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Solar System Takes Shape

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

The Sumerians, the world’s first known civilisation who thrived in Mesopotamia in modern-day  Iraq 6000  years ago recorded a great deal of the history of the Earth on hundreds of thousands of cuneiform clay tablets and cylinder seals, most of which are yet to be unearthed.  

The first such texts were discovered   by a prospecting team led by Sir Austen Henry Layard, a British archaeologist and global explorer, whilst they scoured among the ruins of the city of Nineveh (now called Mosul) in Iraq in 1849.  Altogether, a cache of 50,000 tablets was  found. Many more tablets and fragments of such were in due course found at Ashur, Kish, and Uruk and today nearly 31,000 of these ancient clay tablets are now housed in the British Museum, with most of them yet to be translated.

Arguably the most famous Sumerian text is the Epic of Creation. It is commonly referred to as the Enuma Elish, after its opening words which mean,  “When in the heights …”  During his 7th century BC reign, the famous Assyrian King Ashurbanipal sent emissaries far afield in search of ancient texts and recovered many invaluable records, including the oldest stories of Adam and Eve and the Flood. He copied many from cuneiform originals three thousand years older and sealed them within a vast underground library he had specially constructed for the purpose at Nineveh. The last and 7th stone exalts  the handiwork and greatness of “The Lord”. Hence  the comparison with the Seven Days of Creation found in the Bible, which borrowed its theme from the Babylonians during the Jewish captivity and they in turn from the Sumerians.

Recovered by the Layard party from the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh in 1849, the Enuma Elish was published by the pioneering British Assyriologist George Smith in 1876 under the title The Chaldean Account of Genesis. The Enuma Elish consists of about a thousand lines etched on seven clay tablets in Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform script. All the tablets, save for Tablet 5, are complete texts.  The first 8 lines of Tablet 1 of the Enuma Elish read thus: “When in the heights Heaven had not been named, and below Earth had not been called, naught but primordial APSU, their begetter;  MUMMU;  and TIAMAT – she who bore them all:  their waters were mingled together. No reed had yet formed, no marshland had appeared. None of the gods had yet been brought into being: none bore a name. Their destinies were undetermined. Then it was that gods were formed in their midst.”

Now, in every language, words have a contextual meaning. That is to say,  they do not mean the exact same thing every time they are used. The word “period” is a good example. In most situations, it refers to a range of time. In others, it  refers to a woman’s menses. By the same token, the word APSU, to use only one ancient word from the above passage as an example, means something  very different from what it does  in other contexts.

The Enuma Elish is at once an allegory and a factual story of how the Solar System came to be,  how it evolved, and how life arose on planet Earth, with the associated political and exopolitical dynamics. Most scholars, myopic and deluded as they are, have called it a myth, just as they do the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, which is unfortunate. The fact of the matter is that the Enuma Elish is a highly insightful historical chronicle.

THE FIRST FAMILY

What the first 8 lines of Tablet 1 of the Enuma Elish tell us is that the Solar System’s initial first members were a trinity of APSU, TIAMAT, and MUMMU.

APSU is described as the “begetter”, that is, the one who brought MUMMU and TIAMAT into existence.   This of course refers to the Sun, from which all the planets stem. Zechariah Sitchin translates APSU as “one who exists from the beginning”. The Sun indeed was the first celestial body to form in our Solar System. But it is from the Igbo language of Nigeria we get the more direct meaning. APSU is Akpu  Osa in Igbo and it means “Ball of Fire,” precisely what  the Sun is. APSU was also  known as BUIDA, meaning “Faraway One” (from bad [remote]) This is apt as from the point of view of Orion and the Sirius star systems, our Solar System lies on the peripheries of the Milky Way Galaxy.

TIAMAT is described as “she who bore them all”. This simply means primeval Mother. In other words, it was the first planet to arise in the Solar System.  TIAMAT stems from Tamtu, which means “place of killed life” (from Ami [life]; Ata [to kill]; and Tu [at the place  of]), or simply Tamu, which means “of killed life”. Tamu is rendered Tehom in Genesis. The planet TIAMAT  was also called DABUN, meaning “Great One From The Beginning” (from Da [great] and Abun [from the beginning]).  Why was DABUN also referred to as “the place of killed life”? That we will unpack in due course; just stay tuned and exercise a bit of patience.

Elsewhere in the Enuma Elish and other independent Sumerian texts, MUMMU is referred to as counsellor, minister, and messenger of his master APSU.   MUMMU means “one who was born”, that is, the first offspring born of APSU the father and TIAMAT the mother. This of course is the planet Mercury.  Mercury was also known as LACHABA, meaning “Speedy Runner” (from lach [speed, fast] and aba [to run]). Mercury has the fastest revolution around the Sun. It takes only 88 Earth days, when the next fastest, Venus, takes 225 Earth days. The ancient Greek and Romans referred to Mercury as the “fast messenger of the gods”, the term god in this context simply meaning “planets”.

