Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO/Do you have a droopy face?

Marjorie Spitz RentoComment

Look in the mirror and smile. If one side of your face droops, you could be having a stroke. And the faster you seek medical attention, the more likely to recover.

90210 Dylan moments. You’re welcome.

I wasn’t a huge 90210 fan, but Luke Perry was a dominant force in pop culture when I was in my 20’s. If I were to pick a love interest from the show, it would have been Dylan (aka Luke) for sure.  As I recall it, Ian was too goofy, Brandon too goody goody and David a bit of a bore. But Luke – he was mysterious and needed saving. He was my guy. Thank goodness I’ve evolved since then – now it would be Brandon or David all the way. 

Since then, I’ve seen the cast members on various gigs over the years, although I haven’t given any of them too much thought.

That doesn’t change the sadness and somewhat helplessness I felt upon learning that a 52-year-old former heart throb dropped dead from a “massive stroke.” I think because it reminds me of how fragile life is.  

I know people who have had serious strokes and I know how tough it is to recover. Yet I thought it a given that he would. Youngish, working, seemingly fit and thriving. How could he die so suddenly of a stroke?

Well, it can happen to you my dear MOJO’s so let’s take a moment to understand both the signs of a stroke, as well as the lifestyle changes to prevent one.

As noted earlier, difficulty smiling is a sign. Personal story: I was dining with a group of co-workers and noticed something off about the woman in front of me. At the risk of being rude and/or insulting her, I stopped her mid-sentence and asked her to smile, and why. Something was off and I suggested she get checked out. Turns out the woman had a brain tumor. It wasn’t just the smile exercise that tipped it off, as previously there were concerns like changes in personality and work productivity (other signs of a brain issue). Thank goodness she is fine now.

Don’t be shy to ask someone if you suspect an issue.

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According to the National Stroke Association “a stroke is a ‘brain attack’. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off.”

So, what are other signs? Try the F.A.S.T. method (get it, cause if you act fast you are more likely to recover).

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately to get fast treatment.

Additional signs can be sudden numbness, tingling or weakness on one side of the body, the face arm or leg. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination and/or a severe headache with no known cause.

According to an article by Food Revolution, “strokes kill about 5 million people worldwide per year, and research says a stroke is 80% preventable by addressing lifestyle factors.”

Prevention measures are what you would expect: eat whole foods (which have plenty of fiber and filled with antioxidants), reduce intake of sodium and processed sugars, exercise regularly, drink alcohol in moderation and don’t smoke.

Integrating foods like nuts, greens, dark chocolate (yum), citrus fruits, whole grains, garlic, tomatoes, coffee and green tea are cited as the best foods to prevent a stroke.

If you have high blood pressure (the #1 cause of a stroke), get it under control. If taking medication, be sure to take it regularly and implement the lifestyle changes above to help reduce it naturally. Those with AFib (a type of irregular heartbeat), high cholesterol, diabetes or circulation problems are at risk so if that’s you, take note.

The good news is by making small changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce your risk significantly. Make it happen!

I’m sure we’ll learn more about what (if anything) led up to Luke Perry’s life ending stroke, but the truth is a stroke can happen any time. With it in the forefront of the news today, now is the perfect time to pinpoint one small change you can start immediately to reduce your risk of a stroke. What will it be? You choose and put accountability mechanisms in place to make it a reality. 

In the words of 90210’s Dylan, “May the bridges I burn light the way.” What way will you choose?

Thoughtfully for yours, 

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™ 

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