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Ben Franklin knew how to prevent strokes
Senior moments
Rich DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. - photo by File photo

Maybe you have heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This axiom by Benjamin Franklin is as true today as it was when he uttered the quote in 1736. Most people use this saying when referring to someone’s health, but Franklin actually was addressing fire safety at the time. And with Franklin’s help, Philadelphia was transformed from an unsafe city to one of the safest cities in America for fire prevention.
Prevention is the key word here. I recently made a trip to my physician’s office for what they call an annual physical. For me, it is more like a “triennial” event. Yes, I love my doctor, but I prefer to see him in the grocery store or at church.  Fortunately, I think I passed most of the exam — I’m still waiting for the results of my blood tests.  
Something I’ve never had done before was an ultrasound on my carotid arteries and other organs. This is a non-invasive procedure to help your doctor determine whether or not you might be at a higher risk for a stroke or have a blood clot, aneurysm or another possibly life-altering or -threatening event.
Like many people, my first response to having this procedure was somewhat adverse. Do I really want to know if I have plaque in my arteries, or if my liver is fatty? All the results are going to confirm is what I already know: My life choices over the years have been less than stellar.
Still, the importance of this preventive technique certainly outweighs the possible alternatives of not knowing. And although there are no guarantees that I’m going to live any longer, in this case the ends do justify the means.
I think it is safe to say that I survived the exam and have made it to another Monday. But what if my results were not so favorable? I need to point out that stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death among American adults, according to In addition, strokes are the primary cause of long-term disability among Americans. So once we have our exam results, we then need to take action to either continue on a good path, or change course for a better one.
New research published in the journal, “Neurology,” once again touted the five risk-reducing health habits that can make a positive impact in your overall life.  Eating healthy, working out regularly, abstaining from smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation if you drink, and building a better body, which is defined as having a body-mass index (BMI) of 25 or less.
The “no-no” list of foods includes white flour, sugar and fried starches. I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that fried cupcake for dessert the other day. Red meat and whole dairy products need to be eaten in moderation as well. More fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains are the way to go.
As for exercise, I’ve been selling the virtues of staying active and making your muscles work for over 35 years. Jack LaLanne was my hero. When I die, I want to die healthy.
Because the consequences of stroke can be so devastating and irreversible, prevention is of great importance. Franklin also said, “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” I like Ben!

Call DeLong at 912-531-7867 or go to

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