Celebrations & Awareness

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We are now at the start of the festive celebrations everywhere we go drinks and tasty treats being offered to us all which are all too tempting to turn down. The whole of Christmas Day is a whirl of eating & drinking which can sometimes leave us with a feeling of discomfort, yet still we continue in joyousness.

It is also a time to slow down and spend time talking with one another without the usual adult distractions and hopefully, possibly noticing more about a loved one than we usually do or wish to acknowledge.

Keeping a keen eye on those around us always, in the hope to prevent others from having to experience what we have, here are a few recent findings I’ve read.

One is memory lapses in well educated people which can suggest they are at higher risk of stroke, the memory lapse is caused by damage to tiny blood vessels in the brain which can ultimately cause a stroke.

Marina Kara, a neurologist at the Stroke Association, said by understanding these warning signs, along with others, could help to save lives.

If you are awaiting the arrival of someone or simply a message and you receive a text that appears ‘ double Dutch ‘ this too could be an indication of stroke, don’t automatically think theirs or your phone is playing up. This has now been given the name ‘Dystexia’ and was first described as a medical symptom identified in people experiencing a complex migraine, which can lead to a host of neurological symptoms like difficulty speaking and vision loss. It isn’t yet clear exactly what causes this but it includes disruption of multiple brain function including the fine motor skills.

It is similar to aphasia but currently little is known about this condition yet the first reported case seen as a stroke symptom was published in the journal JAMA Neurology in December 2012 when a 25 year old pregnant lady was rushed to hospital following garbled text messages received from her by her husband, yet her speech was mostly still coherent. At the hospital doctors revealed that the woman was having a stroke, and her nonsensical text messages was actually an early sign of the condition. She was safely treated and all was well with her and her baby. Other cases have since been identified.

We know only too well that time is of the essence, and this way of identifying symptoms is also excellent in that it is time recorded. Texts show the time they were sent allowing medics too know when symptoms first occurred or offer a good indication.

Talking of time being crucial, it is now more than ever a postcode lottery when and if medical treatment is administered on time. As we all know, stroke has the four hour window to increase your chance of survival and recovery. In 71 of England’s 211 local health areas less than 55 % of patients were treated within the four hour window according to data from the Health & Social Care Information Centre. In my local town of Kidderminster, Worcestershire only 22% received specialist care compared to 85% in Hillingdon, West London.

Since London centralised stroke units four years ago, hundreds of lives have been saved. Now we have facts to illustrate lower mortality rate as a result of organised stroke care, we really should all press for it to be everywhere in the country for everyone’s sake, anyone, any age can have a stroke at any time.

Even babies can have strokes and sadly more children, it is in all our interests countrywide to try to insist on what we all deserve. We have some amazing specialists but their hands are currently tied due to lack of resources.

I realise I am writing about serious topics at a time when I should be writing in a more light hearted tone for everyone to enjoy. So I will sign of by saying digest it, keep it in mind and have a wonderful, happy Christmas. Thank you to all my readers for being with me during the year and for being patient whilst I was unwell and not able to blog.

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