Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is commonly known as stroke. In Canada, stroke is:

  1. The number one cause of disability
  2. The second leading cause of dementia
  3. The third leading cause of death

Between 2008 and 2009, over 10,500 people in British Columbia had been diagnosed with stroke for the first time. Of these, 4,500 patients had a severe stroke and needed hospitalization. The annual medical cost exceed 330 million Canadian dollars. For every 100 first time stroke victims:

  • 27 died
  • 15 became severely disable and required long-term care


Two Main Types of Stroke:

  • Ischemic Stroke: 80% of patients
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke: 20% of patients

Ischemic Stroke:
Ischemic stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted due to blocked arteries (blood vessels). This results in oxygen and nutrients unable to be transported to the brain causing brain cell death. The respective body functions that are controlled by the damaged parts of the brain will be affected.Ischemic stroke

Hemorrhagic Stroke:
Hemorrhagic Stroke is caused by ruptured (burst) arteries (blood vessels), resulting in leakage of blood into brain tissue.Hemorrhagic stroke

Transient Ischemic Attack:
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a mini-stroke. Similar to stroke, TIA can happen without any warnings signs or symptoms. The sudden onset can last for several minutes, or up to 24 hours. TIA has similar symptoms to stroke but the difference is TIA will resolve without treatment. However, the occurrence of TIA strongly suggests that there may be a blockage of blood flow in the brain arteries, which will very likely progress into a stroke. Many stroke patients (15%) previously experienced TIA.

Risk Factors:

  • Internal factors
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Family medical history
    • Race
    • History of having stroke/TIA
  • External factors

The more risk factors you have increases your chance of having a stroke!