Tips on Health and Fitness
Avoid self-medication. Seek your doctor's advice for any medical problems.
Disclaimer - The contents of this site are for your information only. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for any doubts regarding your health.

Stop smoking
Smoking doubles your risk of heart disease and quadruples your risk of sudden death. The risk of stroke, lung cancer, oral cancer and cervical cancer is also increased. In addition, smokers tend to have poor oral hygiene, premature ageing, foul breath, subfertility and erectile dysfunction.
Get your blood pressure checked
High blood pressure (or hypertension) increases the likelihood of heart attack, heart failure and stroke. It is important to keep track of your blood pressure readings especially with increasing age and in the presence of a family history of hypertension. If your blood pressure is high, you need to be investigated for a possible underlying cause, and you have to be on regular treatment and follow-up.

Watch your diet
You are what you eat! Eat sensibly. Eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut down on the red meats and saturated fats. Lower your intake of salt and sugar.

Laugh often and laugh aloud
Develop a sense of humour. Laughter offsets the impact of mental stress. Get a good dose of at least 15 minutes of laughter a day. Don't just laugh at others - learn to also laugh at yourself.

Keep an eye on your breasts
Breast self-examination is recommended on the fifth to seventh day of the menstrual cycle if you are 20 years of age and above. This will bring your early attention to any abnormal lump(s) that may develop in your breasts. An annual mammogram is advisable if you are 40 years and above. An abnormal lump or a suspicious radiological shadow requires investigation to rule out malignancy.

Check out your family health
Genetic factors play a major major role in your health.

Get enough sleep - but not too much of it. Try to get about eight hours of good sleep daily. Too little or too much sleep poses a higher risk for heart attack. Sleep deprivation can cause an elevation of the blood pressure.

Get advice on those lumps and bumps
Don't take any lumps or bumps on any part of your body lightly. Seek the advice of your doctor, especially if any abnormal lumps have appeared recently or if any lump is increasing in size.

Age gracefully
As you go through the senior years of life, keep learning, continue to acquire new skills, maintain close relationships, stay involved in the community, meet people and remain physically active.

Avoid urinary tract infection (UTI)
Women are especially prone to UTIs. To lower the risk of a UTI, you should drink plenty of water, avoid resisting the urge to urinate, wipe your external genitalia from front to back, avoid tub baths, and cleanse the genitalia before making love.

Care for your back
Avoid lifting a load that's too heavy. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the knees and keep your back straight as you lift an object. Lift slowly and gradually, without jerking.

Wear a safety helmet
Make sure you wear a proper safety helmet when you get onto a motorcycle. The primary goal of a motorcycle helmet is to protect the rider's head during impact, thus minimising serious injury to the skull and, more importantly, to the brain.

Get a pet
Pets can be extremely beneficial for emotional health. Taking your pet for a walk or grooming it will make you feel good and inculcate a positive outlook.
Get your blood sugar levels checked
Diabetes mellitus is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Uncontrolled diabetes can also cause blindness and kidney failure. Many diabetics suffer from foot problems, ranging from sores and ulcers to gangrene requiring amputation.

Get your lipid profile checked
High LDL-cholesterol, high triglyceride and low HDL-cholesterol levels increase the risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Cholesterol levels are affected by diet, body weight, exercise, age, heredity, certain medications and some medical conditions like diabetes mellitus.

Be conscious of your weight
Obesity, or having too much body fat, especially around the waist, is an independant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Obesity can also raise cholesterol and triglyceride levels, induce early onset of diabetes and raise blood pressure. Furthermore, many musculoskeletal problems can result from or be aggravated by obesity.
At the other end of the scale, you should seek professional medical advice if you experience unexplained weight loss which could be a tell-tale sign of a serious underlying condition like cancer, diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis or thyrotoxicosis.

Get moving - start exercising
A sedentery lifestyle increases the risk of heart attack. Exercise helps reduce body weight and also lowers cholesterol level, blood pressure and blood sugar. Brisk walking is the easiest exercise and 30 minutes of it a day will meet your health needs. Avoid using the lift. Avoid using the car for short trips. Start using your legs.

Beware the Metabolic Syndrome
The label 'Metabolic Syndrome' applies to a disorder consisting of a big-belly type of obesity, high blood pressure, an unfavourable lipid profile and type 2 diabetes mellitus. In its full-blown form, this syndrome increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by approximately three times. It increases the likelihood of death from coronary heart disease by five to six times. Drastic lifestyle changes will need to be made to improve your health outlook if you have developed this syndrome.

Early Warning Signs of Cancer
  • A distinct change in bowel or bladder habits
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding from any orifice
  • Onset of deafness or ringing in the ear
  • Any persistent unexplained lump or swelling
  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
  • Persistent pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Persistent cough or hoarseness of voice
  • Change in size or texture of a mole
  • Unexplained tiredness and/or weight loss

Cut down on stress

Mental stress triggers or aggravates many health problems. Stress-reducing activities include meditation, yoga, dancing, music, gardening and games.

