Monday, June 4, 2007

Strokes 4th leading cause of death in Canada

How much do you know about strokes? Did you know that stroke, or CVA (cerebral vascular accident) is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada today, killing about 16,000 Canadians per year? And that more women die from stroke than do men?

I found this information from the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website. They have other sobering stats too. As you reach the age of 55, your risk of stroke doubles, but you don’t have to be older to have a stroke. Out of every 10,000 Canadian children under the age of 19, there are 6.7 strokes. Once you have had a stroke, you have 20% chance of having another stroke within 2 years. The average Canadians spend an average of 3 million hospital days because of to strokes and their effects.

Pretty scary stuff but if that’s not impressive enough, how about the fact that strokes cost the Canadian economy 2.7 billion dollars a year and the average acute care for a stroke, per person, is about $27,000.*

When I worked on a medical floor, I cared for many patients who had strokes and they ranged from completely recovering to dying – and there was an incredible range in between.

One of my favourite comic strips is For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston. One of the characters, Elly’s elderly dad, had a stroke. He is aphasic (can’t speak) but she draws strips of him as he tries to come to terms with his lack of motion and slow progress. Some of the strips can bring you to tears, they are so poignant.

I should worry about stroke. Heart disease runs in my family. I’m not in shape and I’m not exactly the healthiest eater. And yet, knowing that, I still am finding myself not trying all that hard to prevent anything from happening.

So, starting yesterday, it’s weight loss and get fit time. I’m not all that overweight. In fact, according to my body mass index, I’m just fine. According to weight charts, I’m about 10 pounds over. I’m not dieting per se, just cutting back and behaving a bit better when it comes to food I love. And, now that it’s summer time again, I have no excuse not to get out and walk my dog.

Let’s see how it goes. We have to bring those stroke numbers down, one by one.

News for today:
Herceptin could cut mastectomies
Doctors say roller shoes injuring kids
Less radiation OK for breast cancer

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