June is Stroke Month

The Heart and Stroke Foundation asked if I would share this article on my blog.

Why BC Artists, Craftspeople, and Musicians Should Pay Close Attention to the Warning Signs of Stroke

June is Stroke Month. As you may know, stroke is the leading cause of unemployment disability in Canada and the second leading cause of dementia. It kills more women than breast cancer in Canada, and more men than HIV/AIDS or prostate cancer. For artists, craftspeople, and musicians stroke also holds another risk: even if you survive a stroke, you could be left with a weak and clumsy hand, robbing you of your livelihood.

You may be experiencing a stroke if you suddenly feel weak, especially on one side of the body.

A stroke damages blood vessels in the brain. That damage can affect the senses, ability to move, speech, understanding, behaviour, thought patterns and memory. Often, one side of the body is paralyzed. “If you have a stroke that takes away your communication skills, you’re not running a business,” Dr. Philip Teal, head of the Vancouver General Hospital stroke prevention clinic, recently told the Vancouver Sun. “It’s not just putting words out there. It’s comprehension, organizing your thoughts.”

You may be experiencing a stroke if you suddenly have trouble speaking.

The good news, of course, is that recognizing and responding immediately to the signs of stroke by calling 9-1-1 or your local emergency number can significantly improve survival and recovery. If a person is diagnosed with a stroke caused by a blood clot, doctors can administer a clot-busting drug available only at a hospital, and only within a few crucial hours after symptoms begin.

You may be experiencing a stroke if you suddenly have difficulty focusing visually or seeing altogether.

These stroke symptoms include a sudden loss of speech, sudden paralysis, sudden loss of vision. But according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s 2012 Stroke Report, adults under 50 are the slowest to respond to stroke warning signs.

You may be experiencing a stroke if you suddenly get a very strong headache.

“Canadians need to understand that the clock starts ticking at the first signs of a stroke, and every second of delay leads to more brain cell death and greater risk of death or disability,” says stroke neurologist Dr. Michael Hill, who speaks on behalf of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Network. “Faster action would prevent disability for thousands of Canadians and save lives,” says Dr. Hill.

You may be experiencing a stroke if you suddenly feel dizzy.

It really is important for those that make their living with their hands to understand that a complete recovery is possible—but there is a limited window of time to get the proper treatment.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has launched a new interactive website to help BC residents learn the five warning signs of stroke which offers interactive features to help you quickly remember the five warning signs. 

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