I had a stroke ... but I was fit and healthy

I had six TIAs, and then a major a stroke … was I fit and healthy? No, I wasn’t. The cause of my stroke was trauma to the neck. I smoked, and drank like a fish. Well, not that fish smoke, but I smoked. My arteries were clear, I drank, and still do, like a trooper. I love it. Like a pirate. No disregard for myself. However, the stroke I had was completely unrelated. I cannot stand up and repeat, time and time again, that stroke doesn’t discern or discriminate, it’s not a result of lifestyle. It’s an underlying cause separated from lifestyle but triggered by it if not moderated.

Forty glorious years of not exercising (purposefully), and not looking after myself in any kind of conscious way. I had a stroke. How many here had the opposite? How many were fit and healthy? I wasn’t. I was a boozer and a smoker, I drank when I could, I smoked at least forty a day at various times, yet my arteries were clear. All these theories on staying alive are not about staying alive, they are theories in which as children we should have spent time deliberating over earlier, and not now when others want to provide us with magic solutions. The immediate reaction I got from some people were, “he’s had a stroke, it must have been from his lifestyle” - but they don’t realise a stroke can strike even the most fittest of us.

Although older than you, I considered myself reasonably fit and drank in moderation. Hadn’t smoked for forty years. I liked long country walks and holidaying in Europe. However, I am diabetic and inclined to high blood pressure. No one else in the family has had a stroke so far as I know then, bingo, I’m the lucky one. We never know what our body has in store for us.

Hi, I had a hemorrhagic stroke in Feb 2017 age 57. I have never smoked, I enjoyed a glass of wine (still do). Have always been the right weight for my height. I would say I was fit and healthy too. My stroke was caused by high blood pressure, which I never knew I had. Just unlucky according to the consultant who operated on me when the stroke hit.
Regards Sue

Some strokes are just bad luck. Mine was caused by a rise in blood pressure during a near-drowning. It could have happened at any time when my blood pressure was high.

My GP thinks that my stroke was caused by releasing a clot in my neck or back while reversing the car, my otherwise sensible nurse daughter has joined the conspiaracy theorists and blames the Covid vaccine and I wonder whether I caused it by cutting down a Rowan Tree in the garden and letting the witches in. In other words it was just bad luck. I did not have high blood pressure, diabetes or smoke prior to it. If I had it would still have been bad luck and no one is to blame for it. **** happens.

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When I was smacked , friend texted” who would have thought it ! Non smoking clean living lifelong vegetarian self-sufficient in fruit and veg , drank a bit fit as fiddle. So why? 30 years of swigging own cider more likely chopping down too many Rowan trees or not shouting at the passing Raven “ Raven seek thy brother !” But more likely to have been HP which I never knew I had ,Bugger!

Hi FionaB1 liked your reference to rowan tree. Always been interested in folk lore. My reference to Raven came from a book the title of which was’ Raven seek thy brother’ as a solitary Raven is a bad sign. Think it originated in Scotland.Also picked up the covid nonsense. Was stroked at start of pandemic not a good time to be taken to hospital, after a three week holiday there :tired_face: been home three months,just vaccinated when crazy actress (no name but 80ish) who lives close popped in to see how I was doing bless her, after a gushing performance of sorrow she points an accusing finger at me and says “ you know why you had it?” Before I could explain that my Mum had serious stroke at 80 due to HP and I never knew mine was about to break the Guinness book of records entry, she gets serious “ IT Was Civid vaccination!” She followed that by coming out with all that conspiracy twaddle. She put my recovery back by months if not years. But hey ho over the years she’s kept us amused. Keep recovering​:hugs:. Pds

I’d not heard the story of the raven before - something else to be superstitious about! At least we don’t seem to have many ravens about here. Just hooded crows which are sinister enough

Hi FionaB1 As you have hooded crows you must be up north in hilly country. Gavin Maxwell wrote the book ‘ Raven seek thy brother’ but was more famous for otter book that was made into good film ‘Ring of Bright Water’based on true story set in west of Scotland

Yes we’re on the West Coast of Scotland - plenty of otters and seals and the odd dolphin

Love Scotland since being student at RBGarden Edinburgh. Two of my best wild life encounters there otter off Isle of sky and pine marten up in Sutherland feeding on bird table as he scattered sandwiches left for him two badger cubs appeared and thought it was Christmas, peanut butter and egg yum yum

@Rups strokes can indeed be temperamental in nature, they can happen without rhyme or reason, they strike the fit and healthy, those following a not so healthy lifestyle, the young and old, I don’t believe anyone to be fully immune, they strike some who would never of thought they were vulnerable to it.

