An Irishman's Diary
A MESSAGE from the Department of Health’s Stroke Prevention Unit.
Recent incidents reported widely in the media have helped increased public awareness about the problem of strokes. But there remains a high level of confusion about how strokes can be prevented or, having occurred, how their effects can be minimised. Here are a list of the most frequently asked questions.
Q: What is a stroke?
A: A stroke is a temporary or permanent loss of higher brain function, generally caused by a blockage in the area that involves ethical decision-making.
Q: Is there always a clot involved?
A: No. Often the person responsible is highly intelligent.
Q: Can a major stroke occur without warning?
A: Yes, but in many cases there will first be one or more mini-strokes which, if not identified and treated early enough, may culminate in a major incident.
Q: What are the known risk factors?
A: Any two of the following can significantly increase the likelihood of a person pulling a stroke: alcohol intake (especially in the Dáil bar); a history of attending late-night meetings in smoke-filled rooms; sedentary lifestyle; high blood pressure; poor diet; sharing multiple seat constituencies with colleagues who have more time than you for canvassing.
Q: Is sedentary lifestyle especially dangerous?
A: Yes. Spending too long in a seat can greatly increase the incidence of stroke-pulling. But even a person who has led a very active life and then suddenly takes a seat – especially if it’s a marginal seat – can also be at risk.
Q: What happens when somebody pulls a stroke?
A: Loss of vision (assuming there was any vision to start with). Impairment of analytical skills, especially list-compilation. Speech difficulties, including an inability to give straight answers when required. Reduced cranial and neck sensitivity. Occasional loss of junior staff.
Q: Are writing skills affected?
A: Yes, after a suspected stroke, some patients may have to get their constituency secretaries to write to people, assuring them that – say – a Traveller family will not be housed nearby and implying there was a favour involved, but not in such a way that anyone could prove it.
Q: What is a “cute hoor”?
A: Acute hoorism – not to be confused with chronic hoorism – is a condition whereby a person or persons previously considered ethical suddenly experience an urge to pull a stroke. Chronic hoorism, by contrast, is a sometimes life-long inability to see a possible stroke and not pull it. The latter condition was thought to have been eradicated in February 2011, but a number of suspected new cases have since been reported.