health

You Need To Know This: The Devastating Impact Of Stroke

By Rebecca O'Malley September 1, 2019

In partnership with Blooms The Chemist, we’re giving you the 411 on good health. This month: the devastating impact of stroke — from a Nova Entertainment team member who’s experienced the effects first hand.

“It’s devastating and absolutely heartbreaking”. 

This is how a Nova Entertainment team member described the impact stroke has had on her family. In 2015, her father was on a morning walk along the Central Coast. “He’d just had his 70th birthday and was actually on a health kick at the time. He was out for his morning walk and collapsed”. 

He was lucky. A nurse was close by and recognised his symptoms as evidence of stroke. He was rushed to the nearest hospital… but the damage had been done. 

Her father has lost the ability to speak and cannot walk unaided. He’s in high-level care with nurses working around the clock to ensure he remains comfortable. She continues, “the poor man, it's been four years and he can’t do anything for himself. We’re lucky he’s still with us but the damage has been done. It’s like there’s been a car crash in dad’s brain”.

What Is Stroke?  

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blockage in an artery, often caused by bleeding in the brain. When blood flow to the brain is interrupted, the movement of nutrients and oxygen is hindered. If brain cells are starved of oxygen and essential nutrients, they are at risk of death.

Symptoms include blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes, numbness, weakness or paralysis in the face, arm or leg. Other symptoms to look out for include a difficulty understanding or speaking, dizziness, difficulty swallowing or a severe headache.

A stroke can strike at any time but as the family knows well, changes in lifestyle can significantly reduce your chance of a stroke. “Be aware of your health, it’s something everyone takes for granted. What are you feeding yourself? What are you putting in your body? Think about what’s going on that you can’t see… today's neglect could come back and totally shatter your world”. 

What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk Of Stroke?

Lifestyle changes are key. Say goodbye to cigarettes, for one. Smoking more than doubles your risk of having a stroke. Alcohol isn’t much better, either. As hard as it may be to turn down that extra glass of wine on a Friday, try to enjoy alcohol in moderation. It really pays to listen to your body.

Look at ways to reduce your stress levels – perhaps through exercise or cooking. In fact, limiting your sugar, salt and saturated fat intake will be hugely beneficial to your overall health. Paying attention to your diet and eating well will help you maintain a healthy weight – another important part of stroke prevention.

Take steps to live an active life. Find ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine — take the stairs instead of the lift or walk to and from work. 

She continues, “I’m so lucky to have the family I have. I am just grateful my dad is still here and we didn’t lose him that day. We do everything we can to help him and keep him positive. He's Irish, so hopefully we can take him back to Ireland to give him some motivation with his recovery… He is fighting a mental and physical battle every day, I couldn’t even imagine how hard it is for him”.

Blooms The Chemist can help you to understand your risk with a free stroke risk assessment.

The expert pharmacists will take your blood pressure and ask you some easy questions about your lifestyle, age and family medical history. The assessment only takes ten minutes — an important 10 minutes to learn your risk.

Stay in control of your health and head in-store for a quick assessment with Blooms The Chemist. When combined with a healthy lifestyle, this can help in reducing your risk of having a stroke.

Produced in partnership with Blooms The Chemist.