Making Our Health Top Priority

By Uche Amunike

I was dressing up for work a week ago when a friend called to tell me he would want to ride with me to Awka if I didn’t mind. I accepted and gave him a time and exact place to wait for me. I eventually picked him up and we journeyed on.

Usually, he alights at the Aroma Junction and then, picks a bus to  the government house where his office is, but I had hinted that I was to drive straight to PAX Pharmacy before heading to my office. He asked if I was sick and I told him I just wanted to check my sugar level, having been diagnosed of diabetes early in the year.

He told me he would like to go with me so as to check his status as well. I asked him if he was diabetic and he said he wasn’t, but just wanted to know his sugar level. So, we headed on to PAX. Well, I was glad that my result showed that my sugar level  dropped from 130 to 123.

I was ecstatic because when I was diagnosed, early in the year, my sugar level stood at 170. So, I have since been on medication and been placed on a strict low-sugar diet. It hasn’t been easy, but at least, I was seeing results and it gladdened my heart.

Anyway, back to my story. It was his turn to have his blood sugar checked. Very shockingly, it turned out to be a little above 140. He was shocked and so was I.

He became worried and I actually saw the fear in him. He asked the pharmacist a million questions on what he was expected to do and what diet he should commence and what he should avoid eating or drinking. The pharmacist patiently answered all his questions and counselled him.

I noticed the fear written all over him and he couldn’t stop exclaiming about the fact that he wouldn’t have even known he had blood sugar issues, if he hadn’t decided to pay that visit to the pharmacy.  Eventually, I headed to work. While at work, it got me thinking a great deal.

So many people are walking the streets today without being aware of their health status. This includes even the so called educated people. There are so many cases of people slumping and dying instantly and even that of people quietly dying in their sleep.

Most of them are mostly due to blood pressure issues. Because they do not know that they have such medical conditions, it makes it impossible to identify the symptoms that come with it. There is a likelihood that anybody that crosses age 40 will have the tendency to be hypertensive. We do not need any doctor to invite us to his clinic before we demand to know our health status.

We should learn to take the initiative and carry out such responsibilities. It’s what we owe ourselves. We need to start taking good care of our health while we can. It makes us healthier and stronger.  The man that found out that he had diabetes would have continued eating meals he should expressly keep away from, without being aware of the danger he was exposing himself to.

Maybe, by the time he would realize that he is diabetic, it would have been very severe. Diabetes is deadly. It affects your vision, If you have any wound, it will be very hard for it to heal. Most times, diabetic sores in limbs especially, even lead to amputation. That’s how bad it is. But when it is found out early in the day, it is something that can be managed.

I want to look at some of the ways we can improve our lifestyles in order to stay healthy and strong. We have the problem of proper feeding. Most of us really do not feed well. This is a major problem that pretty much affects our health.

Nigeria is blessed with a lot of good food. From the northern part of the country, through to the eastern part, truckloads of all sorts of food items are brought in massive quantities. What will it take to buy them, preserve and cook with them? We also need to exercise regularly.

Exercising not only makes you burn calories. It keeps you fit as fiddle! Funny enough, most times when I see people relaxing after their daily exercises at the Ekwueme Square, here in Awka or the Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium at Onitsha, the amount of food they consume immediately after and bottles of beer amaze and amuse me. It’s not enough to exercise. It’s expedient to watch what we eat. We need to be disciplined about it. Most of the time, what makes us add excess weight more than anything is the amount of food we eat.

Fruits are also really important for our general health. There are so many cheap and really affordable fruits that one can buy and make a habit of eating regularly to boost our immune systems. Smoking is a very bad habit and causes a lot of health hazards.

It should be avoided as some cases of lung cancer are triggered by the effects of smoking cigarettes. Again, anyone that is above the age of 40 should minimize their consumption of red meat.

It is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. In the same vein, salt and sugar intakes need to be watched. People who are hypertensive react to excessive salt intake. As such, they need to consume it in moderation.

There are certain health conditions that are hereditary. That is why it is important for every adult to know their family health history in order to figure out what is ideal for them to consume or avoid eating. It’s also important to take seriously, the benefits of sleeping, not just early, but for enough hours.

Sleep is a natural immune booster. It prevents weight gain, strengthens the heart, increases productivity, improves memory and reduces stress level. When you sleep well, there is a tendency that you will wake up in high spirits. A good sleep improves your mood. This reminds me of the saying, ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!

I want to talk about Recreation! It’s one thing everybody needs to form the habit of enjoying. We work hard and our everyday life is filled with activity! Our daily existence doesn’t go without stress. That is why we should try and make out time for recreation. Relaxation is an age long practice that people no longer take seriously because of the economic situation in the country.

It is expedient to bring back the culture of recreation where people have fun and good times in order to make their stress less. Laughter, they say, is a good therapy for the body and soul. God created each and every one of us with only one body. We therefore should pointedly take care of it the best way we can so as to live longer and healthier lives.

Ultimately, life is truly short. We need to live it as best as we can. What’s the joy in living if we aren’t healthy and happy? This is an appeal for us all to sit up and take our health seriously. Most importantly, we should take care of our spiritual well being as well.

It balances things in our lives. We should live in the fear of God. I think it makes everything really easy. God Himself is the one and only life giver. Without him, we are nothing. I wish us all a great week ahead as we strive to live our lives mentally, physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually balanced. Remember, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation! Cheers!!!

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