Healthy ways of managing Stress 1

Hi everyone

Yesterday, we discussed the unhealthy ways of managing stress. These ways cause much more harm on the long run. Today we will start discussing the steps in managing our stress in a healthy manner.
You are welcome.

The healthy steps often involve some personal life style changes. We will discuss two of these today.

1. IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF STRESS
The first step is to have an honest assessment and appraisal of yourself (strengths and weaknesses). What is the cause of the stress? Oftentimes, we have a way of dissociating ourselves form the cause. We prefer to identify some other person, situation or condition for our stress. Start by looking closely at your habits and attitudes.

In the case of stress caused by poverty or lack start by looking at your earning power and potentials. The reason you are in lack may be because you have not explored all avenues of earning. Some of us keep waiting for white collar jobs; or certain types (or class) of jobs. Please pick any available job no matter how small; it is a start (you can grow). Any little earning will reduce the stress of poverty. Perhaps, you are waiting for ‘Big Business’? It is not easy to raise loans these days. Those who got loans (some from money lenders) are still suffering under the burden of the debt. Please do not wait for big money: start with ideas. Are you overspending? Some of us overload ourselves with bills. We make so many purchases (most are unnecessary) on credit.

If there is stress in the home (bad marriage, divorce, separation, poorly behaved children, domestic violence ETC) it is wise to look at your won contribution. It takes two to tango. The same goes for stress in the workplace. You can complain about your horrible boss; how about your are coming, your numerous errors, your lackadaisical attitude and poor work ethics. You have to accept responsibility for your role in creating or maintaining it, if not, your stress level will remain outside your control. A little change in your self may just be what you need.

2. AVOID UNNECESSARY STRESS
This is akin to the first step. Many of us overload ourselves with activities and responsibilities at work in church, socially or otherwise. We have too many fish to fry. For some it is in expenditures. WE must have our babies abroad, go on holidays, send our children to the most expensive schools, live in high brow areas, drive the most expensive cars, wear designer wears and generally keep up with the Joneses. Please you must know your limits and stick to them. You will spare yourself a lot of stress. Please learn to say ‘NO!!.

In the place of work, it is wise to delegate duties some of the duties. If there is any other person who can do it, let him or her do so. Women please delegate some house hold chores to your children. They may not do it well, but they will learn and gradually take over the chores; the sooner, the better.

It is wise to avoid red-button topics. Issues of race, religion, ethnicity, family, alumni, denominations ETC are discussed with so much passion. Nobody wants to admit that that which he/she belongs to or believe in is not good enough. Wars, religious and race riots have been caused by ‘supposedly simple’ conversations or actions. Another common cause of stress is the traffic. It is wise to find a way around it. This may include a new route, earlier timing, relocation ETC.

Painfully, you have to avoid people that stress you: this may not sound ‘Christianly’ but there are persons who give you ulcers. Please let go of such toxic relationships or keep away for awhile.

Thanks for reading
We will continue tomorrow

Unhealthy ways of managing Stress

Hi everybody

From the foregoing, you will agree with me that so many of us are under stress. This may arise from our homes, academic activities, relationships, office, business, deadline to meet and so on and so on. There are many ways of managing stress. Some of the methods are healthy while some are unhealthy.

Today, we will start discussing these various ways. You are welcome.
Unhealthy ways of managing Stress

1. Alcohol: The use of alcohol is probably the most common way of managing stress. Many people who do not take alcohol actually start drinking alcohol when under stress. Those who drink alcohol may start drinking more. A common saying is ‘Drowning my Sorrows’ in Alcohol. Painfully, it is not only the sorrows that are drowned. Most persons eventually drown themselves along. Taking Alcohol is a terrible way to handle stress.

2. Using substance/drugs; The use of substance and or drugs is another unhealthy way of handling stress. Most of the abused medications usually make the person to ‘feel good’; some relieve pains and aches or help the person to sleep better. The person therefore keeps taking more and more to feel good. Eventually the person becomes an addict. Drug or substance addiction is a terrible situation which eventually destroys the person.

3. Overeating/Under eating; Many people response to stress with either excessive or reduced consumption of food. This is common in those who have depression. The persons who overeat end up with obesity and obesity related diseases. The ones who under eat end up with ulcers and malnutrition (Vitamin deficiencies are very common).

