Guest Blog by Sabine Drilling + Hayley Pearson
There are a 1000 reasons why we should all start the conversation and get a Heart Health Check at your local GP. But here is just one…
This is Adelady, Sabine’s story.
“8 years ago at the age of 48 I considered myself to be relatively fit and healthy. I had my cholesterol checked and it was it okay. I had been diagnosed with high insulin levels but a low GI diet had that under control. I went to the gym and walked regularly with friends. I was never sick and I hadn’t taken any personal sick leave for years- only carers leave to look after my children when they were unwell which wasn’t that often.
I had pre-eclampsia during my first pregnancy at the age of 35. During my second pregnancy at the age of 37 my blood pressure was normal. I had a hysterectomy at 41 and my blood pressure at that time was also normal.
I was busy with the children, busy at work, involved in school activities as well as selling and moving to a new house whilst working full time for a period.
In November 2008 I had a near miss car accident which really shook me up-I was shaky for a few hours. Later that night whilst cooking dinner my left leg went a bit wobbly- I thought it was delayed shock and lay down for a while. Later on I got a headache and a sore neck- I thought it was whiplash because I’ve had it before and went to the physio the next day. However the following day I felt worse, called my mum and fortunately she answered the phone. I asked her to take me to the doctor for an x-ray of my neck. By the time my mum arrived I was vomiting-I did not realise what was happening.
At the medical centre the doctor took my blood pressure with three different electronic blood pressure monitors and resorted to the traditional sphygmomanometer-my BP was 285/ 150.!! As a nurse I have never encountered a blood pressure this high. The doctor called an ambulance and I was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital. A CT scan showed that I had an extensive right sided intracranial bleed with extension into the ventricles of my brain and early hydrocephalus. My blood pressure was so high it had caused a blood vessel in my brain to burst. I had suffered a haemorrhagic stroke due to high blood pressure.
In the Emergency Department my blood pressure had come down to 250/130. They called my GP to ask if I had a history of high blood pressure- there was no record of my blood pressure in my notes.
I thought my blood pressure had been taken on the rare visits I went to the doctor but it wasn’t-I have to say I’m embarrassed by this as I should have known my numbers. How easy it is to get engrossed in the demands of life and put your health aside especially if you feel OK.
We don’t wait until our car breaks down to get it fixed -we have regular services-something we should all do for our bodies!
I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and was in hospital for two weeks. I had three months off work and it took me two years before I could say I felt normal again.
I had short term memory loss, got tired easily and just wasn’t right in my head. I still have times when I feel I don’t have the same brain stamina and memory as I did before- I forgot to go to the funeral of a dear friend’s father-a hard thing to explain!
I would not wish this on anybody.
I’m so lucky that my mum answered the phone, that I went to the doctor and I received the best treatment because the outcome could have been devastating. However it all could have been prevented.
My blood pressure should have been monitored by my GP.
I should have known and kept a record of my blood pressure.
On discharge I was on 3 different medications for my blood pressure. I am now only on one tablet.
I monitor my blood pressure regularly, am careful with my salt and alcohol intake and exercise regularly.
A small aneurysm on the left side of my brain was detected which is closely monitored-most likely a result of undiagnosed high blood pressure which I could have had for a few years.
I am thankful I survived relatively unscathed.
I should have known my numbers.”
Heart Disease kills three times as many women as Breast Cancer. One conversation could change your life. For all information, visit https://heartfoundation.org.au/one-conversation