Moderating one’s lifestyle and habits can only be beneficial, (for lots of health reasons, not just to aid in reducing risk of stroke) however until ‘disaster’ strikes one often thinks ‘that won’t happen to me’.

So I would agree, I look around me now and see so many people that appear, on the face of it, to not be looking after their body and health.

I thought I was reasonably healthy pre stroke, but have modified my diet further post stroke, I exercised more pre stroke but am currently trying to up my activity levels again post stroke but it’s a little more difficult now, what with being back at work and fatigue and what not, but I’m trying :grinning:

Best wishes

I really was fit and healthy. Non-smoker, moderate drinker, ate well, kept fit. Always felt very well, walked Hadrian 's wall at 68. (We did about 80 miles. Fabulous walk, by the way.) Then at 71, with no warning whatever - no headaches, dizzy spells or anything - I suffered a diastrous stroke. Burst aneurysm… After 3 months in hospital, the NHS told me I’d never walk again, and washed their hands of me. I thought, if it’s anything to do with me, I bloody well will walk again, and arranged private physio. Ten years on, a lot has improved. Initially, if I tried to move one joint, another might respond. I can now move the joint of choice, and can even vary the strength of movement. Whereas my balance was completely shot, I can now stand for about a minute before the physio has to catch me. I was extremely weak; my left knee gave way repeatedly and my back soon gave way when I tried to hobble. After a lot of exercise those problems are largely overcome and I can now stagger, very lamely, about 50 yards, hanging onto a rail and with the physio alongside in case I lose it, before I’m knackered and gasping for breath. And that’s after ten years. So who was right? The NHS or me? Well, I can sort of walk, a bit. So I wasn’t entirely wrong. But I have to admit, it was really the NHS. I don’t regret giving it a go. I had to, really, didn’t I? But I’m 80 now, so even if, by a miracle, I got better tomorrow, I shouldn’t have long to enjoy it.

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Hi @bobmiles101 welcome to the forum.

I’d say you proved the NHS wrong, yes, maybe you aren’t walking the way you hoped you would but you have taken steps, huge strides forward (pardon the pun) they wrote you off, you continued to improve.

Your strength of character shows, of course you had to, as you put it, give it a go.

Best wishes, take care

Diolch for the comments, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition :joy: I had many people, including family, all look down upon me from their pedestals of sanctimonious healthy living and claim that the reason I had a stroke was because I was a poor man’s Humphrey Bogart. Truth be told, my eyes have been opened to how stroke works, and I think the media has a lot to blame for fooling people it is related to lifestyle. The reason why I think this is because the medical profession is reverse-engineering serious medical issues and not putting care into monitoring public health from a standpoint of common medical issues. If we know high blood pressure can trigger stroke, why aren’t we properly tested for that instead of running expensive campaigns on targeting other triggers. It just baffles me. I have always lived roughly, I don’t subscribe to any way of life but my own, however, I am flummoxed that this should take precedence over common-sense medical practice.

GPs used to prescribe cigarettes, now they don’t. The human brain is not limited to just stroke. We are our own best worst enemies in such cases. Sorry, this is a bit if a whinge, but I wish the media would respond accordingly to those who have actually experienced something rather than being translated by others who have only a passing knowledge. This makes it harder for the rest of society to come to terms with their fellow loved ones and colleagues who have been struck. I am reticent to use the phrase but … just saying.

Morning @Rups. I think the way society and the media views us is partly due to the fact we are largely hidden away. Society and the medical profession equally just assume stroke happens to the elderly as a result of poor choices in lifestyle. We are often cleaved away from our previous social and work interactions, which further contributes to isolation and lack of inclusivity through poor understanding. Other than enjoying a drink, I am 51, never smoked, ran 20 miles at least a week for the last 15 years, invested in my long term health in any way I could, I do not fit the model. The NHS in particular choose to largely ignore my stroke as it was caused by trauma. I was trying to get an answer from a consultant about how other patients go on long term with some of my issues, and she just shrugged and suggested there really were no similar patients as I only survived due to my underlying fitness. So I should have died? Who knows. Stroke affects such a cross section of ignored and unrepresented people which makes living with the after effects so much more taxing. At least I know I am not alone here. Thank you to all on this forum. Julia x

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