4. Excessive Sleep; Some others handles stress by sleeping excessively. These people are generally referred to as ‘lazy people’. It’s like they just go to bed to avoid ‘seeing the next day’. They are like the ostrich who buries his head in the sand to seeing danger. Clearly, this method does not work as the danger looms and eventually catches up with the ostrich. Please, do not go to sleep, you need to wake up and face the issues.

5. Procrastinating; Procrastination is another unhealthy way of handling stress. As I write this sentence, I realize that I am guilty of this procrastination: Yes ooo, writing this blog doesn’t make me perfect). It means that I do not know it all and so I make mistakes also. However, I am ready to accept my mistakes as well as share what I have learnt thus far.

6. Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems; This is another unhealthy way of handling stress. Some persons ensure that they are too busy. They fill all the hours with one programme, activity or another. This is another way of putting the head in the sand.

7. Taking out your stress on others: This method is common also in those who are under a lot of stress. This includes lashing out, angry outbursts, violence (physical, emotional, psychological, sexual violence and all). The unlucky recipients are usually members of the family (spouses and children), co workers, colleagues, friends and other close persons. This method destroys not just the person but it also destroys wonderful relationships.

8. Suicide/Murder: Painfully, this is the worst ways of handling STRESS. Some persons totally loose it and either kill themselves or others. Lately in Nigeria we have heard of persons who either jumped into the lagoon or taken ‘Sniper’ to ‘End it All’. Is there someone out there who thinks that it is over?
PLEASE IT IS NOT OVER UNTIL IT IS OVER!!!!

Let’s start talking about the HEALTHY WAYS tomorrow.
Thank for reading

Negative effects of Stress

Hi everyone

You are welcome to a new week

We started discussing Stress last week. Today, we will be looking at some of the many negative or bad effects of stress.

The general effects of stress include impaired cognitive performance, the suppression of functions of the thyroid gland, blood sugar imbalance and reduced density of bone and muscle. Others are increase in blood pressure, poor wound healing and increase in abdominal fat (yes, increase in abdominal fat). This increase in abdominal fat may arise for poor feeding habits, alcohol ingestion and or poor exercise.

Specific effects of stress are as follows:
Effects on the mental functions include forgetfulness, poor concentration, poor judgment, anxiety, constant worry and seeing only the negatives. In essence, the person under stress does not function optimally at his or her job. Such a person makes many mistakes or generally under performs.

Emotional effects include moodiness, irritability, short temper and inability to relax. The person feels overwhelmed, lonely, isolated, depression and unhappiness. Such a person is difficult to be around; family members and friend start complaining.

The physical effects are aches and pains, diarrohea or constipation, nausea, chest pains, dizziness, frequent colds, loss of sex drive ETC.

Some of the effects on the behaviour include eating more or less (weight gain or loss) as well as sleeping too much or too little. Others include isolation, procrastination or neglecting responsibilities. Some persons may have nervous habits like nail biting, pacing around and excessive fidgeting. Some resort to using alcohol, cigarettes, or recreational drugs; these lead to addictive disorders.

It is worthy of note that Stress plays a huge role in triggering or worsening diseases.

Some of the common disease that are affected by stress are as follows:
Hypertension (elevated blood pressure): Hypertension also called the ‘Silent Killer’ as noted months ago in this blog. Hypertension destroys the blood vessel with subsequent destruction of the eyes, kidneys, heart and brain. This leads to other diseases like Stroke, Heart Failure, Heart attack, kidney failure —–. Stress also leads to abnormal heart rhythms, palpitations, headaches and sleep disorders.

Stress also leads to allergies, Diabetes, thyroid disease, skin conditions, lack of menstruation and sexual disorders.
The poor appetite may lead to ulcer, while over eating will lead to obesity and further health issues. Others diseases are cancers; Stress predisposes to many cancers.Furthermore, there may be dependence disorders like Alcohol, smoking, and drug addiction.

In children, stress can cause difficulties in speaking and learning. Such children do not do well at school. Stress in the home as well as bullying at school cause poor performance in children. In addition the children may also develop behavioural issues. In view of this, it is essential to ensure that the home is a comfortable and safe haven for children.

Thanks for reading.

