ZEN+ : Helping you Stay Young and Age Well

Clarabella’s Intriguing Question (Part 1)

By Marcus Santer

I wish I thought more like Clarabella…

Let me explain.

Ollie leaves for school around 8:40-ish, then Clarabella dashes around doing whatever she does and I aim to cross the t’s and dot the i’s of my 6:30 to 9am routine.

Then we take Louis for his morning walk through the woods and over the golf course and down the narrow Devon country lanes.


Yesterday as we were getting ready to leave, we both heard the tail end of an interesting report on BBC Radio 4 – Clarabella only turns the radio off at bedtime!

It was to do with the alarming rise in the number of people in their 40’s and 50’s suffering a stroke. Let me give you the facts and the background and then I’ll share Clarabella’s intriguing question with you.

Official National Health Service (NHS) figures show the number of people aged 40 to 54 in England who were hospitalised after a stroke is on the rise:

These figures show strokes are no longer a problem for the elderly.

A quarter of strokes are fatal and half result in permanent disability which can have a heavy financial impact. Loss of income due to death and disability caused by stroke has been estimated to cost those affected £1.3 billion a year.

As Jon Barrick chief executive of the Stroke Association said:

“Stroke survivors unable to return to work can struggle to cope with a fall in income, increased household bills and a benefits system which does not recognise the full impact of stroke.”

Checking I had enough pooh bags for Louis walk, I found myself wondering what the cause of this alarming rise was?

Radio 4 delivered this answer…

Our popular friends obesity and sedentary lifestyles.


I mean I can see how they contribute to the rise, and I know obesity is well on the way to replacing smoking as the major killer of adults, but surely there’s got to be be more to it than that?

And there is.

I’ll discuss it later because it’s important to point out that in spite of the increase of stroke in 40 – 54 year olds, the overall stroke rate dropped from 141.97 per 100,000 people in 1990 to 115.50 per 100,000 in 2010.

This drop is linked to the fact that people woke up to the harmful effects of smoking and quit.

And here’s the really great news:

The number of deaths in the UK from stroke fell from 87,974 in 1990 to 40,282 in 2013 – That’s nearly a 55% reduction.

So the news isn’t all bad.

With the radio moving on to talk about politics and Clarabella finally finishing the lacing up of her boots, I locked the back door and we set off on Louis walk.

50 minutes later we were back.

As I put the kettle on for a morning coffee, Clarabella gave Louis his post-walk Bonio. Then turned to me and asked her intriguing question:

“What’s changed since 2000?” She said.

“Ugh?” Was my reply.

“When we went out they were talking on the radio about the alarming rise in stroke rates between 2000 and 2014. What’s changed since then?”

It’s moments like this that remind me why I love her so much.

I’d been interested in the news article of course, and I’d planned to do further research into it later that day. But I’d never once considered Clarabella’s intriguing question.

What’s changed in the last 14 years to cause such a spike in this age group?

We spent the next 30 minutes drinking our coffee and bouncing ideas off each other as to what these changes might’ve been.

Tomorrow I’ll share 7 of them with you.

And if I have space, I’ll also share with you what the most obvious predictor of stroke is and why it’s such a problem for people in the 40-54 age bracket.

Right, got to get on.

Bye for now


P.S It’s great news that stroke figures for the UK have dropped overall.


It’s still a great concern that in the 40 to 54 year old bracket, stokes have increased since 2000.

As Jon Barrick of the Stroke Association said:

“Stroke can no longer be seen as a disease of older people. As the figures show, it can happen to anyone at any time.”

So what changed since 2000?

What is the most obvious predictor of stroke you need to keep a watch on if you’re in this or any age group?

A predictor that can help you to avoid stroke and the heavy financial impact it can have on you and your loved ones.

Tune in tomorrow to find out.

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