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Sleep is imperative for every human, especially for women. So what do you think will happen when disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea or recent ones like tight schedule cause you to lose sleep? Well, the implication is very simple; it affects your healthy life, particularly your heart.

The importance of sleep can never be overemphasized, the 8-hour sentence in a useless void, the research is pretty clear on this point: sleep is sacrosanct for healthy living. It helps the brain, mood, keeps you sharp, strengthens your immune system, fights inflammation, and keeps your heart and blood vessels in tip-top shape.

Shelby Freedman Harris, PsyD, Director of behavioral sleep medicine at Montefiore Medical Centers Sleep-Wake Disorders Center in New York City asserted that, “When you’re sleeping you’re regulating hormone levels, you’re regulating insulin levels, your blood pressure is being kept under control, there are a lot of things going on, and if you’re not getting enough sleep you’re throwing these things out of whack. While you are sleeping, the body repair damaged tissue, produces crucial hormones, and strengthens the brain a process called consolidation, which helps you perform a new skill better after sleeping than you would if you spent an equivalent amount of time awake.

Virend K. Somers, MD, a professor of medicine and cardiovascular diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who also studied sleep and heart health stated that “It’s a way for the body to integrate everything that happened over the past waking day and to kind of prepare for the next day.”

A Healthy heart requires good sleep
Women who get less than six hours of sleep a night, as well as ones who don’t spend enough time in the deepest stages of sleep, are at higher risk of heart attacks and strokes than those who get at least seven hours.

A study in Japanese factory workers in 2011 found those who slept less than six hours a night had a five-fold increased heart attack risk over a 14-year span compared with those who logged between 7 and 8 hours a night. Another published in 2011 found that healthy women from 65 and above with normal blood pressure were nearly twice as likely to develop hypertension during the study if they spent less time in the deepest sleep stage (known as slow-wave sleep) compared with those who spent the most time deeply asleep.

There’s also some limited evidence that short-term sleep deprivation may be harmful to those with heart problems. In 2012, Swedish researchers reported that hospital admissions for heart attacks increased by about 4% in the week after the spring transition to daylight saving time compared to other weeks. This is when we “spring forward” and set our clocks an hour ahead, meaning many of us to lose an hour of sleep.

Charles Czeisler, MD, the Baldino; Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston on sleep apnea stated “It’s as if somebody’s choking you, so your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up, and instead of having a daily cycle in which everything slows down at night, instead everything is higher during the night. Over time, even your daytime blood pressure is higher.” In fact, he adds, many experts think sleep apnea may account for one-third of all cases of high blood pressure among adults.

When you feel you have not rested enough during the day and your bed partner says you snore, you should ask your doctor about sleep apnea. According to Dr. Somers “There is enough evidence out there suggesting that sleep apnea is bad that people need to take it seriously.”

Shelby Freedman Harris stated that women with less severe sleep apnea may be able to get their symptoms under control by just adopting strategies that prevent them from sleeping on their back, for example sewing a tennis ball into the front pocket of a T-shirt and wearing it backward. There are even shirts that you can buy with built-in padding to prevent back sleeping.

For more severe cases, a device can help prevent the lower jaw from falling backward into the airway, Dr. Somers says, or a face mask that delivers pressurized air into the nose (called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP) can keep the airway open at night.

Can less sleep make you fat?
Research has suggested that a lack of sleep could be contributing to problems like diabetes and weight gain- both serious health concerns. Some studies have linked shorter sleep to a greater likelihood of obesity, but whether or not sleeping less is a cause or effect of obesity remains unclear.

It is common knowledge that sleep deprivation reduces sensitivity to insulin, the key blood-sugar-regulating hormone while making it harder to metabolize blood sugar properly. Short sleep also boosts levels of hormones that make us hungry, while reducing secretion of the hormones that help us feel full. So it makes sense that being starved for sleep could lead to weight gain even if only for the fact that being awake longer gives you more time to eat.

