Thursday, 10 January 2013

Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke....STROKE!

Dominoes. Four friends have had one. Two in their early 60's, two in their early 80's. But overnight, the marathon speaker, presenter and long distance runner, Andrew Marr, has made himself even more famous. Marr, a spritely 53, suffered a "serious" stroke and is reportedly able to speak. For someone whose living depends on that, this is welcome news.

Marr is an exerciser, not obese, clearly not sedentary and ubiquitous. His Sunday morning show reviews the broadsheets; normally populated by squirming politico's. Then, he is always there to Start the Week for us on Radio 4. Last year he even managed to squeeze in a couple of TVseries. So what got him? Aside from physical, there are also psycho-social effects to consider and he's had a tricky year with that gagging order business.

Strokes are third in the big three killers after cardio-vascular disease and cancers. Strokes are cerebro-vascular, and while it is random where the plaque builds up - that weakens the blood vessel - that turns into the clot, the start point is the same. Elevated blood pressure is the most common trigger.

In the UK up to 40% of stroke victims never see the inside of a stroke unit. Early brain imaging to determine which part of the brain is salvagable is critical. For every eight patients, only one will be alive and independent within three months.

Marr is fortunate. He's also doing what he does best - he's making us think. Meanwhile, he's getting specialist care in an acute stroke unit....think. Face Arms Speech TIME.

Deborah Gale

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