Karren Brady says The Apprentice is 'back with a bang' in 2022
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Whilst managing a super hectic work schedule, The Apprentice star admitted to The Guardian back in 2006 that she also tries- and succeeds- to keep healthy, having never had a day off sick. Yet through a chance of fate, the star decided to go for a health screening, one which she was incredibly grateful she did, as doctors discovered that she had a brain aneurysm.
The Baroness, who sits in the House of Lords, was given the shocking news that she had a 30 percent chance of dying after doctors discovered the aneurysm, leading to her having life-changing surgery.
Speaking candidly for The Guardian about her ordeal, Brady said: “I was at my desk when they called to say the radiologist had discovered a brain aneurysm – a potentially fatal weakening in a brain artery that could rupture at any time.
“My uncle died of a ruptured aneurysm in his early 40s and my financial director also had one, although he had surgery and is fine now, so I knew what it was. I was absolutely shocked. I didn’t feel ill at all.
“I needed urgent treatment to prevent it from rupturing and went to see a neurologist the next day. I wanted to know if I would even make it to the next day. As soon as I had finished speaking to the radiologist, I went straight on to the internet.”
Consulting “doctor Google” as it is known was the worst thing the Baroness could have done, as she freely admits herself.
“With a rupture, a third of people are fine, a third are disabled and a third die. The more you read on the internet, the worse it gets – you panic. I was terrified that I would die or have a stroke at any minute.
“The only time I cried was looking at the brain aneurysm foundation website: it was so frightening. My main fear was for my children – it seemed so unfair on them.”
Brady’s fears were sadly not thwarted by doctors, who expressed their shock and surprise that she had even managed to survive childbirth twice.
The NHS explains that an aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the walls where the blood vessel branches. As blood passes through the weakened area it causes pressure, leading to an outwards bulge.
When aneurysms rupture, it can be severe, and causes sudden intense symptoms. These include:
- A sudden agonising headache – it’s been described as a “thunderclap headache”, similar to A sudden hit on the head, resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
- A stiff neck
- Sickness and vomiting
- Pain on looking at light.
As Brady explained, if aneurysms do not burst, symptoms are unlikely to appear, but may still require urgent treatment.
The NHS goes on to say that treatment for an unruptured brain aneurysm involves either filling the aneurysm with tiny metal coils or an open operation to seal it shut with a tiny metal clip.
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For Brady, initially doctors were keen to clip her aneurysm, but after seeing multiple specialists, coiling was decided to be the preferred method of treatment. Although the possibility of treatment was on the cards, understandably the Baroness was still in a state of shock.
“In the seven days between deciding on the treatment and having surgery, I was in such a state of shock. I felt a sort of sadness that it had happened to me – you do think, why me?,” she continued.
“I realised how fragile life was. What really scared me, though, was the thought of my children being without me.”
Despite her fears, Brady went ahead with the operation, and five and a half hours later found herself in intensive care, with doctors relieved at the success of the operation.
To Brady’s delight, a scan a week after the operation revealed that the aneurysm had closed up completely. Not only had she been given her life back, the ordeal also encouraged her to sign up to The Apprentice.
Although preventing brain aneurysms is not always possible, the NHS explains that you can lower your risk by not smoking and reducing your blood pressure. You can reduce your blood pressure by doing the following:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Moderating alcohol intake
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Cutting down on caffeine.
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