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Bodies need routine maintenance
Health advice
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If you read my articles regularly, you might notice there are topics I write about every year and sometimes more often than that. I do this because these are health issues that cause considerable concern among healthcare providers and researchers. They are also usually the issues that could be prevented through healthier lifestyles, so knowledge of a certain topic is very important.
Experience has taught me that writing these articles is like fishing — I throw out an article and sometimes I catch the attention of one or more residents. Other times, my inbox remains empty. I’ve had several people tell me they got checked for a disease after reading an article I wrote and I think, “That’s interesting. I’ve been writing that same topic for more than 14 years. What made this time different?”
So, I guess it’s important to keep providing the same information fairly often.
Some people are fine-tuned when it comes to their bodies. They register the slightest discomfort. Others don’t give their bodies any thought until a major health problem slaps them in the face. Thankfully, there is another group of people who don’t necessarily note every little pain, but they do pay attention to important symptoms and signs. This awareness includes the knowledge that bodies don’t always emit a signal when its time for a medication change or light up when it’s time to screen for a disease.
Many people go years without realizing they have diseases like hypertension or diabetes. These are called silent killers because many people don’t know the diseases are present until symptoms resulting from complications cause so much havoc they can’t be ignored.
The truth is, our bodies do warn us of potential health problems. And while many symptoms come from fairly simple problems, such as stress, eyestrain, lack of sleep or dehydration, there are other more intense signals. They include:
• Paralysis of the arms or legs, tingling, numbness, confusion, dizziness, double vision, slurred speech, trouble finding words, or weakness on one side of the face or body. These are signs of a stroke.
• Asthma attacks marked by wheezing or difficulty breathing that doesn’t improve require emergency care.
• Signs of a heart attack could include chest pain or discomfort, pain in the arm, jaw, or neck, breaking out in a cold sweat, extreme weakness, nausea, vomiting, feeling faint or being short of breath. In this case, call 911 immediately and give the patient one regular, full strength aspirin to help stop damage to the heart muscle.
• Depression and suicidal thoughts should be addressed immediately
•Tenderness and pain in the back of your lower leg, chest pain, shortness of breath or coughing up blood may indicate a potentially dangerous blood clot in your leg. This is more likely if you’ve been sitting for a long time or if you’ve been bedridden after surgery.
I hope this will be the column that makes you evaluate your health and helps you realize you need to be screened for diseases commonly found in your family. Perhaps now is the time for a physical exam to rule out potential problems or to address them before that option is no longer available.
We all feel better knowing we have some control over our bodies. There is no time like the present to make your health a priority and to treat your body like you would a valued vehicle — give it the proper fuel, take it out for routine runs to keep the engine functioning properly, don’t abuse it with harmful substances and take it in for regular maintenance.
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