Wales

'Gym freak', 58, suffers three week meningitis coma

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Media caption'Meningitis changed my life completely'

A 58-year-old "gym-freak" now struggles to walk after she contracted meningitis which "changed her life completely".

Cathy Trueman suffered a three-week coma and wants to raise awareness that older people can contract the disease.

A recent survey by the charity Meningitis Now found 95% of people did not think over 55-year-olds were at risk.

When diagnosed, Ms Trueman said that she thought only babies and young people could catch it.

Ms Trueman, of Carmarthenshire, said that she "never thought [she] would get" meningitis.

But the disease has caused her to lose part of her memory and give up her career in Cambodia.

Image copyright Cathy Trueman
Image caption Ms Trueman suffered a three week coma from meningitis in Cambodia

She said: "Before, I was probably a gym freak. Energetic and always very busy.

"Now I am like the baby of the family."

The disease caused her to suffer an epileptic fit and spend three weeks in a coma in Cambodia in 2016.

Meningitis is caused by a bacterial infection or virus, which causes inflammation to protective layers that surround the brain and spinal cord.

Image copyright Cathy Trueman
Image caption The mother-of-three says she was a 'gym freak' before contracting the disease

The mother-of-three, who has moved back home to Whitland, says she now has difficulty walking, struggles with balance, and takes medication.

She said that first sign of the disease was when she was in an airport with her husband and her nose started to run, but she "didn't feel ill".

"My nose started running like a tap - it's something people say but it really was pouring like a tap.

"I was later told by a neurologist in Cambodia that it was brain fluid," she said.

Symptoms of the disease include cold hands and feet, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion and irritability. Vaccines are available to prevent some types of meningitis.

"The affect it can have on people's lives is unbelievable," said Ms Trueman.

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