Types and Sources of Stress

Hi everyone

Welcome

Today we will go further to discuss the types and sources of Stress.

TYPES OF STRESS
There are basically two types of Stress; EUSTRESS (Good or positive stress) and DISTRESS (bad or negative stress)
Eustress /good stress exerts a healthy effect and makes us to feel good. It only occurs for a short period of time and gives us the ability to generate our best performance or maximum output. This is the most recognizable type. It commonly occurs when there are deadlines to meet, examinations and interviews, accidents, sudden illness or bad news in the family ETC.

In these situations, the ‘Normal stress response’ is activated. Such a person is has extra strength, agility, focus and concentration. The person is able to navigate and achieve great feats.
When the stress becomes overwhelming, such a person has DISTRESS.

DISTRESS
There are three types of Distress: Acute, Acute Episodic and Chronic

Acute Stress
Common causes of acute stress have already been mentioned like deadlines to meet, examinations and interviews, accidents and sudden illness. The stress is worse when there are two or more events at the same time. Some of the features are anger or irritability, anxiety, and depression. There may be headache, back pain and jaw pain. The person may also have heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation. The blood pressure and heart rate increases. Others are sweaty palms, palpitations, dizziness, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Acute stress can crop up in anyone’s life, and it is highly treatable and manageable.

The second type is Acute Episodic Stress.
This type is seen in Type ‘A’ individuals who take on too much. They are always in a hurry, disorganized, short tempered, anxious and tense. The painful thing is that they underachieve. This type is also seen in ‘Worry warts’. These persons worry over everything. Hence they are always anxious and tense. They also underachieve on the long run.

Chronic Stress
Chronic stress is the most severe form of stress. It stems from the stress of unrelenting demands and pressures for seemingly interminable periods of time. The grinding stress that wears people away day after day, year after year and gradually destroys bodies, minds and lives.

Sources of Chronic Stress
There are many causes of stress. Stress in the home may arise from bad marriage, separation or divorce. Stress may also arise from an illness/ death of spouse, family members, near relative or friend. Other common causes are poverty, in-laws, lack of pregnancy, sex of the baby, children’s behaviour or poor performance, violence and sexual abuse. Stress in the home is often destructive and actually kills since the person contends with it every day. Most persons will benefit from counseling.

Stress at work arises from meeting demands and deadlines at work, excessive work pressure, poor relationships with colleagues, favouritism and sexual harassment. Other sources include, threats: physical threats, social threats, financial threat, other threats and fears setback to your position in society/status quo. Stress in the office may be better managed especially after promotion or transfer.

Thanks for reading

Stress Management 2

Hi everyone

Welcome

This week, we are discussing Stress Management
We have noted earlier the ‘Normal Stress Response’ by the human body. This response is seen once there is danger or threats like running from a lion or snake, in the war front, when there is a fire outbreak….. . In our modern society however, stress doesn’t always let up as the source of our stress may not be this ‘Primitive’. Many of us harbor anxiety and worry about daily events, relationships, finances etc. Therefore, the stress hormones continue to wash through the system in high levels, never leaving the blood and tissues. In essence, the stress response that once gave ancient people the speed and endurance to escape life-threatening dangers runs constantly in many modern people and NEVER shuts down.
Hence, many people are under a lot of stress.

Noteworthy is that stress is highly individualized and depends on many variables. Such variables include the following:

1. The novelty; The novelty or newness of the experience matters. It is easier for someone who has had or witnessed a similar experience to bear the stress than when the experience is entirely new. A person who had experienced poverty and thrift in management of funds as a child is more likely to cope with joblessness or economic recession than one who was born with a ‘Silver Spoon’. Such a person has had a prior preparation. This explains why Nigerians and students from the developing world perform extremely academically well when they study in the developed countries. This is mainly because they had withstood terrible conditions in their home countries to acquire an education. Being in a better academic environment, these students excel having overcome more dire challenges; they have been well prepared.

2. Genetic makeup and temperament: Human beings all differ in their nature and temperaments. We all do not respond or react in the same way. Hence some persons may go into depression after a traumatic experience while another person may bear it and even establish a foundation based on the bad experience.

3. Rate; The rate of the events also impart greatly on the individual. Having recurrent issues can be overwhelming for any human being. The rate of occurrences is often an issue.

