Stroke Recognition 

Hi there. I just returned from a stroke recognition/prevention class and I was amazed at how much I didn’t know about this horrible, devastating occurance. First, what is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency. 

 
The most common signs and symptoms of a stroke:  

 Here are a few TERRIFYING but TRUE statistics concerning strokes:
1. Strokes are the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. 

2. Strokes kill almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths.

3. On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.

4. Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.

5. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.

6. About 185,00 strokes—nearly one of four—are in people who have had a previous stroke.

7. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, when blood flow to the brain is blocked.

8. Strokes costs the United States an estimated $34 billion each year.2 This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat stroke, and missed days of work.

9. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. 

10. Risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for blacks than for whites, and blacks are more likely to die following a stroke than are whites.

11. Although stroke risk increases with age, strokes can—and do—occur at any age. In 2009, 34% of people hospitalized for stroke were younger than 65 years.

12. The country’s highest death rates from stroke are in the southeastern United States. Below is a map showing the prevalence of stroke across the United States.  

   That is terrifying if you really stop to think about it. But there is hope. And help and ways to prevent it in the first place. 

*1. Lower blood pressure: Your goal: Maintain a blood pressure of less than 120 (top number) over less than 80 (bottom number).

How to achieve it:

1. Reduce the salt in your diet to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day (about a half teaspoon).

2. Avoid high-cholesterol foods, such as burgers, cheese, and ice cream.
3. Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, fish two to three times a week, and several daily servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy.
4. Get more exercise. At least 30 mins a day.

5.  If needed, take blood pressure medicines.

*2. Lose weight:  Your goal: Keep your body mass index (BMI) at 25 or less.

How to achieve it:

1. Limit or avoid saturated and trans fats.
2. Try to eat no more than 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day (depending on your activity level and your current body mass index).
3. Increase the amount of exercise you do with such activities as walking, golfing, or playing tennis, and by making activity part of every single day. 
*3.  Exercise more: Your goal: Exercise at a moderate intensity at least five days a week.

How to achieve it:
1. Take a walk around your neighborhood every morning after breakfast.
2. When you exercise, reach the level at which you’re breathing hard, but you can still talk.

3. Take the stairs instead of an elevator when you can.
4. If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, break it up into 10- to 15-minute sessions a few times each day.
*4. Drink—in moderation: Your goal: Drink alcohol in moderation.

How to achieve it:

1. Have one glass of alcohol a day.
2. Make red wine your first choice, because it contains resveratrol, which is thought to protect the heart and brain.
3. Watch your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.
Watch your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.

*5. Take a baby aspirin: Your goal: Take a baby aspirin every day (if it’s appropriate for you).

How to achieve it: 

1. First talk to your doctor to make sure aspirin is safe and appropriate for you to take. If you have a bleeding disorder, you may need to reduce your dose to every other day or avoid this regimen altogether.
*6. Treat atrial fibrillation:  Your goal: If you have atrial fibrillation, get it treated. 

How to achieve it:
1. If you have symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath, see your doctor for an exam. You may need to take blood thinners such as high-dose aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin) to reduce your stroke risk from atrial fibrillation. Your doctors can guide you through this treatment.

*7. Treat Diabetes: Your goal: Keep your blood sugar under control.

How to achieve it:

1. Monitor your blood sugar as directed by your doctor.
2. Use diet, exercise, and medicines to keep your blood sugar within the recommended range.
*8. Quit smoking: Your goal: Quit smoking.
How to achieve it:

1. Ask your doctor for advice on the most appropriate way for you to quit.
2. Use quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine pills or patches, counseling, or medicine.
3. Don’t give up. Most smokers take several tries to quit. See each failed attempt as bringing you one step closer to successfully beating the habit.
Here is  an easy way to remember what to look for and what to do in case of a stroke:  

  Being able to recognize a stroke and react to it is crucial to one’s life. In fact the first 3 hours are absolutely critical but the first hour, known as ” THE GOLDEN HOUR” is the most important:

  So please, take the time to share this info with your family and friends. It may just save their life.  
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 

http://www.stroke.com

http://www.cdc.gov › stroke › facts
 






Shaving A Shih Tzu…..

Hi everybody! It’s summer time and you know what that means. Hot, hot, hot. Everyone attempts to stay cool. Now it’s your job to keep your pets cool. Like giving them cold water to drink, keeping them inside when it’s too hot to be outside, and maybe even giving them a haircut if their hair is long. But….have you ever tried to shave a Shih Tzu? 

 

Well believe me, it is hard work. The best thing, of course, would be to take your furry friends to the groomer.  
 