The Sumerian tablets in very vivid language characterise APSU and TIAMAT as husband and wife, with MUMMU as their first begotten son.  The tablets read, “Alone did APSU reign in the void …   TIAMAT, the Mother of All, as a spouse for himself he fashioned. A celestial mother, a watery beauty she was indeed! Beside him APSU little MUMMU then brought forth.  As his messenger he him appointed, a gift for TIAMAT to present. A gift resplendent to his spouse APSU granted. A shining metal, the everlasting gold, for her alone to possess!” In Igbo, MUMMU is Omumu, meaning “those who were born”, which bears out the relevance of the name by which the ancients called Mercury.

When the first three celestial bodies of the Solar System came to be, “their waters were mingled together”.  “Waters” refer not to our familiar liquid water but space, which in ancient times was called the” ocean of the Ka”.  The Solar System’s portion of space  was intact in that at that stage it was not yet divided by the Asteroid Belt, which was not into existence then.  TIAMAT was at the time a barren planet, without a single “reed” or “marshland”,  as all planets are in their formative stages. It had no water bodies or vegetation: it became a “watery beauty” after millions of years. “Their destinies were undetermined” means the orbits (called destinies in Sumerian)  of  TIAMAT and MUMMU   were not stable: they were erratic. Again,  this is very much characteristic of planets in their infancy.  

THE BROOD EXPANDS

Line 10 of Tablet 1 of the Enuma Elish reads thus: “Then it was that the two their waters mingled, divine children between them to bring forth. Male and female were the celestials created; LAHMU and LAHAMU by names they were called. In the Below did APSU and TIAMAT make them an abode.”

The next two planets arose as a pair. They were the masculine LAHMU and the feminine LAHAMU. Both names derive from the consonantal stem LHM, which means “to make war”. They are the planets we today call Mars and Venus respectively. Indeed,  the ancients referred to Mars as the God of  War and Venus as the Goddess at once of Love and War.  LAHMU, Mars, was also called GHALODU, meaning the “Fiery One” (from ghal [fiery, fire] and odu [star]). This was because when seen from outer space, it appeared to give off a reddish, fiery light. Venus, LAHAMU, was also known as  COLMAN, meaning “Desolate Jewel” (from col [desolate, uninhabited, desolate] and man [jewel, gem]).  The ancients were aware Venus not only was uninhabitable but had a luminous jewel-like appearance. Our modern selves only became certain of Venus’s anti-life atmospheric conditions when the space probe Mariner 2 surveyed the planet up-close in 1962.  

Tablet 1 goes on to read thus in Line 11 and 12: “Even before they (LAHMU and LAHAMU) had grown in age and in stature to an appointed size, god ANSHAR and god KISHAR were formed, surpassing them [in size].”

The next pair of planets to be engendered from the “commingled” waters of the royal couple APSU and TIAMAT were ANSHAR  and KISHAR. They were born when Mars and Venus were not fully grown, meaning they weren’t that much older. But they grew to a much larger size than their two elder siblings. Clearly,  ANSHAR  and KISHAR  are  Saturn and Jupiter respectively, the Solar System’s largest planets,  Jupiter being the size of 1300 Earths and Saturn the size of 10 Earths.

Despite being much smaller than Jupiter, the Sumerians called Saturn ANSHAR, meaning “Foremost of the Heavens”. Why? Well,  these guys, folks, knew what they were talking  about. Although Saturn is smaller  than Jupiter, it occupies a larger portion of space because of its rings, which extend from 6,630 to 120,700 km above Saturn’s equator. The rings, which the Sumerians called  “lips”, are largely made up of ice particles. At the same time,  the Sumerians knew Jupiter was the largest planet in terms of compact land, that is, minus the rings (Jupiter also has rings, made up of dust, but they are not that pronounced). That’s why they called it KISHAR, meaning “Prince, Foremost of the Firm Lands”. Jupiter was also known as AUGHA (“The Giant”), whereas Saturn’s other name was DORU (“The Ringed One” or “The Majestic One”).

Line 13 to 21 when paraphrased reads thus: “As lengthened the days and multiplied the years, god ANU became their  (ANSHAR and KISHAR’s) son – of his ancestors a rival. Then ANSHAR first-born, Anu, as his equal and in his image begot NUDIMMUD.”

