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Prophets Paint Doomsday Scenario

Benson C Sail
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

… as Day of the Lord looms large

Although Solomon was a great and highly esteemed King, he was resented in one respect: he was a task master bordering on the slave driver. His subjects bemourned the “heavy yoke” he placed on them in his infrastructural enterprises and the tax burdens required to support them.

Then there  was the ever-simmering political grievance on the part of the House of Joseph – the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Collectively, they were the most numerous Israelites and together had the largest territory. In point of fact, the House of Joseph fancied themselves as Israel’s royalty in that Jacob’s anointed heir was Joseph, not Judah, whose role was simply to hold the royal fort till Joseph was old enough to assume the reigns. Thus the House of Joseph resented the fact that the King of Israel was of the tribe of Judah when he should have come from their ranks. So whilst the House of Joseph recognised  Solomon as King, they did so with a clutch of reservations.

In the course of time inevitably, a secessionist movement  arose in Shechem in the province of Mannasseh. It was  led by one Jeroboam,  a dissident  officer in Solomon’s army and a fugitive from the King’s justice.  Solomon had put Jeroboam, an Ephraimite,  in charge of the conscript labour battalions of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, which was a very senior position in the military hierarchy, but Jeroboam was not content: he felt his people were basically enslaved by Solomon’s rather arduous and onerous labour policies. That’s how Jeroboam came to lead an insurrection against Solomon.

The putsch, however,  was crushed and Jeroboam fled into exile in Egypt. There, he was gladly welcomed by Pharaoh Shosheng I (Shishak in the Bible). It was Shosheng who had deposed David from the Egyptian throne and so to him, anybody who was against the House of David and therefore an enemy of his enemy  was a potential  ally. Indeed, Shosheng had vested political interests in Canaan and so viewed the burgeoning power  of Solomon’s dual kingdom as a threat to his own designs to bring the country into his political orbit. 

Meanwhile, Solomon’s grip on power had increasingly become tenuous. Several border cities, one of which was the prominent Damascus, had secured their independence from him. His wisdom and power were not sufficient to deter tendencies to  rebellion: his kingdom had begun to disintegrate long before he gave up the ghost.

Upon his death, Solomon was succeeded by his son Rehoboam. Solomon’s death encouraged Jeroboam to return to Canaan. He based himself in Shechem in the north. The House of Joseph was prepared to rally to Rehoboam for as long as he undertook that he would not over-exert them in  their toils and that he would relax the tax burden. A haughty Rehoboam, however,  made it point black that he would in fact double the strain on them, which would make his father a saint in comparison.

He had crossed the Rubicon. All the ten tribes of the north withdrew their allegiance to Rehoboam and crowned Jeroboam as the new King of Israel. This comprised all territories save for Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon. The latter three became part of  a country known as the Kingdom of Judah. This was circa 923 BC. The United Kingdom had lasted for roughly 110 years having come into being circa 1030 BC.   For the next 200 years, the two kingdoms co-existed uneasily. Indeed, throughout the 17 years  Rehoboam reigned in Judah, the two kingdoms clashed militarily from time to time.    

ADAD AND SHAMASH IN POPULARITY  CONTEST

The tensions and feuds that plagued the Nation of Israel were a reflection of the dissonance between their own gods – the Enlilites. Since the time of the judges, the Enlilites, who posed as one godhead fronted mostly by Ishkur-Adad, were no longer in one accord. Although they were united in their anti-Marduk stance and were determined that he not be the person to receive Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, when he pitched on planet Earth, they were not in agreement as to which Enlilite to supplant Marduk with.

The contending Enlilites were essentially three in number. They were Nannar-Sin, Jehovah-Enlil’s second-born son; Ishkur-Adad, the third born; and Utu-Shamash, Sin’s heir apparent. Each one of these wanted to be the Earth Lord at the expense of Marduk, the lawful Chief Executive of the planet in the still-in-force astrological Age of Aries. Jehovah-Enlil himself had retreated from the centre stage since the accession of Marduk and had practically left his clan to their own devices, just as Enki had in the case of his clan.    

