I can still remember receiving the call that our four year old son’s preschool teacher had been rushed to the hospital with a stroke. All I could think about was her sweet smile and loving, nurturing way she was as Jonathan’s teacher. He loved her so much and I did not even know what to tell him about what had happened.
When I was finally able to visit her it was shocking. She was unable to speak as the stroke had paralyzed her on one side, including half of her face. Her sweet smile was now twisted. I have never been able to forget that image. It changed her life and the lives of those little ones who were never able to benefit from her wonderful gift as a teacher. It made me very sad.
According to the American Heart Association, there are approximately 6,500,000 stroke survivors living today in the United States. Further, 795,000 individuals have a stroke that is new or recurring every year. Stroke is the third most common form of death in the US yet most of these can be prevented simply by our own lifestyle changes.
I just recently learned that people in the Southeastern part of the US are more prone for stroke. That certainly made me sit up and take notice. Suddenly that quick sweet tasty muffin for breakfast had a whole new meaning. Rather than spiking my blood sugar on a daily basis I have chosen now to begin my day with protein. I particularly enjoy a high protein soy shake with frozen organic fruit.
Another top leading reason for stroke is high blood pressure. Understanding that my top number should not be greater than 120 and my bottom number should never be greater than 80 is a tip I need to remember.
I began to think more about the healthy foods Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends in his book, You Staying Young. Foods with heart-healthy nutrients and strong anti-inflammatory effects include fruits and vegetables, garlic, olive oil, Omega-3 fatty acids, (found in fish – the best being wild, line-caught salmon, mahi-mahi, catfish, flounder, tilapia and whitefish), foods with magnesium (whole grain breads and cereals, soybeans, lima beans, avocado, beets and raisins), foods with soy protein…even dark chocolate!
I cringed as I thought about our last visit to The Red Robin Restaurant for my birthday and saw the “tower of onion rings”, saturated fat laden fries, thick burgers and textbook-thick (as Dr. Oz describes it) pieces of pie delivered to tables filled with families. Even our granddaughter, Isabel, licked her lips as she watched the “tower” slip by to another table, wondering of course why we were not getting one! It is not easy eating healthily at such a place.
Raising your heart rate each day can be a positive move. I now enjoy walking every day with Leslie Sansome. Her 2 mile walk in 30 minutes on Exercise TV is great!
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately if they have difficulty with or cannot: (1) smile; (2) raise both arms; (3) speak a simple sentence. Every minute counts!
Have you, friends or family been impacted by stroke? How has it affected your own or their lives?