Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My reason for preventing stroke? Spending an hour a day to take care of your health could prevent years of disease.

Jasmine Cvetkoska is 49 and from Ohrid  Macedonia. Surviving heart surgery didn't slow her down, but not recognising the risk factors of stroke that came with her condition contributed to a life changing stroke. Here she describes the impact on her life and why we should all slow down and take better care of ourselves.

Before the stroke did you have any idea that you were at risk of stroke?
No, I was not aware. Even though I had problems with my heart for long time, I was diagnosed with Obstructive cardiomyopathy and I had been through serious open heart surgery. I suffer atrial fibrillation as a complication of it and I did not know that it is serious stroke risk factor. Doctors did marvellous surgery and repair my heart, I had many hours spent in their offices, but no one told me about stroke risk, or the reason for taking anticoagulants.

When and how did you realize that you/your loved one was having a stroke?
A couple of days after stroke happened. At the beginning I was in coma for 6 hours, later I was confused. After couple of days, in a conversation with my doctor, I become aware what was I going through.

Can you tell us a bit about your life before stroke?
Before stroke a was a ,,300 km hour,, person. I was working and working and taking care of everything, I was doing not just my job, but also everyone else’s jobs at work and also at home. I was hyperactive and a lot of people were depending on me, since I was always optimistic and had solutions for every problem. Even heart surgery did not stop me for being so active.

How has life changed since the stroke?
My life is changed dramatically. I needed time to adapt to new situation, physical limitations and language problems. Also I become very easily emotionally labile. I can not tolerate stress as before, I have lost my adaptive mechanisms and sometimes panic overwhelms me.

What steps do you take now to prevent stroke? How are you working to reduce your specific risks?
Now that I am aware that my heart condition is huge stroke risk factor, I take more care about myself. I reduce my work and stress and I am more serious about my anticoagulant therapy, I take very seriously care about all factors that can influence my INR, I practice much healthier life style and  I am also doing my best  to stay optimistic .

What would you say to other people to make them take stroke prevention seriously?
Sometimes it is just enough to tell them my story, how my life turned upside down and I am just 49 years old. I can not be a ,,pillar,, in my family any more. Also I cannot  do my job as a teacher anymore which I was enjoying. Everybody needs to be aware that stroke does not choose by age, it just strikes. And most important it can be prevented.  I would tell them to ignore stress and worries and to live more peaceful and healthier life.

What is your main reason for raising awareness of stroke prevention?                                         
I would like to contribute in reducing strokes in my country. By raising awareness I am sure I can help. If people know their stroke risk and are aware of stroke consequences I am sure they will take more care for themselves. I would like to point out to everybody that taking care or their health for 1 hour a day means preventing years of disease.

Featured Post

Eivind Berge 1964-2020

It is with great sadness we announce the death of Professor Eivind Berge.   He died in early February from aggressive prostate cance...