Dr. Czeisler asserted that women who sleep less but eat more, their blood sugar goes higher and they are more resistant to the effect of insulin than if they ate the same cookie after a good night’s sleep, says. “If you are on a diet to lose weight and you’re sleeping five to six hours a night, 75% of the weight you lose will be lean body mass.”

That means just 25% of the weight you’re losing is fat, he added; when people sleep enough, fat accounts for 50% of weight loss.

Freedman Harris stated, “A lot of women who don’t get enough sleep often say they have trouble losing weight, or they have this slow weight gain.”  Often, she further stated, women who start getting treatment for sleep apnea to find that once they are sleeping better, it is easier for them to lose weight and losing weight may help lessen sleep apnea symptoms. “You don’t have to be overweight to have sleep apnea, but if you are, sometimes losing at least 10% of your body weight can reduce the severity of your sleep apnea.”

Ways to get a sufficient night’s sleep
Once you are in bed, prepared for a healthy seven or eight hours and then stare at the clock for four of them. Is all lost? If you have trouble sleeping for a few days here and there, taking steps to improve your sleep should get you back on track. And you can be assured that you have plenty of company. According to the National Sleep Foundations, 2011 Sleep in America Poll, 60% of U.S adults say they have sleep problems every night or almost every night.

Any woman who finds out that she is having sleeping problems should, first of all, take a careful look at her sleep hygiene, asserted Dr. Harris. This means organizing your surroundings and activities to promote sleep as bedtime approaches. Skip caffeine after noon, she advises (and do not forget that diet soda, herbal teas, and chocolate can contain caffeine too). Avoid alcohol or heavy meals within three hours of bedtime. “Exercise is great for sleep, especially falling asleep,” she added. You’ll get the most benefit by working out five to six hours for bedtime. A hot shower or bath about an hour and a half before bedtime can also be helpful.

Photo Source: Healthline

 “If you cannot sleep, get out of bed, go somewhere else, do something quiet, calm and relaxing, go back to bed when you are sleepy again.” Go to bed and wake up at the same time within a half hour every day.

Dr. Somers warned against making your Facebook, I-phone, or TV your final destination of the evening. Using these devices for communication is clearly eating into our sleep time, says. “People are spending more time being connected than sleeping.” Texting friends, playing computer games, or just watching TV stimulates our brains and bodies at a time when we should be winding down, and the extra light we expose ourselves to when we peer at a screen could be throwing off our body clocks.

This is because when it gets dark, our bodies release a hormone called melatonin that helps make us sleepy, and pre-bedtime bright light exposure especially exposure to the blue light emitted by screens large and small weakens melatonin release. “I have heard a lot of patients say, I’m just watching YouTube videos on my I-Phone at night.” “It might be calming, but it’s actually doing something to the melatonin in your brain. I usually tell people to cut off screen time an hour before going to bed.”

Women with long-standing, chronic insomnia need more than a sleep hygiene tune-up. A few sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of counseling designed to help people change the way they think about challenging situations like insomnia and respond more positively to them, can be helpful. Four to eight sessions are usually enough.

Virend Somers stated, “In the sleep field we actually recommend that patients do that first because it’s short-term and it’s better than getting hooked on a pill.” However, if CBT doesn’t help, medications may be necessary. “They have a place certainly, but they need to be used carefully and thoughtfully.”

“The best way to be sure that you are sleeping enough is to wake up spontaneously without the use of an alarm clock and to feel rested when you wake up. If those things happen and you are not feeling sleepy during the day, then you’re probably sleeping enough.”

Getting enough sleep plays an important role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Proper quality sleeps at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

By
Emekpo Charles.

There are usually many questions that come to mind when planning how to exercise during pregnancy. In this instance, I am referring to physical exercise that is, the bodily activity that improves or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. This type of exercise during pregnancy is important and can help with some of the common discomforts and even help prepare your body for labor and delivery.

