Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Screening Boom

Screening Boom - Washington Post

Four months ago my Doctor’s nurse practitioner informed me that my blood pressure was a ‘little’ high, 130/85. As a long-time endurance cyclist I had been accustomed to 120/80, as if I had a patent on it – I guess the patent expired.

I now became another Black male contemplating the high-blood pressure bandwagon – except I was not ready to climb aboard so quietly.

I remembered hearing about the ‘Slavery Hypothesis’, with its conjuring of Portuguese traders licking the faces of captured W. Africans to test for saltiness and with it endurance, for the arduous journey to America. What ‘super-sized’ myth, and, I should add, scientifically unsupported (J.Kaufman).

If those same Portuguese traders were here today and licked the breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates of most Black men, they too would have high-blood pressure, and all the accompanying health issues.

Truth is, I was not cycling as much and my diet was suffering from a lack of discipline. But what to do? Ride more; eat like I wanted to live. As a reminder, I bought a digital home blood pressure monitor for $80 - the cost of a nice dinner out, somewhere.

I do not use the monitor to plan my individual meals, as this does not make good health sense. Rather it is a reminder and a trend indicator; down is good, up is bad. After three months, my numbers are back.

Good science is not a telescope to look past the obvious. If you do not exercise and have a bad diet – the result is clear. We are 99.9% genetic copies, whatever the color. It is behaviors that drive our results. This is the 'salty' truth.

James C. Collier


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