Did you know that over 800,000 people in America will suffer a first or subsequent stroke? Also, did you know that 80 percent of strokes are preventable? Kyle and Jeff talk about several things we can all do to avoid a stroke. And let’s be honest, we all want to avoid a stroke. We also visit with Dr. Jack Bishop and Dr. Ellen Driber-Hassal about social gerontology. Check it out at the Huntsman World Senior Games

 

Jeff Harding:
(singing)

Kyle Case:
Hello and welcome to the Husband World Senior games active life. My Name is Kyle Case and I'll be your host on this amazing journey, as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in the studio today is my co-pilot, Jeff Harding. Jeff, how you doing today.

Jeff Harding:
I'm doing well Kyle, how are you?

Kyle Case:
I'm doing good. I'm doing really good. [crosstalk 00:00:29] Good day, a good topic that I want to start us out with.

Jeff Harding:
And that is?

Kyle Case:
It's an important one, we try to tackle the important issues here and this is another one, not necessarily a fun one but it's an important one that we need to know about. I want to talk a little bit about strokes.

Jeff Harding:
Oh, that's not fun at all.

Kyle Case:
No, it's not. We've talked about them before, hits a little close to home for many of us I know in excuse me our family we've been affected by stroke. In my neighborhood, I have friends and neighbors who are affected by it, it's definitely a situation that's out there. And I want to talk about a few things that we can do to help avoid a stroke.

Jeff Harding:
Which is always important.

Kyle Case:
Which is a good thing, this is all from an article that I found from Readers Digest written by Lisa Marie Conklin. First of all Jeff, I think it's important to understand what a stroke is, basically a stroke is a blockage of blood flow to an area in your brain and what happens when you cut off oxygen to that area is the brain cells begin to die. And that means that you lose some of your abilities like limb control, side speech, maybe even memory.

Jeff Harding:
Depending on what side of the brain the stroke takes place.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, and depending on the situation. According to the National Stroke Association for the 800,000 people in the United States who have a stroke for the first time or a reoccurring one, the effects can vary from person to person. A mini-stroke may only raise minor issues like temporary weakness in an arm or a leg and then you bounce right back, no problems. A major stroke can cause permanent damage or even potentially death.

Jeff Harding:
Sure.

Kyle Case:
So it's a serious thing. Every four minutes, in the United States, a person dies from a stroke and that's really too bad Jeff because 80% of those strokes are preventable. 80% of those strokes are preventable. So I want to talk about some of the things, a few things we can do to help prevent a stroke.

Jeff Harding:
Sounds great.

Kyle Case:
Number one, I don't think any of these are going to surprise you but I think they're just worth repeating and reminding. High blood pressure, that's a big one. You knew that one was coming right?

Jeff Harding:
Yeah.

Kyle Case:
Dr. Shazam Hussain, who is the director of Cerebrovascular Center in the Cleveland Clinic, says high blood pressure is the most significant preventable risk factor for a stroke. If blood pressure could be controlled in the United States, half of the strokes would be eliminated, half of the strokes come from having too high blood pressure.

Jeff Harding:
So is that an argument for legalizing pot?

Kyle Case:
(Laughs) I don't know the answer to that question, unfortunately, what happens with high blood pressure is that it wreaks havoc on your arteries and when your arteries are weakened or when they suffer damage they could burst or clog more easily. And that's why doctors push their patients to hit a healthy blood pressure number. The newest guidelines and they have changed these recently, recommend blood pressure be less than 130/80 and one way to lower your blood pressure is to limit your salt intake to less than 1,500 milligrams a day. So high blood pressure's a big one.

Kyle Case:
The next one won't be a surprise to you Jeff, it's high cholesterol.

Jeff Harding:
Oh yeah.

Kyle Case:
So cholesterol in the arteries can block normal blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. That's one reason to watch your cholesterol level. Ideal total cholesterol is about 200, once you hit 240 you're at higher risk for stroke. So what do we do about cholesterol you might ask.

Jeff Harding:
Well, you eat Brand or Oatmeal.

Kyle Case:
Well yeah, whole grains are definitely very good, oatmeal is a significant help in the battle against high cholesterol.

Jeff Harding:
And your blood sugar.

Kyle Case:
And your blood sugar. It's also important to ask your doctor about your very low-density lipid-protein or your VLDL levels. High levels of VLDL cholesterol are associated with developing plaque that deposits on the artery walls, which of course can narrow the artery which in turn restricts the blood flow and that's the whole problem with the stroke. They say that due to the beneficial fats in fish, eating fish twice a week is recommended. In addition, cutting back on your sugar and your refined carbohydrates as well as eating, as you said, whole grains. Oatmeal's a good one, that can help lower your triglycerides and your high levels of VLDL, they also say, when it comes to high cholesterol that exercise, daily exercise is essential.

