Group will teach people how to save someone's life if they're having a stroke
MANY of us have seen the hard-hitting FAST adverts, which aim to save lives by demonstrating how to spot the signs and symptoms of stroke.
But if someone who was standing near you had one, would you be confident in recognising the symptoms?
A stroke is a brain attack, which happens when the blood supply is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding.
Every five minutes someone suffers a stroke, but out of the 152,000 cases in the UK every year, 20,000 could be prevented by people making simple lifestyle changes, such as keeping blood pressure under control and stopping smoking.
To mark World Stroke Day today, the Stroke Association in Bolton is holding an information day at the Royal Bolton Hospital where people can find out more about stroke prevention and have a free blood pressure check.
Pamela Bann, information, advice and support co-ordinator at the Stroke Association Office in Bolton, said: “We need people to understand that a stroke can happen to anyone at anytime and that there are ways to reduce your chance of a stroke.”
The Stroke Helpline — 0303 303 3100 — provides information and support on strokes.
More information can be found here.
A drive home from a seminar that became an ordeal
LYNN Bridge, a committee member for JIGSAW Stroke Club in Little Lever, had a stroke eight years ago — before the FAST advertising campaign — and was left in a wheelchair.
“It was a right-sided stroke meaning it affected the right-hand side of my body, so I lost speech and mobility,” said the 61-year-old.
“I had the stroke whilst I was driving back from a seminar in Crompton Way. At first I thought my brakes and steering had gone, but then I realised it was me.
“I got home on a wing and a prayer. Thankfully it was late and quiet on the roads. My husband had to get me out of the car and told me he thought I’d had a stroke because I had a droopy face.
“When I finally came out of hospital I had to wait three months to get physio so I started developing my own methods with my husband, Graham. I wasn’t prepared to sit and wait for the physio to come to me.
“I had to learn to speak, write and walk again. My husband followed me everywhere. I couldn’t have done it without him.
“No two strokes are the same. I had completed a degree at Wigan and Leigh College two months before I had the stroke, so in the following April (2006) I made it my goal to get out of the wheelchair and be well enough to pick up my degree — which I did.
“I was so frightened and distressed when I first went to the stroke group, but I’ve seen people there who are in the same situation as me and it’s a benefit to see such welcoming people.
“I also volunteer to help on wards at the hospital to help with activities and physiotherapy. I’m not back to my normal self, but I’m getting there. I still suffer with a limp and have a lack of confidence. I used to be a human resources manager so to, all of a sudden, go from that to the next day not being able to speak or think is a huge, life-changing experience.”
Small steps on the road to recovery
BRENDA Nixon, aged 65, suffered a stroke in 2009 after a trip to the cinema with her daughter — and says it shattered her confidence.
“I went to the movies with my daughter, Victoria, on August 5, 2009, to watch Sandra Bullock in The Proposal,” said Mrs Nixon, who is chairman of Bolton West Stroke Group in Horwich.
“I remember sitting there and all of a sudden feeling really unwell. In hindsight I think I was having a transient ischaemic attack (mini stroke) but I didn’t realise. I ended up not seeing much of the film.
“After the film I drove her home before heading home myself. I parked up and went upstairs and told my husband, Harry, that I didn’t feel well and went to bed.
“The following morning, when I got up, I didn’t know where I was. My husband asked me something and I got my words mixed up and kept calling him Victoria. I also couldn’t see properly and I was so confused. I couldn’t see or think.
“Harry said he thought I’d had a stroke so took me to the hospital. He’d seen the FAST adverts, thankfully.
“It took my mobility in the beginning but my friend, Joyce, rallied around to help me and my husband would take me for walks at night because I wasn’t comfortable going out in the day.
“It’s about taking small steps to recover. I started doing little things such as getting myself dressed and then putting my lippy on.
“I have struggled with a lot of things such as the computer, which has been hard because that used to be my livelihood. I used to be a design technologist at a clothing company, so that really was a big setback for me.
“Being round people who have also had strokes helped build my confidence.
“My family has also been a great help to me with my rehabilitation. They’ve even got me going back to the pictures — although I still haven’t seen The Proposal.”
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