In the past three decades great strides have been made in disease prevention and especially so in heart disease and stroke. As a result death rates due to these problems have declined mainly because people have made positive lifestyle changes. Why is preventive health care so important?? About half of all deaths from heart disease are sudden and unexpected. So there is little opportunity for treatment.
The process that is the basis of heart disease is known as `atherosclerosis". A difficult word indeed and even more difficult to treat. But take heart easier to prevent.
This process often starts in childhood, but may take decades to rear its head as clinical disease so the process of prevention must start as a child. We do not yet quite fully understand all the causes of various diseases and especially heart disease.However many population studies have identified what we in the medical world call risk factors and how to reduce the risks of heart and allied diseases. The risk factors that one can modify, control or treat are:
Tobacco - smoking, chewing.
Abnormal blood cholesterol.
High Blood Pressure.
Obesity i.e. overweight.
Diabetes - high blood sugar.
Prevention is much helped by health check ups at various times in a lifetime - to prevent or detect life-threatening disease - such as diabetes, heart problems and some cancers.
This check up should start in childhood by regular trips to the pediatrician.
During pregnancy and childbirth we often pick up diseases, which would otherwise go undetected as often people do not go to a medical practitioner unless they are ill.
Beyond adult age of 25-40 years, when generally people will go for check up, it is very important for the "senior citizen" to go for a complete check up on a yearly basis as they become increasingly susceptible to both diabetes and high blood pressure.
Today I will concentrate on the first risk factor - TABACCO
It is perhaps one of the worst social evils of our time and of our making.
Smoking is detrimental to not only one`s self but to everyone in breathing distance around. If anything it is even worse for the people around (passive smoking).
Now let us dwell a little bit on the parts of our body that is affected by it.
The HEART - causes narrowing of the vessels supplying blood to the heart, leading to heart attacks, or angina at best.
LUNGS - one of the most important causes of Lung cancer, a lethal killer with no known cure.
BLOOD VESSELS - again causing narrowing with decreased blood supply to any and every part of the body, leading to:
Pain in the legs while walking to even gangrene of the foot.
Stroke - if vessels to the head and neck are affected.
Finally any organ of the body may be affected.
Lastly "chewing tobacco" - which is so common in our country, is one of the leading causes of mouth cancer!! So please run if you even see tobacco, leave alone chew or smoke it.
I will end this session on this warning note!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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