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10 Best Practices that will keep you away from the Doctor for the rest of 2015!

DR ANTOINETTE BOIMA
HEALTH

We often start off the New Year with a set of resolutions and it is a sad fact that most of the components of that list are often far from promoting good health.  We usually take our health for granted for as long as there is no ‘ish’, ‘lumps’ or ‘bumps’ in our bodies. Health resolutions are not only for smokers, obese people or people with chronic illnesses. They are for us especially…healthy people. Remember Prevention is better than cure!


The following is a synopsis of my all time favourite practices and I am pretty sure if we all follow these our visits to the Hospital will be minimised. We will be talking about each of them in detail in the following weeks. Happy New Year!


Quit smoking – Now! – This deserves to top the list. It is only a matter of time if you are still smoking and feeling well. Even the manufacturers don’t hide this truth, smoking is a deadly habit! From head to toe there is no body tissue or organ that the cigarette smoke does not destroy. It is not cool at all!

HIV Test – Knowing one’s HIV status is not only beneficial to that individual, but also to their partner, their unborn child and the public. It guides ones practices and the kind of help or services that one may need. It can also deter other reckless behaviours that may otherwise have happened as a result of not knowing where one stands. Many people have changed for better after learning of their test result (either Positive or Negative). This is a must do in our highly prevalent country, annually!! Or after three months following a high risk behaviour.

Drink plenty of water – water has endless benefits for the body when it is taken in adequate quantities. At least 2-3L per day is optimal for an adult. It helps keep the body well hydrated and functioning properly. This is just a good habit to keep up with year after year!

Eat Healthy – Stick to the brown carbohydrates (brown rice, mabele, brown bread, brown sugar), less sugary and salty foods, lean steak or skinless chicken, good fats in the form of vegetable/olive oil  and nuts and plenty of greens. Replace fizzy drinks with 100% juice, and avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee and Five Roses tea. This should not be considered a diet plan for Diabetics or Hypertensives but a lifestyle change for anyone who cares about their wellbeing.

Exercise regularly – this should be incorporated in our daily activities of living (DALs). Not only does exercise improve our moods, reduce stress, shape us up and make us feel good about our bodies. Overtime exercise helps us lose weight and improve our fitness levels consequently preventing cardiovascular pathology and cancers. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your health and get off that couch!

Clean your hands regularly – it might be a very small practice but it is for sure the best way to avoid getting sick. Not only should it be mastered by Doctors but anyone can learn to lather – up for 20 seconds after a toilet visit, before every meal or snack or just any other time you feel contaminated. Keep a hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket for convenient use.

Get enough sleep – How you feel during your waking hours or during the day hinges greatly on how well you sleep. Most adults need at least 8 hours of uninterrupted rest every night. If you're tired when you wake up in the morning, you're not getting enough sleep or maybe not enough quality sleep. Apart from fatigue, tension headaches, grumpiness and anxiety symptoms, sleep deprivation has been implicated in lowering the immune system and the ability to fight infections.

Pap smear – This test only applies to women (who have a cervix). Although it is dreaded by most women it is the most lifesaving short procedure a woman can have in her life. Because it picks the cervical changes at their earlier and treatable stage (because it becomes cancer).It is done annually but if a woman has normal consecutive results then it can be done every 3-5 years. Women who are at high risk of cervical cancer are those with recurrent STIs, HIV positives, smokers, those who started their 1st sexual contact at a very young age to mention a few.

Dental Visit – Can I see the hands of those who visited a Dentist in the last year for a regular check- up? Most often we only visit a Dentist when we could not sleep the previous night with a severe toothache. This is a bad habit! Brushing our teeth once or twice a day, flossing and mouthwashing are not enough to keep away periodontal disease. Dentists recommend that we go for regular checkups and cleaning twice a year (every 6 months). This allows them to check for problems that one may not see or feel and detect signs of disease earlier and in their manageable stage.

Schedule a Psychotherapy session – the day-to-day stress that we experience over our jobs, our financial situation, and our relationship woes, a sick relative etc take a toll on many aspects of our health. There is compelling scientific evidence that chronic stress causes a measurable decline in the immune system's ability to fight disease.

Stress se a lwatsa! We need to go for professional psychotherapy now and then. Psychotherapy is not for ‘mad’ people as many people think,  it is a therapy that helps a person get  to know themselves more deeply and how to deal better with their moods, feelings, thoughts and actions.

For any help email agboima@yahoo.com

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