The above text suggests the next pair of planets took a great deal more time to come into being. The first was ANU, meaning “He of the Heavens”. This is the planet Uranus, which is four times Earth’s size.  The term “ancestors” refers to the initial planets, namely Mercury, TIAMAT, Venus, and Mars, which Uranus “rivalled” in size. Since Mars, Mercury,  and Venus are much smaller relative to Uranus, the only planet that could have rivalled  Uranus in size was TIAMAT, which according to Bode’s Law (a well-attested rule which explains why planets formed in the places they did)  is calculated to have been at least twice the size of Earth.

ANU was followed by NUDIMMUND (“artful creator”), “his equal” and who was his spitting “image”.   No doubt this is Neptune. Neptune’s other name was ANTU. Uranus and Neptune are essentially twin planets. The Sumerian’s other name for Uranus was KAKKAB SHANAMMA, meaning “Planet Which Is The Double” of Neptune. This astronomers of our day have confirmed. Let’s again quote Zechariah Sitchin in the same regard: “Uranus is indeed a look-alike of Neptune in size, colour, and watery content: both planets are encircled by rings and orbited by a multitude of moons … Both have an unusually extreme inclination relative to the planets’ axes of rotation – 58 degrees on Uranus, 50 degrees on Neptune … Neptune’s temperatures are similar to those of Uranus, which is more than a billion miles (1.6 billion km) closer to the Sun.”   Uranus and Neptune also have almost the same day-lengths: 16 hours for Uranus and 17  hours for Neptune.

Uranus’s other ancient name was JULU (“The Lying One”, which is fitting as it lies on its side having a horizontal instead of a basically vertical axis, the only planet which is as such in the Solar System). On the other hand, Neptune’s other ancient name was   KOKEN (“The Blue One”).

Collectively, the four giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – were referred to as the Four GEIGHUL, meaning the Four “Shining Globes” (from kei, gei [shine bright] and gule [globe, sphere]).  It goes without saying folks that the ancients were aware of the composition of the Solar System as what we read in their records has been affirmed by modern astronomy.

SOLAR FAMILY IS COMPLETE

So far, we have eight planets in existence. Three were inner planets, the planets closest to the Sun. They were Mercury, Venus, and Mars in that order. The region of the Solar System in which they were located the ancients referred to as the “Below”, meaning below the Asteroid Belt, which at the time though was not yet in existence: remember, they were writing retrospectively.

The rest were the outer planets, the planets furtherest from the Sun. Since these would later be at and above the Asteroid Belt, their location was referred to by the ancients as the “Above”.  These planets were Tiamat, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in that order.  

Where is planet Earth then? Well, at the time, Earth was not yet in existence in the way we know it today. We shall explain in due course why and how.

How about little Pluto? Pluto has an unusual orbit for an ordinary planet. Its orbit is not circular like other planets but it is somewhat elongated and to the extent that sometimes it finds itself not beyond Neptune, where it ordinarily should be, but before Neptune. When Pluto was “discovered” in 1930, astronomers posited the view that in light of its peculiar characteristics, the planet must have begun as a moon of Neptune before it “graduated” to a planet in its own right.   

Well, the Sumerians had said exactly that 6000 years ago but with a slight difference. They documented that  initially, Pluto, which they called GAGA, was not an independent planet. It was a satellite, or moon, of the planet Saturn. In their sketches of the nascent Solar System,  Pluto in fact is  shown not near Neptune  but between Saturn and Uranus. In the Enuma Elish, Pluto is described as   “ANSHAR’s emissary and counsellor” and also has ANSHAR’s second-born after Uranus, which simply meant it came into existence after Uranus.  In the primordial days therefore, Neptune was the outermost planet.

All this took place 4.6 billion years ago.

NEXT WEEK:  A “GOD” FROM THE “DEEP”

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Appendicitis: Recognising the Signs

29th March 2022

Many a times I get clients casually walking into my room and requesting to be checked for “appendix”.  Few questions down the line, it is clear they are unaware of where the appendix is or what to expect when one does have it (appendicitis). Jokingly (or maybe not) I would tell them they would possibly not be having appendicitis and laughing as hard as they are doing. On the other hand, I would be impressed that at least they know and acknowledge that appendicitis is a serious thing that they should be worried about.

So, what is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix; a thin, finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. Often the inflammation can be as a result of blockage either by the faecal matter, a foreign body, infection, trauma or a tumour. Appendicitis is generally acute, with symptoms coming on over the course of a day and becoming severe rapidly. Chronic appendicitis can also occur, though rarely. In chronic cases, symptoms are less severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. 

