Explore the health and wellbeing issues concerning blood pressure, breast cancer and back pain.
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Host: Everybody knows somebody with high blood pressure. Hypertension affects millions of people all over the globe. But what is blood pressure exactly and why does it so often go off the scale? Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the artery walls as it makes its way through the circulatory system. A doctor will measure this pressure as it occurs in the major artery in your arm. After a reading a person might boast, “Oh my blood pressure is perfect. It’s 115/75.” What does that mean? The higher number is systolic pressure. That’s the measurement of your blood’s force as the ventricle in your heart is squeezed shut. The lower number is diastolic pressure. That’s the force measured when your chamber is open and collecting blood waiting for the next pump. Donna Robertson: We did a survey recently that revealed that 50% of men who came in knew their partner’s bra size but less than a third knew their own blood pressure. So it is a problem. Host: If your arteries are all congested with plaque and hardened by alcohol or smoking, they won’t be as elastic as they should be. So the pressure of the blood as it forces its way through a constricted space has to be higher in order to get the job done. And hey presto you’ve got hypertension! That’s motivation to eat well, sleep well and stress less. Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases in modern society occurring in women and men. Yes gentlemen you are included too unfortunately. Each year this disease kills over 500,000 people. Early detection is your best bet. Most breast cancers are detected by a person when they notice a lump in their breast itself. But take note of any irregularities in the armpits and around the collar bone too. Prof. Valaerie Beral: Being a woman is a first risk factor. The second one is age and the older you are the higher the risk of breast cancer. And so that’s why we screen starting 50. 80% of our breast cancer occurs after the age of 50. Host: Pain is not the most reliable indicator of breast cancer. But some types start out with painful inflammation and swelling of the breast. Keep an eye out too for strange orange peel-like skin texture and of course have a regular mammogram. Cancer doesn’t discriminate as Kylie Minogue discovered the hard way. But thanks to surgery and chemotherapy Kylie remains everyone’s favorite showgirl. Chronic back pain whether it’s lower, middle or upper can be a debilitating condition stopping you from doing the things you want to do. Before you make a habit of reaching for the pills at the onset of every twinge, it may surprise you to know that there are things you can do about it, and moving your body is one of them. Moderate exercise is key in decreasing chronic back pain levels. Too much or too little could see you back to square one. So trial and error will have to be endured until you workout what’s best for you. Keep it low impact. Swimming is great for your lower back. It strengthens muscles and mobilizes joints without compressing the nerves. Avoid strokes with major head movements though. The elliptical movement of cross trainers is kind to backs too. Tell your instructor about your condition and get right back into fitness. Having a full medical checkup every year will keep you clued into your blood pressure situation. Don’t wait till it’s too late.