Kyle Case:
Here's the one I don't think people are going to like to hear, but it's an important one we need to get it out there. And that is, we need to eliminate or at least dramatically limit our diet drinks.

Jeff Harding:
Yeah, not a problem for me.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, and I know you don't drink diet sodas but a brand new study published in Stroke Magazine suggests that downing just one artificially sweetened drink a day, just one a day, just one diet coke a day triples the risk of stroke.

Jeff Harding:
Mom, are you listening to this?

Kyle Case:
(Laughs) I know there's a lot of people out there that can't get by without their diet coke but it's a serious thing. The researchers track the health of postmenopausal women some of whom drink artificially sweetened beverages. Those who drank at least one artificially sweetened beverage a day had almost three times the risk of stroke or dementia, compared to women who had artificially sweetened beverages less than once a week.

Jeff Harding:
So that's a lot.

Kyle Case:
There's something serious going on there.

Jeff Harding:
Yeah, there is.

Kyle Case:
The study as to the evidence that limiting the use of diet beverages is perhaps the prudent thing to do for your health. A couple of other things really quickly. Smoking, we know smoking's unhealthy. But not everyone realizes how much it raises your risk of stroke. Smoking drives down levels of HDL cholesterol, that's the good stuff while raising LDL cholesterol, that's the bad stuff. When it's too high it can damage the cells that line the blood vessel walls and make blood cells sticky and more likely to clot and block blood flow to the heart and brain. So stopping smoking is certainly critical in the prevention of smoke. And then the last one, obesity, obesity increases multiple risk factors including; your high blood pressure, we just talked about, high cholesterol, we just talked about, it leads to diabetes, according to the center of disease control. A BMI or a body mass index of 30 or higher is what they consider in the obese range. And the good news is, Jeff, is that every little bit of weight that you lose will drive down your risk for stroke.

Jeff Harding:
Right.

Kyle Case:
So losing some weight can make a big difference. As we said in the beginning, not very much fun there.

Jeff Harding:
No, but nothing new either.

Kyle Case:
But important stuff that we need to remember, 80% of strokes are preventable, so it's worth taking a look at some of these things.

Jeff Harding:
Sure is.

Kyle Case:
Jeff today's guess join us by phone from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jack Bishop has a doctorate degree that among other things specializes in gerontology and human services. He's a published author and has presented around the world about the act of aging. Ellen Driber Hassle spent much of her professional career as an administrator in higher education. More recently, she has also published and presented on the act of aging, also all around the world. Both are veterans and both are principal partners in Aging Matters LLC. Welcome Jack and Ellen to the show, we're grateful that you have some time to spend with us today.

Dr. Jack Bishop:
Thank you so much for having us, we appreciate the opportunity.

Kyle Case:
So we just want to jump right into this Jack. Tell us what exactly is Aging matters LLC.

Dr. Jack Bishop:
Aging Matters LLC is a certified service verified the veteran-owned small business. This means that we are registered through the general service administration and the small business administration. And in addition and probably most importantly, we are certified as a small business by the veteran administration to conduct business with all federal government agencies. Finally, we're certified by the state of New Mexico as a resident veteran business. In addition, our name Aging Matters LLC comes from our desire to examine as many of the biological, cultural, historical, physiological, psychological, social, and spiritual contexts of the aging process that we can, which occur across the lifespan.

Dr. Jack Bishop:
We're also social gerontologists which means we are social scientists who specialize in the science of aging to study, analyze and report on the whole aging process. We act as social gerontologists which means we see aging as having a social context, which means it's a two-way street. It's the effect of the older adult on our society and conversely the effect of society on the older adult. We are researchers, we conduct empirical investigations, it simply means we observe and measure [inaudible 00:09:25]. And in the case of aging all the actors and factors which affect the aging process we know that aging does matter because no two people age identically, not even twins. And each of our aging processes will differ.

Kyle Case:
So you covered a lot of ground there. You guys are involved in a lot of things, that's fantastic. I'm just curious Jack how long have you guys been working in this active aging industry and really promoting the idea that aging matters.

Dr. Jack Bishop:
We've had the business for ten years and we've supported some of the state agencies and not for profits but we were students of gerontology at that time.

Kyle Case:
Now you're based in New Mexico, how big of a circle is your outreach. Are you able to reach out through technology outside of the area?

Dr. Jack Bishop:
Oh absolutely, we travel and that was part of the reason. We enjoy traveling, we enjoy doing presentations anywhere and everywhere. So in New Mexico, it states borders all the way, it's the fifth largest state geographically. We've been all over the place doing this for the last ten years and of course, we'd always enjoy going to other states, but our responsibility really through the state agencies that we support has been to work with the New Mexico older adult population.

