Santé Montréal


- Public, Women's Health, Men's Health, Prevention

Can you recognize the signs of stroke?

Stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain as a result of a blood clot (ischemic stroke), or by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

A brain artery may sometimes be blocked temporarily; in this case, recovery occurs naturally and there are no long-term effects. This is called transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini stroke. The symptoms are the same as for stroke, but usually last less than an hour. A TIA should be taken seriously since it can be followed by a more serious stroke within 48 hours. You should see a doctor right away.

Did you know? 

  • In Québec, around 200,000 people a year have a stroke. 
  • Over 3/4 of strokes occur in people aged 65 and up.


It’s important to know the signs of stroke and to call 9-1-1 right away if you witness these signs or think you are having a stroke. Strokes can have various effects, but about 1 in 10 people recovers fully. More than half of people experience ongoing effects. 

Recognizing the signs and acting FAST could mean the difference between life and death, full recovery or long-term disability.

Protection and prevention

  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Keep blood pressure in a healthy range 
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Take the medications your doctor prescribes 

Risk factors

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation

More information


Public, Women's Health, Men's Health, Prevention

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Last Update : 31 March 2020