Understanding Stroke Awareness Month: June

Jun 3 / 2024 | Heart Health

In June, we have Stroke Awareness Month, which means we need to do more to learn about strokes, what can cause them and how they can be prevented. Knowing the facts about what a stroke is and how to react when someone has one could make all the difference in saving a life. In this blog post, we will discuss critical details about strokes, such as their types, risks involved with having a stroke, indicators that show someone might get a stroke, plus possible treatments after getting it.

What is a Stroke?

What happens during a stroke? According to the Mayo Clinic, a stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops or is reduced. This causes brain tissue to lose oxygen and nutrients, causing cells in the area to die within minutes.

Types of Strokes

According to Healthline, there are three main types of strokes:

  1. Ischemic Stroke: This kind of stroke occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain gets blocked, often because of a blood clot.
  2. Hemorrhagic Stroke: This happens when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, causing bleeding inside or around it.
  3. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): Also known as a mini-stroke, a TIA is a short-term halt in blood supply to the brain that normally does not result in lasting harm.

Stroke Risk Factors

Understanding stroke risk factors can help in prevention. The National Institute of Health lists these stroke risk factors:

  • High Blood Pressure: The leading risk factor for stroke.
  • Diabetes: Increases the risk of stroke significantly.
  • Heart Disease: Conditions such as atrial fibrillation and heart valve defects.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.
  • Age and Gender: Risk increases with age, and men are at higher risk.
  • Family History: Genetics can play a role in stroke risk.

How To Prevent a Stroke

Learning how to prevent a stroke involves managing risk factors:

  • Control Blood Pressure: Regularly monitor and manage high blood pressure.
  • Healthy Diet: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress.
  • Avoid Smoking and Limit Alcohol: These habits significantly reduce stroke risk.
  • Manage Diabetes and Heart Conditions: Proper management of these conditions is crucial.

Stroke Statistics in Canada

Stroke statistics from highlight the impact of this condition:

  • Every year, over 50,000 Canadians experience a stroke.
  • It is the third leading cause of death in Canada.
  • Around 75% of people survive their first stroke, yet most of them have lasting effects.

What are the Signs of a Stroke?

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to act quickly because you may be dealing with a stroke. Remember the word FAST, which stands for:

  • Face: Sudden drooping or numbness on one side of the face.
  • Arms: Sudden weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech: Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech.
  • Time: Time to call emergency services immediately.

What Stroke Treatment Involves

Stroke treatment varies based on the type and severity of the stroke:

  • Ischemic Stroke Treatment: Often involves medication to dissolve clots and improve blood flow.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment: Focuses on controlling bleeding and reducing pressure in the brain.
  • Dissolving Blood Clots in Brain Treatment: For ischemic strokes, dissolving blood clots in the brain is crucial:
  • Thrombolytic Therapy: Drugs such as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) are administered to break down clots.
  • Endovascular Procedures: Mechanical clot removal using a catheter.

How To Help Someone Having a Stroke

Knowing how to help someone having a stroke can make a significant difference. Here’s what to do:

  • Call Emergency Services: Immediate medical attention is critical.
  • Stay Calm and Reassure: Keep the person calm and comfortable.
  • Note the Time: Record the time when symptoms first appeared.
  • Avoid Giving Food or Drink: The person may have difficulty swallowing.

During Stroke Awareness Month, it is crucial that we learn about strokes and their prevention, as well as how immediate treatment can be very important. Being able to recognize the signs of a stroke and knowing what actions should follow might help save lives. If you are worried about stroke risk factors or need more information on this topic, contact Well Health Diagnostic Centres today. Our team is dedicated to helping you stay informed and proactive about your health with diagnostic tests.