As part of Make May Purple, we challenged our WHA apprentices Amy and Charlotte to learn about strokes: the risk factors, what types of strokes you can have and how a resulting communication difficulty can affect someone’s life.
To find out more, they visited The Stroke Association’s communication group at the Centre for Independent Living.
Here Amy talks out their experience: “We learned there are three types of srtoke: ischaemic, haemorrhagic and transient ischaemic attack. Anyone can have a stroke but high blood pressure and smoking are the main risk factors. The other major risks are:
• Heart diseases such as: ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, heart failure and atrial fibrillation
• Age and gender
• Race and ethnicity
• Personal or family history of stroke or TIA
“The way we live can also have a big impact on our risk of stroke. Things like drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and eating unhealthy foods can damage your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure and make your blood more likely to clot.
“I am currently doing Fit to Tackle which is a 12-week course to lose weight. I am doing this to improve my health and fitness, along with eating more healthily. Charlotte has reduced the amount she smokes and aims to eventually quit. These are just a few ways in which we are aiming to improve our lifestyles.
“The communication group was inspiring. Communication problems following a stroke people may have difficulty expressing themselves or understanding the spoken word. This condition is called aphasia.
“It was amazing to watch the members not give up when trying to communicate with us and be persistent until we understood. We understand now how difficult it must be for them on a regular basis and how sometimes it can be frustrating for them. They’ve inspired us to carry on and not to give up at the first hurdle.
“When supporting someone with aphasia it is important to be honest with them and not to pretend that you’ve understood what they have said to you. You can use communication aids such as using props like photos or maps. Drawing and writing things down can sometimes be better as they may find it easier to have something to look at and point to.
“There are several groups in Warrington supporting those who have suffered a stroke. People start off at the Communication Support Group every Thursday at the Centre for Independent Living 2-3.30pm. This group is there to support you to begin to communicate again. It helps find solutions and encourage you to get back into communicating.
“Once you are more comfortable, you can then progress onto the Aphasia Café which is every Thursday at the Centre for Independent Living 2-3.30pm.
Every Tuesday, there is also a Stroke Association Aphasia Café in LifeTime, 1.30-3.30pm. Mike, who attends our LifeTime Aphasia Café, talks to Lorraine Hale about his challenges following stroke here.
“Warrington Moving On Stroke Group meets on the last Wednesday of the month at 12.30-2.30pm at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, another social group meets every Wednesday, 1-3pm at Alford Hall.”
Step Out For Stroke is an annual event at the Halliwell Jones Stadium – this year on Saturday, July 20 at 11am. It is the perfect opportunity for stroke survivors, friends and families to enjoy a walk together while raising awareness of the danger of strokes and raising money for charity.