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'Stroke doesn't discriminate'

HEALTHY HELP: Northside Allied Health owner and exercise physiologist Liz Dawson (middle) said her personal experience with stroke has helped her in her work with clients.
HEALTHY HELP: Northside Allied Health owner and exercise physiologist Liz Dawson (middle) said her personal experience with stroke has helped her in her work with clients. Contributed

EXERCISE physiologist Liz Dawson knows a thing or two about the signs of stroke, but when she fell victim, it caught her unawares.

At 33, Liz was as fit as a fiddle, competing as an ironwoman, running two exercise focused businesses and planning a wedding. A stroke was the last thing she expected.

"I was at work and felt really faint - I felt my left arm drop but I thought I was having a panic attack,” she said.

"Even though I was well educated as an exercise physiologists in the signs of stroke, when it happened I thought 'no way'.

"Stroke doesn't discriminate and what I've learned from the experience, is the importance of acting quickly if you show any of the signs.”

Two years on, Liz has welcomed her first child but she said the road to recovery was long.

"There still wouldn't be a day that goes past that I don't kind of think about it; it's more mental for me now,” she said.

The experience has given Liz insight which she said has strengthened her work with her stroke rehabilitation program patients at Northside Allied Health.

"I went back up there as soon as I was comfortable to drive and it was actually really good to talk to them,” she said.

"I have a new found understanding with exercise prescription and what was important in their rehabilitation.

"I've got a much better understanding of the holistic approach - it's not just exercise, it's about having someone to talk to.”

This National Stroke Week, September 4-10, the Stroke Foundation is aiming to ensure every Australian household has someone who knows the signs.

Stroke symptoms include numbness in arms or legs, slurred speech or a drooped face. If you experience any of these symptoms, phone 000.

For more information, visit the website www. strokefoundation.org.au.


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