Tasmanian business challenged for Stroke Week

FOLLOWING recent confirmation that Tasmanians are among Australians at greatest risk of stroke, the National Stroke Foundation is challenging Tasmanian businesses to join the fight to stop stroke this month.
Tasmanian executive officer Connie Digolis said the National Stroke Foundation was challenging Tasmanians to be healthy, be aware and be their best to help raise awareness of stroke in the community.
“Stroke touches all of our lives in some way, whether it is personally, through a family member, friend or colleague. One in six of us will suffer a stroke in our lifetime and it can happen to anyone at any age,” she said.
“This is why it is so important to be aware of what stroke is, how to recognise it and what to do if someone is having a stroke.”
Ms Digolis said the messages for Stroke Week this year were simple.
“Be healthy; set yourself a challenge to reduce your risk of stroke, get active, say no to sugary drinks, quit smoking and cut down alcohol. Be Aware; Help raise awareness of stroke in the community, host an event, learn more about it and share what you have learnt. Be your best; have a health check at your local pharmacy or GP, find out your stroke risk and what you can do to reduce it. Or set your own challenge,” she said.
“Many strokes are preventable.  It is important to understand your stroke risk and the simple steps you can take to be healthy and reduce your risk.”
Tony Howe, 64, had a stroke five-years-ago. Mr Howe said he had no idea it was coming.
“I was overweight, but reasonably healthy,” Mr Howe said.
“I woke up one morning, went upstairs to make a cup of coffee and on the way could not walk properly, lost my balance and almost fell over. In the kitchen, I could not actually make the coffee.
“I obviously knew something was wrong, but did not know what, so I went back downstairs, told my wife about it and we went straight to the hospital.”
Mr Howe, a social worker who has worked in government and private practice, said since the stroke he had been working hard to get his brain “in order” again.
“I have taken up African drumming.  When I started drumming I knew what I wanted to do but I could not get my left arm to do it. I have improved dramatically over time, but it is still not perfect,’’ he said
“I also sing in a choir.  Remembering the words for songs is difficult but I have done it to get my brain in order.”
Stroke has left Mr Howe with some ongoing issues vision and
memory issues, however he has adapted.
“My brain does not process things the same way.  I have trouble concentrating on things for a long time and I have short-term memory issues,’’ Mr Howe said.
“But, I am physically ok, I drive, my speech is ok and I am not physically disabled in any way. I had to learn walk and drive again – but I did it.
“Having a stroke should not be the end of life.”
National Stroke Week runs from September 8 to 14.
Stroke Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of stroke within the community and encourage all Australians to take action to prevent stroke.
To find out more about Stroke Week and register to take the challenge visit www.strokefoundation.com.au

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