The best way to reduce the risk of permanent damage associated with a stroke is to quickly recognize the signs of an attack so that treatment can be initiated as soon as possible. An estimated 50,000 strokes per year occur in Canada, which represents a stroke every ten minutes. Approximately 14,000 of these cases are fatal, making stroke the third-leading cause of death in this country. Individuals over the age of 55 have a greater risk of having a stroke, and while men are more commonly affected, more women die from one.
Typical symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs on one side of the body, confusion and trouble speaking or understanding what people are saying, vision problems in one or both eyes, a severe headache that comes on suddenly and for no apparent reason, dizziness and loss of balance. These symptoms appear suddenly and may only be temporary. The sooner they are recognized and treated, the greater the odds of a recovery.
If you experience some of these symptoms or see them in someone you know, call 911 immediately, even if you aren’t sure. Acting quickly may save your life or that of a loved one!
Above all, you can greatly reduce your risk of stroke by adopting a healthy lifestyle, namely by eating a wholesome and varied diet, reducing your salt intake, being physically active and quitting smoking (if you smoke).