However, when you don’t have the $65-90 per dog to do that, your only choice is to do it yourself. It takes a lot of time and patience. And don’t forget good clippers.  


    
 

Most dogs generally don’t like being groomed and they would much rather run for the hills.  

   
Take my two for example:

 

Now Tucker tries to run as soon as he sees the clippers emerge from their case but finally realizes that it’s going to happen so he might as well just go with it. 

But Dylan on the other hand… 

 

He tries to run before, during, and after getting shaved. I guess he thinks that if he keeps trying to get away, it will eventually pay off. Wrong…

Shih Tzus have a lot of hair. A LOT. And it’s thick too. When you finally get through that dense mass with the clippers, you will probably have a pile similar to these. They may not look very big but keep in mind that they are about 5-6 inches deep in the center: 

   

  
Next, it’s bath time!   

 

Here again, my dogs are completely opposite when it comes to baths. Tucker tries to flee the tub while Dylan just takes it all in. Afterwards, Tucker just wants a good old fashioned towel dry but Dylan likes to be pampered with the blow dryer… 

   
Now that their baths are over, it’s time to let them go enjoy their new hair do. Or not…  


    
Well they may not be real happy right now but I know that if they could talk, when it’s super hot this summer, they would both give me a big, loud  

   
  Which I would of course take as: “Thank you and we love you too. “ 

The TERROR of your impending debut novel release.

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Long time, no talk (blog?), my friends! I’m finally out of my editing cave and I recently finished my first final galley.

My very first final galley.

And I need a therapy session, so I’m taking it out on you. *cackles*

When I received my first round of edits in my inbox, I was fired up. I was like, “YES, LET’S DO THIS!” and I opened that doc and I plowed through that round like a beast, making all the changes and sending it right back to my (superb) editor. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of red. I was like, “Oh, wow, I guess I’m GOOD, haha!”

Then I got the second round.

And there was red. LOTS of red. Bloody freaking red extravaganza.

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Not so good after all, dumbass.

So I swallowed my pride and plowed through the second round, learning so much throughout the…

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The Right Character Names

Joanne Guidoccio

characternames

“How attached are you to the name Anna May?”

Sandy Isaac’s question took me and six other members of the critique group by surprise. While I appreciated the suggestions I had received, I wondered about Sandy’s question. Anna May Godfrey is the villain in A Season for Killing Blondes. I had spent several years in Anna May’s company and wasn’t prepared to change her name.

Sandy noticed my hesitation and explained her resistance to the name. Said quickly, Anna May becomes “anime,” a style of animation often featuring themes intended for an adult audience. Two of the other members nodded while five of us merely shrugged. But Sandy’s concern raised several questions in my mind.

How would my readers respond?

Would they make the same connection as Sandy?

Would Anna May’s name suit or hinder her villain status?

Continue reading on Lisa’s Mondello’s blog.

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Mondays for Mermaids

Joanne Guidoccio

Today, I’m launching a series to honor those fascinating creatures that have enchanted humankind for centuries. A life-long fan, I’ve written two books (and am planning a third) about the mermaids of the Mediterranean Kingdom.

In Between Land and Sea, I introduced an overweight, middle-aged ex-mermaid who uses a magic tablet to reinvent herself. I continue her story in The Coming of Arabella, and add a psychological twist: a mermaid sister who is somewhere on the Narcissist/Sociopath continuum.

Over the coming weeks, I will focus on different aspects of the mermaid psyche, history, and lifestyle.

I’ll start with Mermaid History.

mermaidhistoryIn Greek mythology, Sirens had beautiful voices and cruel hearts. Many less-than-enchanting stories have been written about Sirens distracting mariners and causing them to walk off decks or run their ships aground. More spiteful Sirens would not hesitate to squeeze the life out of men and drown them.

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The Wedding Ring Conundrum

wedding-rings-on-black-handswedding-rings-and-hands-black-4iwwiixrI turned on the news this morning and was amazed, as usual, to hear what is making headlines. There seems to be a lot of talk about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner still wearing their wedding rings. As if it’s anyone’s business or a big deal. Who cares if they’re wearing giant, one-eyed parrots on their shoulders? But, it made me ponder the whole wedding ring conundrum. Personally, I don’t wear mine very much. If there’s an occasion and I’m dressing up I will put it on, or I’ll wear it for a few weeks and then put it away for a month. It just depends on my mood. What annoys me is when other people think it’s disrespectful or trashy not to wear one when you’re married. My comeback to them is, does wearing the ring make me more married? Am I only married when I’m wearing it? I know…

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