Category Archives: Health

High Pulse Rate at Rest

The other day whilst in a conversation with a friend, she asked me if I knew the meaning of the term “High pulse rate at rest”.  I explained that it is the term used to describe the number of heartbeats per minute when the body is not in exercise mode.

When we are just resting, relaxing or not doing anything the heart doesn’t need to pump so strongly.  It is a bit like an automobile waiting at the kerb with the engine ticking over. The minute you put your foot down or need extra speed the engine will use more revs to deliver the power.

pulse rate at rest

ECG Graph

A normal pulse rate should be between 50 – 70 pulses per minute. Tests done by Danish researchers using 3,000 middle aged men over a period of sixteen years showed that the higher the resting heart rate, the higher the risk of premature death.  It was calculated that every 10 to 22 additional beats per minute in the resting heart rate dramatically increases the risk compared with those who had rates below 50 beats.

Even people with above average fitness levels aren’t immune from risk and researchers admit that they have no idea why this is so.

Healthy eating to avoid high pulse rate at rest

Healthy Eating

Lifestyle habits such as a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking all help to keep the pulse rate normal, however there are other factors that can’t be so easily controlled.

Some common reasons that may cause a change in the resting pulse rate are:

  • Air Temperature.  If temperature and humidity go up the heart may need to pump more blood causing the pulse rate to increase.
  • Medication.  Some prescribed medications can cause a rise or drop in the heart rate. Doctors are well aware of the side effects so it is wise to be fully conversant with the facts about any medication you are taking.
  • Emotions.  This can be difficult because stress and anxiety are well known triggers for an increase in the pulse rate but combating it isn’t easy.

I know first hand about the effects that stress can have on the pulse rate.  When my mother died suddenly Chris and I were away working in another state and were also under a bit of pressure at work. We were running a busy city hotel at the time which was quite stressful.
I started to notice that when I sat down after work and when I was in bed my pulse rate was galloping along. Naturally I worried about it which made things worse so I went to see a doctor.

He did a few tests and assured me that although my pulse rate was elevated it wasn’t too bad and I wouldn’t need medication. He suggested that because it had probably been brought on by stress I could lower it naturally with a few changes. Apart from my heart rate I was in good shape, very fit and not overweight.

He told me to cut down on alcohol and salt and reduce my stress level.  Since my alcohol and salt intake was fairly low anyway I just cut it out altogether and made a big effort to relax more. After a while things got back to normal and I have been able to re-introduce wine and some salt back into my diet.

A relaxed lifestyle to avoid high pulse at rest

My Relaxed Lifestyle

However I am very aware of the triggers that will cause my pulse rate to increase. I never drink coffee on an empty stomach and limit the amount to two cups a day. I avoid processed food because of the high salt and sugar content, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and lead a relaxed lifestyle.

Not everyone’s triggers are the same, what sets one person off can have no effect on another. A friend of ours has to be very careful with red wine, more than one glass can send him straight to the emergency department.!!

Weight control and exercise are two important factors in helping to keep the pulse rate at a normal level.  Walking is one of the best exercises, a brisk pace is good but find your level of comfort and maintain a steady rhythm.

Walking to avoid high pulse at rest.

Walking is one of the best exercises.

Recent studies have shown that keeping on the move is the best way to maintain fitness. By this they mean move about more on a day to day basis especially if you have a job that involves a lot of office work, getting up and moving about at regular intervals can help to negate the effects of too much time sitting down.

I recently heard someone describe “Sitting” as the new smoking so I make it a point to get up and move about as often as possible. I also chivvy Chris into stepping away from the computer since he tends to get engrossed and forgets how long he has been sitting down.

Talking about maintaining a healthy lifestyle may get a bit tedious but keeping in shape is important if you want to avoid a high pulse rate at rest.

Keeping a First Aid Kit

Having spent several years of our life on board sailing boats I have always been careful to carry a good first aid kit.

Know where the First Aid Kit is Kept.

Living on board with a family in confined quarters meant that there was a place for everything and everything in its place. This rule was strictly adhered to when it came to emergency tools, life jackets and the first aid kit. This was so that at any given time anyone could lay their hands on what was needed even in the dark and despite being tossed about in heavy seas.the first aid kit

When we moved aboard “Roma Pearl” we were planning on doing a few renovations so lots of things were put away in temporary storage places. As anyone who moves regularly knows, temporary has a habit of becoming semi-permanent. The first aid kit got stowed in three separate places breaking the habit of a lifetime. Namely knowing where the first aid kit is at all times.!!

Keep the First Aid Kit Up To Date

In all our time sailing as a family and living aboard as a couple we have only ever experienced a couple of nasty accidents, neither of which were life threatening.

When you don’t need to use a first aid kit very often it is easy to forget that some things go out of date.
When we sold our yacht “Reliance’ and moved aboard “Roma Pearl” I used the opportunity to update the medical supplies.

Our emergency kit is quite comprehensive so it is in three parts. A big box of bandages in all types of sizes, a bag of sterile dressings and a toolbox with compartments that hold all the bits and pieces that makes up a first aid kit.

