Did you know that about every 40 seconds someone has a stroke? That about every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke? Would you believe that one in three adults has high blood pressure yet about 21 percent don’t know they have it?

May is National Stroke and High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. It’s also Healthy Vision Month, National Bike Month and Melanoma Awareness Month, so somebody somewhere is sending us a strong message to get healthy! (Is it a coincidence that the new Marana Health Center Main Clinic is having its grand opening on May 21? Well, yes, that probably is a coincidence, but it’s so timely to have such a remarkable, state-of-the-art facility opening nearby.)

As Americans, we keep busy. As adults, we usually spend most of our time tending to the needs of others – our bosses, better halfs, offspring, family, charities – everyone but ourselves.

I, for one, do not wish to be included in the 795,000 Americans who will have a new or recurrent stroke this year, so today I’m starting a new concentration on my health and I invite you to join me. My goal is to drop 10 percent of my current weight by the end of summer, let’s say, Wednesday, Aug. 31 (Hmmm, The Explorer publishes that day. Very convenient!).

Losing 10 percent of my body weight has nothing to do with getting into a bathing suit for summer, although that’s a nice side benefit. It’s about getting healthy one small step at a time. How about you? Are you ready to get on board too?

If you are – and you know

deep down inside you really want to – drop me an email at

exploreyourhealth@explorernews.com. Put “Drop 10 Percent” in the subject line. In return, I’ll send you a weekly health tip and words of encouragement.

In addition, The Explorer will feature weight-loss-related news in our Health & Wellness pages that appear on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. I have a lot of fun and informative features in mind! The paper also will periodically profile Challenge participants, include their tips on weight-loss techniques that are working for them, and stories about challenges they’re overcoming.

Keep in mind that The Explorer is not a weight-loss expert. I’m consulting with my doctor to personalize eating and workout programs that are appropriate for me. I strongly encourage you to do the same.

If you haven’t seen a doctor recently, you can get back on track by getting a free Stroke Check this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at participating hospitals across Tucson. Then, set an appointment with your personal physician as soon as possible.

So whaddya say, readers? Are you ready to take The Explorer Drop 10 Percent Challenge? I can’t guarantee it will be easy, but it will be well worth it. There is power in numbers, so email me today. We start as a team on May 18!

— Wendy Miller

If you go

What: 8th Annual Stroke Check

When: Saturday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to noon

Where: In Northwest Tucson: Northwest Medical Center, 6200 N. La Cholla Blvd., and Oro Valley Hospital, 1551 E. Tangerine Road.

Cost: Free

For more information, call 872-4344 or see our related story on page 25 of today’s paper.

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