Top Five Nepali Health Concerns: Tackle Them Now!
|| Whoever said “health is wealth” couldn’t have been more right. If you’re healthy, you’re able to enjoy life and all that it has to offer. But heaven forbid you’re unwell and most of your days are spent being groggy, cranky and visiting the doctor.
There are only so many things you can do in 24 hours, and as you rush around trying to fit it all in, you seldom give priority to your health.
As clichéd as it may sound, a stitch in time saves nine. Being aware of some of the common health issues and taking adequate measures in time can save you a lot of trouble.
The Week consulted several experts and came up with a list of the top five ailments that Nepalis seem to be facing the most.
Ailment 1: Hypertension
Currently the number one health issue faced by people in Nepal, hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure is elevated. The causes can be obesity, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, or genetic trigger.
There are no obvious symptoms of blood pressure but unexplained headaches and dizziness can be a few hints.
Hypertension shouldn’t go untreated as it can cause the arteries to harden and clog which can lead to strokes.
If you’re overweight and suffering from high blood pressure, you can control it with exercise and diet monitoring. Reduce your intake of salt, processed and junk food and have at least three servings of fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
“Get your blood pressure monitored regularly and don’t take over the counter medication without consulting a doctor first,” says Dr Kamal Raj Thapa, MD and resident at Bir Hospital, adding that hypertension is a fairly manageable condition if proper care is taken.
Ailment 2: Diabetes
The incidence of diabetes has escalated in the last 10 years, says Dr. R.N Joshi, Consultant Physician and Head of Department of Internal Medicine at Kathmandu Model Hospital. This is mainly due to lifestyle changes that include excessive intake of junk food and lack of exercise.
There are two kinds of diabetes – Type I and Type II. Type I diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. It can occur at any age.
Type II diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood glucose level. This can be due to poor food habits, lack of physical activity, or can also be genetic.
Excessive weight loss, frequent passing of urine, abnormal thirst and numbness in the arms and legs can be some of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Those who are overweight or have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are at a greater risk of contracting diabetes.
Complications of long-term diabetes include damage to the retina and kidney, heart diseases and strokes, to name a few.
People with a family history of the disease can prevent it by exercising regularly and following a healthy diet regime. Make sure you include fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet. Also go for a brisk walk or do yoga daily.
Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes must make sure to visit the doctor regularly and monitor sugar levels via blood tests.
Ailment 3: Insomnia
An alarming number of people in Nepal today suffer from insomnia. Even though insomnia is not a life-threatening disease in itself, poor sleep pattern can affect your health in the long run. Difficulty in falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night or having trouble going back to sleep again are symptoms of insomnia.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm bath before you go to bed. Flashing lights stimulate the brain, making it harder for you to doze off; so switch off the TV or the computer an hour before you plan on calling it a day. Also it helps if your bedroom has a slightly cooler temperature and is dark.
Ailment 4: Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea usually indicates that there is an irritation or an infection in the intestines. As a result, the lining of the intestines is unable to absorb salt and water from the food you eat and are passed out of the body. Occasionally, diarrhoea is accompanied by abdominal cramps.
The stool can be watery and semi formed, sometimes with blood. Diarrhoea needs to be taken care of right away because it causes dehydration. In children, it can be fatal if not treated in time.
Always wash your hands properly before you eat and also make sure that you maintain proper hygiene while cooking. As far as possible, avoid street foods.
“Have a lot of water or fruit juices to replace the fluid you’re losing in case you’re suffering from diarrhoea,” says Dr Niroj Banepali, a medical officer at Bir Hospital.“Diarrhoea is often neglected but it can cause quite a health scare if not tackled the right way.”
Ailment 5: Depression
Depression can occur in any age. But in Nepal, it is seen as a problem faced by teens and people in the age group of 20-35. Stress at work, problems in your personal life or loss of a loved one can all lead to depression.
Depression can be reactive, that’s when the symptoms are a reaction to a situation in life, or it can be endogenous where depression is caused because of certain chemical changes in your body.
Reactive depression disappears when the problem gets solved or when the patient takes the help of psychotherapy, while endogenous depression requires medication.
Whichever the case be, depression is fully curable and shouldn’t be equated with mental illness. Taking help from family and friends and talking about your problem is the first step in tackling depression.
Experts also suggest keeping yourself occupied with hobbies, or work in case the depression stems from personal issues.
This news item is printed from myrepublica.com - a sister publication of Republica national daily.
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