I wasn’t surprised to find that a roll of sticking plaster had gone tacky and a leather finger guard was brittle with age, not to mention a tube of salve that had practically dried up.

Small Emergency

Last weekend we had lovely weather, warm and sunny the best weather we have had since the onset of winter so Chris took off his slippers and let the sun warm his feet. In fact we both changed into shorts since spring really looked as if it had arrived.

Recently we had new sliding doors fitted at the front and rear of the boat, the flyscreens are so good you would hardly know they were there and through the winter we haven’t had a need to use them. Since it was so warm I had the doors wide open to make the most of the good weather.

We were on the front deck and I had closed the flyscreen, Chris not realizing went to duck inside to get something ,the flyscreen brought him up sharp and he caught his foot on the door frame. He let out an almighty yell and started hopping about on the deck holding his foot which was dripping blood, lots of it.

By this time I am on a search and find mission to find the first aid kit. By the time I found it, think frantic rather than an orderly search Chris had calmed down a bit and had managed to slow the bleeding. He had sliced right across the fleshy bit just under the big toe, a nasty wound that obviously needed stitching.

We taped it up and headed off to the emergency centre at the local hospital. The hospital is only small, Mannum being not much bigger than a large village so being Sunday the doctor was on call. The doctor arrived not long after we were admitted so once Chris was safely in the care of the medical staff I headed back to the boat to rescue dinner.

Just before all the drama I had put a roast in the oven and started on the vegetables, however before departing for the hospital I had turned it all off for safety reasons.first aid kit for a small emergency

The hospital is only ten minutes away so by the time I got dinner back on track and swabbed all the blood off the decks I got back just as the doctor was finishing up. He told Chris he was very lucky since he had managed to scrape the tendon without cutting it. The staff informed us that Chris was the third” foot” of the day, obviously the warm weather was a signal for everyone to remove their shoes.

Back on board with his foot taped up Chris felt well enough to tuck into the roast beef with trimmings. Amazingly despite the emergency we sat down at much our usual time for dinner.
Mind you Chris was unable to help with the washing up since he was under doctor’s orders to put his feet up.!!

Needless to say the first aid kit is now altogether in one place and won’t be moved anytime soon.

Keeping Cool

Keeping cool in the tropics isn’t too difficult if you are sailing or swinging at anchor. The boat will face head to wind which means there is always a breeze flowing across the bow. Even when it is hot on land there is nearly always a breeze at sea.

We have enjoyed a very good season in the Whitsunday’s but it is now officially summer and the start of the cyclone season so we have taken up residence in the marina. We still plan to go out to the islands when we can, especially at Christmas, but we have the security of a permanent pen in the marina if we get a cyclone.

Keeping cool under the awning.Many boats choose to stay out during the season and only come in if a threat is imminent, this means that the marina can fill pretty quickly. We prefer the peace of mind knowing that we have a spot booked.  At this stage we are booked in until next April so we will enjoy all the benefits of living on terra firma, or as close to that as it gets on boat anyway.

One of the more important benefits will be the ability to use the air conditioning as much as we like for keeping cool. We can actually run it at anchor if we use the generator but having spent a lot of time down south we haven’t felt the need. However now we are in the tropics it is a different story. Being this far north makes a big difference especially when the rains come.

The only problem with air conditioning is the need to shut all the hatches, I hate feeling shut in. Fortunately the boat is light and airy so it is not claustrophobic, after having everything open all year it feels strange to be shut in.

I am always aware of the sun when I go out and wear sunscreen and a hat. However now that there is more bite in the sun I wear my UV protected shirt even for short trips. At this time of the year Chris and I try to go for our walks in the early morning or late afternoon, a couple of hours either side of midday is just too hot.

Unfortunately keeping cool is harder when the rains come, it becomes very humid and air conditioners have to work very hard to keep the temperature down. We do have fans on board which help to move the air around especially at night when we have all the flyscreens in.

The mosquitos haven’t been too bad so far because it has been very dry and we only started using flyscreens a couple of months ago, it has been lovely going to bed with everything open. Chris would have them open all the time because the mozzies don’t bite him, nor do any other insects come to that, but they love me. He doesn’t understand how mozzie bites can itch so much and is amazed that I will pursue a mosquito with such single minded determination.

All the tourists of course walk about in next to nothing, great staying cool but no good for long term skin damage. Most of them find it a novelty to walk about in the sun and in all fairness probably don’t get chance to do it often.  In this part of the world it isn’t even unusual to see dogs in UV protected coat!

Of course part of the process of keeping cool means staying hydrated which fortunately isn’t a problem when it is so hot.Keeping cool by drinking water Apart from our usual tea and coffee we keep a good quantity of cold water in the fridge, nothing quenches the thirst like water and it is quick, easy and cheap. During the hot weather we also feel the need for lighter meals, plenty of salads and fruit. Apart from keeping us hydrated it also keeps the waistline in trim.

It can get uncomfortable at times but the price of keeping cool is all worth it when we get the perfect weather to go sailing and anchor out in paradise.

