Don't ignore stroke this holiday season

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Community Health & Wellness Lifestyle

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Four years ago, Tania Shirgwin never made it to her family Christmas lunch.

The 47 year old woke up on Christmas morning ready to take on the day. She needed to pick her mother up and drive to their family celebrations, but Tania couldn't feel the left side of her body.

Initially Tania thought she must have slept oddly and the feeling would return once she got up and got moving, but it didn't.

Tania had suffered a stroke.  

When the movement didn't return, Tania realised something was terribly wrong. Knowing the F.A.S.T warning signs of stroke, she called an Ambulance. Christmas would have to wait.

"I have known a few people who've had strokes, so I understood the seriousness of the situation," she said.  

"When a stroke strikes, your brain cells start dying. The faster you get to hospital, the better your chance of a good outcome."

Thankfully Tania recognised the signs of stroke, called an ambulance and got to hospital quickly. Today she is recovering well and looking forward to a great festive season.

Tania urged others to heed the warning signs and call an Ambulance at the first sign of stroke.

"It doesn't matter if it is Christmas Day, New Year's Day, a wedding or any other special occasion, don't put off calling an ambulance because you're worried about upsetting family celebrations,'' she said.

"Your life could depend on it."

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Sharon McGowan has echoed this warning.

"Stroke does not take a holiday. It is always a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment," Ms McGowan said.

"Stroke is one of Australia's biggest killers and a leading cause of disability. There is one stroke in every nine minutes in this country. It can strike at any age, anywhere and anytime, but it can be treated if people recognise the signs and take urgent action.  

"Make sure you and your family know the F.A.S.T signs of stroke this holiday season," she said.   
The F.A.S.T test involves asking these questions:  Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? Arms – Can they lift both arms? Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you? Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away
Tania is looking forward to celebrating the holiday season with loved ones.  

"I have achieved so much in four years. I am grateful to be here and to be able to live a relatively fulfilled life again."  

 
Stroke Foundation :
461 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Australia Wide
1800 787 653
Stroke Foundation
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