4. Intensity/Degree; The more intense the event, the more stressful. Ill health causes a lot of stress in the family. However, a mild flu is a far cry from cancer. The intensity of the pains, suffering and incapacitation differ significantly and as such cause different levels of Stress.

5. Duration: This is self explanatory. Just having a stressful condition for few days differs from having a problem that lasts for years or even decades.

6. Socio-cultural factors; Our cultures, religions and beliefs also affect us significantly. In a religion or culture that practices polygamy, a woman may not be upset when her husband takes a second or third wife. It is normalcy to her; in fact it is actually expected. This is in contrast to the woman whose religion and culture believes and practices monogamy. Another common issue is that of child bearing. In the African culture, children and posterity mean so much to us. As such a childless African marriage may actually be hotter than hell in itself. On the other hand, in the western world, some persons make a decision not to have a child. There may be neither stress in that marriage nor any stress from the relatives.

In essence, what gives you stress and what gives me stress are not the same. Please, do not berate anyone for his or her response to the life issues. We all respond to stress differently because the VARIABLES differ.

Thanks for reading

Stress Management

Hi everyone

Welcome
Please let me apologize for my absence in the last month. Hmmmm, it was a hectic time with a lot of stress; work load, broken down car, ….. Let’s just say that it was a “November to Remember”.

You remember that the last series was on Stroke. On the last day (October 31st) I promised to discuss Stress management; as part of Stroke prevention. This topic is pertinent with all the happenings in recent times in Nigeria and the world in general. The Nigerian economic recession has put a lot of financial burden on most families. Superimposed on the economic hardship are issues with security, ill health and all. Many of us are almost losing control; some are coping in all the wrong ways.

In view of this, we will discuss STRESS MANAGEMENT this week.
You are Welcome
Stress is a common everyday word and concept. I am under a lot of stress…. I don’t want any stress… ETC

What is Stress?
Stress is actually a psychological process that is set off by certain events which threaten or harm us as human beings. It results when the circumstances exceed available coping resources It is characterized by psychological responses that are directed towards adaptation Results from physical or/and mental ‘positive or negative pressure’ to overwhelm adaptive capacities.

One of my favourite quotes is by Donald Tubesing. He said “”Stress is like spice – in the right proportion, it enhances the flavor of a dish. Too little produces a bland, dull meal; Too much may choke you.

This gives us the knowledge and understanding that stress is part and parcel of life. There is a level of stress that makes for ‘Normal Life’; everybody needs and actually goes through this type of stress.

Normal stress response
The body responds to stress by releasing certain hormones. The most important of these is Cortisol: also called the stress hormone. These hormones equip you to ‘fight or flee’.
In this scenario, the stress hormones speed through the body causing breathlessness, pounding of the heart leading to increased speed and strength. In addition, the concentration becomes focused, reaction time is quicker. There is also marked reduction of pain. Such a person is primed to ward off or flee from an impending threat. Those fleeing from threatening situations keep running even with severe injuries and only stop when they are safe from the harm.

Magnificent feats are achieved when the stress response is activated. Some of will remember the story of the Malian illegal immigrant who scaled a building from the ground to save a child on the fifth floor in France last year. That degree of strength, speed and agility was because of the ‘Stress Response’. In fact, women have been known to single handedly push off a loaded bus about to crush their baby. A young child may actually carry an ailing parent away from serious harm like a burning house. Such persons will usually say’ I don’t know where the strength came from…… This is because they had an unusual power; not commensurate with their age, size and usual strength.

When the stressful situation ends, the hormonal signals switch off the stress response and the body returns to normal. The enormous strength goes down and the person feels sapped. The person also begins to feel the pains and note the injuries.
This is the normal stress response.

Thanks for reading

Stroke Prevention 3

Hi everyone

We are still on life style modifications that reduce your risk of having stroke. Today we will be discussing Alcohol and Smoking.
You are Welcome

Alcohol and smoking are dangerous to your health; most organs are affected. Furthermore, the deleterious effects of Alcohol are worse in the women. Alcohol should be limited to about 3 bottles of beer( commonest Alcohol in Nigeria) /week for men or 2 bottles /week for women. Smoking should be stopped totally.

