Thinking ahead

By admin
04 September 2015

Is protecting your future on your ‘to do’ list?

It was two days before Christmas and Steve* and his wife, Cheryl*, were watching their two sons, aged seven and five, playing soccer on the beach. Later Cheryl called the boys in. Steve remembers that Cheryl asked him to take care of bathing the kids while she cooked dinner.
‘I was a young, healthy, active guy. When the doctors said I had a stroke I was shocked. Reality set in’

Suddenly he felt strangely confused, barely able to answer her and unable to move his limbs. The rest of the evening is a blur . . .

A series of tests at a hospital confirmed that, at age 33, Steve had had a minor stroke.

“I was afraid,” he says. “I couldn’t talk properly and the left side of my body was numb. Still, I tried to tell myself that my fear was ridiculous. I was young and a healthy, active guy. So, when the doctors confirmed the stroke it came as a massive shock to me. Reality sank in.”

All he could think about was his wife and sons. “What if I didn’t recover and I couldn’t go back to work? How would their lives change and what would happen to us?”

After four months of rehabilitation and therapy Steve had recovered fully and was able to go back to work.

“I had medical aid cover and thought that that was good enough. I knew that one day I’d review my financial affairs and maybe take out life cover and critical illness cover, but I never thought that life would catch up with me so soon.”

After consulting a financial planner and providing medical reports Steve took out life cover, although his premium was significantly higher.

“The relief is indescribable. I’m lucky to be able to afford the premiums. But it took a stroke to make me review my financial planning. If I’d done it sooner it would have saved us a lot of anxiety and expense.”

*Not their real names. Steve’s story is based on a real-life experience.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. You can greatly reduce your risk of having a stroke through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.

Myth: I won’t get a stroke because I’m young and healthy.

Fact: Anyone, including children, can have a stroke.

Myth: There’s nothing I can do to diminish my chances of getting a stroke.

Fact: Unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough exercise can increase your chances of having a stroke. Treating high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes can reduce the risk of having a stroke.

Signs and symptoms include sudden onset of the following:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
  • Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others
  • Vision disturbance in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause 

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