Kyle Case:
Okay, awesome. But if someone had some of them, wanted additional support or some help, counseling or whatever it is. You mentioned a lot of things you guys are involved in, there's a way that they could reach out to you and get some help and at least get some access to some resources, is that correct?

Dr. Jack Bishop:
Ah sure. New Mexico has a good resource through the state agencies and either that or we could be called, we could be contacted, and we can direct people to us. Now for states outside of New Mexico, we're not necessarily familiar with all the systems that might be available. But, certainly for New Mexico, yes, we can cover the basics.

Kyle Case:
Awesome. So you mentioned a phrase that I was a little unfamiliar with I haven't heard it before. Social Gerontology. What is social gerontology?

Dr. Driber:
Well, social gerontology approach is really important for aging because it examines a person impact on society as they age as well as societies impact on the aging person. It really takes into account all of the things that Jack mentioned earlier, the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, financial aspects of aging, things that a person encounters on a daily basis. It's really a holistic view of the aging process compared to the field of geriatrics, which is really working with the modalities of aging or what happens when something goes wrong. So both Jack and I are doctrinally qualified gerontologists who are not medical doctors, so we don't diagnose problems. Rather, we help people think about and plan for the aging process in order for them to age in the best possible manner for them.

Dr. Driber:
You heard Jack say that not even a set of identical twins will age in the same manner. Jack and I conduct our work as part of an engaged aging approach where we believe the older adults take very determined and very deliberate, proactive steps to make decisions about their personal aging because when the older adults won't do that or refuse to engage their aging process for themselves the result is pretty [inaudible 00:13:40] something that they would not choose for themselves, making them very unhappy in life. In order to conduct this engaged aging approach, we're really quite fortunate to be able to partner with organizations which profess a similar mindset as Aging Matters carries.

Kyle Case:
So we used to sell a T-shirt in our gift shop at the Huntsman Senior World Games that says aging is the ultimate extreme sport. (Laughs)

Dr. Driber:
Wow. I agree with that, fabulous.

Kyle Case:
Based on what you're sharing here, I think you subscribed to that concept.

Dr. Driber:
Absolutely there is no doubt about it because when we begin a presentation, sometimes people will mistake this as just a pure joke and it's not but if you're not aging, what's the alternative, you're dead.

Kyle Case:
Well absolutely, so you look at your alternatives and maybe aging is one of the better ones out there.

Dr. Driber:
Well I think it is and I think what people really have to remember and sometimes we get too caught up in what's going on around us and we don't remember is that each chapter in our aging process, which beings the moment we're born, is going to have different and unique challenges in it. So being a two year old is very different than being a 65 year old. Being a 16 year old is very different than being an 85 year old. Being a 40 year old is very different than being centenarian. So what we have to do is educate people to the point where they understand ages are going to occur and really help them equip themselves to make decisions that are best for them about their personal aging process.

Kyle Case:
And it definitely is a process for all of us, no question about it. You're listening to the Huntsman World Senior Games active life and we're visiting with Dr. Jack Bishop and Ellen Driver Hassle about the process of aging and how it relates to each one of us. Now you mentioned that you partner with various organizations, what are some of the projects that you partner with and who are you working with to help get the word out about how we can actively age.

Dr. Jack Bishop:
So in New Mexico a not for profit organization specifically, New Mexico Senior Olympics incorporated, carries the older adult health promotion flag for the state agencies responsible for the aging and long term services for the older adult population. So we partner with them, New Mexico Senior Olympics, to conduct health promotion programming each year. This has been occurring now, as I said before, for about ten years. Our programming consists of aging-related presentations, non-computer programs, empirical investigation of the aging phenomenon, and participation in the bulk of their events as data collectors. So in addition to that, we look for not for profits to partner with as physical agents. As we conduct aging-related studies, we're currently in discussion with two not for profits now, to determine the best fit for some state grant requirements. Now we'll also partner with some other state agencies as grant subcontractors. The best recent example is that we partnered with a New Mexico Department of Health on their award of a Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living Grant. We've done this for the past 3 years as what they call fidelity observers of evidence-based law prevention programs to ensure the fidelity of the course as it related to all risk mitigation and falls prevention in the older adult population.

Kyle Case:
So sounds like you're really involved in this wide variety of things, especially as they relate to older Americans and aging. You mentioned that you do a lot of research, what types of research are you involved in?

Dr. Driber:
We conduct research that's really referred to as a mixed methods approach, where we judiciously combine quantitative and qualitative techniques to gather our raw data.

