Friday, July 31, 2009

Are you at risk of stroke?

Can't happen to you, right?


Strokes can happen to anyone, any age. People in general are so under the wrong impression about strokes. For example, all the following are completely wrong:

  • Strokes always cause headaches. That's completely bogus - strokes might or might not have accompanying headaches.
  • Stroke patients are all elderly. Wrong! People in their 50s, 40s, 30s and younger can have strokes. Mine came at age 39.
  • Strokes only happen to people who don't take care of themselves. Again, wrong! It can happen to a distance runner or, in one case, an NFL linebacker!

In article with some vital facts and stats about strokes include a set of numbers form a study performed six months after a stroke in people who were older than 65:

  • 30% needed assistance to walk
  • 26% needed help with activities such as cooking, feeding, and paying their bills
  • 19% had trouble speaking, or understanding others when they speak
  • 35% had feelings of depression
  • 50% had some degree of paralysis on one side of the body
  • 26% became nursing home residents

So please, share the facts. The life you save might be your own!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Destroyed ... the dividing wall of hostility'

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility ... .
I had an enjoyable time last week destroying something.

It was during a vacation during a little remodeling of my small workshop. In that basement shop, an old wardrobe, ugly and in poor condition, was present when we bought our house. We used it to store paint and various supplies, very inefficiently, but it was all we had.

But last week, we bought a utility shelf unit to replace the wardrobe. A pry bar took care of dismantling it quite easily, and I was able to retain pieces I plan to use for future projects.

What was junk, an obstacle, is gone.

Paul wrote about destroying something too - something in the way. He wrote about Christ destroying the barrier that kept people apart. Read the entire verses in Ephesians 2:11-22.

Are barriers still out there? Sadly, yes. Human-generated barriers are all over this world. Call them hatred, hostility, prejudice. Let's destroy them. Good news: No physical exertion required. Let's get the junk, the obstacles, out of the way.

(Photo from

Monday, July 27, 2009

'Near through the blood of Christ'

[R]emember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

A friend had a stroke last week and reminds me of the concerns that so many stroke survivors and loves ones go through. One in particular: What will I get back?

For some, it's a question of physical recovery. In my own case, it was a matter of speaking, reading and writing. I made my living as a reporter and editor, so was naturally concerned - no, make that almost frantic - to get back the ability to use language.

So what's the Ephesians got to do with it? Consider Paul's words to a group who were one step away from a pagan culture. In verse 12, Paul tells them that not long before, they were without God and therefore without hope. But verse 13 - and a few verses before and beyond - Paul reminds the recipients the good news - they are now united in Christ, and they' re in the household of hope.

In a two-verse phrase, Paul reminds them that outside that household, they had no hope. As citizens of the household of God, they had hope eternally.

That’s pretty powerful but the word "hope" is so, so often misunderstood by a world. So many people have no idea even what hope means. I’ve even heard people badmouth hope. One commentator wrote that “hope is for losers.” If that’s true, then Lord, let me be a loser.

Did hope promise that everything will be perfect? No.

It means that no matter what happens, your place in the household of hope is secure.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'Listen and hear my voice'

Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.

You can find several postings on this blog related to aphasia - a term that is rarely understood. That is, until it happens to you or to someone you love. It's common among stroke survivors.

I missed the fact that June was National Aphasia Awareness Month until one of my trusty Google alerts send me a posting, including the Scripture above, from a Lutheran church in Pennsylvania. It did some basic education about aphasia, quoting the National Aphasia Association:

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing.

The most common cause of aphasia is stroke (about 25-40% of stroke survivors acquire aphasia). It can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes. Aphasia affects about one million Americans or 1 in 250 people. While aphasia is most common among older people, it can occur in people of all ages.

(Image from WikiMedia Commons)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Barber shops and blood pressure

Now this is a good idea - how barber shops serve up blood pressure checks:

Nu-Image, Just the Way You Like It and Sly's each offered free blood pressure checks and educational materials to African Americans, who are twice as likely to have a stroke as white Americans.

Janelle Holder-Williams of the American Stroke Association said the idea of reaching out to black men in barber shops is simple: "We wanted to reach the men where they are. Historically, the barber shop was also a hospital for the black community, because there was little else. ..."

Holder-Williams said after the age of 35, black men are four times more likely to suffer a stroke than white men.

This was targeting a particular group, but what's the harm in doing this in any barber shop?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fast thinking helps stroke victim survive

Always great to hear a story about stroke awareness and quick action, this one from the U.K.:

A grandfather is hoping to say a special thank you to two strangers whose prompt action may have saved his life when he suffered a massive stroke.

Dave Brint, 67, was walking along Cleveland Street when he collapsed against a wall unable to move down one side or speak.

Fortunately, two women passers-by went to his aid and asked an on-looker to call 999 (editor note: of course, in the U.S., that would be 911) immediately.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

'Your love ... endures forever'

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.

God's purpose for you doesn't require perfection. God's purpose for you doesn't require superhuman skills. God's purpose for you requires only acceptance - leave the rest to God.

You are works in God's hands, and you are held with that promise.

(Image from

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Not all, but many, are so preventable

Sad statistics from my old stomping grounds in Arkansas, from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

In 2005, 58.6 of every 100,000 deaths among Arkansas adults were due to stroke, for a total of 1,847 stroke deaths. That's compared with a national average of 46.6 of every 100,000 adult deaths, or 143,579 total stroke deaths, according to the latest CDC statistics.

Alabama had the highest rate, with stroke deaths making up 60.9 of every 100,000 adult deaths that year, followed by Tennessee with 60.7 of every 100,000.

Arkansas' high rates of obesity, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and untreated high blood pressure all contribute to the state's high stroke death rate, said Dr. Margaret Tremwel, neurologist at Sparks Regional Medical Center and director of the hospital's Early Intervention and Treatment Program.

Sad because, among other things, states like Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas could do so much better. And the people from those states should demand it and make it happen.