Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

Stroke risk IS within our control, despite what Canadians believe

February 12, 2013

Like a retirement fund, the Health RRSP (Reduce the Risk of Stroke Plan) makes it easy for Canadians to make a long-term investment into
their loved ones’ health 

BURLINGTON, ON, Feb. 12, 2013 /CNW/ – When it comes to our chance of
having a stroke, the vast majority of Canadians wager that the odds are
stacked against us. According to a new national survey, over 95 per
cent of Canadians believe that stroke can happen to anyone(1 ): you, your family, your friends, your neighbours, and countless others.
Some Canadians say there is nothing they can do to prevent a stroke
from happening.(1 )What’s more, almost one-third of those surveyed believe that having a
stroke is largely out of their control(1 )and about one quarter of Canadians think that having a stroke is simply
luck of the draw.(1)

The good news is that unbeknownst to many, there are steps that can be taken to take control and help reduce the risk of
stroke – especially the most common kind of stroke, known as ischemic

During this time of year, when many Canadians are planning for their
financial future, a new online program – the Health RRSP (Reduce the Risk of Stroke Plan) – makes it easy for Canadians to also invest in the future of their
health and the health of their loved ones. This can start with a simple
conversation with their doctor – a critical step that about 80 per cent
of Canadians are not taking.(1)

Atrial fibrillation or AF is the most common heart rhythm disorder affecting up to 350,000
Canadians. People with AF are three to five times more at risk of
having a stroke than those without the condition.(2)  After the age of 55, the incidence of AF doubles with each decade of
life and after age 60, one-third of all strokes are caused by AF.(3) Ischemic stroke (caused by an obstruction or blood clot in the brain)
is the most common type of stroke.(4 )AF-related strokes tend to be more severe than those related to other
conditions(5) – so it is vital that Canadians take control of their health and the
health of their loved ones.

“I’ve seen patients who suffered a stroke due to AF that likely could
have been prevented,” says Dr. Alan Bell, Assistant Professor in the
Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of
Toronto.   “Sometimes AF has no symptoms, which is why it is so
important to have a doctor routinely check your heart rate for any
abnormalities.(2) There are medications today with favorable efficacy and safety profiles
that have been shown to reduce the risk of AF-related strokes,
especially ischemic strokes.(6) What’s great about the Health RRSP is that it reminds those at risk to
take action now – when perhaps they thought there was nothing they
could do.”

The Health RRSP helps Canadians invest in their loved ones’ health.  By
visiting StrokeAndAF.ca – an educational resource with information on AF and its link to stroke
– Canadians can register their loved one by sending them a calendar
notice to remind them to speak with their doctor about their risk.

For every person registered to the Health RRSP, a $5 donation will be
made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, to a maximum of $10,000.  A
live tracker on the website allows Canadians to see the impact of
signing up their loved one.

“Healthy living is also important for reducing the chance of having a
stroke,” says Ian Joiner, director of stroke for the Heart and Stroke
Foundation. “Information about the best options to reduce the various
risk factors for stroke, including atrial fibrillation, can make a real
difference in improving our health - now and into the future.”

The survey also showed that the vast majority of Canadians know the
warning signs of stroke (weakness, vision problems, headache, dizziness
and trouble speaking)(1,7) and to seek immediate medical help if they think they’re having one.
However, 80 per cent still wish they knew more about how to prevent a
stroke from happening to them.(1)

According to Dr. Alan Bell, there are three simple things Canadians can
do to invest in their health today.
“Taking action is what will make a difference. Register your loved one
into the Health RRSP and help them learn as much as they can about AF
and its connection to stroke.  Make sure they talk to their doctor
about their risk and if they have AF, take action to reduce their risk
of all types of stroke, especially ischemic stroke.  Finally, don’t
forget to share what you’ve learned with your network.”

About Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading
pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it
operates globally with 145 affiliates and more than 44,000 employees.

Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been
committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel
products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
As a central element of its culture, Boehringer Ingelheim pledges to
act socially responsible. Involvement in social projects, caring for
employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all
employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual
cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and
sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim’s

In 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of 13.2 billion euro
while spending almost 24 per cent of net sales in its largest business
segment Prescription Medicines on research and development.

The Canadian headquarters of Boehringer Ingelheim was established in
1972 in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.
is home to more than 750 employees including 170 scientists across the

About the Survey
A survey of 1,500 adult Canadians was completed online between November
19 – 22, 2012 using Léger Marketing’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of
+/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

For more information please visit www.boehringer-ingelheim.ca


(1) Leger Marketing. Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Survey Data Tables.
November 23, 2012..; pages 9, 11, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 25, 27

(2) Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Atrial Fibrillation http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/site/c.pvI3IeNWJwE/b.3581877/k.A37/Stroke__Heart_disease__atrial_fibrillation.htm  Accessed December 19, 2012

(3) Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Statistics http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/site/c.pvI3IeNWJwE/b.3581729/k.359A/Statistics.htm  Accessed December 19, 2012

(4) Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Atrial Fibrillation Fact
Sheet 2010.

(5) Lin HJ, Wolf PA, Kelly-Hayes M, et al. Stroke severity in atrial
fibrillation: the Framingham study. Stroke 1996;27:1760-4

(6) PRADAXA Product Monograph. December  24, 2012.

(7) Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2009 Stroke Report Card.
Accessed December 12, 2012

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

Image with caption: “Dr. Alan Bell – Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto (CNW Group/Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130212_C4667_PHOTO_EN_23537.jpg

Video with caption: “DVNR: Stroke risk IS within our control, despite what Canadians believe”. Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20130212_C4667_VIDEO_EN_23545.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20130212_C4667_PHOTO_EN_23545.jpg&clientName=Boehringer%20Ingelheim%20%28Canada%29%20Ltd%2E&caption=DVNR%3A%20Stroke%20risk%20IS%20within%20our%20control%2C%20despite%20what%20Canadians%20believe&title=Stroke%20Risk%20&headline=Stroke%20risk%20IS%20within%20our%20control%2C%20despite%20what%20Canadians%20believe

Video with caption: “Video: B-Roll: raw broadcast video for download to support a story about controlling the risk of stroke”. Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20130212_C4667_VIDEO_EN_23547.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20130212_C4667_PHOTO_EN_23547.jpg&clientName=Boehringer%20Ingelheim%20%28Canada%29%20Ltd%2E&caption=Video%3A%20B%2DRoll%3A%20raw%20broadcast%20video%20for%20download%20to%20support%20a%20story%20about%20controlling%20the%20risk%20of%20stroke&title=Risk%20of%20Stroke%20B%20Roll&headline=Stroke%20risk%20IS%20within%20our%20control%2C%20despite%20what%20Canadians%20believe

Image with caption: “Website Strokeandaf.ca (CNW Group/Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130212_C4667_PHOTO_EN_23560.jpg

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/02/12/20130212_C4667_DOC_EN_23564.pdf

Source: PR Newswire