Nearly three quarters of all strokes are suffered by people over the age of 65. Of the nearly 800,000 people who suffer from a stroke every year in the United States alone, almost 600,000 of them fall victim to the emergency for the first time.

Worldwide, 15 million people have strokes every year, 5 million of whom die, 5 million of whom suffer permanent disability and the rest of whom recover fully.

So then when a very dear friend suffered her second blood brain disruption a week before her 48th birthday, it was a less than gentle jolt.

You do not have to be over 65 years old to have a stroke, you can do something about preventing them and, if you have one, you can get better.

A stroke is a sudden interruption of the blood supply to the brain.

There are three different types.

An intracerebral haemorrhage is when an artery ruptures or tears inside the brain, this then lets blood flow into the brain tissue which causes pressure and then damage, as brain tissue is very soft and sensitive.

An Ischemic Stroke is the most common type and is a clot or blockage within an artery to the brain. 80% of all strokes are of the Ischemic variety.

A subarachnoid Haemorrhage is when an artery in the brain tears but instead of the blood then going into the brain, it pools AROUND the brain and causes pressure from the outside


None of these are charming, but it is worth knowing what they are.

When you have a stroke, you may have a head ache, like my friend did, or you may not. You may have sudden weakness, loss of sensation, or difficulty with speaking, seeing, or walking. Your face may get droopy, you may not be able to lift your arm, or you may not have any of these dramatic symptoms.

In my friends case, her peripheral eyesight was affected, but she had been out on a wine night, and just figured she may have over indulged. It was only the stabbing head ache that wouldn’t go away that alerted her husband.

The warning signs are:

– sudden numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body

– Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

– Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

– Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

– Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from any or many of these symptoms, DO NOT WAIT. Get to a doctor and let them check it out.

There are ways for you to help prevent this sneaky killer, and of course being all grown up they are a bit of a buzz kill. Never the less, we need to pay attention.

First and foremost, stop smoking. Just stop. It’s killing you, you can’t get high on tobacco, and it’s a waste of money.

Secondly, lose weight. Also not as exciting advice as ‘get drunk and have sex with as many people as you can’, but there it is. Fat inactive people have a zillion times more strokes than skinny active ones. Fact.

Thirdly lower your blood pressure. This is actually a major one as high blood pressure is a significant cause of strokes. The best way to lower your blood pressure is by exercising and losing weight, and yes I know I’m nagging but someone has to love you enough to tell you. Smokers also have higher blood pressure (again, I will nag because I care) so stop doing that. Today. It’s also giving you wrinkles.

And finally, if someone in your family has had a stroke, or a mini stroke, or has heart disease, pay very close attention to your health. Strokes are hereditary, and you are playing with fire genetically if you are not taking care of your health when family members have died from this.

This great website gives fabulous and very practical advice on how to take care of yourself through a sensible eating plan and realistic exercise program. Take a minute or two to read through it and see what speaks to you.

We are here on this planet for a good time, not a long time. Better to spend the few decades we are granted enjoying every minute by not spending them stuck in a hospital bed due to a preventable incident. Do your best to stick around so that you can annoy the young folks with tales of your wild adventures. They hate that.



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