Hello, again, and welcome. I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.
Today we talk about your health.
We will advise about eating less of one thing, but more of another. Then we are off to Africa to hear about trouble in the Central African Republic and its effect on the foreign policy of South Africa. But first, a truly amazing story.
Yuichiro Miura lives by the saying that nothing is impossible. For him, that includes climbing Mount Everest at the age of 80 years. Next month, he plans to climb Everest for the third time. He reached the top of the world’s tallest mountain at ages 70 and 75.
If he succeeds this time, he will set the record for the oldest person to climb the eight thousand 848-meter high mountain. The record, however, is not what urges him on. Instead, he wants to know how he will feel and deal with the extreme cold, thin air and low oxygen levels in the Himalayas. He believes those conditions will add 70 years to the age of his body once he gets to the summit – the top. His daughter, Emili Miura, told VOA that he will feel like someone 150 years old.
“No mankind ever lived that long. That old, and he’s so curious to know how it would be like,” she said. “He would like to know what is the limit, what is the possibility, potential of humankind.”
Emili Miura says her father believes that every goal one sets is within reach.
“He said that if that if you set up your objective, there is infinite possibilities. If you stop, the possibilities stop. That’s his philosophy.”
Yuichiro Miura faces more dangers because of health problems. He has had three heart operations in recent years. In 2009, he suffered two broken bones in a skiing accident.
The head of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation says he would not tell an 80 year old person to make the climb. The expert mountaineer, Frits Vrijlandt, said a much younger person could pass out there in five minutes and die in an hour. He predicted that Yuichiro Miura will have a hard time, but he hopes the best for him.
For Mr. Miura, there is always another goal. He believes that nothing is out of reach.
The World Health Organization says reducing salt or sodium use can reduce your risk of heart disease, kidney failure or stroke. But researchers say the risk would be reduced even more if the amount of dietary potassium was increased at the same time. Caty Weaver tells us more.
The World Health Organization says high blood pressure affects one billion people worldwide. It leads to many deaths or permanent disabilities. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is called the silent killer because there are few apparent signs. Many studies have shown that reducing salt or sodium in the diet can lower the risk of stroke and other health problems.
Graham MacGregor is with the Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry. He and other researchers have examined earlier studies and organized their own.
“When you’re on the high salt intake you always have some extra salt in you and a slightly greater volume of blood. And that’s what puts up the blood pressure. I mean, if you wanted, an analogous thing would be really a central heating system. If you put more water into a closed system, the pressure will go up.”
He says the body does need salt, about less than half a gram each day. However, people in developing countries are eating about eight to 10 grams a day. Professor MacGregor says lowering salt can do a lot to reduce hypertension, but increasing potassium in the diet also helps. People in industrial nations eat about three grams of potassium a day through diet. Professor MacGregor says experts believe eating about four grams a day is the best choice.
Health officials have expressed concern about developing countries with growing economies. Those nations are increasingly turning to a western diet with its salty, sugary and fatty foods. Officials are predicting a sharp rise in heart disease and related problems. I’m Caty Weaver.
The South African military lost 13 soldiers during a fight against Seleka rebels last month. The rebels were seeking to oust the government in the Central African Republic. This was the military’s worst loss in a foreign country since South Africa ended racial separation. The attack led to strong criticism of President Jacob Zuma, who ordered the military operation.
Foreign policy experts are saying the incident could influence South Africa to re-consider its foreign policy. Christopher Cruise has more.
In South Africa, the political opposition is angry. And, the media is talking about the possibility of hidden economic interests for
South Africa’s political leaders. Some media have raised the possibility that South African politicians have cooperated to defend a dictator in the Central African Republic.
Alfredo Hengari is a researcher for the South Africa Institute for International Affairs. He says the South African government deployed extra troops in January. He says that was to be expected under a 2007 agreement between the two countries.
Francois Bozize was still president of the CAR at the time. Mr.
Hengari says South Africa’s big mistake was poor preparation and a lack of understanding of the difficult political realities of the country.
The African National Congress came to power in South Africa in 1994. Observers say the ANC’s foreign policy has helped to support democracy on the continent. Party officials have called for African solutions to African problems. Check Achu is a researcher for the Africa Institute of South Africa. He says the government also believes that helping to increase security on the continent is in South Africa’s interest.
“If one look(s) critically at the number of people that come down to South Africa when there is a problem in any part of the continent, it is alarming. So South Africa, by engaging in the continent, will try to resolve the problem before it actually started – before it escalates to the point where refugees will come down to South Africa.
Mr. Achu said a strong South African continent is needed to support plans to create a United States of Africa. I’m Christopher Cruise.
And I’m Jim Tedder in Washington. Thank you for being with us on this April twenty-fifth, the birthday of one of America’s greatest broadcasters, the late Edward R. Murrow. He often ended his program with these simple words:
“Goodnight and good luck.”
Mr. Murrow, by the way, was once the chief of the government agency that ran the Voice of America. The latest world news follows at the beginning of the hour on VOA.