Forget what any doctor will tell you, just remember that you are your first and best doctor.
Let me repeat for posterity.
1) If you are above 40, and not a diagnosed hypertensive, you must check year blood pressure at least once every-three-months.
2) If you are above 40, and not a diagnosed diabetic, you must monitor your blood sugar once every six months.
3) If you are above 40, and do not have regular chronic illnesses, you must do your full medical check up annually.
4) If you are above 40, and not diagnosed with glaucoma, you must do your eye-evaluation at least once every year.
5) If you are above 40, and you are overweight, you must monitor your weight so that it it does not tilt towards obesity.
6) If you are above 40, and you notice a mild creeping in of hearing loss, you must be evaluated by an Ear, Nose & Throat(ENT) Surgeon annually.
Did you notice that age and time are recurrent in (1) to (6) above? Did you also notice that I used the word “must” and not “may” in all my assertions above.
“Yes”, you might remonstrate, “I know a fool at 40, is a fool forever”- hell no. Or “Okay I know that life begins at 40”- again no. Or you will reflect again, “Alright I know at 40 one suffers from mid-life crisis” – the answer is “yes and no”.
Why is 40 important in our lives?
i) At 40, women attain menopause or begin to experience signs and symptoms of menopause.
ii) At 40, most men, start experiencing reduction in the production of male hormone – androgen. Hence decrease in libido and virility.
iii) At 40, the climacteric, the circadian rhythm and the body clock start experiencing mild clogging.
iv) At 40, glaucoma symptoms begin to manifest, for those who are genetically disposed to having one.
v) At 40, atherosclerosis and heart diseases, begin to manifest their symptoms.
vi) At 40, obesity for those predisposed to it, if not watched starts becoming a permanent feature of our lives.
The story behind health monitoring.
• You know that every three years, my clan Igbere in Bende LGA, organises a ceremony called “Ezumezu”. Where one age grade the oldest retires from communal service, and another one the youngest takes up the mantle as a replacement.
• As part of this year’s celebration, a free medical scheme was organised courtesy of Paul-Uche- Foundation, from 20 to 30 December 2017. I consulted on 20th and 23rd, where I met 3 to 4 patients who confessed that, they checked their blood pressures last, between 1999 and 2007, when Dr Orji Uzor Kalu was the Governor, and had Abia State Medical Scheme, of which I was the Co-ordinator. I was flummoxed.
• Tongue-in-cheek, they claimed, they had actually not been seriously ill, apart from occasional headache and fever. For which they went to a chemist to mix drugs for them. Which they claimed they drank and got better. Or when they thought the fever was more serious, they went to a laboratory scientist who will collect their blood and urine, do some tests and write out prescriptions for them. My God that meant from 2007 to 2017, ten solid years, they had not checked their blood pressures, and they were very elderly.
• Let me state clearly here that mixing of drugs, is a great disservice to medical practice. When we get to a chemist or a pharmacy, we should request for a complete dose of antimalarial or anti respiratory tract infection drugs, plus analgesics. Let them not mix anything for you, it is very dangerous to your health.
• One of those my former patients, had a blood pressure of 210/110. I had to temporarily admit him into the health centre to bring down the pressure. Who knows how many of them have had strokes and died.
• This applies to most of us, let me repeat it ad nauseam, an increasing blood pressure has neither signs nor symptoms. Most at times the first manifestation, of our high blood pressure is with a stroke, with much devastating effect. Then we would blame our co-workers, neighbours or in-laws. This is what we could prevent by simply and routinely checking our blood pressures.
Lastly, please check your blood pressure regularly, for your family’s sake. If you notice any symptoms, see a medical personnel for advise. Let us not behave like Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelve Night, who was sick of self-love. Be medically guided.
Happy new year!
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