 Exercise during pregnancy is considered a basic health routine as health care providers will have you continue with exercise you are involved in or start you on an exercise regimen if you are not active at all. Exercise is usually helpful for both you and your baby.

Is exercise during pregnancy safe?

Before you begin exercising, remember it is important to talk to your healthcare provider, overall and in most cases, exercise is safe during pregnancy. You will usually find it is even recommended. Typically, the first rule of thumb is if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your healthcare provider will tell you to remain active, as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions suggesting otherwise.

Exercising for 30 minutes on most, or all, days can benefit your health during pregnancy. Exercising for just 20 minutes, 3 or 4 days a week, is still beneficial, as well. The important thing is to be active and get your blood flowing.

If you typically get little or no activity, walking is a great exercise to start with. Walking is usually safe for everyone, it is easy on your body and joints, and it doesn’t require extra equipment. It is also easy to fit into a busy schedule.

Too much exercise can be a problem. Similarly, strenuous exercise can introduce risks. It is always important to put safety and health first. This is true whether you are pregnant or not. However, during pregnancy your exercise has effects on more than just one person, this is why caution should be the watchword.

A note of caution here, this is not the time to exercise for weight loss, however, proper exercise during pregnancy will likely help with weight loss after the delivery of your baby. Exercise does not put you at risk for miscarriage in a normal pregnancy. However, as earlier stated the general rule for a pregnant woman is to consult with her health care provider before starting any new exercise routine.

Here are some of the benefits from exercise during pregnancy you may experience:

  •    Helps reduce back pain, constipation, bloating, and swelling
  •    May help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
  •    Exercise could improve your posture before and after childbirth
  •    Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance
  •    Helps you sleep better
  •    Regular activity also helps you keep fit and may improve your ability to cope with labor. This will make it easier for you to get back in shape after your baby is born

If you participated in a regular exercise activity prior to becoming pregnant, it is probably fine to continue to participate during your pregnancy. There are many exercises that are safe to do during your pregnancy, but it is important not to overdo it and to use caution.

You will probably want to avoid these types of exercises during pregnancy:

  •    Activities where falling is more likely
  •    Exercise that may cause any abdominal trauma, including activities that with jarring motions, contact sports or rapid changes in direction
  •    Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing
  •    Bouncing while stretching
  •    Waist twisting movements while standing
  •    Intense bursts of exercise followed by long periods of no activity
  •    Exercise in hot, humid weather
  •    Do not hold your breath for an extended period of time
  •    Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion

       Some basic tips or guidelines on exercise during pregnancy:

  •    Be sure to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes, as well as, a good supportive bra.
  •    Choose well-fitting shoes that are designed for the type of exercise you are doing.
  •    Exercise on a flat, level surface to prevent injury.
  •    Eat enough healthy calories to meet the needs of your pregnancy, as well as, your exercise program.
  •    Finish eating at least one hour before exercising.
  •    Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.
  •    After doing floor exercises, get up slowly and gradually to prevent dizziness.

 

Squatting during labor may help open your pelvic outlet to help your baby descend, so practice squatting during pregnancy. To do a squat, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and slowly lower into a squat position. You should keep your back straight, heels on the floor and your knees shouldn’t protrude in front of your feet. Hold the squat for 10 to 30 seconds; you can rest your hands on your knees…

 Physical exercise is good, especially during pregnancy. It is always important to put safety and health first. Above all, it is advisable to check with your healthcare provider before, during and possibly after exercise, whether you are pregnant or not.

Compiled using information from;

Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Chronic stress about money can affect your health. But you can find ways to overcome your financial stress and improve your well-being. Although your rising credit card debt, missed mortgage payment, or unpaid medical bills may not seem like they’re directly linked to your physical health, financial problems can affect more than just your credit score.

According to the Stress in America survey published in November 2017 by the American Psychological Association, 62 percent of Americans report being stressed about money — and that stress could put them at a higher risk for lower-quality health.

