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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 July 2007, 23:59 GMT 00:59 UK
'A love of kebabs caused my stroke'
By Jane Elliott
BBC News, Health reporter

Mick Nash far right suffered a stroke
Mick had too much salt in his diet
Mick Nash blames his stroke firmly on his rock and roll lifestyle - an unhealthy diet on tour of food drowned in salt.

"I used to eat kebabs all the time and the only way to make them taste good was to cover them in salt," said the 63-year-old guitarist.

"But now I am so careful I don't even look at a salt pot," he said.

Mick, who toured with the Teddy Boy band 'The Rockin' Devils' who had a number one in Germany, said his love of salt had forced his blood pressure up and had been a contributory factor in his stroke aged 53, as had the fact he had been overweight.

Brain scan

"It all happened when I was playing a gig in Kent. I had played the first set and was just taking a break when my daughter, who played with us, said I didn't look well and was playing badly.

"She said 'we are sending you home dad'. When I got home my wife said my face did not look right and that it appeared to be drooping, so as I got into bed she rang the doctor.

They told my family that I might not make it through the night
Mick Nash

"The doctor confirmed I was having a stroke and within 20 minutes I was in hospital having a brain scan."

Tests revealed that Mick had suffered a massive ischaemic stroke - caused when a blood clot forms in an artery serving the brain, disrupting the brain's blood supply.

And because the scan showed it was an ischaemic and not a haemorrhagic stroke (a bleed in the brain) he was deemed suitable for thrombolysis.

Speedy treatment

Mick was lucky that the hospital where he was treated was able to offer thrombolysis, which if given within three hours of onset of symptoms can help reduce the impact of the stroke by breaking up the blood clots.

Research shows that one in 10 stroke patients would benefit from this treatment, but currently just 0.1% receive it and just one in five hospitals can offer it.

The government said it would publish a National Stroke Strategy this summer to modernise service provision and deliver the newest treatments for stroke, as a national audit reveals that a third of patients are not getting specialist treatment.

Brain scan following stroke
The stroke left Mick unable to use his guitar hand

"I was told that my stroke was massive," said Mick.

"They told my family that I might not make it through the night.

"Without this treatment there would have been no hope. I may as well have curled up in my box and died.

"I was left paralysed down the left-hand side and that included my left hand, my guitar hand. So that was the end of my rock and roll and that had been my life."

Doctors had thought Mick might be permanently disabled but eventually he regained some mobility and learnt to walk with a stick, but he never regained the use of his hand.

"Now I write stories and poetry as a way of using my creativity," he said.

"And I have written some stories for a German and Finnish band. I can't play my own music anymore, but I can listen to it on CDs and a record label 'Nervous' recently reissued some tracks on a CD called Teddy Boy Anthems."

Dr Tony Rudd, consultant stroke physician, said speedy action could make a big difference in cases like Mick's.

"It is vital that a stroke patient has access to a brain scan within three hours of having a stroke to determine which type of stroke they are having to ensure the right treatment.

"People must also be aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke so that if they do suspect someone is having one, they can act fast and call 999 immediately."

Laura Funnell of the Stroke Association said better awareness by the public and medics would mean better survival chances for people like Mick.

"A stroke can change your life in an instant, as Mick has unfortunately experienced.

"Stroke is a condition with a brutal rule of thirds - of all people who have a stroke, a third are likely to die, a third become permanently disabled and a third will recover. It can happen to anyone at any age, without warning.

"We are leading the fight against brain attacks and we know that stroke research is vital to this battle.

"Raising funds for stroke research will not only improve the treatment and rehabilitation received by stroke survivors, but can also help to save lives and even prevent a stroke from happening in the first place."


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