In the news – DTC welcomes Neville Kerr, the Stroke Foundation

03 December 2014

The Day Therapy Centre was thrilled to welcome back Neville Kerr, the Stroke Foundation’s StrokeSafe Ambassador to talk about his experiences post suffering his strokes and the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Neville’s presentation was so well received at the DTC’s Over 50’s Health and Lifestyle Expo last month that he agreed to return to chat to some of their clients about being StrokeSafe.

At the ripe young age of 54, Nevi
lle suffered a staggering five strokes in one day, yet despite feeling a little ‘off’, he continued to go about his day as usual not knowing what was going on. Neville was displaying no physical signs of his stroke so friends and family around him didn’t question his health. After showering, dropping the children off to school and arriving at work Neville had suffered two strokes. It was only after all of this, when he was taken to the hospital where he suffered three more strokes.

Neville says it was his lack of knowledge and understanding of strokes that made his experience so terrifying. He had no actual disability at the time and there was no one there to provide him support or understanding of what strokes actually were and how it would affect his life.

Did you know that strokes are Australia’s second biggest killer and the leading cause of disability amongst adults? Currently the stats say that 1 in 6 people will have a stroke – they can happen to anyone at any time so it is important to know the risks. Whilst there are some risk factors that are out of our control such as age and family history, there are some lifestyle factors that we can control. The Stroke Foundation suggest making changes to the following:

  1. Reducing your blood pressure- this can cause damage to blood vessel walls which may eventually lead to a stroke.
  2. Reducing cholesterol – this contributes to blood vessel disease, which often leads to stroke.
  3. Quit smoking – this can increase your risk of stroke by increasing your blood pressure and reducing oxygen in the blood.
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight – too much body fat can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Increase exercise and maintain a healthy diet – being inactive, overweight or both can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  6. Reduce alcohol consumption – drinking large amounts of alcohol increases your risk of stroke.

How do you know if someone if having a stroke? Neville explains that the F.A.S.T test is an easy way to remember the most common signs of a stroke and involves asking the following questions:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred?

Time – Time is critical, if you see these signs call 000 straight away

Neville is part of the Browns Plains Stroke Club which provides support and companionship to people that have suffered or are assisting someone who has suffered from a stroke. Through these support groups, Neville has met a lot of people who have been through the exact same circumstances as him, and through connecting with these people, he now feels quite normal. Neville presents regularly to people around Brisbane to help educate about the risks and signs of strokes and how to move on from them.