Vitamin Supplements

Like most people we take a few vitamin supplements to help our diet. We don’t take many and we like to ring the changes a bit so that we don’t take a particular product for too long.

best of vitamin supplements, fish oilI only take one type of vitamin supplement, which is fish oil capsules. Funnily enough although we live on a boat we don’t eat a lot of fish. Chris doesn’t fish and I only dabble at it now and then, I’m not very good so we don’t catch anything. We aren’t fond of seafood in general so consequently we don’t eat any where near the amount of fish we should, hence the fish oil tablets.

The rest of our is diet is pretty good, plenty of greens and vegetables, fruit every day, and meat and dairy on a regular basis. We also exercise every day and sleep well at night so it is surprising that Chris gets periods of lethargy and tiredness.

We have just been in the marina for a few days to stock up on food and water and do all the usual chores that need doing after two weeks on anchorage. While we were shopping Chris thought he would look at some vitamin supplements to see what was available for his particular symptoms. There are several multi-vitamin packs for men including a selection for men over the age of 65.

However after reading all the labels and studying all the blurb he decided not to bother. Read the labels to find the best vitamin supplements for youFor some time now, after purchasing a zinc level testing kit he has been taking zinc tablets and they have made a difference to his overall health. More importantly they have helped to keep the mouth ulcers at bay; these are painful and can drag on for days. Zinc is present in several types of food such as beef, lamb, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and especially seafood. However one of the best sources of zinc is oysters and they definitely aren’t something either of us can eat.

Although there is still debate about whether we need to take vitamin supplements or not I think they are helpful when you aren’t getting the daily requirement from your diet and our lack of fish is a good example. Obviously getting our vitamins from food is the best solution but it is good to have another option when that isn’t possible.

It can be very confusing when you are browsing the vitamin supplements section of the health store because there are vitamins for everything. If you took them all it would run into hundreds, common sense has to prevail and you just have to decide which you need the most.

Luckily we don’t take prescription drugs so we don’t have the added worry of trying to work out what works with what. I remember when my mother was alive she had to stop eating grapefruit because it interfered with one of the prescription drugs she was taking so it pays to be careful.

Although age is obviously a factor in energy levels Chris feels he should be feeling more energetic, so we will just have to keep an eye on it and see how things go. Perhaps 70 isn’t really the new 50 after all and we are feeling our age!! Fresh fish rather than vitamin supplementsAt any rate we are both in pretty good shape and we have a healthy lifestyle so we shall continue to take vitamin supplements. I might though have to think seriously about learning to fish, how hard can it be?

Skin Cancer

The dreaded words “Skin Cancer” raised their ugly heads last week after a visit to the doctor for a check-up.

Chris noticed an itchy spot, more like a pimple really, in the vee of his neckline. He always wears polo shirts and leaves the buttons undone as most men do. Obviously it is a high risk area since it is always exposed to the sun.

I already had an appointment to get my blood pressure checked so he made one to get the spot looked at. My blood pressure turned out to be ok but Chris now has an appointment to see a surgeon because the pimple is a skin cancer.

Over the years we have both had Carcinomas which doctors have removed effectively, even a fair sized one which I had on my throat. However the need to see a surgeon means that this is a bit more serious.

Non melanoma skin cancers such as, Basal cell carcinomas or Squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancers of which there are over 400.000 cases a year.

Cover up clothes to avoid skin cancerAs a result of having had carcinomas removed I am a bit paranoid about covering up when I go out in the sun. We generally like to time outings so that we avoid the midday sun, especially in summer. I wear my “Lawrence of Arabia” hat and if I am going to be out for a while I wear a shirt that blocks the ultra-violet rays.

There is a whole range of clothes designed to block the sun rays in hot climates.  My shirt is lightweight, has long sleeves and vented panels for air flow, it is also a popular design with fishermen.  I have noticed in the last few years that parents are buying UV protection garments for their children when they go to the beach.

It is important to check skin regularly for any small spots that don’t heal; moles in particular can change shape or colour which can be indicative of skin cancer. Use sun-screen, wear a hat, cover high risk areas and avoid sunbeds.Invest in T-shirts and tops made of UV blocking material if you are going to spend a lot of time in the sun.

The appointment to see a specialist is next week so we left the marina and will spend a few days on anchorage before going back in. The weather is fabulous at the moment and Chris has a couple of jobs on the boat that call for dry weather so he is cracking on with those.  We also have some cleaning and general tidying up to do because our son and his partner are coming to visit next month. We are really hoping for some good weather so that we can do some sailing.

We have decided to go into the marina for the cyclone season, from mid December to mid April. We were in two minds about staying out but if a cyclone comes we don’t want to be scrabbling about at the last minute for a marina berth so we are playing it safe.

Sun shade for skin cancerBeing in the marina is very different from living on anchorage, we will miss the scenery but one advantage is that we get to walk a lot more. We have a 15 minute walk into Airlie Beach or a 30 minute walk to a shopping centre; both are next to the water which makes them very enjoyable.

Since the cyclone season is also the hottest part of the year we have to be extra vigilant about covering up to avoid skin cancer. The best time of day is usually early morning and evenings, it is lovely to walk before or after the heat of the day. We have a big awning which helps to keep the boat cool and affords us plenty of shade.

Like most other cancers the key to healthy skin is prevention and early detection.