One in six Canadians seem to believe there is nothing a stroke survivor can do to prevent future strokes and more than one-third think the recovery period is limited to a few months.
These statistics are included in the Heart and Stroke Foundation's annual report on stroke.
The poll suggests stroke touches the lives of many Canadians, with one in two saying they know someone who had a stroke and one in five reporting they have been involved in the care of a stroke survivor.
The report says 50,000 strokes occur in Canada each year and 315,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke.
The foundation says those numbers will rise as the Canadian population continues to age.
"More Canadians will be living with the effects of stroke," says Ian Joiner, director of the stroke program for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
"Recovery can continue for years, and many Canadians find themselves supporting stroke survivors through that recovery journey. The urgency and need for action is clear."
Dr. Sean Dukelow is a physiatrist (a specialist in rehabilitation medicine) at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute Faculty of Medicine and the University of Calgary. He says more rehabilitation research is needed to figure out what help stroke survivors need and to develop ways to assist them.
The report says stroke costs the Canadian economy $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity. It is the third leading cause of death in Canada.
The polling data are drawn from a telephone poll done for the Heart and Stroke Foundation by the firm Environics. The poll was taken between April 4 and 14 and 2,002 respondents took part. Results of a survey of this size can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.19 per cent, 19 times out of 20.