A few months back I noted that Alzheimer’s scares me. It is a frightening thought that one can lose precious memories. That one can stop remembering those goo-goo gaga baby years is sheer terror. Luckily, no one in my immediate family has suffered from Alzheimer’s. However, two of my immediate family members died from strokes. And, I have been quite mindful as to what that means for me and my son going forward.
Fast forward to two weeks ago when we actor Luke Perry died. He had suffered from a massive stroke. He was just 52 years old. Many of us focused on his age thinking he was way too young for such a massive stroke and subsequent death. Those of us who are from Generation X were especially hit hard as we had come to learn of him as teenagers. He was a “heartthrob” and many debated who was hotter Brandon or Dylan. We grew up with him keeping him frozen in time. Then he seemed to age a bit when he played a dad on Riverdale and we were a bit shook by that. Before our eyes we were being shown our own aging process and mortality. Its a natural part of life but we often forget it. Then that teenage heartthrob died.
A stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. Strokes aren’t rare. But sometimes we associate it with old age. And, strokes may look differently for men and women. We know that we should be exercising, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting the amount of sodium and alcohol we eat and drink . All these steps can all help to keep high blood pressure in check which is one key factor leading up to strokes. But life is not simple. Once we stopped looking to Luke Perry as a teenage heartthrob we had to go to college, finish college, get a job, get an apartment, do well at our jobs, start a family, build a family and so on. We had to be responsible adults. All normal things. But it seems that we are not keeping our blood pressure in check. It seems that life, society, in general is getting more and more complicated and stressful. People talk about work/life balance. But I am not too sure that such a thing really exists. For many of us our work is our life.
I’ll tell you this. I started drinking more tea the last two weeks. Specifically berry hibiscus as I feel that is the perfect drink: an antioxidant and blood pressure lowerer (I think I just may have made up a word. I tend to do that). I bought a blood pressure monitor. So far, so good. But I definitely notice that there are times when my heart rate accelerates wildly during the day. When so, I brew my tea and take a walk. Or at least I try to. It’s my version of mindfulness. It can’t hurt. If we can all do that maybe we would all work a little bit better together and be all the more healthy for it.