  • How Does Your Income Affect Your Health?

Researchers have long known that money worries contribute to health worries. Financial stresses have been linked to migraine, cardiovascular disease, absences from work, insomnia, and more. It’s well documented, also, that financial stresses can negatively affect mental health, and contribute to depression and other mood disorders, according to an article published in August 2013 in the journal Social Science & Medicine. “It physically hurts to be economically insecure,” write the authors of a study on the effects of financial instability on the body. Their research, published in April 2016 in the journal Psychological Science, found that those with unstable finances reported higher levels of physical pain. In a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, Finnish researchers found that people who reported stressful work or money-related events had an increased risk for having metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. And the risk was increased if people reported several episodes of stressful money-related events.

“Financial stress can be one of the most difficult kinds of stresses, particularly because people can adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms as a result,” says Nancy Molitor, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of psychology and behavioral sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Your finances and the amount of stress you feel as a result can cause you to engage in a variety of unhealthy behaviors, from overeating to smoking to experiencing feelings of hopelessness and depression.  According to a 2014 American Psychological Association survey, 33 percent of Americans reported eating unhealthy foods or eating too much to deal with stress. In the 2017 survey, another 45 percent reported lying awake at night at least once a month.

  • Money Worries Can Take Over Your Mind

Financial stress not only affects one’s ability to function and avoid bad habits, it also affects a person’s ability to think clearly. In a study published in August 2013 in the journal Science, researchers asked shoppers to fill out questionnaires that gave the test-taker a scenario regarding a large and small car repair bill. The researchers tested the subjects’ thinking ability through measuring cognitive control and abstract thinking, and they found that the lower-income subjects, when faced with the large repair bill, performed much worse on the tests. “The most valuable lesson from our studies is that juggling the everyday challenges of poverty imposes substantial demands on cognitive capacity, leaving ’less mind‘ for other tasks, and plans, and successes,” says the author of the study, Eldar Shafir, PhD, Class of 1987 professor of behavioral science and public policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey.

“What’s so important about these findings is that they show the diminished performance that comes with poverty to be not a characteristic of poor people, but a fact about anybody who finds him or herself in contexts of poverty,” he says. These findings suggest that your physical and mental health can directly benefit from having healthy finances.                                            “There’s definitely hope — most people in their lives have periods of financial stress, and everybody’s had these things happen,” Dr. Molitor says. “What makes it worse is to do nothing. Don’t panic. Take a step back, breathe, make a plan, and ask for help when needed.”

  • Molitor recommends taking the following four steps to overcoming financial stress:
  1. Assess your current situation. What spending steps got you to this point? Most often, there are several occurrences leading up to the event. This is not to cause increased guilt but instead helps to identify behaviors that can be changed to improve your future.
  2. Identify your relationship with money. If you have a partner, discuss your relationship with money. This could be part of a search for comfort, luxury, love, power, or something else. Identifying your deeper relationship with money and recognizing that it does not guarantee happiness or security can allow you to move forward.
  3. Ask for help. A trusted friend, financial advisor, senior center, church, community agency, or even your bank can be useful resources for those in financial need.
  4. Make a budget and follow it. While just thinking about the B-word can be stressful, Molitor says that a budget can often be empowering. The most important thing is to make it a realistic budget. Just as it took time to get to this point, it will take time to get out of it. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. “It’s the start of a whole new relationship with money,” Molitor says.

SOURCE: Everydayhealth
By Rachel Nall, RN
Medically Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD

By Cherish Darich

On my part to self-discovery, I realized that I was uniquely made and not necessarily unfortunate as circumstances beyond my control made me perceive. First, I had to learn to love everything about myself, to be appreciative of all of my encounters, and experiences that gradually shaped me to be the woman I desired to be. There were times I genuinely had to come to terms with the fact that I needed to put in more work to carve out a truly virtuous woman, who was not only restricted to her strength but constantly improving on her weaknesses and one of those many aspects that I dealt with was my high tendency to put on a whole lot of weight, especially “in the wrong places” if you know what I mean. I certainly could not keep up with blaming my excessive weight of over 107 kilograms (235lbs) on genetic traits or to the relatable fact that I was over 6 feet tall and didn’t even look like I weighed up to 100 kilograms (220lbs).

