Message from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Sports on the occasion of Stroke Awareness Month


June 2, 2023 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

Today we mark the beginning of Stroke Awareness Month to highlight and recognize the signs of stroke, available treatments, ongoing research, and support for people affected by stroke and their families.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Canada, with more than 900,000 stroke survivors in this country. We know that stroke disproportionately affects women, as more women die from stroke, have poorer outcomes after stroke, and face more challenges as they recover.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, a part of the brain can’t get the blood and oxygen it needs, causing brain cells to die. The most common signs and symptoms of a stroke include weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, vision problems, and dizziness.

Fortunately, most strokes are highly preventable. As a lifelong athlete, I understand the positive impact healthy lifestyle choices have on our bodies. What we choose to eat or drink, and how much we move, are choices that can positively affect our health and decrease our risk of stroke.

High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke, so keeping your blood pressure under control is extremely important. You can help reduce and even prevent high blood pressure by being physically active. Tobacco use also increases the risk of stroke, providing another compelling reason to quit.

Through the Healthy Canadians and Communities Fund, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) invests approximately $20 million a year and leverages additional funding from partners to support projects that focus on healthy living for reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, including stroke.

In collaboration with all provinces and territories, PHAC also conducts national surveillance of 20 chronic diseases and conditions, including stroke, by providing reliable data and information to researchers, policymakers, health professionals, and the public through the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System.

Additionally, over the past five years, we have provided $144 million through the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to support research projects across the country. These projects include using artificial intelligence to improve stroke risk assessment, developing new imaging methods to better detect blood vessel blockage, optimizing how medications are used to control stroke, and the study of sex and gender differences among patients who have lost the ability to produce or understand. language after a stroke.

This Stroke Awareness Month, take time to learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke and remember what we can do to reduce our risk.

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