Stroke Awareness Month: Stroke Awareness, Prevention, And Screening

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Stroke Awareness Month: Stroke Awareness, Prevention, And Screening

A stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to any area of the brain and causes damage to the brain cells. Strokes can be fatal and people who survive strokes can have lasting impacts, such as paralysis, weakness, cognitive dysfunction, numbness, difficulty forming speech, and more. If a person survives a stroke, it can permanently affect their quality of living. While recovery from stroke can be difficult and require a lot of physical and mental effort, a person can take preventative steps to reduce their risk of stroke before it happens. Your chance of having a stroke will be partially determined by genetics, but many lifestyle habits can be modified to reduce your risk. This Stroke Awareness Month, learn more about your cardiovascular health and how to lead a healthier life to reduce the likelihood of stroke.

Prevention And Screening For The Different Types Of Strokes

Types Of Strokes
There are 3 main types of strokes that all have slightly different causes.

  • Ischemic Stroke. This type of stroke is caused by a blockage or clot in a blood vessel in the brain. The blockage is typically caused by a buildup of plaque (deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin) in the arteries. 
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke. This type of stroke is caused by the breaking of an artery in the brain. Because the artery is open, blood flow is interrupted and the brain becomes damaged. Hemorrhagic strokes are often caused by high blood pressure that weakens the arteries over time.
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). This type of miniature stroke is caused by a small blood clot that briefly blocks one of the arteries. TIAs have the lowest fatality rate and may last less than an hour, but they often indicate that a more serious stroke will soon occur. If you suffer a TIA, go to the emergency room right away.

Some factors that increase your risk for stroke cannot be changed, such as age, gender, and family health history, however, many lifestyle factors contribute to elevated stroke risk. Some ways to help lower your risk of suffering a stroke are to:

  • Quit Smoking. Cigarette smoking interferes with the regular functioning of the heart, blood, and vascular systems. Smoking damages the lining of the blood vessels and even causes your blood to become stickier. This makes it more difficult for the blood to get through the blood vessels and can cause a stroke.
  • Manage Blood Pressure. Blood vessels damaged by high blood pressure become narrowed and make it difficult for blood to pass through them. High blood pressure also increases your risk of blood vessels rupturing or leaking and can contribute to the development of blood clots, which prevent blood from flowing.
  • Manage Or Prevent Diabetes. If you already have diabetes or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it is important to ensure you are properly managing this condition as high levels of glucose in the blood can damage the blood vessels.
  • Lower Blood Cholesterol Levels. Too much cholesterol in your blood causes fatty deposits to build up in your arteries. This limits the amount of space for blood to get through and can cause a lack of blood flow.
  • Eat Healthy. Reduce the amount of salt and saturated fats in your diet to improve heart and artery health. Instead, ensure you eat plenty of vitamin and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and lots of fiber. A balanced diet can greatly reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol, diabetes, and other health complications that lead to stroke.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise increases blood flow and strengthens the heart. It’s recommended to get 30 minutes of moderate activity that increases your heart rate 5 days per week, even if that activity gets broken down into 10-minute segments.
  • Reduce Alcohol Consumption. Alcohol contributes to several medical conditions that increase the risk of stroke.

One way to protect yourself from stroke is with cardiovascular screening. This, combined with discussion with your family doctor, will let you know what lifestyle changes you may need to make to reduce your risk of stroke. Early detection of cardiovascular issues is the key to preventing stroke and heart attack so that you can mitigate symptoms and potential risks. Cardiovascular screening can include cholesterol tests, plasma ceramides tests, and D-dimer tests. This combination of blood services will give you a better understanding of your heart health.

Private Lab Testing For Cardiovascular Screening

Understanding your risk for cardiovascular illness is the first step in lowering your chances of suffering a stroke. Health Today health can offer a variety of cardiovascular screening, including cholesterol tests, plasma ceramides tests, and D-dimer tests. With our private lab testing blood services, you can learn if you are at risk for stroke and consult with your doctor about what steps to take to ensure healthy living. To receive cardiovascular testing and take control of your health, book a test here. For any questions about our private lab tests, contact Health Today Health at 1-844-424-6728 or fill out the online contact form

Health Today Health has home bases in Calgary, AB, Edmonton, AB, Fort McMurray, AB, Red Deer, AB, Medicine Hat, AB, and Toronto, ON.


Some common symptoms that a person is having a stroke include sudden:

  • Numbness or weakness of the arms, face, or legs, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

If you experience any of these symptoms, get to a hospital right away.

Approximately 50,000 Canadians suffer strokes each year with nearly 14,000 deaths. While this number can seem scary, it is an important reminder to take care of your cardiovascular health.

No. While Health Today Health offers blood services for cardiovascular screening, you should also visit your doctor for a physical evaluation.

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