Don't go overboard with HRT
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is associated with less benefit and more risks than previously thought. The risks include cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, stroke and pulmonary embolism. HRT should be used only for a short period of time to relieve menopausal symptoms, and not for preventing heart disease or osteoporosis. Consider herbal therapies and relaxation techniques as alternatives.

Be moderate on your alcohol intake
Moderate amounts of alcohol (not more than one or two drinks per day) may be beneficial to your cardiovascular system. But heavy drinking is a definite no-no with its higher risk of liver problems (e.g. cirrhosis) and breast cancer. Other ill-effects associated with high alcohol consumption include higher risks for cancer of the mouth, throat and oesophagus; cardiovascular diseases; and pancreatitis. Heavy consumption of alcohol by the pregnant mother can cause foetal abnormalities. Persons under the influence of alcohol are at high risk of getting involved in accidents and violence. Alcohol may also play a role in social and economic problems, and mental health problems like depression and poor concentration.

Immunise your kids
Immunisation protects your child from acquiring various illnesses such as diphtheria, polio, pertussis, tetanus, haemophilus influenzae B, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, measles, rubella and mumps. Some children may have minor side-effects such as slight fever and local reaction to the injection. Serious side-effects are uncommon.

Go for a gynae check-up
Visit your gynaecologist at least once every 3 years. Get a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test and a pelvic examination done to rule out cancer of the cervix and other gynaecological tumours. Early detection means better results of treatment. With regular screening it is possible to detect precancerous lesions which can easily be treated.
Risk factors for cervical cancer include: history of human papilloma virus (HPV) warts; early initiation to sexual activity; multiple sexual partners; history of sexually transmitted infection; history of smoking; having five or more children; lower socioeconomic status; and immunodeficiency states.
About 80% of cervical cancer cases can be attributed to HPV infections. A vaccine is now available to prevent HPV infection and consequently lower the incidence of cervical cancer.

Stop being constipated
Constipation is a complaint of passing stools that are too dry or too hard, or having bowel movements that are less frequent than your normal frequency. Constipation is mostly harmless, but it can occasionally be a sign of underlying bowel disease (including cancer), diabetes, depression or nervous system problem.
To ease constipation, eat more fibre and less processed foods, drink sufficient amounts of water, exercise regularly and develop a regular toilet routine. It is advisable to 'train' yourself to move your bowels around the same time every day.
Persistent constipation or a major change in bowel habits calls for a visit to the doctor.

Breastfeed your baby
Besides being hassle-free and contributing to a closer bond between mother and child, breast-feeding has many other benefits.
Breast milk is easy to digest, has lower allergenicity and contains all the nutrients needed for the growth of the baby, and for the visual, cognitive and psychomotor development of the baby. It also contains components to help the baby fight infections.
Breastfeeding assists in uterine involution and in utilising the surplus body fat, thus helping the mother to return to her previous body weight. In addition, it has a limited contraceptive effect.
To stimulate better lactation, breastfeeding should be initiated within one hour of delivery.

Protect yourself from HIV/AIDS
Practise safe sex. Have sex with only one person who has never had sex with anyone else. Otherwise use a latex or polyurethane condom.
Never share injection needles. Better still, don't use illegal drugs.
Never handle blood or other bodily secretions/excretions without adequate protection.
Get your blood tested for HIV.
You cannot get infected with HIV just by being in the same room with an infected person, or by shaking hands with or hugging an infected person.

Avoid foul breath
Poor oral hygiene, dental caries and gum disease are the commonest causes of bad breath or halitosis. Throat infections and oral ulcers can also cause foul breath. Other causes include foods like garlic and onions, dry mouth, smoking, respiratory diseases, digestive disorders, kidney failure, diabetes and nasopharyngeal cancer.
To maintain fresh breath, drink sufficient water, eat regularly (taking a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding sweet snacks), avoid smoking, brush your teeth regularly (floss to remove food debris), wash your mouth after meals, keep dentures clean and seek dental attention regularly.

Buckling up saves lives
Safety belts (seat belts) are the most effective means of saving lives and reducing serious injuries in traffic crashes. Safety belts stop the wearer from hitting hard interior elements of the vehicle or from being thrown out of the vehicle.
Always fasten your safety belt correctly when travelling in a motor vehicle.

Keep to the speed limit
Lower speeds can reduce the frequency and severity of traffic crashes. Lower speeds give the driver more time to respond appropriately in the face of unexpected dangers. The probability of a fatality is empirically correlated to the fourth power of the speed change at impact.
Keep to a speed limit that is appropriate for the current road conditions. Value your own life, and value the lives of other road-users.

Stay Positive
Maintain a positive attitude for better emotional, mental and physical health. Negativity invites frustration and mental depression. Surround yourself with positive friends and situations.

Power of prayer
Make prayer and worship a part of your daily routine. It will add at least a couple of years to your lifespan by reducing tension and adding a sense of community.