Subsequently, I started to weigh my options in this regard, seemingly in another five (5) to Ten (10) years I could weigh over 120 kilograms possibly due to childbirth, advancement in age and bodily structure. For two years I went back and forth on different weight loss programs involving strenuous workouts, unworkable diet plans, high expenses on services, product and so on and so forth but none of these worked and my looks depreciated. I decided to find out what would be easy to come to terms with that would be time efficient and pocket-friendly, over the last one year I have learned to make MY FOOD MY MEDICINE! My solution relied absolutely on everything that went into my mouth, once I was able to cut out my excesses and develop the attitude of eating clean and eating right I lost 24 kilograms over a Year.

There are absolutely no mistakes when all foods, fruits, and herbs were created from the inception of the earth. These foods were deliberately provided so that we would have all that we ever need in regards to our wellbeing, and it indeed justifiable to say that it is a call against nature to depend on harmful chemicals packaged as foods or drugs to survive.  if 90 percent of us ate all the fresh organic products of the earth rather than processed meals packaged and sold at high prices in various stores, the rate of health challenges we would have to face around the world would most likely be greatly reduced.

Most of us are not willing to sacrifice our routine lifestyle of eating for the healthier way of living. We contemplate eating fruits at our convenient time or we depend on the general view of having fruits as dessert after the main course meal or not having to bother taking them at all, it is essential for us all to know how and when different fruits should be consumed and the correct way of consumption. This goes to say that all fruits of any sorts should be taken ON AN EMPTY STOMACH this will in turn aid the detoxification of the system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss, revitalization, regeneration of dead cells and other essential bodily functions.

Fruits are the most important or vital part of our daily consumption, emphasis on fruits been the MOST IMPORTANT FOODS to be consumed. This is not at any point negotiable and because fruits cannot be taken off the menu, it is indeed compulsory to take 3 to 5 different fruits in a day or where this is not accessible certain supplements can be taken on a timely basis (I will be glad if you could send an email to find out recommendable supplements). For instance, if one eats two slices of bread and a slice of fruit the slice of fruit is ready to be absorbed by the intestines, but it prevented from doing so because of the bread present in the system. The minute the bread comes in contact with the food in the stomach and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil! The fruit mixes with the putrefying of other food and produces gas hence one bloats as a result.

 A lot of issues relating to various terminal sicknesses such as cancer and other general body disorder such as the early stage of the greying of hair, balding, nervous outburst, dark circles under the eye e.t.c can be absolutely avoided if fruits and food are eaten the proper recommended way.

Once one has mastered the right way of eating fruits, they have the secret of beauty, longevity, health, energy, happiness and a standard weight. Today as a living proof of one who has experienced tremendous changes in growth and bodily development, I can confidently say am living the Health Beneficial Lifestyle and am ever so proud of my unending results. One of my daily inscriptions since I noticed the changes my body has encountered over time is that “no one can ever go wrong with fruit dieting”.

There is so much more I have to share, it is my vision to mentor over 100 people over a span of 365 days, who will deliberately decide to live a healthier lifestyle! if you are one of those and you desire to know more about fruits to eat at different times of the day, recommended fruits to hasten the weight loss process, how to maintain a healthy glowing skin and how best to consume your fruits as your food, please do not hesitate to send me a mail

Email: cherishdarich@gmail.com 
Twitter: @cherishdarich@gmail.com
Whatsapp: +2347036131594
Ff on IG: @cherishmotivation

By   Dr. Wayne Andersen

The practice of medicine is slowly evolving to address the role that habit and lifestyle play in patient health, but the status quo for modern medicine is still largely reactionary. A patient comes in the door with symptoms of a condition, and we try to provide relief for those symptoms through prescriptions or through invasive medical procedures and when we do not address the core cause of a patient’s disease—which is often lifestyle related to obesity rates continue to rise—the patient inevitably returns with the same (or worse) symptoms as before. This was the cycle I saw again and again as a critical care physician.