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always ends up in the operating theatre. Though the appendix is locally referred to as “lela la sukiri”, no one knows its exact role and it definitely does not have anything to do with sugar metabolism. Appendicitis can strike at any age, but it is mostly common from the teen years to the 30s.

Signs to look out for

If you have any of the following symptoms, go and see a Doctor immediately! Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in acute appendicitis;

Sudden pain that starts around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen within hours

The pain becomes constant and increases in severity (or comes back despite painkillers)

The pain worsens on coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking or deep breaths

Loss of appetite

Nausea and vomiting

Fever

Constipation or diarrhoea

Abdominal bloating/fullness

Diagnosis

The doctor often asks questions regarding the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. This will be followed up by a physical examination in which the Doctor presses on the abdomen to check for any tenderness, and the location of the pain. With acute appendicitis, pressing on and letting go of the right lower abdomen usually elicits an excruciatingly unbearable pain. Several tests may be ordered to determine especially the severity of the illness and to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The tests may conditions include: blood tests, a pregnancy test, urinalysis, abdominal  “How do ultrasound scans work?” ultrasound (scan), CT scan or MRI Scan.

Treatment

The gold standard treatment of acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix known as appendectomy. Luckily, a person can live just fine without an appendix! Surgical options include laparoscopy or open surgery and the type will be decided on by the Surgeon after assessing the patient’s condition. Painkillers and antibiotics are also given intravenously usually before, during and after the surgery.

Complications

Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;

Appendicular mass/abscessIf the appendix is inflamed or bursts, one may develop a pocket of pus around it known as an abscess. In most cases, the abscess will be treated with antibiotics and drained first by placing a tube through one’s abdominal wall into the abscess. The tube may be left in place for a few hours or days while the infection is clearing up but ultimately one would still have surgery to remove the appendix.

Peritonitis – without treatment, the appendix can rupture/burst. The risk of this rises 48–72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix spreads the infection throughout the abdomen (peritonitis). This is life threatening and requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.

Death – The complications of appendicitis (and appendectomy) can be life threatening, only if the diagnosis has been missed and no proper treatment has been given on time. This is rare though with the evolved medical care.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email  HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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A degree of common sense

7th February 2022

Here’s a news item from last month you may have missed. In December 2021 the University of Staffordshire announced it would be offered a degree course in pantomime! Yes, that’s right, a degree in popular festive entertainment, the Christmas panto.

We used to have one here, put on by the Capitol Players, though it seems to have fallen away in recent times, but the spectacle is still alive and well in the UK, both in local ad-dram (amateur dramatic ) societies and on the London stage and most of the major cities, these latter productions usually featuring at least one big-draw name from the world of show business with ticket prices commensurate with the star’s salary.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the pantomime format, it consists of a raucous mixture of songs and comedy all based around a well-known fairy or folk tale. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk & Dick Whittington are perennial favourites but any well-known tall tale goes. There is no set script, unlike a play, and storyline is just a peg to hang a coat of contemporary, often bawdy, gags on, in what should be a rollicking production of cross dressing – there has to be at least one pantomime dame, played by a man and always a figure of fun, and a Principal Boy, ostensibly the male lead, yet played by an attractive young woman.

As an art form it can trace its roots back to 16th century Italy and the Commedia Del’Arte which used a mélange of music, dance, acrobatics along with a cast of comic stock characters so it has a long and proud theatrical tradition but you have to wonder, does that really qualify it as a suitable subject for a university? Further, what use might any degree be that can be acquired in a single year? And last but not least, how much standing does any degree have which comes from a jumped-up polytechnic, granted university status along with many of its ilk back in 1992, for reasons best known to the government of the time? Even more worrying are the stated aims of the course.

Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry. Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.

“We want to see how far we can take this,” Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said. The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, “particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter”. Questions including “how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?” will be asked, Prof Marsden added.

Eek! Sounds like Prof. Marsden wants to rob it of both its history and its comedic aspects – well, good luck with that! Of course that isn’t the only bizarre, obscure and frankly time and money-wasting degree course available. Staying with the performing arts there’s Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Bath Spa University. Sounds like fun but why on earth would a circus performer need a university degree?

Or how about a Surf Science and Technology degree at Cornwall College (part of the University of Plymouth). Where the one thing you don’t learn is….how to surf!

Then there is a  degree in Floral Design at University Centre Myerscough. No, I hadn’t heard of it either – turns out it’s a college of further education in Preston, a town that in my experience fits the old joke of ‘I went there once…..It was closed’ to a ‘T’!

Another handy (pun intended) art is that of Hand Embroidery BA (Hons), offered at the University for the Creative Arts. Or you could waste away sorry, while away, your time on a course in Animal Behaviour and Psychology. This degree at the University of Chester teaches you about the way animals think and feel. Cockroaches have personalities according to the subject specs– you couldn’t make it up.

