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Man Fights To Get Life Back After Stroke

By: Cherlene Richards

One of the booths at this year's fair will help you find out your risk for a stroke. Last year, Sanford Health treated more than 400 stroke patients and hopes, that by assessing your risk, it can decrease that number.

Sixty-seven-year-old Harrold Drackley doesn't remember much from the day he had a stroke.

"I don't know what happened but I fell in the corner of the bedroom. I hit my head on a chair or dresser and ended up on the floor and I couldn't get up," Drackley said.

He's been in the hospital since the end of January. In that time he's made some improvements.

"The speech therapy has really helped me because I couldn't get a drink of water," Drackley said.

Nurses have not only helped him with his speech, Drackley is also learning to walk again.

"I'm kind of tall. 6'2" and consequently my balance is gone and when you're way up here and your balance is off a little bit, it doesn't take much to tip over," Drackley said.

"Stroke happens when there is a problem with an artery in the brain. It's like a heart attack in the brain," Sanford stroke nurse coordinator Becky Larson said.

And strokes can range from mild to severe cases.

"They can end up a large area of the brain that's been damaged requiring therapies, feeding tubes even rehab or some even a skilled nursing facility stay," Larson said.

Health officials say if you know your risk factors, it can lower you chance for a stroke.

"Studies have shown that if you work really hard with your risk factors and start exercising, losing weight and having good follow ups, you can help prevent stroke," Larson said.

Drackley didn't have risk factors, but he's still making changes.

"Probably the diet, more fruits and vegetables and less french fries," Drackley said.

Drackley hopes healthier eating leads to a long, healthy life.

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