Apr 13, 2014

Beware, Fat People! A Stroke Might Be A-Comin'!

People are so touchy now-a-days. You have to say things “PC”, aka politically correct. You say the wrong word to describe them--fat, stupid, lazy, even if that description matches, and bingo! They won't talk to you, sometimes maybe never again. But the difference between me and them is now, I don't care. And as a result, some people don't like me. With the stroke, I have no filters—altogether.

It's a dichotomy, I realize now. A long time ago, when I was little, I did mind if anybody called me chubby, which I was, until about seventh grade when I got self-conscious, right on schedule. But “PC,” the expression, wasn't in yet. Clothes used to come in regular and chubby sizes. I took a chubby size all the way through elementary school. I didn't know any different because I had a fat brood—my immediate family, uncles, aunts, cousins, fat people whatever way I turned. The truth is, I loved to eat because I didn't know any better. Eating a lot used to equate to love. But what the hell?

The fat that I once had doesn't have any bearing on the stroke I now have, or does it? But if you're overweight, morbidly obese, chubby, pleasantly plump—call it what you want—you may be in trouble.

The National Stroke Association says that obesity can put stress on the whole circulatory system. And a recent Harvard University study found that you could cut your stroke risk by
30 percent by eating five daily servings of fruits and vegetables instead of fries, chips, alcohol, and soda. Citrus fruits, broccoli, and cauliflower are noted as particularly helpful. It may be their higher concentrations of potassium, folic acid, and fiber are the clues.

And an escalating number of children are obese. That's why there are cases of stroke in younger individuals, too—even babies (see my articles in my blog, http://stroketales.blogspot.com/2012_12_09_archive.html and http://stroketales.blogspot.com/2013_04_06_archive.html).

The American Heart Association (AHA) “recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day for kids.” The AHA also “recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week.” If you're fat, you can make time. You just don't want to. You're a creature of the fat habit.

Michelle Obama gets serious when it comes to fat, er, fit kids. That is her mission. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/04/05/students-fed-up-with-michelle-obamas-school-lunch-overhaul-menu-item-snapshots-spell-out-why/. Of course, they object. They would rather stuff themselves with fatty foods rather than eat healthy. I don't like to blame the parents, but who else can I blame? Instilling good eating habits is tough when you're passing Mickey D's and it's easier than packing lunch. Really? That's bullshit.

Individuals who are obese have a greater chance of succumbing to sleep disordered breathing, known as sleep apnea. And those with sleep apnea have a greater risk of stroke.

Ok. Need more evidence? A new study by researchers at Columbia University says that people with abdominal obesity are at higher risk of ischemic stroke, the most usual kind of stroke, caused by blockage of a blood vessel in the brain.

Most of the weight loss articles mention BMI, or body mass index. I'll tell you a simple way to tell if you're overweight if you haven't seen the fat already or you need further proof. The National Institute for Health, aka NIH, has a meter located at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm. When you give your height in feet and inches and your weight in pounds to the NIH, it gives you guidelines for where you are in the BMI range:
  • Underweight = 18 and below
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
So I did it. I found out, thinking I was normal weight, that I fall into the normal weight range, just by a smidgeon. I tried another scale, this one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/results_overweight.html. Same result. I was shocked. Just a smidgeon? Seriously?

And one more thing. Being overweight and having a stroke is just too much at times. When I gorge, I watch myself over the next few days. It's like you can tell you've gained weight without a scale to remind you. It's the extra pounds that add to the baggage you have to lug around in the first place.

I could fool those old-time types on the Boardwalk and at county fairs that could guess my weight and give me a prize if they were crazy off the mark. I think that old saying is true, for me at least: "You carry your weight well." And that expression needs to be addressed.