Happily all these educational institutes may have to look to their laurels and try to justify their very existence in the near future. In plans announced this week, universities could face fines of up to £500,000 (P750m), be stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down if they cannot get 60 per cent of students into a professional job under a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses. Further, at least 80 per cent of students should not drop out after the first year, and 75 per cent should graduate.

The rules, published by the Office for Students (OfS), aim to eliminate ‘low-quality’ courses by setting new standards & requiring courses to improve their rating in the TEF, the official universities ratings system. Universities not meeting the new standards will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. Unconventional courses that could fall victim to the new rules could include the University of Sunderland’s BA in Fashion Journalism, where students learn essential’ skills such as catwalk reporting and the history of Chanel.  They have only a 40 per cent chance of entering highly skilled work 15 months after leaving.

At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of a professional job within 15 months. Universities minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the move, saying ‘When students go to university, they do so in the pursuit of a life-changing education, one which helps pave their path towards a highly skilled career. Any university that fails to match this ambition must be held to account.’

OfS found that at 25 universities, fewer than half of students find professional work within 15 months.  Business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire (14.8 per cent) were among the least likely to lead to graduate-level jobs.  Asked to comment, the University of Sunderland said it always looked ‘to find ways to improve outcomes’; University College Birmingham said data on graduates and definition of ‘professional work’ was limited. I’ll bet it is! As the saying goes, ’what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’. What a pantomime!

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Why regular health checks are important!

7th February 2022

With the world still reeling from the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and the latest Omicron variant (which is responsible for the ongoing global forth wave) on everyone’s lips, we should not forget and neglect other aspects of our health.

While anyone can get infected with corona virus and become seriously ill or die at any age, studies continue to show that people aged 60 years and above, and those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, cancers, or mental illness are at a higher risk of developing serious illness or dying from covid-19.

It is a good habit to visit a doctor regularly, even if you feel healthy. Regular health checks can help identify any early signs of health issues or assess your risk of future illness hence prompting one to take charge and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other non-communicable diseases (even communicable) can often be picked up in their early stages, when chances for effective treatment are high.

During a health check, your doctor will take a thorough history from you regarding your medical history, your family’s history of disease, your social life and habits, including your diet, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking and drug intake. S/he will examine you including measuring your weight, blood pressure, feeling your body organs and listening to your heart and lungs amongst the rest. Depending on the assessment, your doctor will notify you how often you need to have a health check. If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks from an early age.

Diet – a healthy diet improves one’s general health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we have at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Physical activity – regular physical activity has significant health benefits on one’s body, mind & soul. It contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills and improves overall well-being. According to the world health organisation (WHO), people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity at least four days in a week. Examples of moderate physical activity include brisk walking, gentle swimming and social tennis.

Weight – maintaining a healthy weight range helps in preventing long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also vital for one’s mental wellbeing and keeping up with normal activities of daily living. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference annually. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently and a stern management plan in place.

Alcohol – as per WHO reports, alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Healthy drinking entails taking no more than two standard drinks per drinking day with at least two alcohol-free days in a week.

Smoking –Nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, many different types of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, at least a whopping 8 million people succumb from tobacco use worldwide. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers through second-hand smoke exposure. It is not ‘fashionable’ if it is going to cost you and your loved ones lives! If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor and get help in quitting as soon as possible to reduce the harm.

Blood pressure: Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition. Have your blood pressure checked annually if it is normal, you are aged under 40 and there is no family history of hypertension. You might need to have it checked more frequently if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side, or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Your doctor will be there to guide you.

Dental care – eating a low-sugar diet and cleaning and flossing the teeth regularly can reduce one’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and professional cleaning, or more frequently as per your dentist’s advice.
Blood tests – annual to five-yearly blood tests may be done to further assess or confirm risk of disease. These may include blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, liver function, tumour markers, among other things. They may be done frequently if there is already an existing medical condition.

Cancer screening – various screening techniques can be done to detect different cancers in their early or pre-cancer stages. These include; skin inspections for any suspicious moles/spots, two-yearly mammograms for those at risk of developing breast cancer, Pap smear or the new Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years, stool tests and colonoscopy (every five years) for those at most risk of bowel cancer, prostate cancer screening for those at risk (over 45 years of age, family history of cancers etc.). Discuss appropriate tests with your doctor.

Vaccinations – You should discuss with your doctor about the necessary routine immunisation, in particular; the Covid-19 vaccines, an annual flu shot, a five-yearly pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one or you are immunocompromised and any other boosters that you might need.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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