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“She's lucky to be alive”: Maria Venuti’s daughter Bianca speaks out following her mother’s stroke

In the wake of her mother’s stroke last year, Bianca Venuti is urging us all to keep our blood pressure in check.

By BTYB Priceline Pharmacy
When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked?
If you can’t remember, or don’t think you’re in need of a check-up, Bianca Venuti has a message she wants you to hear.
When her mother, entertainment legend Maria Venuti, suffered a stroke last year, no one was more shocked than Bianca and her family. Although the vivacious and talented singer had experienced brief periods of high blood pressure in the past — and was even an ambassador for the National Stroke Foundation — the ordeal left them in complete shock.
Unfortunately, the Venuti family’s story is not an isolated one. According to the Stroke Foundation, stroke kills more women each year than breast cancer, and more men than prostate cancer. It’s estimated that by the end of this year, there’ll be more than 55,000 new and recurrent strokes. That’s one stroke every 10 minutes.
As Maria continues her rehabilitation, Bianca is urging the public to prioritise their health. As an ambassador for Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check, Bianca is determined for people to understand the risks associated with high blood pressure.
How does it make you feel to be putting stroke in the spotlight?
All her life Mum has supported so many charities and good causes, including the Stroke Foundation, so now, more than ever, I think it’s important for me to give back to others, to share my experience, and to create something positive out of this situation, rather than just sitting back and being sad.
Tell us about your experience with your mum’s stroke.
She had a major hemorrhagic stroke at the end of last year when an unexpected and stressful situation caused her blood pressure to sky rocket. She had experienced brief periods of high blood pressure in the past, but the stroke was very unexpected and such a huge shock. She’s lucky to be alive, and it is fair to say that our lives have been completely turned upside down as a result. Blood pressure is something you might not normally focus on actively managing, but when you’re in ICU with someone you love, you realise just how important it is that those blood pressure numbers are stable.

How has life changed for you both since the stroke?
Your perspective changes. You can be so busy until you have a situation that completely flips all those things you thought were important around, and you instantly realise how much more important your health is. The ironic thing for both mum and I is that our time now is completely dedicated to recovering from the stroke, with all of those things that we so were busy focusing on no longer even possible.
What would you like to say to people in regards to stroke?
The more education there is around stroke, the more people can understand and be proactive about their health, and focus on preventative strategies.
What’s the one thing people don’t know about stroke that they need to know?
We are all so busy, but often it’s this busy, stressful lifestyle that can make high blood pressure worse. We need to turn managing our health into a regular habit that we don't even think about, like brushing your teeth or checking social media — we’re never too busy to do that! We also need to make managing our health as easy as possible. Going into a Priceline Pharmacy to do a blood pressure check can be a lot easier than making an appointment at the doctor; it only takes five minutes.
How has what happened to your mum altered your views on health?
When you’re younger, it can be easy to take your health for granted, but our health is a gift. A finite resource. Often you don’t realise how critical something may be until it is too late, so making our health a priority is definitely essential. I try to exercise regularly and keep a routine, like going to the gym every Saturday morning for a boxing class and meditating at home using a mediation app. It may look different for everyone, but it's important to have your own routines and healthy habits.

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