Strokes at­tack in­dis­crim­i­nately


Strokes are killing or dis­abling more than 9000 New Zealan­ders a year and peo­ple like Bron­wyn Pep­perell are fight­ing to re­duce this statis­tic.

The ex­pe­ri­enced se­nior stroke nurse will be one of two speak­ers at a pos­i­tive ag­ing fo­rum later this month.

She will speak about pre­ven­tion, early de­tec­tion, treat­ment and care for stroke vic­tims, while Vicki Martin from the Stroke Foun­da­tion will cover re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion af­ter peo­ple leave hospi­tal.

Bron­wyn says that of that 9000 more than 180 oc­cur in Taranaki with an un­ex­plained jump in num­bers in the last year.

The af­flic­tion is not con­fined to older peo­ple with more than quar­ter oc­cur­ring in the un­der 65 age group.

Pos­i­tive ag­ing chair­man Lance Gir­ling-Butcher hopes that peo­ple of all ages will be in­ter­ested in hear­ing the ex­pert’s mes­sage.

‘‘Not only are strokes the num­ber one cause of dis­abil­ity and third on the list of killer con­di­tions, they at­tack peo­ple of all ages, dev­as­tat­ing not only the vic­tims but their fam­i­lies and friends,’’ Lance said.

Pre­ven­tion can half th­ese sta­tis­tics, and early di­ag­no­sis sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the harm.

Pep­perell said that if med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion hap­pened within a four and a half hour win­dow, those suf­fer­ing strokes caused by clot­ting can some­times make a full re­cov­ery and oth­ers spend less time in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

The signs and symp­toms of a stroke usu­ally come on sud­denly and dis­play as a drop­ping face, numb­ness of the limbs es­pe­cially on one side of the body, re­duced vi­sion and jum­bled speech. If peo­ple see th­ese signs they should treat it as an emer­gency and dial 111.

Pep­perell will also talk about how the hospi­tal cares for th­ese peo­ple with an ex­pe­ri­enced team deal­ing with ev­ery as­pect of the pa­tient’s needs sup­ported by spe­cialised doc­tors and nurses.

Both Pep­perell and Martin will also itemise key el­e­ments in pre­vent­ing strokes with em­pha­sis on life­style, diet, care­ful mon­i­tor­ing of blood pres­sure and choles­terol.

The fo­rum will be held at the New Ply­mouth District Coun­cil de­bat­ing cham­ber on Oc­to­ber 17, with the usual shut­tle bus run­ning from park­ing at the race course, ar­riv­ing for morn­ing tea at 9.30am.

Leader in the fight against crip­pling strokes, Broywn Pep­perell, Lead Clin­i­cal Nurse Spe­cial­ist, Acute Stroke Team Taranaki Base Hospi­tal.

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