Stroke in Canada

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function caused by a sudden brain blood vessel blockage (ischemic stroke) or rupture (hemorrhagic stroke). Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke.

Stroke can happen at any age, so know the signs and know what it looks like.

Who is affected?

  • About 741,800 Canadian adults aged 20+ live with the effects of a stroke (2012/13), 365,000 men and 376,800 women.
  • That's equivalent to the population of New Brunswick!
  • One-quarter of Canadians living with stroke are under age 65
  • Stroke prevalence rises sharply after age 55 

What are the risks?

  • Only 21% of Canadians are aware that high blood pressure is the strongest risk factor for a stroke
  • Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation (Afib)

How to prevent a stroke

  • Keep blood pressure under control
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Be physically active
  • Quit smoking

Every minute counts in a stroke emergency!

Survival and full recovery are possible if one acts… FAST

Learn the signs of a stroke 

  • FACE - is it drooping?
  • ARMS - can you raise both?
  • SPEECH - is it slurred or jumbled?
  • TIME - to call 9-1-1 right away.

Act FAST because the quicker you act, the more of the person you save.

© Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2014

For more information

Visit: and Search: Stroke

Follow us on Twitter:  @GovCanHealth


  • Public Health Agency of Canada, using Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System data files contributed by provinces and territories, as of November 2015. Provincial/territorial health administrative databases include the health insurance registry, hospital discharge database and physician billing database.
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation. Access to Stroke Care: The Critical First Hours. The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2015 Stroke Report.

This document was developed in collaboration with members of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Stroke Quality Advisory Committee.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: