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Lifestyle before the SAH

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It would be really interesting to know what sort of lifestyle that you had before the SAH.......Did you smoke, have high blood pressure, were you stressed, suffer headaches or migraine, lack exercise.........there's probably loads here that I haven't mentioned......have you changed your lifestyle since the SAH and how?

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Hey there

I suffered bad headaches for about six months pre SAH and then they disappeared.

I smoked between 20 and 30 cigs a day (half fat kind!) and had done since I was 15 (only stopping when pregnant).

I was always on the go at work and hardly ever took a holiday (infact when my SAH happened I was on my first summer holiday for 6 years). i was always a night owl and would go to bed late and get up at half seven every day.

Exercise wise I was pretty good - step aerobics, jogging and swimming.

I'd go out with my friends on the town once a month and only drink on a Sunday after football.

So I was fairly active and did actually get stressed quite easily. I was never tolerant to sudden loud noises before and now I'm even worse.

My blood pressure had always been fine even when on the pill and when pregnant - even in hospital directly after the SAH it was low.

Hope this helps

Sami xxx

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I suffered from migraines for years pre-SAH, and my lifestyle was one full of stress, alchol, and cigarettes........ so only myself to blame really. One way or another I was destined to have some sort of major health problem. The exercise I used to get was rushing out of a tube station to grab a malborough.......

Now tho it's much slower, more family oriented and I'm much happier in myself for it.


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Sami and I are clearly clones, as I could have written what she wrote, although I think I drank more often (3-4 times a week), sometimes heavily and smoked a lot less. I could get v. hyper, was a reallly hard worker and tended to live life full tilt. Was also well overweight. Since SAH I've been alcohol and tobacco free as well as on a diet. Jesus, its boring. But today I tried on a pair of size 10 trousers and they nearly fit.....

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Smoked about 30 a day, liked to go to bed late, worked all the time and was very stressed. Had always suffered from headaches and had no problems with blood pressure except when pregnant. I did not relax at all and had no social life as such. Also over-weight.

I now don't smoke and I make time to relax and enjoy myself.

What age was everyone? Mine happened exactly 1 week after I was 43.

Take care


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I generally was healthy, I was obese but don't smoke I did like a glass of wine. I've always had stress headaches on and off, when I was a teenager not so bad in recent years. I had 2 migraines before my SAH one a year before and one 2weeks before. I've had high blood pressure. Discussed this with the consultant but he says in medical opnions its not high if you're not on medication and I wasn't I just had to get it monitored every so often.



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I had headachs on & off for a while before the SAH (can't remember now how long it was), got my eyes tested everything was ok, I even got them to check the back twice (for some reason).

I didnt smoke but used to put it down to the smokey atmosphere in the pub, didnt really drink all that much in the year leading up to it either.

Had a lot of stress in my life at the time a lot of different things going on Ronnie was made redundant from Royal Mail, his brother & his wife spit his brother blamed us (easiest way to explain, wasnt true he couldnt see it though still don't see him), they found my Dad had a mental health problem (big stress) then the normal day to day stessy things.

It happened 3 months to the day after turning 40, life changed or what!!!


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I was 38 at the time of SAH, I was fit and active maybe even a bit hyper, I smoked about 20 a day, maybe more on occasion was never overweight. Never really been bothered by illness just the usual coughs and colds. Cant remember having a sick day off work at all. The SAH was a massive shock because of all this, alot of my friends said I was the last person they would have had expected to get ill out of all of us. It gave alot of them a fright I think. There is one thing though, my father collapsed and died in 1979 at the age of 33 with a brain haemorrhage although no one knows if it was caused by aneurysms or not. The doctors will still not say this could be hereditary, however they have given my only brother the option of having a CTA scan which he is taking and is having it done next Friday. My life now doesnt much resemble my life pre SAH. I stopped smoking immediately, I had to give up work, Im nowhere near fit,( though Im working on it!!) my diet has changed I used to eat whatever, whenever, now Im aware of cholestrol, fat, calories, salt etc, I havent had so much as a glass of wine since my op. My wee boy is only 7 which has a whole set of its own issues also.

I tend to describe myself now as "the same, but different"!!!!!!!


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Hi Tracey,

So sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad at such a young age and wishing your brother the very best of luck with his scan.....

The subject of a hereditary link would make a very good topic to post on the board if you ever fancy writing one.

I'll be thinking of your brother.....hope you will let us know how he gets on.

Love K x

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I was just reading Tracey's post when I remembered that I had, had lots of time off work for nothing that I could put my finger on bad colds, upset stomach's, bugs I would be fine for months.

My boss at the time was always not really that nice I'd wished I'd meet him after to say "See I was ill" :roll:


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Thanks Karen,

I will let you all know how my brother gets on, Im sure he will be clear. It will be interesting though on the hereditary front.

