A NURSE who had a stroke 24 hours after a mini-stroke was misdiagnosed is raising awareness of the dangers of ignoring “a funny turn”.

Nichola Farrelly, aged 36, led a fit and healthy lifestyle and did not smoke or drink, but was struck down by a stroke in February, 2012.

She lost her ability to speak and swallow and was left with right-sided weakness, extreme fatigue, mobility problems and a stammer when her voice returned.

Nichola, of Whitefield Road, Bury, had been to her GP the day before with numbness in both arms but was sent home after being told she probably had a trapped nerve.

She was actually suffering a mini-stroke, and 24 hours later went on to have a full stroke which saw her confined to a stroke unit for a week.

Nichola said: “As a busy scrub nurse who didn’t drink or smoke, I never imagined I would have a stroke.

“It was a huge shock to friends and family because I was so young and lived an active, healthy lifestyle.

“People have no idea stroke happens at such a young age and that it is the second leading cause of death worldwide.

"I don’t blame my doctor because he diagnosed what was in front of him, but it is important health professionals don’t dismiss the symptoms of mini-stroke.

“By taking patients’ concerns seriously, they will prevent more people from experiencing stroke’s devastating impact.”

Two years later, Nichola is back to normal after going through “emotionally draining” rehabilitation and therapy.

The Stroke Association’s new report “Not just a funny turn” highlights how thousands of people in the North West are putting themselves at risk by ignoring early warning signs.

Chris Larkin, regional head of operations at the Stroke Association North West, said: “The greatest risk of having a major stroke is within the first few days after a mini-stroke.

“There is nothing small about mini-stroke. It is a medical emergency and when the symptoms start, you should call 999.”

The symptoms of mini-stroke/stroke are the same but only last for a short time, with sufferers appearing to return to normal afterwards.

Other specific symptoms include weakness or numbness on one side of the body, loss of vision or blurred vision, memory loss, confusion or a sudden fall. Go to stroke.org.uk/strokemonth for more information.