Dr. Driber:
So quantitative research is where we're empirically working with numbers or we're counting things. Qualitative research refers to examining the meaning, concepts, characteristics, and descriptions. So some examples of quantitative research would include surveying, correlational work, experiments, and causal-comparative world.

Dr. Driber:
Examples of qualitative work would be; phenomenology or study a particular issue; ethnography, where you're looking at the ethnic background of someone; case study analysis, where you're examining one particular situation of a person or a group; or grounded theory, where you are examining something according to a previously established aging theory that is in the profession. The research formats that seem to work best for us and the types of topics we're interested in is longitudinal research or research that is conducted over a period of time. The advantage of this format for us, as social gerontologists, is that it provides the researcher with numerous opportunities to interact with the study participants. And this is vital when conducting other mixed methods or qualitative research. Developing a trust level between all parties is absolutely essential. Speaking of which, all participation in our research is totally voluntary and completely anonymous. Our research conforms to the basic steps of the scientific method, that being, having a question, conducting background research, formulating a hypothesis, conducting a test, analyzing the data, and making conclusions, and sharing the findings.

Kyle Case:
So you've definitely been immersed in research. It sounds like you've done a lot of it, employed a lot of different ways to conduct the research. I'm curious in all the research that you've done if there's been something that's really caught you off guard or been surprising, that you weren't expecting before you started the research.

Dr. Driber:
Well I think I'd have to backtrack here a little bit and kind of preface the answer by saying when we chose our doctoral program, Jack chose to be a quantitative person and I chose in my program to be a qualitative person.

Kyle Case:
Sounds like a good mix.

Dr. Driber:
Well, it is for us, for a number of reasons. Primarily because counting the numbers don't always tell the whole story. Listening to the voice of the older adult doesn't always tell the whole story. So when we can piece the best of both world together, then we feel like we have a better understanding of the problem that we've chosen to research. And so some of the issues that we see we're conducting some research now on barriers to an activity so it is kind of interesting to see what kind of barriers are popping up in which categories of people. We haven't completed that analysis yet and were actually still collecting the data so I can't really answer your question about are their big surprises, but we know that there definitely are going to be some surprises as we finish the data collection and the analysis.

Kyle Case:
So to me, that sounds like a very fascinating study, because I know there are the things that keep me from being active sometimes and I know your study's not done, your research isn't done and we've only got maybe 30 seconds left. But, what do you see in the big reason so far as to why people don't get active?

Dr. Jack Bishop:
Alright, I'll try to tackle this in 30 seconds. I think you're asking me personally and I'll give you a personal response. I think the reason is a lack of will power, especially in the older adult population. Willpower being defined in this case as the muscle of the mind. So without the willpower to become active, you can be self-motivated to become active but that's not enough. That's not a step that you would need to take to actually become active. That willpower barrier stops a lot of this activity process.

Kyle Case:
I think I would agree with that. I know that's -

Jeff Harding:
I would definitely concur.

Kyle Case:
I know that's been a part of my problem, often times. And I do try to get active, I try to work out but absolutely you do have to just- there's a lot of techniques and there are tricks and there are ways to get about it, but at the end of the day, Jack, you've just got to grit your teeth and get the job done.

Dr. Jack Bishop:
That's correct. If you don't actually do it, you'll lack that one characteristic that we all need to go out and become more active.

Dr. Driber:
And I'd like to add to that guys, no one can do it for you. You have got to make the resolution to do it and then you have got to get your body and your mind so in tune that you go out and do it. Not once, not twice but on a very regular habitual basis. There's just no other way to say it.

Kyle Case:
You just have to get after it. Hey guys, we've about run out of time but thank you so much, Jack and Ellen, for joining us and good luck in all your research.

Dr. Driber:
Thank you so much, we appreciate being on the show.

Kyle Case:
So, Jeff, it's time to register for the Huntsman World Senior Games, speaking of willpower and getting out there and getting it done. It's very easy to register all you got to do is visit Seniorgames.net click on that register button. The process is simple, it's fast, it's secure, and before you know it you'll be ready to become one of our more than 11,000 athletes who we anticipate will compete this year in the Huntsman World Senior Games. The dates of the games, just a reminder, are October 7th through the 19th for the 2019 Games. Remember to tune in live next to and every Thursday at 5:30 P.M. mountain time on AM1450 or FM93.1 for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. You can subscribe to our podcast pretty much anywhere the podcasts are found. Once you've heard the podcast give us a review, it really helps us spread the word. Jeff, our inspirational quote comes from the one and only Albert Einstein, He says, stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every solution. Until next Thursday, stay active.

Jeff Harding:
Bye, everyone.