Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reducing stroke risk with diet - what's the latest?

You are, the old saying says, what you eat.

Several years ago, that line was used to promote a low-fat diet. The reasoning was that if you eat fat, you'll get fat. Then came Dr. Atkins, high-fat, low-carb diets. Then more refined (and often fad) diets - high protein, low fat, low carbs, no sugar, paleo, vegan, etc. Eggs were bad, now are good. Milk was good and now, supposedly, is bad.

I still drink milk, however.

The latest target is sugar. But like fat, will we find out that certain sugars are good for you, while others are bad? When I had my stroke fat was bad. Then fish oil (aka fat) became good for you and now we buy Omega 3 pills. So will experts someday identify a sugar called, say, Ceti Alpha 5, that's good for you while other sugars are bad?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Recent stroke stats show we've got a lot of work remaining

Men are more likely to die of a stoke than women. And black men are in danger the most. I'm signed up to receive reports from the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and these nuggets of information came through.

None of these numbers are shocking. Numbers seem to be in a slow downward trend, but still too high. Here's a link and excerpt to the report under the category of QuickStats:
During 2000–2013, age-adjusted death rates for stroke for all racial/ethnic groups decreased steadily. Non-Hispanic white males had the largest decline (41.7%), and Hispanic females had the smallest (35.8%). Throughout the period, the rate for non-Hispanic black was the highest among the racial/ethnic groups examined, followed by non-Hispanic white and Hispanic populations. The rate for males was higher than that for females in each racial/ethnic group.
Now, how do make these numbers better?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Great story of personal, medical advances for stroke survivors

I like personal stories. I like stories about advances in stroke treatment and prevention.

So, I really enjoyed this one - a story from a London journalist who revisited the hospital that treated him 20 years ago.

I survived a stroke 20 years ago. Now a revolution in care is under way:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Do we fall into the Raymond Babbitt trap judging our own driving?

Did you drive after your stroke? Immediately? A month? Longer? Ever?

I drove fairly soon after mine, but driving didn't seem to be part of my concerns. I had trouble reading smaller print and lengthy items, but traffic signs and signals didn't present a challenge.

But that isn't true for everyone. Or maybe even most. Perhaps I was just fortunate in my particular case. One recent study indicates that stroke survivors more likely to make dangerous driving errors:
"Current guidelines recommend that patients should refrain from driving for a minimum of one month after stroke. However, many patients resume driving within the one-month period after stroke, and few patients report receiving driving advice from a physician immediately post-stroke," said Megan A. Hird, B.Sc., lead author of one of the abstracts and a master's student at University of Toronto doing research at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
Hird and colleagues (abstract TP123) compared the driving performance of 10 mild ischemic stroke patients, within seven days of a stroke, to 10 people similar in age and education who had not had stroke. Using driving simulation technology, participants completed several driving tasks, from routine right and left turns to more demanding left turns with traffic, where most accidents occur, and a bus following task, requiring sustained attention.
They found:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Too much alcohol could raise your stroke risk

One of this blog's little mantras you might pick up on: Moderation, moderation, moderation.

You can't live in a vacuum, but you can take some wise actions to reduce your stroke risk, including not eliminating but monitoring your alcohol intake. Check out this recent story how too much alcohol at midlife raises stroke risk, study finds:
People who average more than two drinks a day have a 34 percent higher risk of stroke compared to those whose daily average amounts to less than half a drink, according to findings published Jan. 29 in the journal Stroke.
Researchers also found that people who drink heavily in their 50s and 60s tend to suffer strokes earlier in life than light drinkers or non-imbibers.
"Our study showed that drinking more than two drinks per day can shorten time to stroke by about five years," said lead author Pavla Kadlecova, a statistician at St. Anne's University Hospital International Clinical Research Center in the Czech Republic.
The enhanced stroke risk created by heavy drinking rivals the risk posed by high blood pressure or diabetes, the researchers concluded. By age 75, however, blood pressure and diabetes became better predictors of stroke.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New blog widget, good exercise tips

Today, a little something different.

When I began running in earnest in 1987, I had no idea what I was doing. Then, a few years later, I received a gift: the first edition of "Galloway's Book on Running."

And I'm still running. On the way, I've bought Jeff Galloway's second edition book, another one of his book titled "Running Until You're 100," a run/walk/run timer from his website and actually met Jeff in 2012. (Thus this photo; he's the one on the right.)

I give him a lot of the credit that, despite a stroke, back problems and a knee injury, I ran today.

So I'm pleased to announce a new self-created widget for this blog - a series of training and motivation tips from Olympian Jeff. You can find it along the right side of this page. Every time the page loads, the widget generates a random tip from Jeff's list.

He's coached over a million runners - slow, fast and in between - to their goals through clinics, retreats, training programs, books and e-coaching. You can sign up for his free newsletter at

Now, what if you're not a runner? And I realize most people aren't. You can still benefit. Even if you walk - even slowly - you can use many of Jeff's tips from the new widget and from his books or website. I hope the new feature is helpful - as helpful I have always found his solid advice to be.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Can you run too much for your health?

As you might know, I'm a longtime distance runner. And I'm convinced that was part of the reason I survived and recovered from my stroke in 1998.

When I began running back the late '80s, a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) was a big race. A few decades later, half-marathon (13.1 miles) became in vogue. That still seems to be the case, although more and more I'm seeing races involving obstacle courses in addition to running.

Now that's a band wagon I'll never jump on.

Since some knee surgery last year, my running has been slower and less distances. This week, it was reported that might actually be better for me. So read this article titled Can a short jog lead to a longer life?:

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

'A light on my path'

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we're living in the dark much of the time. On most days that I get out and run, it's before daylight. My particular path is at least in part on a local gravel trail - unlighted and not always smooth.

So to avoid stumbling and falling, I wear an LED headlamp on those days. It pierces the dark and helps me pick my way along the trail. It's a light on my path.

I watch, too, other runners and walkers find a lamp for their feet. I see them, often at quite a distance, guiding their steps with their lights.

Life, too, can be dark - no matter the time of day. Trying to follow God, I've found, gives light to my personal path. I don't - you don't - all of us don't - have to stumble in the dark. God's word is there to guide you.