days, one third will recover in less than a month, and one third will remain disabled and require rehabilitation. However, it is estimated that 40% of these tragic events could be prevented simply by making sure our blood pressure is in check. Quitting smoking, eating less salt and fat, being more active and more vigilant about maintaining a healthy body weight all contribute to stroke prevention.
Approximately 5 million Canadians suffer from hypertension, but more than four out of ten are unaware of their condition. Sadly, hypertension is also called the “silent killer” because it usually does not have indicative symptoms. This means that only 13% of Canadians suffering from hypertension are aware of it and can help control their condition by modifying their lifestyle and, if needed, take medication.
The moral of the story is: have your blood pressure checked at least once a year during your annual check-up with your family physician. Be proactive and discuss risk factors with your physician to avoid falling prey to high blood pressure and other ailments. Preventing and treating hypertension while maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent strokes and many other potentially fatal incidents like heart attacks.
Learn to make more responsible choices when it comes to your health. When you take good care of yourself, you can fend-off many diseases to help you stay strong and age as healthfully as possible!