Under this limited view of how we help people address their health problems, potentially reversible conditions become chronic, lifelong burdens. For many patients—those who are on prescriptions to treat high cholesterol, or chronic pain or even in some cases type II diabetes, for example—a change in habits and behaviors could reverse the disease and eliminate the need for medications. Please talk to your physician before making any changes, even small ones, to your lifestyle or health.

What often happens in our current medical system looks like this: Bill spends several decades eating unhealthy foods and rarely exercising. He works at a desk and has a long commute, so after a long day, he prefers to relax in front of the television. His cholesterol levels rise, his physician notices, and soon Bill has a prescription for statins to better regulate his cholesterol. Bill’s physician will likely suggest that Bill eat healthier and exercise more, but now that Bill has the statins, he may start to think he has to worry even less about his cholesterol. Believe it or not, many patients make worse decisions when they are on treatment plans like this because they feel as though the prescription will protect them from poor choices. They saw a doctor; they got a fix to the problem, so in their minds, they already found a solution when in reality they are making a treatable issue even worse.

While not all diseases are reversible or treatable through lifestyle changes, many are. Recently, physical therapists have started to make a bigger push to treat chronic pain with lifestyle changes in light of the growing problems with opioids. In terms of medical research, we have known for some time that many of the patients who use painkillers could find relief with physical therapy, but the culture around medicine and around our health in general favors the easy solution: a prescription. I am not suggesting that you throw away your prescriptions. Instead, I am suggesting that you look at your Habits of Health and work to unlock your true longevity potential.

You may find that:

  • Habits of Health can eliminate your need for a prescription by reversing a chronic condition
  • Physical therapy can alleviate pain by correcting the core issue
  • Healthier choices make other aspects of your treatment plan more effective
  • A healthier lifestyle lowers your risk for disease in general

And again, talk to your physician before making any changes to your health or lifestyle, but this is a major opportunity for you and your quality of life. The medical community is slowly coming around to this way of thinking, and you can help be a driver of that change by addressing the root of many health problems: Habits of Disease. Important Note: Always talk to your physician before making any changes to your routine, your lifestyle, or any current treatment plans.

 

Our bodies are hardwired to install habits. By making repetitive behaviors automatic, we free-up processing power for our brains. Instead of having to consciously decide to take each step on the trail home after a hunt, our ancestors adapted so that they could direct their attention to more urgent matters, like watching for predators in the distance.

Today, the power of habits can work for or against us, depending on whether we have Habits of Disease or Habits of Health installed. Something as simple as our posture comes down to habit. With a little bit of mindfulness, correcting your posture can actually ripple into other areas of your health, giving you an extra momentum for your workouts and even your emotional wellbeing.

Here are just a few of the benefits of proper posture:

  • Sitting up straight might reduce stress and increase confidence. The idea of “fake it till you make it” might have some truth to it. Assuming a confident posture, like a superhero pose or simply sitting up straight might actually influence your brain chemistry in a positive way.

 

  • Poor posture could lead to pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, leaving your body out of healthy alignment for long periods of time can strain muscles and support structures in your body, leading to aches and pains. Experiencing this sort of steady pain could discourage you from enjoying other healthy activities!

 

  • Variety is the spice of life, even when it comes to posture. If you’re struggling with your posture, the problem might be that you spend too much time sitting, which in itself opens you up to a host of potential problems. If you take the time to stand, and walk around more often, you help guard yourself against a number of challenges associated with long periods of sitting still.

