Actor and comedian Tom Arnold is best known for his work on the popular ’90s sitcom Roseanne (not to mention his high-profile marriage to the show’s co-creator and star, Roseanne Barr). But this summer, the veteran entertainer is making headlines for another reason: He recently revealed that earlier this year, he suffered a stroke while at home with his children. Arnold is now opening up about the circumstances of his health scare, including the first symptom that alerted him to danger. Read on to learn the first sign of Arnold’s stroke, and how it has changed him profoundly—both inside and out—in the seven months since.
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On Jan. 17, the Roseanne actor suffered a stroke at his home in Beverly Hills, California. Speaking with US Weekly in July, he opened up about the moment he realized something was seriously wrong. “I was giving the kids a bath and turned around to count to 10 when suddenly my vision in my right eye went black as if there was a curtain coming down over my eye,” he told the magazine.
Upon checking himself into UCLA Hospital in Los Angeles “for the 24-hour stroke protocol,” Arnold learned that his symptoms were caused by a TIA mini-stroke. “As a 63-year-old single father of a nine and six year old, it was scary,” he said. “On top of all this, I had massive organ failure two years ago. My doctor changed my medication, but I knew I needed to make bigger changes because I really dropped the ball on self-care.”
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Arnold’s stroke proved to be the wake-up call he needed: as a result, he decided to start prioritizing his health like never before. After recovering from the immediate effects of the mini-stroke, he reached out to weight loss coach Charles D’Angelo, who ultimately helped the actor lose a total of 75 pounds over the following months. Having begun his weight loss journey at 285 pounds, the star says he now weighs 210, thanks to a healthy diet and consistent exercise. “First thing out of bed each day, no matter where I am, I’m on the elliptical for 30-60 minutes,” the True Lies actor told People.
“We all know what we need to be doing, but getting yourself to do it can be a different story,” Arnold says. “Having someone in your corner who cheers you on but also calls you out and challenges you is crucial. Charles has been that for me.”
By losing weight, Arnold has also successfully lowered his future stroke risk, research suggests. “Being overweight is one of the top ten risk factors for stroke and is associated with almost one in five strokes,” explains the World Stroke Organization (WSO).
Losing weight can slash your stroke risk dramatically by lowering your chance of developing underlying conditions, the organization adds. “Being categorized as overweight increases your risk of stroke by 22 percent, and if you are obese that risk increases by 64 percent. This is because carrying too much weight increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes, which all contribute to higher stroke risk. Maintaining a healthy weight will help you reduce your risk of stroke,” the WSO writes.
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Besides the physical transformation, Arnold says his new focus on fitness has been a boon for his mental health. “I don’t run to food to escape my feelings or stress anymore,” he said, noting that he feels he now sets a good example for his two children.
“I feel much better about my body,” Arnold continued while speaking with People. “I can move better, I have more energy, I feel better in my clothes, I sleep better, and I think I’ve probably added years to my life to be here for my kids. I used to only look at my face in the mirror, which was hard enough, but now I face the whole thing,” he told the outlet.