The dilemma now was not solely about who would be in charge of the space-related sites between the Enkites and the Enlilites at the time Anu arrived: it was also about who among the individual Enlilites would be Earth Lord and therefore be the one to receive Anu.  Since Nannar-Sin was naturally a humble, mild, and scrupulous god, the real adversaries in the  Enlilite fold were Adad and Shamash. Adad fancied himself as the main Yahweh, having  instituted and personally overseen the exodus, and it was he who controlled the prophets.
 

Whilst Adad was the main god of the Jews, Shamash, the “Sun God”, was the chief god of the Canaanites (that is, the non-Jewish nations of Canaan), the Phoenicians, and the Syrians. He was best known as Baal, which simply meant “The Lord”. He was typically worshipped alongside and in concert with his twin sister, the irrepressible Inanna-Ishtar who in Canaan was best known as Asherah.

Shamash was a real thorn in the side of Adad. He was a great propagandist and so the Jews were always torn between Adad and he.  An incident is related in the Book of Ezekiel whereby Adad showed outrage at one particular envincement of Shamash’s popularity. “Then he (Adad) brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house. and behold, at the entrance to the Temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the Temple of the lord and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun” (EZEKIEL 8:16). In other words, the men were paying homage to Shamash, whose celestial counterpart was the sun, and this was within the precincts of the very Temple that was built under the auspices of Adad! 

At one time, the Temple was practically overrun by worshippers of Shamash and Inanna, with an Inanna-oriented prostitution ring ensconced in there. King Josiah of Judah had to crackdown on this brazen “idolatory” by killing the “pagan” priests who had desecrated the Temple and purging it of all the “unholy” articles (EZEKIEL 2 KINGS 23).

At another time, Adad had to engage in a showdown with Shamash on Mount Carmel just to demonstrate who was the more powerful between the two gods.  He had the prophet Elijah engage in a contest with the prophets of Shamash and Inanna, who Ahab, the seventh King of Israel, and his infamous queen Jezebel dutifully served.  The two sides, that of Elijah and the Shamash priests,  each placed a sacrificial bull on an altar.

Then each side invoked its god to consume the sacrifices. Elijah’s sacrifice was immediately consumed by Adad’s fire whereas nothing happened to the other party’s sacrifice. According to the terms of the contest, members of the party whose sacrifice was not consumed were to be put to death. Consequently, Elijah had all of 400 prophets of Shamash slain (read I KINGS 18:20-39 for more details). 

PROPHECY INSTITUTED AS NIBIRU LURKS

Circa 800 BC, the return of Nibiru was reckoned to about 200 years imminent. At this juncture, Adad decided to raise prophets both to alert mankind about the planet and to herald the associated geopolitical events  that were certain to arise in the intervening period. It was the imminence of Nibiru in the main which necessitated the commissioning of prophets and not the desirability of painting future scenarios in general.

Adad was to talk to the prophets through visions (holographic projections or motion-picture  imagery), dreams (future scenarios beamed into the mind both whilst asleep and in waking), and oracles (direct pronouncements by Adad himself, which pepper the entire length of the Old Testament in the form of the phrase, “Thus says the Lord”). The Old Testament spotlights 15 formal prophets in all. The first, Amos, began prophesying circa 760 BC, during the reigns of Jeroboam II in Israel in the north and Uzziah in Judah in the south.

The prophets referred to the return of Nibiru as the “Day of the Lord”. Nibiru was the Celestial Lord in that it was the principal planet of the solar system being the home of the “gods”, as the Anunnaki were received as by mankind. Furthermore, it was Nibiru which in the course of the so-called Celestial Battle of 4 billion years ago fashioned Earth and the Asteroid Belt from the planet Tiamat (also known as Maldek) that lay between Jupiter and Mars. Earth and the Asteroid Belt became remnants of Tiamat after Nibiru and its moons splintered Tiamat.