Thanks again


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I started to suffer from migraines after my son was born (he's 21 now) but they gradually eased off and I'd only get one every 6 months or so.

From about 2 years pre-SAH I would have bouts of illness but couldn't put my finger on what was wrong - generally very lethargic, headache, neckache (felt like I wanted to lift my head off my neck and put it on the bedside table kind of thing..). These bouts would last between 2 days to a week.

Had Bells Palsy twice, about 17 and then 15 years ago. I've seen on other sites instances where SAH sufferers have had BP in the past but it's always been said it's not linked. I keep forgetting to mention it to surgeon or doctor though.

For about a year pre-SAH would have severe headaches on shorthaul flights.

Blood pressure increased and was high from about 2 years pre-SAH.

The 3 months leading up to SAH were extremely stressful, although the surgeon said that stress wasn't a factor. My mum died very suddenly and unexpectedly in June, on holiday in Italy, we were on holiday in Dubai so had to get home early, meet my dad, sort everything out etc. etc. so we then decided to move up north to be with my dad (converting a barn on his farm but living in his house whilst conversion happening - still are....) so had the stress of house selling. We had - we thought - sold it but then got let down. Eventually sold it to the next door neighbour but that wasn't without trauma (not their fault). The original buyer was called Helena and I christened her Helena Haemorrhage as I'm sure she's the one wot caused it!!!!

Very stressful job - although a lot was self-induced due to my perfectionist tendencies - with lots of overseas travel and meetings in London. My previous job was also incredibly stressful with hours to be worked as necessary and there were a lot of necessary hours!

Think that's all.

Sarah xx

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  • 3 years later...

Hi Karen,

I'm not sure if you are still gathering info on these old posted questions but I love reading the answers and find it helpful to see how everyone replies so I'm adding on!

I started feeling dizzy about 6 years ago. Had a CT scan then and the doc said the 'damage' at the back of my head indicated I had done too much cocaine. I was not doing cocaine. I had tried it a handful of times 20 years prior but not enough to do damage. We never did figure out what was happening and the dizzy went away after about 6 or 8 months. They looked for MS but negative.

Three years prior my vision started to blur and I had one of those eye migraines. Eye doc said I had 20/20 vision and was very lucky to be mid-40's with such good eyesight.... She said get some reading glasses at the drugstore for when I get tired.

I don't smoke. I hardly drink: every 2 or 3 months I have a night of too many martinis but nothing in between. I eat well, mostly cooking at home. I forget to eat at work sometimes. I exercise on the treadmill. Was doing 21kms a week. Now.... Maybe 6 or 9.

Financially I'm ok, good pay. I'm in a good solid and happy relationship. Live in the country on an acre of gardens and work in the city.

The only thing I can think of is stress. I'm an IT manager in healthcare. 2 of us manage a team of 17 - 20. We look after the computer network and telephones for 200 locations. There are 10,000 phones alone. If a radiologist can't see an image on a computer screen we get called. Its very demanding. We are currently provisioning a new 8 story hospital. Of course none of it is all by ourselves, we have help and many people are in the same boat (clinical staff and management, facilities, etc). But all I can think of that contributed to my brain blowing up is stress. :shocked:

Sandi K.

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thanks for bringing this to my attention. I seem to be finding lots lately, that I haven't noticed before. :roll:

Before my SAH, aahh, the memories... wish I were like that now! I was full of confidence, out every Saturday night, smoked 20 a day, worked hard, (and was proud of that) always on the go, hurry, hurry. Size 8:biggrin:slightly haggard:eek6:.. well... I was in my 40's you know! hence...opened the facelift fund!:devil: Always had high hopes for the future too.

NOW!!! Am devoid of any energy at the four hour mark. Look( and feel ) confused a lot of the time. Hate it when I see people looking curiously at me. :frown: Am half blind, not allowed to drive, size 12, and the facelift is mega overdue! Note to neurosurgeon.. If "client" is in need of "tightening",

she must deserve it now, be nice! :-P As for the future, I need to be looking after me, not, running after others. A care home is starting to have some appeal.:frown:

My aim now is, get the children to adulthood and relax.

Edited by sallym25
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Sallym25, your post is funny and makes me smile but I know underneath that good spirited text there must be months and months of sadness. good for you for keeping a smile on your face. I think you are amazing, I've read lots of your posts. thank you for your inspiration!

Sandi K

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I wsa 43 when I had my anni, overweight & inactive so not a huge suprise really! I worked part-time & was reasonably unsrtressed I thought although I do stress a lot & easily (geve up a few jos because of stress). I suffered from migraines since puberty & these were stress related, but also had frequent headaches whcih I now see fitted the cluster headaches description.

