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What is a stroke? A stroke is a disruption of blood supply to the brain – either through a blockage due to clot (ischemic), or bleeding (hemorrhagic).
The amount of brain affected by the stroke and the type of symptoms a person would experience depends on where the blockage or bleed occurs. In both cases, if the blood supply is not restored quickly, the affected part of the brain dies, causing disability or death.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) can be considered a “mini-stroke”, when blood flow to the brain stops for a short period of time. A TIA is an important sign of a problem with blood flow to the brain and should be treated as an emergency.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Knowing the signs of stroke and acting quickly can improve your chances of survival and recovery.
Think FAST when you think you or someone you’re with is experiencing a stroke.


If you or someone you’re with experiences any of these signs, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately. Do not drive yourself or the person having a stroke to the hospital – call an ambulance. Paramedics are trained to get you to the best hospital for stroke care. 

  • Symptoms of stroke come on suddenly, usually without any warning at all.
  • Even signs of stroke that only last for a short period of time and then disappear require emergency attention.
  • Denial of stroke symptoms is common but stroke is treatable and immediate medical attention is critical to recovery.
  • Stroke can happen at any age so don’t assume that just because a person is young or otherwise healthy that their symptoms couldn’t be a stroke.
For more information on signs of stroke, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation website
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to prevent a stroke and also to prevent the reoccurrence of stroke. This includes:
  • Eating food that are low in saturated fats, sugar, and salt;
  • Being physically active;
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight; and
  • Reducing stress.
The Heart & Stroke Foundation has a variety of resources around healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weight that can assist you in adopting a healthier lifestyle. Visit the resource section of their website for these documents. 

In addition, HealthLink BC has information about disease prevention, healthy eating and physical activity with specific information such as heart health that also applies to stroke prevention. 

The Heart & Stroke Foundation also has resources to help you understand your risk for heart disease and stroke and to lower it. A few common problems can increase your risk for stroke. Follow the links below to learn more:
Visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation website to read more about the risks and how you can prevent stroke as well as to take the Heart & Stroke Risk Assessment.

When it comes to stroke prevention and risk factors, there are a number of things you can control to help decrease your risk of having a stroke such as maintaining a healthy diet, lowering your stress level, engaging in regular exercise, refraining from smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation. 

There are other factors such as your age, gender, ethnicity, family history, and previous history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) that you cannot control.

You can help decrease your risk of having a stroke by learning more about the risk factors you can do something about, and those you can't control.

Visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s website to learn more about your risk factors and how to prevent a stroke. 
Stroke often has a long recovery time, and coming home from the hospital requires adjustment for patients, families and caregivers. The links below are provided from expert organizations, which can assist in your recovery.

There are a number of resources on the Canadian Stroke Best Practices website, including:
  • You’ve had a transient ischemic attack (TIA): Learn how to prevent another one
  • Getting on with the rest of your life after stroke
  • Taking charge of your stroke recovery: A survivor’s guide to the Canadian best practice recommendations
  • A family guide to pediatric stroke
The Heart & Stroke Foundation also has many resources to support living with stroke on their website.

The Stroke Recovery Association of BC has information and resources on their website around recovery and life after stroke.  This information is for both stroke survivors and their families and caregivers. 

The National Stroke Association in the United States has many fact sheets and other resources on a wide variety of stroke topics including managing fatigue, coping with emotions, dealing with pain and redefining sexuality, among others. 
  • Approximately 6,500 people are admitted to hospital with stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) in BC every year
  • 15 to 17% of stroke and TIA admissions are for people under the age of 60
  • 68% of people admitted to hospital for stroke and TIA arrive by ambulance
  • 74% of patients admitted with stroke or TIA had one or more vascular risk factors (prior stroke or TIA, prior heart attack, hypertension, diabetes or atrial fibrillation)
  • 67% of acute care admissions for stroke or TIA are discharged home
  • 13 to 14% of people admitted to hospital with stroke or TIA die while they are in hospital
After you’ve had a stroke, it can be difficult to know where to get additional information on the support and resources you might need. 

The Heart & Stroke Foundation has a directory of resources to help you navigate the health-care system and life after stroke. In addition we've included links to other common resources that may be helpful to you or your loved one after a stroke.  


Depending on your current situation, financial assistance for disability is possible through the federal or provincial government. 

Getting around


Disability Alliance of BC has several resources and a database of information for people with disabilities. 

If you are struggling to find or access the resources you need, please speak to your doctor.

SOURCE: Stroke ( )
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