The prophets also referred to the advent of Nibiru as the “Day of Judgement”. The reason it was so-called had to do with the fact that when it approached Earth and drew closer than usual, it engendered catastrophic floods (as it did during the Deluge of Noah’s day), earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, etc. On the other hand, when it showed up but kept a wide berth from planet Earth, hardly any disasters struck the planet if at all.

PSALM 19 extols the planet Nibiru in these words:  “The heavens (the celestial bodies in the ecliptic, our region of the solar system) bespeak the glory of The Lord (Nibiru); the Hammered Bracelet (Asteroid Belt) proclaims his handiwork … He (Nibiru) comes forth as a groom from the canopy (deep in outer space); like an athlete he rejoices to run the course (traverse its elongated orbit). From the end of the heavens (at aphelion, the furthest point from the sun) he emanates, and his circuit (orbit) is to their end (at perihelion, the nearest point to the sun).”

PROPHETS PREDICT DIRE DAY OF THE LORD

The prophets were never absolutely certain of what might befall Earth when Nibiru re-appeared. Since it was always better to err on the side of caution, they chose to propagate doom so that mankind took whatever precautions he could. As such, Amos did not have great news for mankind.  This is what he said according to AMOS 5:18: “Woe unto you that desire the Day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? For the Day of the Lord is darkness and no light.”

Amos described the Day of the Lord as a day when “the Sun shall set at noon and the Earth shall darken in the midst of daytime”, which turned out to be strikingly prescient as we shall see. Amos must have sent the hearts of his listeners palpitating when he told them the horror of the Flood of Noah’s day, when “the day darkened as night, and the waters of the seas poured upon the Earth;” would be replayed when Nibiru hove in sight. 

PSALM 77:6, 17–19 is a flashback to what transpired during the Deluge, which was precipitated by an incoming Nibiru, and therefore what was feared to recur when Nibiru materialised. This is what its author says:  “I shall recall the Lord’s (Nibiru’s) deeds, remember thine (Nibiru’s) wonders in antiquity (in Noah’s day) … The waters (sea expanse) saw thee, O Lord, and shuddered (surged forth to inundate the planet). Thine splitting sparks went forth, lightnings lit up the world. The sound of thine thunder was rolling, the Earth was agitated and it quaked.”

Around 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah was also in full flow concerning the wrath to come at the hands of the dreaded Nibiru. He warned: “Behold, the Day of the Lord cometh with pitiless fury and wrath, to lay the Earth desolate and destroy the sinners upon it”, just as he did during the Deluge when “he came as a destroying tempest of mighty waves”. In ISAIAH 13: 10,13, the prophet sketched out a most sombre picture of what would transpire with the advent of Nibiru: “The stars of heaven and its constellations shall not give their light; the Sun shall be darkened at its rising and the Moon shall not shine its light … The heavens (neighbouring celestial bodies) shall be agitated and the Earth in its place will be shaken; when the Lord of Hosts shall be crossing on the day of his wrath.”

Isaiah referred to Nibiru as the “Lord of Hosts”, hosts in this context meaning  the solar system’s celestial bodies, and characterises its circuit as a “crossing”. This echoes,  uncannily,  its description in the iconic Sumerian text, the Enuma Elish as “the Planet of the Crossing”.  Not to be outdone, the prophet Zephaniah thundered thus concerning Nibiru in ZEPHANIAH 1: 14-15: “The great Day of the Lord is approaching—it is near! The sound of the Lord’s Day hasteth greatly. A day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of calamity and desolation, a day of darkness and deep gloom, a day of clouds and thick mist.”

As the year 600 BC neared, prophecies concerning Nibiru became even more impassioned. In 605 BC,   Habakkuk commenced his prophetic career in Jerusalem and asked Adad as to when the Day of the Lord would come as it now was essentially overdue. Adad said to him: “Write down the prophecy, explain it clearly on the tablets, so that it may be quickly read: for the vision there is a set time; in the end it shall come, without fail!  Though it may tarry, wait for it; for it will surely come—for its appointed time it will not be delayed”, HABAKKUK 2:2–3.

