Newspaper article The Canadian Press

As More Canadians Survive Strokes, More Live with Stroke-Induced Disabilities

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

As More Canadians Survive Strokes, More Live with Stroke-Induced Disabilities

Article excerpt

Stroke-induced disabilities projected to rise

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TORONTO - A new study suggests the number of Canadians living with stroke-induced disabilities will rise substantially over the next couple of decades.

More people are surviving strokes -- a good news story about what can be a devastating and even fatal attack on the brain.

But the study authors say that with an aging and expanding population, this country will face a significant increase in the number of people who need stroke rehabilitation and other forms of post-stroke support.

The study estimates that there were about 405,000 people living with a stroke disability in this country in 2013 -- nearly 30 per cent more than was previously estimated.

And it says that number could increase to between 654,000 and 726,000 by 2038.

Dr. Mark Bayley, who is one of the authors, says more research is needed to find ways to help people overcome or cope with the after-effects of stroke.

"The good news is that more people are surviving their stroke," says Bayley, the medical director of the brain and spinal cord rehabilitation program at the Toronto Rehab Institute.

"And therefore we're concerned that we need to be ready for how those people are going to need to be supported and also cared for and how we can optimize their quality of life while they're recovering from their stroke or after their stroke."

The study was published Thursday in the journal Stroke. It was funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery.

There are two major types of strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open or leaks blood, putting pressure on nearby brain tissue. The more common ischemic strokes are caused by a blockage in an artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the brain.

For the latter, drugs that break up clots can restore blood flow to the brain and minimize the damage, but they must be given within a few hours of the stroke to have benefit. …

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