I know I should be worried about strokes; after heart attacks
and cancer, strokes are the UK’s third biggest killer.
Also, strokes run in my family. My grandfather, who drank and
smoked, had a stroke, and started to recover, and then started
to drink and smoke again. Then he had two strokes in the same
day, and, we were told, no chance of recovery. What had happened
to him, exactly? A nurse tried to explain it to me; it was something
about blood and the brain. My grandfather died after being in
a coma for eleven weeks.
For a while, I thought I understood how strokes worked, because
a stroke is the result of high blood pressure. If you’re
trying to water a flowerbed with a hose, and the water won’t
shoot far enough, what do you do? You partially block the end
of the hose with your thumb. Then the water comes out much better,
doesn’t it? That’s how I imagined strokes –
blood shooting through narrowed arteries much faster than usual.
Apparently, though, that’s completely wrong. But now,
I’ve got a chance to find out the truth, and perhaps add
years to my life, because strokes are, to some extent, preventable,
and because on Saturday I can find out exactly how… WL
Bloodline: is your pressure too high?