The prophet then proceeded to  rhapsodise about “the God who in the nearing years is coming”. He described Nibiru as a radiant planet – exactly as it is characterised in the Sumerian chronicles – “whose shining splendour will beam as light”. Habbakkuk proceeded thus as per HABAKKUK 3:3-6: “The Lord from the south shall come … Covered are the heavens with his halo, His splendour fills the Earth. His rays shine forth from where his power is concealed. The word goes before Him, sparks emanate from below. He pauses to measure the Earth; He is seen, and the nations tremble.”

The prophet Joel was even more frantic. “The Day of the Lord is at hand!” he warned. The prophet Obadiah was equally vehement. “The Day of the Lord is near!”,  he announced feverishly. Finally, in 570 BC, the die was cast. Adad summoned the prophet Ezekiel and said this to him as per EZEKIEL 30:2-3: “Son of Man, prophesy and say: ‘Thus sayeth the Lord God: Howl and bewail for the Day! For the Day is near—the Day of the Lord is near!’”

BABYLON AND ASSYRIA PREPARE FOR ANU

Whilst in Palestine the prophets underlined the nether or dark aspects of Nibiru’s approach, in Assyria and Babylon the chief astronomers also underscored the positive aftermath. They called this the “End of Days”, the coming to an end of the Age of Aries not very long after Nibiru had retreated. In other words, they seemed to suggest, whatever calamities Nibiru would have wrought in its wake would not spell the end of the world; shortly thereafter, an idyllic age would dawn, something akin to Heaven-on Earth.  The Jewish prophets did hint on this too but they did not emphasize it.

This is what Assyrian records say on a positive note: “When Nibiru will culminate … The lands will dwell securely, hostile kings will be at peace; the gods will receive prayers and hear supplications. When the Planet of the Throne of Heaven (Nibiru) will grow brighter, there will be floods and rains. When Nibiru attains its perigee (closest point to the sun), the gods will give peace. Troubles will be cleared up, complications will be unravelled.”

The Assyrian King Ashurbanipal,  who ruled from 668-630 BC and is regarded as the most erudite of Assyrian kings,  was particularly fanatical about the imminence of  Nibiru. In his book The End of Days, Zechariah Sitchin writes that, “Ashurbanipal was engaged in collecting, collating, translating, and studying all the earlier texts that could (a) provide guidance to the astronomer-priests for detecting, at the first possible moment, the returning Nibiru and (b) inform the King about the procedures for what to do next.”

Since King  Anu was being expected, Ashurbanipal instructed that the ancient Sumerian texts that documented activities and protocols that punctuated the occasion of Anu’s  last visit to Earth circa 4000 BC, be translated into Akkaddian, the mainstream language of the day in Babylonia and Assyria, and be disseminated to his subjects. He also instructed the astronomers to meticulously watch the sky for Nibiru’s appearance. Sitchin: “Among the purely astronomical texts translated and, undoubtedly, carefully studied, were guidelines for observing Nibiru’s arrival and for recognizing it on its appearance.”

One such Babylonia texts stated: “Planet of the god Marduk (as Babylonians referred to Nibiru): upon its appearance SHUL.PA.E (Saturn, which it reaches at this stage). Rising thirty degrees, SAG.ME.NIG (Jupiter, which it at this juncture passes).  When it stands in the middle of the sky (that is, a crossroads,  between Jupiter and Mars, the scene of the Celestial Battle) it becomes  NIBIRU (that is, the Planet of the Crossing).”

Another text says: “From the station of Jupiter, the planet passes toward the west. From the station of Jupiter,  the planet increases its brilliance. Planet Marduk will enter the Sun (i.e. reach Perigee) and  will become Nibiru. The great planet: at his appearance: dark red. The heaven he divides in half (it roughly bisects the solar system when it courses between Jupiter and Mars)." But did Anu actually turn up  or Nibiru wrought such havoc that he was prevented from doing so? Did Earthlings see the “radiant” comet planet which is seen only once  in 3600 years? Make a date with us next week.

NEXT WEEK:   ASSYRIA AND BABYLON CONTEND FOR JERUSALEM

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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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