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GIFFORD-JONES: As they say – an ounce of prevention

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It is said that if the US Constitution were rewritten, it would not emphasize the pursuit of happiness, but the pursuit of health. Nowadays, when people get together, discussions eventually turn to health problems such as weight loss, blood pressure, bone density or other problems. Now there are tests to indicate your state of health. And if tests show early abnormality, rule one is prevention. Rule number two is to never forget rule number one.

Blood presure

Hypertension is one of the main causes of heart attack, so what number should you try to maintain? Dr William Dale, a spokesman for the American Geriatrics Society, says, "Regardless of age, North Americans should shoot for 130/80 blood pressure. But if you are over 65 then 150/90 should be fine. "Above this number does not always mean drugs.

Dr. Steven Nisen, head of cardiology at Cleveland Clinic, suggests that you should first change your lifestyle, such as losing weight, exercising 90 minutes a week, and reducing salt intake below 1,500 milligrams a day. He adds a diet with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry can lower blood pressure just as much as drugs.

As I have advised for years, good health is for the lifestyle. Or, as the Chinese proverb puts it, "He who takes medication and neglects his diet loses his doctor's skill."

Blood sugar

Today, 25% of North Americans over the age of 65 suffer from type 2 diabetes (better called diabetes for life). Several years ago, Type 1 diabetes, due to genetics, was the main problem. The Diabetes Association recommends that everyone should be screened at age 45. A test called HbA1c assesses what happens to your blood sugar over a long period of time. Levels below 5.7 are considered normal. So what should you do if it's higher?

You have to lose weight and the reward is significant. Dr. David Lam, medical director of the Mount Sinai Institute of Clinical Diabetes in New York, writes in Consumer Reports on Health that pre-diabetes patients who dropped 7% of their weight reduced their risk of diabetes by 50%. This should make everyone aware, as it means reducing the risk of coronary attack, blindness, renal failure and amputation of the legs.

Bone density

Women 65 and older and men 70 and older should undergo a bone mineral density test. Your doctor may determine whether bone density is normal, shows a slight decrease in osteopenia, or resembles Swiss cheese (osteoporosis) at risk of fracture.

The American Dietetic Magazine advises women over 50 and men over 70 to take 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, 600 IU of vitamin D daily, and follow a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, high-fiber cereals, skim milk and nuts. along with 30 minutes of lifting weights and walking more. This will slow bone loss within a year and reduce the risk of a broken hip and possibly spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair or death.


Large colon malignancies are the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. So it is prudent to pay attention to colon cancer, and sooner is better than later. If you are waiting for symptoms, you may already be in serious trouble. My advice is to get a colonoscopy as early as possible in your middle life. A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) reveals stool blood, a signal of a problem, but this test may miss early cancer.

It says if you don't take care of yourself, the company will. We must all remember that the greatest wealth is our health. And taking care of yourself is not selfish. It is a question of survival.

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Editor's note: The column is not a medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure diseases. Please contact your doctor. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is the sole responsibility of the author.

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