Sunday, January 31, 2010


How do you respond when someone very close to you informs you they have recently had a stroke?  Someone of your vintage and generation.  Someone who embodies healthy living and has been a rock in your life for decades. Someone with whom you share childhood memories that are as strong and colourful as if they happened yesterday.
What do you say to this person?
What do you think? 
What do you do?
The stroke was momentary; a full collapse of the left side of the body with a quick rebound, all over in a few seconds, but unsettling.  Many would have shrugged it off as a simple absent minded slip or a brain fart. Fortunately, my friend didn't shrug it off.  Two MRI's later confirmed the good news and bad; it was indeed a stroke, but not an aneurism. The stroke occurred in a part of the brain that doesn't cause lasting damage, but had it occurred elsewhere the results would have been devastating.  Aside from the initial scare there is no residual damage, at least none that can be detected at this point.  It turns out that this person is probably genetically predisposed to strokes and has been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure).  The best doctor advice?
1)  Keep your weight down.
2) Exercise.
3) Reduce your salt intake.

Salt by the numbers * ...
  • 1,500: Recommended daily sodium intake in milligrams for people between 9 and 50.
  • 2,300: Maximum daily sodium intake in milligrams compatible with good health.
  • 3,400: What the average Canadian consumes daily in milligrams.
  • 85: Percentage of Canadian men aged 19 to 70 consuming MORE than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 60:  Percentage of women aged 19 to 70 consuming More than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 77:  Percentage of Canadian children aged 1 to 3 consuming more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 93:  Percentage of children aged 4 to 8 consuming more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • 1: Level teaspoon = about 1,500 milligrams of sodium.
So good friends and readers of this blog keep on running and keep an eye on your salt intake.  The consequences could be serious.

It's a good day to be alive.


* Source, Statistics Canada


Jen said...

Salt. My demon. I love it. I'm guilty of consuming too much. Even though I have low blood pressure I need the reminder that it's still not healthy. Thanks, Mike.

Jen said...

Oh, and I'm sorry about your friend. I hope everything goes o.k. for him and he's able to fix it before something worse happens.

Shel said...

Eye opening and scary stuff indeed! The Heart and Stroke website also has lots of great info on sodium, hypertension and the like.
Best wishes to your friend for a quick and full recovery.

greentigress said...

So sorry about your friend Mike - i eat so much fresh food that my salt intake was LOW when i had a hair test i had a low sodium balance - but have not really increased a lot but feel less guilty about putting salt on chips...
I know my fiance doesn't eat as healthily as me Yet but when we move in together - your post is a big inspiration to cook healthy food for him all the time instead of taking the easy option....

Unknown said...

Thanks Shel. I'm going to link to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It was a real scare... way too close to home! Mike

Unknown said...

Thanks Jen, Yes, I love salt too! Mike