9 Myths About Strokes Debunked

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At least 50% of all Canadians know a friend or family member who has suffered a stroke.A stroke is something that’s often misunderstood by Americans. Strokes kill almost 130,000 Americans every year, that’s one out of every 20 deaths. If you live in the U.S., the truth is that you’ll have a higher risk of getting a stroke.

Popular misconceptions can lead to an increased risk for this life-threatening event.  With that in mind, here are 9 common myths about strokes and the risks they pose.

Myth #1: Having a stroke means you’re going to die.

A stroke isn’t always fatal—in fact, 90% of the time, people recover and go on with their lives. This leads to the next misconception…

Myth #2: Stroke recovery takes days.

Stroke recovery can go on for months or even years. Over half of all people who have a stroke need long term help and as much as 80% of people experience limitations when trying to resume their usual lifestyle.

Myth #3: Strokes just happen. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Most strokes can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. This means being active, keeping your weight down, lowering high blood pressure, and avoiding smoking of course.

Myth #4: A stroke happens because of a malfunction in the heart.

Strokes happen in the brain. This occurs because a blood clot has travelled to the brain and cut off its blood supply.

Myth #5: If someone has a stroke, keep them comfortable and then drive them to the hospital.

A stroke is an emergency. You need to call 911 immediately. Paramedics will call ahead to the hospital so that they can be ready to administer a drug called tPA. This drug can break up blood clots in most stroke cases. These drugs must be administered within two or three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

Myth #6: All strokes are basically the same.

Medical science has now proven that no one stroke is like another. Each one has its own “signature” and causes different sets of complications. Strokes that are caused by blood flow to the brain being interrupted will cause different symptoms than strokes which are the result of blood vessels rupturing in the brain. A person’s health before a stroke happens plays a big part in how symptoms play themselves out.

Myth #7: Strokes only happen to seniors.

A stroke can occur at any age, although it is true that older people are at greater risk. After age 50, your stroke risk doubles with the passing of each decade.

Myth #8: Strokes rarely happen.

Every year, 795,000 Americans will suffer from a stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of disability. In Canada, about 50,000 people will suffer from a stroke this year. Or, as the Heart and Stroke Foundation puts it, that’s one stroke every 10 minutes.

Myth #9: A stroke only affects the body.

While it’s true that a stroke can trigger physical symptoms such as difficulty walking, talking, or performing everyday tasks such as getting dressed, strokes can also cause mental difficulties. Some people lose portions of their memory, develop difficulty reading and/or find it difficult to learn anything new. A stroke victim can also find it a challenge to plan their day in the way they would have pre-stroke.

Understanding these myths is vital to your health. Know that lifestyle and diet changes can make a big difference in the likelihood of you suffering a stroke, so make some small changes today to see real change.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Mulholland, A., “Poll reveals Canadians’ misunderstandings about stroke,” CTV News web site, June 10, 2013; http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/poll-reveals-canadians-misunderstandings-about-stroke- 1.1318790, last accessed June 11, 2013.
“Types of Stroke,” The National Stroke Association web site; www.stroke.org, last accessed June 11, 2013.
“Myths and truths about stroke,” The Heart and Stroke Foundation web site; www.heartandstroke.com, last accessed June 11, 2013.