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Every year, 50,000 Canadians have something in common with Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Taylor and host of other Hollywood stars: they have all suffered a stroke. Health issues don’t discriminate the way pay cheques do, I guess. We are all vulnerable and need to be aware.
The warning signs of a stroke can include sudden changes in speech, vision and balance. If you have any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away. As the saying goes, time is brain, and clot-busting drugs only work if given in the first 3.5 hours of a stroke. Right now, only about one third of people are hitting that critical deadline.
To make the point, Sunnybrook actually launched a study putting a giant clock on a stroke patient’s bed. Call it a visual reminder that time matters! We also just opened a very cool new stroke unit that caters to patients in a way other hospitals don’t: putting everyone from speech experts to physiotherapists on one dedicated floor. Evidence shows this model means fewer deaths, less time in hospital and better quality of life.
|The grand opening of Sunnybrook's new Stroke Unit|
If you need more information on stroke risk factors and symptoms, The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a great resource. Being stroke month, they have a clever online campaign right now, asking if people have had the “S-talk” yet. You can actually send an electronic card to a loved one decked out with this cheeky double entendre. There is also a risk assessment tool available that only takes a few minutes to complete.
Yes, it’s hard to make a topic like stroke popular, so why not get people’s attention by dropping a few famous names or by using some gentle sexual suggestion? Hopefully it’s helped get you to the end of this blog. And now you know more!