Since having Nathan my health deterirated in that I had an psoas abcess drained 3 times (on the muscle between your groin & hip) & also a bad chest infection after my mc 3 years ago.

I don't drink (well very rarely) & have never smoked (not even once) & my bp has always been really good even when pregnant despite being obese.

I am a litle more active now with my Headway stuff & fine myself less hungry most of the time so am losing some wieight ut plan still to get to teh gym but liek Sally my 4 hour saturation point is a real killer fr any plans. I am less confident by a large margin too.

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Thank you Sandi for posting on here - I missed this thread as it was already old by the time I had my anni!

As for me, my Surgeon said no one could have predicted I'd have anything like this. Ok, I'm overweight and pretty sedentary, but I don't smoke or drink, don't have high blood pressure, cholesterol is good, no diabetes, 3 days before I turned 50... HOWEVER, I was doing 2 jobs to make ends meet and one of them was in a very stressful department in our local hospital (in fact, 2 women in question are still under investigation for bullying and disciplinary matters). My specialist nurse at Queen Square said that in her experience EVERY SINGLE PATIENT she had with SAH said they were in a high-stress job, or working 7 days or week, or similar. She (and the surgeon) said that although we can't pinpoint any one thing that causes aneurysms to form, stress is a huge factor in causing them to rupture.....

Interesting, no?!

Edited by JayKay
added my age!
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Hi Jen

I think I agree with you!!

I was 47, didnt drink, used to smoke but had given up 2 years previously but also worked very hard in a strssful job. Funny I never felt stressed but I was responsible for standards in an underachieving school. In the past two years I had: worked to get us through two Ofsteds; fought the proposed closure of the school; worked with deprived and new to english kids to get them through gcses etc etc.

Maybe I didn't show the stress until my brain decided it was all too much!!!

I believe stress is a factor



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Hi Karen

Smoked 20-30 a day since I was 16, though gave up 2 years pre SAH

Suffered head aches pre SAH for many years (never far from a pack of Nurofen)

High stress job, bit of a workaholic

SIngle parent for 18 years teenage girls, doesn't get much more stressful than that.

Was about to get married, had just moved up country from Reading and my boss was being a pain!

Never had blood pressure checked so don't know about that.

Had a fairly active life, though not a fitness freak

With what I've learned post SAH, think I had a sentinel bleed 3 years before the main bleed, didn't go to the doctors, but I recognised the pain when it happened for real.

Hope that helps, sometimes I wonder why it didn't "Blow" before



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When I was 37 I had a SAH, although it's only now I know what it was. They thinbk I'd suffered an artery dissection and then the aneurysm started to grow. A member of my family had been sexually assaulted and it was the shock of this I believe caused the SAH. I had 3 young children, my husband commuted 35 miles to his work and my family were 100 miles away and his live in Portsmouth. So I had a highly stressed life anyway. I've never smoked and drank a very little. I was always whizzing around.

I was also going through a very stressful time at the time of my 2nd SAH. We now know I had a sentinel bleed in November 2008 when I experienced a highly stressful incident and another in December on our works night out when I was drinking and another in January at after another night out at a party. Then in February the SAH happened, on my way home from work, after I'd been at a very stressful meeting at work on the Tuesday and the sequential bleed on the Saturday. The day after my 49th birthday. So my aneurysm was going to burst.

Prolonged stress is not good for anyone and can cause all sorts of medical complaints. I've not changed much in life, I did eat healthily (in fact had changed to organic then) and as I don't drive I've always walked everywhere. I made the decision not to learn to drive because walking was the only excercise I would get as I had no time to go the gym when my children were young. I had a lot of problems when I first returned to work (which is well documented) and got quite ill due to the stress being put on me but I won't let that happen to me again.

Interesting thread.

