Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Big Four

Years ago at a dinner to recognize traditional karate legend Takayuki Kubota, I was sitting at a table with other middle-age men karateka enjoying the evening camaraderie, food and spirits. As is typical when a group of yesteryear karate warriors get together, the conversations centered on the good old days, the hard dojo training and the post-workout partying that was so common among those attracted to Sensei Kubota’s International Karate Association.

Eventually, the good old day stories passed and the conversations changed to something I didn’t expect – comments and questions from several at the table who were taking high blood pressure medication.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise because high blood pressure or hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and being overweight or obese – the Big Four for lack of a better term – increase with age. Recent reports and statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drive home this truth.

Physician-diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes existed in 10.6 percent of the population of individuals aged 40-59 years and 22.9 percent of the population of individuals age 60 years and over. See Table 54 from the link below.

Hypertension, defined as elevated blood pressure and/or taking anti-hypertension medication occurred in 36.2 percent of the population aged 45-54 years, increasing to 65.0 percent of males age 75 years and over and 80.2 percent of females age 75 years and over. See Table 71 from the link below.

High serum cholesterol (defined as greater than or equal to 240 mg/dL) occurred in 20.8 percent of males aged 45-54 years and 19.7 percent of females aged 45-54 years. Note that these percentages are significantly lower than earlier years, undoubtedly due prescription medications now available. See Table 72 from the link below.

Overweight and obesity
Perhaps the most alarming statistic is that 78.5 percent of males and 67.3 percent of females age 45-54 years were overweight or obese in the United States, the land of prosperity. See Table 75 from the link below.

Here’s a link to these and other statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health, United States, 2008

Thanks be to God that I do not currently suffer from any of these conditions and am prescription medicine free, but if these alarming statistics don’t keep me motivated to eat healthy and train intelligently, then I don’t know what will. I’m heading to the gym this afternoon for a good workout in my fight against the Big Four.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


Anonymous said...

Except for rare cases, all of the other three can be eliminated by dealing with the last one. It doesn't require hard work so much as a hard look at oneself. Eating right and pleasant walks will do it. This blog should be required reading.


Charles Long said...

I agree with Tom. Obesity is the big cause of the others for the most part. There are exceptions, of course. Good blog.