Regular health checks can save lives and none more so than those for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as “the silent killer” because most affected people feel perfectly well and have no symptoms. It is a major risk factor in heart disease and strokes. You should have your blood pressure checked every five years and every year after the age of 55.
Researchers suggest that simple do-it-yourself measures can help to keep blood pressure down. These include:
- Coffee: caffeine tends to boost blood pressure in people who do not drink it very often.
- Shouting: simply avoiding loud, aggressive tones in an argument may help keep blood pressure down.
- Training: moderate weight training might be as effective as drugs in reducing blood pressure. Do not overdo it. Prolonged build up of muscle tension and powerful gripping can significantly increase blood pressure.
- Salt: If you have high blood pressure, probably the most important thing to do is to cut back on salt. Do not sprinkle it on food or use it in cooking, and avoid processed foods, which are often high in salt.
- Calcium: Increasing calcium in take can reduce high blood pres sure in some people. Ensure that you are getting 800 mg daily, equal to just less than three cups of skimmed milk.
- Regular exercise, a high fiber low fat diet, cutting down on alcohol, not smoking, and relaxation or meditation might help also.
- Dietary changes, big reductions in smoking, and regular physical exercises are all associated with big reductions in coronary heart disease.
No one can quantify the significance of any one trend compared with any other, but it is known that risk factors have a cumulative effect. The more you have, the greater the risk.
Testicular cancer can also kill if it is not caught early. The Imperial Cancer Research Fund warns that it is the most common form of cancer in young men, occurring mostly in those aged between 15 and 49. Although the risk of dying of it has declined in the last 25 years, the risk of developing it has doubled.
The disease is easy to cure if it is detected early. Specialists say that all men should get into the habit of examining their testicles regularly. Any change particularly a hardening, lump or swelling from what is normal should be discussed with a doctor.
The doctor should be able to tell whether any lump is benign or if it is one of the minority that need treatment. More than 90 percent of patients make a complete recovery. Survival is almost 100 percent after early diagnosis.