Recommended steps to reduction of Alcohol intake include the following:

1. Make a decision on your own
The decision to reduce or abstain from Alcohol (and quit smoking) needs to be your personal decision. It is helpful to have a review of your life and see all the numerous benefits you will derive. The first and most important is ‘A Healthier You’. You will be healthier in all aspects. Some of these include lower blood pressure, better sleep, better concentration, weight control, improved fertility…… The list goes on and on and on. In addition you will have better relationships with your family, wife, siblings, friends, colleagues and all. More so, you will save some money also. Most persons who drink Alcohol (in bars) are generally duped by the bar owners. These reasons will motivate you to work on it. It will not be easy but it can be done.

2. Never drink on an empty stomach
You will notice that persons who are dependent on Alcohol barely eat. This is because Alcohol has some calories that give a filling effect to such persons. It is always better to take Alcohol after eating. In this manner, the person gets some of the needed calories from the meal and is less dependent on Alcohol for the calories. It is also wise to drink slowly instead of gulping down your drinks. You are more likely to drink less when you drink slowly. Another scheme is to drink water or juice in addition.

3. Avoid peer pressure
People that drink generally overdo it in the presence of others who are also drinking. It is not very easy to be a teetotaler among persons who drink. There is a lot of pressure to at least taste the drink. It is therefore wise to avoid your ‘Drinking buddies’ and situations that will entice you to drink like parties. If you cannot avoid such situations, then learn to say’ NO’ politely. Do not feel obliged to accept a drink. Some advocate that you should not have Alcohol in your house since it will take a lot of discipline to avoid drinking.

4. Get support
Tell your family, friends and well wishers about your plan to stop or reduce Alcohol intake. You need their support, love and encouragement. Give an account of yourself to your loved ones as they help you to stop. It is wise to keep a diary to monitor your progress. In addition, a diary may expose the conditions or situations that made you to drink. Some countries have support groups like Alcohol anonymous which helps tremendously.

5. Keep busy
Ensure that you do not have free periods that encourage you to drink. Take your job seriously and develop new healthy hobbies and habits. Habits that involve physical exercise like walking, gardening, participating in sports, laundry, washing your car are encouraged. Other hobbies include reading or even taking extra classes, courses, writing a blog, learning a new Language or how to play a musical instrument. These hobbies help to occupy the extra time.

6. Healthier ways to cope with stress
A lot of people take to drinking, smoking or use of other substances because of stress. There are healthier ways to cope with stress. We will discuss Stress and Stress management next week.

The steps mentioned above also apply to quitting Cigarette smoking( including piping, snuff, ETC). In addition to these, remove all the smoking reminders like cigarettes, ash trays, lighters, pipes ETC. It is also wise to have substitutes (chewing gum, candy, carrots, fruits, nuts ETC) to use when the craving comes. There are also Nicotine substitutes which can be used; discuss this with your Doctor.

Painfully, passive smokers( those that inhale from other smokers) are also at risk of developing these diseases. Hence the passive smoker should support the spouse, fried, sibling or colleague to quit smoking. There will be health benefits for both of them.

Thanks for reading

Prevention of Stroke 2

Hi everyone

Today we are continuing on our series on the Prevention of Stroke. We will be looking at the healthy Diet.
You are Welcome.

Most authors will advocate eating ‘the Mediterranean Diet’. This may sound loud or far-fetched to us. This is the diet of the countries that live near the Mediterranean sea like Greece and Italy. Studies have shown that such persons are less likely to die from heart diseases and stroke.

The Mediterranean diet however is a lot like our traditional African diet. In fact, medical literature written many years ago noted that there were no Hypertension, Diabetes, Stroke and Heart attack in Africa. The painful truth is that we imported these diseases by changing our diet to the ‘Western Diet’. It is therefore pertinent that we go nearer our African diet than the imported western diet.

It will interest you to know that the world refers to our food as ‘The Healthy West African Diet’. Notable is the fact that ‘uncultured societies’ (bush men) do not have these diseases listed above because of their Primitive Diet. The diseases come on board not with age but with urbanization.

The world is saying ‘AFRICANS GO BACK TO YOUR FOOD’!

