‘Walk and Roll’ coming

  • Aug. 27, 2010 10:21 p.m.

A group of local stroke survivors are organizing an event to not only raise research funds, but also bolster awareness about the dangers of stroke.

Set for July 20 at MacKenzie Trails, stroke survivors, their friends and families will take part in a relaxed 1 km walk. Things get underway at noon.

“It is important to give something back to the community for the support we have received since suffering a serious stroke,” said Bryan Shantz, stroke survivor and event organizer. After the walk a potluck barbecue will be held in the MacKenzie Trails picnic area.

Stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells begin to die. If the blood supply is not restored, the affected part of the brain dies, causing disability and death.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, there are five main symptoms of stroke.

They include weakness – sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary; trouble speaking – difficulty speaking or understanding or confusion, even if temporary; vision problems – sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary; headache – severe and unusual headache and dizziness – loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs.

Fortunately, there are many risk factors that can be reduced by adopting changes to lifestyle, officials say.

Watching one’s blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels are important.

Other risk factors that can be managed are keeping a healthy weight, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol and keeping up an active lifestyle.

There are a handful of risk factors that aren’t under a person’s control, including gender (until women reach menopause they have a lower risk of stroke than men); ethnicity (First Nations people and those of African or South Asian descent are more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes and therefore are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke) and age (most strokes occur in people over 65).

For those wanting to register for the Walk and Roll event, call Bryan Shantz at 403-887-4399.