Edited by Liz D
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First I've seen this thread as well, Jen. I've been wondering about factors leading up to SAHs. Here's my info: 48 yr. old female, smoked since I was 14 - not when pregnant and have quit several other times, only to start again :frown: I have suffered from depression since I was a teenager and had been diagnosed w/clinical depression in early 30s. Depression under control with medication - for years. I drink occasionally. Several years prior to SAH, lost 20 lbs. and walking 3 miles a day. Enjoyed time out with friends, loved theater and concerts, people person. I have always tried to keep a positive attitude. Had worked for same company for 10 yrs as massage therapist, last few years as supervisor. Great co-workers, but owner of company - very horrible person, which caused underlying stress and tension in all offices. Have always had a lot of stress in my life, but thought I was dealing with it pretty well - lol! About 2 yrs. prior to SAH, I had strange physical thing happen. Suddenly got congested, lips tingling and tight chest. Then felt bizarre, electrical heat feeling that started at top of head, went down neck, into chest and both arms, then continued down center of body and out! Head felt tight. Felt frightened as didn't know what was happening. Only lasted a few minutes, but was pretty freaked out! Talked to my Dr. about it next day and was told if it happened again, to go to emergency room. Several months later, it occured again and I went to ER. BP was fine, oxygen and respirations low, blood work fine. No scans done, no heart attack, etc... ER doc. said I was probably having a hot flash!!! Right... discussed w/my primary doc, he suggested anxiety attack? Anyway, I personally think this was the beginning of something happening in brain! Several weeks prior to Jan 27th, 2010, I had several days of headaches and expreme neck pain, and not feeling well. Minutes before the SAH, I had become EXTREMELY angry w/a patient who was behaving in a very inappropriate way. I was ranting and raving in the break room about situation and was furious w/this man and that I, as supervisor, was going to have to deal with him! I felt I was going to explode - and within 15 minutes, my brain let go and blew the fuse!!! Sorry I've gone on so long with this!

Needless to say, as I'm only a few days from my 1st year anni-versary, I'm feeling thankful to be alive and anxious at the same time. I'm now on several different anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and not back to the old me, yet. I am not as confident as I used to be, don't go to events where there will be too many people, somewhat agorophobic, startle easily, unable to physically do massages, have gained weight and yes, feel quite stressed still. Eek! Doesn't sound to good does it :crazy: Currently unemployed, no health insurance, lack motivation - but I keep going. I know eventually these things will change and life will be better. I know I've made great progress since 1/27/10 and I expect it to continue. I do believe stress plays a huge role in how are bodies work, or stop working properly!

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Wow, this thread is really interesting!!!! Amazing to see the commonalities.

I would just like to add a couple more things that are similar to others stories.

I was in a very stressful meeting when I had my NASAH. In fact, my right hand man who has a brain injury from a car accident 5 years ago asked me to attend without him because he knew it would be too much for him. Poor guy felt so guilty afterward but we talked about it and all is well. Also, for about 2 months before my NASAH I got jumpy and would startle easily when walking the dog every day. I had forgotten. I remember now, thinking, oh it's just from stress at work.

Carolyn, It's almost your 1 year anniversary. :-D

Another thing I did was take a lot of ibuprofen. I took it for cold symptoms, headaches, back pain, leg pain after the treadmill, monthly period, you name it. I popped em like candy. My GP has since told me that they are the most over used over-the-counter med. I've stopped since the event, only cuz I don't trust anything and the doc said to stop. :crazy:

Thanks for all the posts! Really cool to compare stories.

Sandi K.

Edited by Sandi K
Forgot a word!
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Hi Karen

I don't think I have posted on this thread before...

Headaches - I used to suffer a lot with tension headaches (with neck pain) whilst at secondary school, and double maths seemed to make it even worse!! (strange that!?)

Smoking - I started smoking at the age of 15, just one a week at first but soon progressed to 10 a day whilst I was at college… I ended up smoking about 30 a day before I gave up 4 years ago on the 8th January 2007.

Migraines - I suffered from migraines for about 7 years pre-SAH; The first one started after I was hit in the face by a plastic football that my niece has kicked towards me. It slapped my face and I had to go and sit down as the bright light outside was too intense for me, and then my left hand, lips and nose went tingly and slightly numb… I then had trouble speaking properly… I slept for an hour then woke up and wondered where I was for a few minutes…then felt kind-of hungover for a few days…

Thinking back now, I had a particularly horrendous ‘migraine’ in Sept 2007 (I think) as it was the day of my friends wedding and I started to get the migraine whilst at the church, then I went home and tried to lay down but could put my head on the pillow or touch my head because of the pain. (I am thinking now that this may have been a warning bleed??... as I then felt unwell for a few days afterwards…). I didn’t make it back to the wedding reception…

About 6 months prior to my SAH I had been on Blood Pressure medication, but my BP had been borderline-high for about 10 years I think… then it got higher and I was put on the meds.

Weight - I have always been overweight/obese since about the age of 7/8 and have dieted and lost loads of weight many times (5.5 stone was the most I lost…) and have put it all back on, plus a little extra each time.

Exercise - I wasn’t always into doing exercise, however I have been a member of my gym for about 10 years now and try to go at least a couple of times a week.

Stress - I am quite a worrier, and worry about things other people wouldn't even spend the time of day thinking about! And I am quite a perfectionist in everything I do, and things have to be right!

I had been feeling quite stressed for a few weeks prior to my SAH, and the weekend before I was in Germany and have never felt so tired…it was odd. And I was almost wheezing whilst trying to walk about 300 steps up to see Heidelberg castle… little did I know…

Kel x

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