The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta is seeing an increase in the number of people having strokes.
The organization released the polling results from their 2017 FAST campaign today (June 7), which shows 44 per cent of people don't know the signs of a stroke and only 39 per cent of Albertans actually know what a stroke is.
"The important fact is that the person having a stroke is usually not able to communicate their need, so it's us watching our friends, family (and) coworkers for the signs and all we need to do is remember FAST," said Donna Hastings, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta.
FAST indicates the following:
F: is for face. Is it drooping?
A: is for arms. Can the person raise both arms?
S: is for speech. Are they slurring while talking?
T: is for time: Is it time to call 9-1-1?
"We have an amazing EMS system here in Alberta and we have a protocol where stroke patients are taken directly to the nearest primary or secondary stroke centre where they'll receive the best treatment very quickly," added Hastings. "Alberta is the only place in the world where the paramedic on EMS, the receiving or attending physician in the emergency department and a stroke neurologist link up right away and determine what is best for that patient."
Hastings says over 6000 people a year are hospitalized due to strokes and models indicates that will double over the next 20 years.
On a positive note, medical advancements in the stroke field have decreased the mortality rate from 14.5 per cent in 2003 to 10.9 per cent in 2015 and more stroke victims are arriving by ambulance than in previous years. The report says 80 per cent of people now survive a stroke.
June is Stroke Month which means canvassers may be visiting valley residents seeking donations for heart and stroke research.