Everything you should know about stroke
(NC) In Canada more than 50,000 people suffer a stroke each year. In fact, stroke is the third leading cause of death. However despite this reality, many of us feel that suffering a stroke is just “luck of the draw” and don't realize there are things they can do to help reduce their risk.
The following are answers to some common questions:
What is it? Stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It can either be caused by the interruption of the flow of blood to the brain (ischemic stroke), or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke) – both of which can cause brain cells in the affected area to die, which can lead to physical disability or death.
What increases your risk? There are a number of factors that can increase a person's risk of stroke, including: gender, age, ethnicity, family history, obesity, diet, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a common, irregular heartbeat, affects 350,000 Canadians1 and is also known to cause stroke. AF can increase a person's risk of stroke by three to five times1. AF occurs when blood pools and gets stuck in the chambers of the heart, which can result in the formation of a blood clot. A blood clot formed this way can be transported to the brain where it can cause a stroke5. Because symptoms can go unnoticed, it is important that those most at risk – people aged 55 years and older – speak with their doctor.
Can it be prevented? While research shows 95 per cent of Canadians believe that stroke can happen to anyone, the good news is that you can take steps to reduce your risk. Speak to your doctor to determine your risk and what you can do to lower your risk.
For more information, visit StokeAndAF.ca.
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