COMPONENTS OF OUR FOOD ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1. Fresh foods
We eat all our foods either fresh, in their natural forms or with minimal processing. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables (fresh from the farm). You note that we just kill our chicken, goat, bush meat, cook and eat it immediately. When it comes to beef, we buy it bleeding on the table. Other foods like yams, potatoes, grains are left in their natural forms (may be dried) till the time for cooking. Some other foods undergo minimal processing like preparing Garri, Amala, Tuwo, Akamu, Agidi ETC. The process required does not involve additives or preservatives.

2. Plant products
We eat more of plant based meals. All our staple foods are derived from a plant eg grains, yam, beans, potatoes ETC. Note that whole grains are very healthy, however, the excessive processing make them into pasta and pastries; unhealthy forms. We naturally do not eat a lot of meat in Africa. You note that we name our meals by the carbohydrate component. For example: What did you eat; we will reply ‘Rice’, ‘Yam’, ’Garri’ ETC. This is because that was the major component of the food with one tiny piece of meat (I am not advocating large quantities of Garri or pounded Yam—-). Meanwhile, the Western world name their dishes with the meat content eg bacon and egg, Steak, beef casserole, meat balls, corned beef ETC. This tells us the difference in the components of our food. They eat much more meat than we do. We borrowed large quantities of meat from them. It is therefore wise to limit our intake of red meat. We should eat lean or white meat ( like poultry) .
3. Plant oils
We Africans eat mostly plant oils like palm oil, groundnut oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado pear, cotton seed oil,ordinary pear ETC. Plant oils are the healthier oils to eat. We borrowed animal oils like milk, cheese, butter, margarine, salad creams, cakes, meat pies ETC. Dairy products were not a major part of our meal in most parts of Africa. It is wise to limit their consumption.
4. Sea foods
Sea foods are very important because they contain Omega 3 fatty acids which are healthy. Sea foods include fish, crayfish, periwinkles, clams ETC.

5. Fresh fruits, vegetables , nuts and seeds
Our African diet contains a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables. Hence we are able to eat our sugar in unrefined forms. We borrowed the refined forms like sugar, sweets, candies, chocolates, cakes, soft drinks ETC.

6. Limit Salt intake
We already noted that salt should be reduced. Using herbs and natural spices may help in reducing the salt intake.

7. Drink gallons of water
Some of us (like me) barely drink water. We drink tea, coffee, soft drinks, juice ETC. Please let us all repent like me and increase our water intake remarkably.

Worthy of note is that our children should be introduced to this ‘Healthy African Diet’ very early in life. Limit the intake THE WRONG FOODS (sweets, chocolates, soft drinks, cakes, meat pies, biscuits ETC).

Thank you for reading. It is not an easy journey but it can be done. Let us do it together.

Prevention of Stroke 1

Hi everyone

Welcome

Today October 29th 2019 is the World Stroke day as noted yesterday.
The theme is ONE IN FOUR OF US WILL HAVE A STROKE: DO NOT BE THE ONE!!
In view of that, we will take the next few days to look at ‘PREVENTION OF STROKE’.

Some of these have already being discussed two months ago as part of lifestyle modification. We will look at them again as follows:
1. Control of high blood pressure. Half of the persons who have Stroke have Hypertension. This percentage is much higher in our African patients where as many as 70 % or more of our Stroke patients have Hypertension. The problem with Hypertension is that it is the ‘Silent Killer’. It never warns the sufferer; hence the person continues moving about not knowing that he or she is actually very ill. It therefore behoves us to take charge. You and I owe it to ourselves to check our blood pressure. This can be done easily in any nearby hospital and health centre. Thereafter, if the blood pressure is elevated, you need to see the Doctor to carry out some tests, prescribe medications and all. In addition, you need to take the steps out lined earlier; last week of August to control your blood pressure. One of the most important steps is the reduction of Salt intake. The steps in Reduction of salt intake are outlined on this blog ( August 30th and September 2ND editions).

Highlights are as follows:
—-Avoid unnecessary salt
—-Reduce the use of cubed sweeteners
—-Avoid packaged foods
—-Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
In essence, KNOW YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE TODAY AND CONTROL IT!!!

2. Exercise It has been shown that persons who have Stroke are usually those with a sedentary life style. Regular exercise about 20-30minutes in a day about five times a week is advised. Aerobic exercises that involve movement of the whole body like running, jogging, swimming, cycling are recommended. They are therefore very effective.

