(In photo: Mr David Ugwuozor)
Blood is the elixir of life. If the blood is tainted, the body is sick – it’s really that simple. The idea of blood health, however, is too vast a concept for medical thought to have developed a consensus; blood reaches all parts of the human body, and, therefore, a concentration on blood health tends to take a back seat to research on more specific health conditions.
Clean blood, of course, is more likely to keep the body functioning efficiently; which is why blood drives are important. January is National Blood Donor Month, so please do give blood. Clean, healthy blood saves lives!
The experts at the Centre for Clinical Hematology in Singapore break it down like this: “Blood is essential to life. It carries oxygen and essential nutrients to all the organs of the body. Maintaining good blood health can ensure our organs and body tissues function effectively. It can also prevent anaemia and improve your general health. Hence, it is necessary to ensure that your body receives the necessary nutrients required for healthy blood.”
They go on to highlight the most important elements for maintaining optimal blood health:
“The blood is a very active organ with many cells that turn over rapidly. If you do not provide your body with the right nutrients, your blood production can deteriorate, and you increase the risk of anaemia, bleeding, or bruising.
“While your blood needs several vitamins and minerals to function effectively, there are three key nutrients which promote the production of red blood cells: Iron, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B12.”
Generally, doctors point to diet (rich in the above-mentioned nutrients), regular exercise, and positive lifestyle choices as ‘big rocks’ in the vital endeavour to keep our blood clean. As goes the blood, so goes the body; eat clean, move often, and practice moderation, and you will be relatively healthy in body, mind, and blood.
Health professionals in Bermuda battle afflictions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and hypertension every day, and top local pharmacist, David Ugwuozor, has expressed grave concerns over the risks of living with high blood pressure – a major blood concern locally.
“Hypertension can lead to kidney damage, which can ultimately result in making the blood pressure worse as well. Hypertension can also thicken the heart muscle, and then can, in certain circumstances, cause heart failure, and other heart problems such as atrial fibrillation and heart attacks. So, it is important that blood pressure is screened regularly; especially for people of African/Caribbean heritage.
“Chronic kidney disease and dialysis is a huge problem in Bermuda, as indicated by the awareness created by the Bermuda Health Council recently. Early detection and treatment of kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol are going to be very important in reducing the health burden of chronic kidney disease in Bermuda.”
Other simple screenings that can help detect and prevent chronic ailments such as cardiovascular disease and kidney damage are blood sugar screening and cholesterol testing. Mr Ugwuozor expounds on the vital role blood testing plays in our holistic wellbeing:
“Blood tests in general can offer a good snapshot of one’s overall health. This is one of the reasons your doctor would usually request blood tests, as they are an effective way to catch illness or disease early, and to see how well the body responds to treatments for several health conditions.”
Getting tested regularly is always a good idea, especially if you are at genetic risk, or have any other health concerns that may put you at risk for chronic disease. Give blood while you get tested!