Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Impact of Stroke

  • Regardless of treatment advances, stroke remains a devastating disease, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, and one of the most expensive diseases to treat. In addition, as the population ages, the economic burden of stroke is expected to increase.
  • In Canada, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability resulting in admission to long term care facilities (Hall et al., 2011). About 300,000 Canadians are reported as living with the effects of a stroke - 1% of Canadians ages 12+ years and 7% of Canadians age 75 and older (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009).
  • Nine out of ten individuals have at least one to two risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and as the number of risk factors increases, so does the risk (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2003; Public Health Agency of Canada, 2009).
  • Both agency reports identify as critical, the need to control risk factors such as: tobacco use; sedentary lifestyle (inactivity during leisure time); unhealthy diet (lack of fruit and vegetables); and excessive use of alcohol to reduce CVD as many other diseases (e.g. stroke) share the same risk factors.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada (2009) reported the cost impact of CVD resulted in:
    • the second highest total health costs in Canada for the year 2000 in all diagnostic categories,
    • overall direct healthcare costs greater than $7.6 billion, and
    • indirect costs (lost economic productivity from disability & death) totalling $14.6 billion
Chronic Disease
Stroke Assessment Across the Continuum of Care
Background Information