Andrew Marr health: ‘Dangerous and difficult’ Presenter discusses life after condition

Oklahoma dad suffers stroke after cracking his neck

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Andrew Marr, 61, suffered a major stroke back in January 2013 and was in hospital for two months.

He returned to presenting The Andrew Marr Show in September of that year and admitted that he tries to conceal the effect of his stroke from his viewers when he records the political programme.

“You don’t want people to think, ‘Ooh, how is his left hand doing?’ You want them to be thinking about the questions I am asking and, more importantly, the answers I am or am not getting,” he said.

His devastating condition was brought on due to his hectic lifestyle which saw him burning the candle on both ends working late nights and rowing 5km in 20 minutes on his rowing machine.

Initially doctors believed his chance of survival was minimal and informed his family to prepare for the worst.

If he did survive, his life would look very differently from before having to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and being unable to speak.

The news shook the presenter to the core and was initially in denial about how “disabled” he was.

“I was never suicidal. I was upset,” he said. “What I have to emphasise is: it’s not the great big existential questions; it’s that yet again it takes 35 minutes to get dressed; yet again you drop the toast on the floor; yet again you find you can’t walk from A to B properly. It’s the small things that accumulate and make life a bit [harder] than it otherwise would be.”

Refusing to give up however, Marr was determined to figure out how he could overcome his inability to do everyday tasks which he said was “frankly dangerous as well as difficult.”

Thankfully his determination paid off and has made major strides on the road to making a good recovery with his cognitive skills and memory not being majorly affected.

However, his left arm still remains damaged and useless and has to wear an electronic device with an ankle brace to help him walk.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds, or when there’s a blockage in the blood supply to the brain.

The rupture or blockage prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the brain’s tissues.   

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A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds, or when there’s a blockage in the blood supply to the brain.

The rupture or blockage prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the brain’s tissues.

  • Paralysis
  • Numbness or weakness in the arm, face, and leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Confusion
  • Slurring speech
  • Vision problems, such as trouble seeing in one or both eyes with vision blackened or blurred, or double vision
  • Trouble walking
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Severe, sudden headache with an unknown cause

Who’s at risk?

Strokes are uncommon, but certainly not rare in men in their fifties, like Andrew Marr.

While the majority of strokes occur in over-65s, around one in four strokes occur in people under the age of 65.

The main risk factor for a haemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure as the excess pressure can weaken the arteries in the brain and make them prone to splitting or rupturing.

In turn, risk factors for high blood pressure include:

Being overweight or obese

Smoking

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol

Lack of exercise

Stress

Marr has been extremely open regarding his physical difficulties he faces as a result of his condition and how even the simplest of tasks such as tying his own shoelaces has become near impossible.

He said that his marriage to fellow journalist Jackie Ashley has actually helped him tremendously through his everyday battles.

“It’s probably made it better and warmer, actually,” he told the Radio Times

“I was very lucky with Jackie because she had grown up from when she was a young girl with a father who was deaf.

“You might think she had had the worst luck of all, having looked after her father, and then this happens to me. But she has been very good about shepherding me through the process.”

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