As a neuroradiologist and stroke expert Dr Brian Tress never expected he would become a 3-time stroke survivor. His had his first stroke hit at 54. “You’d think when I developed a severe ongoing headache, I’d hear the alarm bells, but I didn’t,” he said.
Days later, the headache wouldn’t shift. “My headache raged. It became clear it was more than the flu.”
A scan confirmed he had a subarachnoid haemorrhage.
“I’d had what I term a leak rather than a more serious bleed, so my prognosis was excellent,” said Dr Tress.
11 years on, he was in the Netherlands for a wedding. “I had an episode of intense pins and needles in my left hand, this time I knew it was likely to be a mini stroke. I went straight to hospital. The doctors quickly diagnosed me and changed my medication. I had no further symptoms. Once again, I was lucky.”
But 3 years ago his luck almost ran out. Due to have a skin cancer removed he was advised to stop taking his medication before the surgery. The night before he developed pins and needles in his left hand.
“I had pins and needles around my mouth and I’d lost about 25 per cent of my sight. It was clearly a stroke.
A brain scan showed a clot. “The doctors didn’t mess around, I was given a clot busting drug and within 15 minutes my vision had returned.”
“As a survivor and health professional, I can tell you that up to 80 per cent of strokes can be prevented by making good health decisions.”