Saturday, January 14, 2006

bushmen of the Kalahari desert

The study of other cultures and lifestyles helps give insight into disease processes and aging. Study of the bushmen of the Kalahari desert helps with blood pressure studies. The bushmen of the Kalahari desert age much in the same ways as tropical forest populations. Mean blood pressure did not rise between the ages of 20 and 83. No cases of hypertension or coronary heart disease were found in the population. The serum cholesterol levels were found to be very low. The low cholesterol levels are probably due to the bushmen's diets. Their major sources of food are mongongo nuts and game. The meat they eat has a much lower fat content than that of farm animals.
This population, especially the elderly, living on low-calorie diets that are particularly low in saturated animal fats, enjoy the definite advantage of low blood pressure and low lipid values.
This supports the well-documented view that changes in blood pressure is a function of lifestyle rather an inevitable part of the human aging process.
See also MASAI; NEW GUINEAN HIGHLANDERS; POLYNESIANS; SOLOMON ISLAND TRIBES; SOMALI CAMEL HERDSMEN; TARAHUMARA INDIANS; YANOMANO INDIANS.
Brocklehurst, J. C. Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. New York: Churchhill Livingstone, 1985.

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