Former government health minister Norman Lamb has revealed he had a stroke, which he blames on long working days and not enough sleep.
The Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk said the “very minor stroke” happened two weeks ago.
Mr Lamb, 60, who was a health minister under the coalition, told the Eastern Daily Press he only slept a few hours each night but now has to make changes.
He said it caused no physical damage and he will return to work shortly.
Mr Lamb said he woke up with double vision at his London flat a fortnight ago and went to hospital where doctors told him he had had a “very minor stroke”.
Strokes, which occur when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, are the third most common cause of premature death and a leading cause of disability in the UK.
Mr Lamb said he felt very lucky to have a “second chance” after being told the stroke had not caused him any physical damage.
He said he had been getting by on four or five hours of sleep each night for years, but added: “When a doctor tells you about the importance of sleep you have to take notice.”
The stroke had been a “life-changing moment”, he said.
“You never think it is going to happen to you and then suddenly you are told you’ve had a stroke.”
Mr Lamb said he planned to return to work next week, but would reduce his hours.
“I’ve got to work smarter,” he added.
Mr Lamb was elected as MP for Norfolk North in 2001 and served as the Liberal Democrats’ shadow health secretary from 2015 to 2017.
The government’s Act FAST campaign encourages people to phone 999 if they spot any signs of a stroke – in the face, arms or in speech – to reduce the risk of disability or death caused by delayed treatment.
Act FAST – what to look for
- Face – Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
- Arms – Can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
- Speech – Is their speech slurred?
- Time – Time to call 999