Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My reason for preventing stroke? Knowing it can happen to anyone if you don't take care of yourself

My reason for preventing stroke by Nenad Nikolić - I am 35 years old and have seen people younger than me who have had stroke - we all need to take all stroke risk seriously!

My name is Nenad Nikolić. I want to share my personal reason for preventing stroke.

My mom suffered a sudden stroke in 2008, when she was age 49. I remember it was Friday 6th June, we were watching TV, when she suddenly lay down in bed, and couldn't get up, and started to talk some unrecognisable words. We tried to put her in a seated position , but she couldn’t do it. Luckily i work in hospital in a Neurology department in my town, so I recognised stroke symptoms quickly and reacted immediately.

We were quickly in hospital, she got therapy, and doctors told me that AF caused stroke. They took blood for INR and it was very low. I knew she had AF few months before stroke, she got oral anticoagulant therapy (varfarine), but she didn't take it seriously, and she didn't check INR, and I didn't pay much attention because I wasn't aware of that. She had mitral valve stenosis before, and stroke exacerbated it, and after all she has been sent to Belgrade Surgery Clinic to mitral valve surgery, and after Spa rehabilitation, she has recovered. She is retired now, and has discrete paresis, but she can do everyday living activities, take a walk, and enjoy life as before. A lot of family support and care is assumed.

I know it sounds strange, but even when you work in hospital, you can sometimes neglect some risk factors. The everyday tempo of living is so fast. We are all busy and in some rush, and we can be easily distracted with this so we don't pay much attention to some risk factors. Those risk factors can make a lot of trouble…

After all this, my mom's life has changed. Mine too. We both understood how life can change in a second. How quickly from healthy state you can be paralysed. My mom understands now that she needs to take oral anticoagulant therapy seriously, and I understand that I need do check it. We both pay more attention and check her INR at least once a month. I made her a table to track her treatments, where I write dose and INR. The table covers 4 months, with INR values and doses. I'm happy to share it with anyone who would like to use it.

Prevention is the key thing. My mom now takes all risk factors for stroke seriously. She has lost weight, she walks with my dad more than before, so her physical activity has increased, and she is enjoying her time with her granddaughter (my daughter).

I want to say people to take ALL risk factors SERIOUSLY! Unfortunately my mom had stroke. Guess what? Anyone's mom can have stroke - in fact ANYONE can have stroke if he/she doesn't take risk factors seriously. I am 35 years old, I work in Neurology department, and I have seen people younger than me who have had a stroke! Stroke doesn't care how old are you, if you don't care for yourself !  It is up to all of us to raise awaerness, to do as much as we can to prevent stroke. 

I realised how stroke can happen to anyone and to those nearest us. I am proud to be part of any campaign against stroke. I am also proud to be part of the Serbian Stroke Association, and Stroke Alliance for Europe. I am proud because I am part of team who CAN CHANGE something, who are raising awareness !

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