Fully correcting poor posture can actually take quite a bit of work. It’s possible that old injuries have forced your body into poor movement habits. You might also have areas of your body that are overly tight or perhaps even excessively weak that place additional strain on your posture as your body fights to compensate. For these reasons, a complete posture overhaul actually requires a broader lifestyle change that includes a balanced workout routine and a set of consistent maintenance movements and stretches.

To get you started, though, we can start simple. Even a simple win can be a big win, so don’t discount it. Try starting with these four tips:

  1. When you’re walking or standing, think about having a book on your head (yes, like they might have made you do in grade school). This visualization forces you to align your spines, hips, and shoulders to find a better balance. If you slouch, which is bad, the book falls. So back straight, chin up, and chest slightly forward as you pull your shoulders into a straighter line.
  2. If you’re sitting, a lot of the principles for walking apply too. Picture a book on your head, square your shoulders, and straighten out that slouch. The environment around you, however, is almost just as important. Use a chair with proper ergonomic support and set your keyboard in a comfortable position.

 

  1. Don’t forget about all of the in-between moments as well. If you’re driving, try to maintain proper posture. If you’re sitting for a long period of time, try to stand and walk around once or twice an hour even if it’s just to take a phone call.

 

  1. Talk to your physician about your health history and for tips about improving your posture that is specific to you. If you are experiencing chronic back pain or neck pain, some physical therapy or corrective exercises could potentially alleviate some of that discomfort, and your physician will have the insights into your health history to help you identify those opportunities.

I hope that you are sitting up straighter by now. That’s great! Keep it up!

By Dr. Wayne Andersen

By Patrick C Ezie

Since the beginning of time and as long as man has existed, things have existed, which have the ability to kill man, not just from the adverse threats from harsh weather, starvation, flood, and wild animals which plagued the early man but from a unique kind of organism too small to be visualized by the human eyes, organisms which with the progress of scientific development, will become identified as microbes and the harmful categories of these microbes further identified and termed pathogens (a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease).

These organisms are present all around us and have the ubiquitous nature of sometimes surviving and thriving in the air, water, soil, and even in the human body where a continuous battle ranges daily between the body defenses and these pathogens. The result of these microscopic confrontations are a change in the normal functions of the body, disrupting the regular function of body systems thereby and creating what we have all come to know as DIS-EASE. (A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms)

Human Beings have evolved through centuries and have throughout our lifetime on the planet learnt how to first conquer his environment as seen in the early men who lived in caves and learnt to control fire to prevent death from hypothermia (extreme cold) or hot conditions to prevent death from these adverse conditions. The early Man progressed to understand the difference between poisonous foods and nutritious plants in the environment. He also learnt that some plants had medicinal purposes through trial and error.

However, the modern man faces a different threat from a range of pathogens largely unseen, which have developed capabilities of infiltrating the body systems and causing diseases which can take a plethora of forms ultimately resulting in morbidity or mortality if the disease process is not prevented.

A lot of these scientists such as Louis’ Pasteur, whose discoveries led to the development of vaccination and pasteurization; Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk who worked towards the development of the polio virus vaccine; and Robert Koch who through his work created a postulate for the identification of diseases and the need for isolation of disease especially in infectious cases, dedicated their lives to the study and identification of how to stop these harmful pathogens from decimating the population of mankind. Their work remains the invisible barrier that protects mankind from the onslaught of pathogens.

The work of these great men and many others have laid the foundation for the international collaboration of countries across the world through the United Nations, and the World Health Organization has, over the years developed policies and guidelines which are accepted and domesticated by the member states to ensure that protocols regarding immunization (the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine) are effected to ensure the prevention of vaccine-preventable illnesses.

How does vaccination work?

