When I was a kid and was performing an antisocial act, my parents would say, “A hard head will make a soft tail.” Not fully understanding this statement, I would continue unintentionally aggravating my parents, and suddenly, without warning, I would get a firm slap—at least two—on my butt. Then I began to take that statement more seriously. Now my parents were not abusive; however, they believed in that biblical statement, “If you spare the rod, you will spoil the child.” Truthfully, I was not spoiled.

It has been shown that many folks who have experienced a heart attack or stroke do not listen seriously to their physicians. Yes, you can say they have hard heads and allow their tails to become soft and fat by not changing their lifestyles. The American Heart Association strongly feels that in order to prevent a recurrence of heart attacks and strokes, a person must change their behavior.

The blood vessels that surround the brain and heart are very narrow. In fact, it takes very little to clog up those precious arteries. I would like to soften your head with some hard facts that may prevent a recurrence of a stroke or heart attack.

The hard facts are the following:

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise to “X” your size.
  • Laugh more and frown less.
  • Retreat from fatty meats.
  • Add more fish to your dish, especially salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • If you have to fry it, don’t even buy it.
  • If you have to cream it, don’t even dream it.
  • If you have to batter it, don’t even flatter it.
  • It’s your fault if you use too much salt. Limit sodium intake to 2,400 mg or less daily. Watch out for hidden sodium in canned foods.
  • Eat more vegetables, such as the dark green, yellow and orange vegetables.
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day.
  • Eat more high-fiber fruits such as strawberries, prunes, apples, etc.
  • If your cholesterol is too high, take the appropriate medication suggested by your physician.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control.
  • If you are a diabetic, control of glucose is a must.
  • Discontinue all use of tobacco products.
  • If there are no contraindications, a daily aspirin of 80 mg to 325 mg should be taken.
  • Serum homocysteine should be evaluated.

Finally, I would suggest that if you wish to keep your brain in good condition and located in your hard head and your heart from falling apart, just reduce the fat in your soft tail! In conclusion, I have written a poem entitled “From My Heart to Your Heart.”

The heart sits in the middle of your chest,

It has a regular beat and never, ever, rests.

As it beats real quiet, you would never know

That it’s pumping the blood from your head to your toes.

Now the heart can beat fast and sometimes slow,

It depends upon whether you’re resting or on the go.

The heart needs nutrients from the foods that you eat each day,

Such as calcium, magnesium, vitamins C, E, and A.

The heart loves oils from the fish of the sea,

Such as mackerel, tuna, bluefish and sardines I agree,

Plant oils also help to keep blood vessels clean

Such as corn, canola oil and soybean.

Exercise plays a major role in keeping a healthy heart,

Forty-five minutes a day, three times a week is a very good start.

You don’t have to run like an Olympic star,

You can swim, ride a bike and walk instead of using a car.

Now reducing stress also can protect the heart.

By lowering your blood pressure, that’s a good start.

By smiling, hugging, forgiving and sharing,

The heart will stay well, because you are caring.

As Dr. Do, it is my aim to teach,

That everybody who is somebody can surely reach.

A full, healthy life from the beginning to the end,

And you will say, “I’m not only a doctor, but also a friend.”