However, a good number of us complain about the ‘Time FACTOR’ in exercise. Where is the time to exercise in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives? We are always in a hurry to catch up with work, appointments, schools runs, church activities ETC. Having a time scheduled for exercise seems unrealistic and unachievable. This leads us to the concept of NEAT!!
The concept of NEAT is about incorporating exercise and physical activities in our daily lives. You will please note that Newspaper vendors are always ‘FIT’. This is not because they registered in a gym. However, their job involves a lot of walking. Eventually, the physical activities add up. The new cliché is that ‘Sitting is the new Smoking’. This is because sitting all day does not equate to physical activity. It is not healthy to sit all day like some of us do (in the car, at the office, on the couch, watching TV ETC). We are slowly killing ourselves. Some of the steps to incorporate physical activities in your everyday life have been discussed on September 7th edition.
Highlights are as follows:
Walk as often as you can
Use the staircase instead of the elevator
Park your car some distance from your office and walk to the office
Stand when working on your lap top; Newscasters on international networks stand to cast News.
Do some of the house work like cleaning, gardening, laundry ETC
See off your visitor
Take a stroll around your house

Remember ‘SITTING is the new SMOKING’

See you tomorrow

Stroke Awareness

Hi everyone

Welcome
I am sorry about my absence from this blog for some days. I had issues with my phone and internet access. I am glad to be back.

Tomorrow 29th October is the World Stroke DAY. In view of that, we will be discussing STROKE this week.
You are Welcome

WHAT IS STROKE?
Stroke is a common BRAIN disease. It is often devastating because it is an acute disease that affects persons that were considered healthy or ‘normal’. The name probably arises from the dramatic features. Regrettably, many people die from Stroke. The Stroke survivors usually have some remaining problems with walking, talking, mental functions ETC.

The dramatic nature is the reason Stroke is considered a spiritual disease as is mirrored in most of our African languages. In Igbo language, it is called ‘Mba Agbara’ (a hug from the spirit), ‘Ekpo mia’ (a slap from the spirit) in Ibibio, ‘Ofa’ (an evil arrow) in the Yoruba language and ‘Shana inna’ (evil paralysis) in the Hausa language. There are other names from other African languages.

Medically however, Stroke is a medical disease that affects the BRAIN. The brain is probably the most important organ in the body because it controls all other parts of the body. Every function of the body (thinking, seeing, talking, moving, steadiness, hearing ETC) has control from the brain. It is therefore extremely important that the brain functions optimally.

I personally call the BRAIN a ‘greedy’ organ. This is because the brain makes up ONLY 2% of the whole body. However, it requires as much as 15-20% OF THE TOTAL BLOOD from the heart to function effectively. A reduction of the blood to the brain is simply disastrous.

Stroke results when the blood supply to the brain stops suddenly. This can occur in two ways: accounting for the two Major types of Stroke.

1. The first type of Stroke occurs when there is a sudden blockage of the blood vessels (like blood pipes) to a part of the brain. This leads to a sudden cessation or abrupt cut off of blood to that part of the brain. The part of the body that is controlled by that part of the brain suddenly stops functioning.
2. The second type occurs when a blood pipe to the brain bursts from high pressure/tension. The blood flows into the wrong space instead of reaching the correct part of the brain. The features are also very dramatic. Such person may have preceding headache.

Features of Stroke include:
Sudden weakness of one side of the body
Sudden deviation of the mouth to one side
Sudden dizziness
Sudden inability to see on one side
Sudden lack of feeling on one side of the body
Sudden loss of consciousness
Sudden inability to speak

There are few others. Anyone with these features should be rushed to the hospital immediately for emergency care.

Risk Factors of Stroke
There are factors that make one person more likely to have a Stroke than others. These are referred to as risk factors. Some of the risk factors are not within our control like older age, black race, male gender and family history.

However, there are certain important risk factors within our control. These include Hypertension, Heart diseases, Diabetes Mellitus, Excessive Alcohol intake, Cigarette Smoking, Obesity, excessive Cholesterol and others. The essence of this blog is for you to take charge of those issues within your power to control.

The theme for the World Stroke Day is 1 in 4 persons will have a Stroke: DO NOT BE THE ONE!!!
Tomorrow, we will talk about reducing YOUR risk of developing a STROKE!.

Thanks for reading