The body has natural defenses which protect the body from invading organisms; these defenses are both nonspecific and specific. The Nonspecific defenses include the skin, nasal hairs, cilia in the windpipe, acid in the stomach, These processes ensure that a vast majority of invading organisms are destroyed by the body , However for those that escape this nonspecific process, the human body has in its design specific defenses which occur in different types quite similar to the way a country’s defense are stratified into Police force, Navy, Army, Airforce and of course of there are specific units, such as the counter terrorism squad, the SSS etc. In the body these specific defenses are uniquely created to attack a host of microorganisms with the weaponry at their disposal. Some of these cells can engulf the organism and digest them, some cells produce chemicals that destroy the invading organisms.

However during such battles, there are losses on both sides and if the body cells are severely damaged, the pathogen goes on to multiply, and destroy more of the body tissues, eventually resulting in the death of the Host.

During immunization, scientists isolate the pathogen causing a particular disease and weaken it significantly outside the body through artificial means. When the weakened version of the pathogen is introduced into the body through immunization it stimulates the process of the body immune cells to react and acquire a memory of that invasion, so that whenever it is exposed to a real threat, the response is fast enough to eradicate the threat.

At birth also the newborn’s immune system is still immature and hence young children and newborns are very susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases. However some Antibodies are transferred to the child via breastfeeding to protect the child for some time, hence the role of Exclusive Breastfeeding cannot be underestimated.

The Benefits of Immunization Include:

  1. Immunization confers protection of that individual to prevailing diseases in that region: This is why there are concerted efforts to ensure that all children are immunized against illness that is vaccine-preventable which include BCG – Tuberculosis, OPV – Polio, HBV – Hepatitis, DPT -Diphtheria, pertussis, Tetanus Vaccine, and others which include measles, Cerebrospinal meningitis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, etc. which are widespread in the African region.

  2. Immunization has resulted in the drastic reduction in mortalities and morbidities such as wasted limbs in polio, gibbus (humpback in TB). Since the inception of the polio virus vaccine, the rate of polio cases have dropped exponentially that it is almost on the brink of extinction.
  3. Immunization protects the children from suffering fatal forms of the illness. A lot of illnesses if allowed to attack children for the very first time result in fatal outcomes because their immune systems are still immature to galvanize an appropriate response to the invading organisms.
  4. Immunization reduces the spread of epidemics: Epidemics results when the Herd immunity (a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immuneto an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune) to a particular illness is very low. This means that a vast majority of the population do not have the immunity to resist that particular disease as we see in Ebola, Lassa which are not yet vaccine-preventable and as a result, a lot of mortalities result whenever there is an outbreak.
  5. The cost economics of immunization are cheaper for the family, society, and government, as it costs more to treat individuals who develop the illness and even more to maintain those who survive with morbidities such as flaccid limbs, mental retardation.
  6. Immunization also ensures that the health systems can channel scarce resources to focus on more non-vaccine-preventable illness such as cancer, diabetes, Malaria.
  7. Immunization drives economic development and ensures that a vast majority of a country’s citizens are able to commit their best efforts towards the development of the country as it reduces the number of sick days in hospital by that particular illness.
  8. Immunization has led to the eradication of some diseases such as smallpox in 1967 and Rinderpest in 2011.

The role of immunization in the ensuring that children born live healthy, productive lives and grew into adulthood cannot be overemphasized. In the days of HIV, Ebola, Lassa, Dengue fever and other Hemorrhagic fevers, scientists and medical practitioner pray for a vaccine to protect the vulnerable populations most of which are largely still be under testing. It is however sad that for most of the illnesses which vaccines exist, there is still a nonchalance by a few to subject their children to the above benefits because of personal ideologies or religious idiosyncrasies. This happens because they do not understand the havoc these illnesses have caused in history, the loss of lives that occurred when vaccines did not exist, if people were better informed about those times, they would better understand immunizations as a gift to humanity.

About the Author: Patrick C Ezie is a Medical Doctor, an Associate Member of the World Medical Association (WMA), the Executive Director for Africa Junior Doctors Network, and publicity secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association. He contributes in various health journals across Africa.