You are welcome to today’s discussion. I titled it ‘3 things to choose’ because of the several choices we have to make regarding our health. Have you wondered why some people prefer poor health because of money, relationship and material things? That is their choice and they have absolute right to choose what they want.
In this article, my job is to educate you to choose good health. Good health is a relative state as it is defined by individuals. That is, what constitute good health to one may be complete ill health to another. For example, air conditioner in the room may constitute good health to someone, but there are people who get sick when they are in an air conditioned room. While some persons crave for weight lose, others are taking all sort of substances to gain weight.
Here are three elements that contribute to good health: 1) Healthy food, 2) Exercise and 3) Healthy environment or community.
Healthy food does not necessarily have to be heavy or light, expensive or cheap. It is not dependent on where it is served. It must not be modern or obsolete. A healthy food is a balance diet that satisfies your body and build it up to full capacity to withstand your daily activities. Anything you eat that make you better and pose no physical, mental, economic and social threat to your life. You should eat food to live and not the other way round. Food is not meant to make you sick. So any thing you take that make you uncomfortable or deteriorate your health should be avoided, whether in short term or long term.
Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. Exercise make your body fit and strong. It sharpens your mind and enhances your alertness. There are different ways you can exercise, e.g. running, jogging, dancing, skipping, bicycling, walking etc. ‘Walking is man’s best medicine’, according to Hippocrates. The strange thing i here people say now is that walking is for poor people, the rich ride in cars, bikes, planes. It is wrong thinking and should be discouraged. All forms of exercise contribute to your well being.
Healthy environment or community constitute a friendly, mutual and peaceful environment. It boost peoples’ hope and trust. It’s devoid of threat, toxins, criminal activities and the like. When people live together peacefully and share in common goals they find fulfillment in what they do which is a major component in mental wellness.
Therefore, you can choose to live healthy despite all life challenges and numerous wrong information available to you. See you later.
Today is world cancer day and i thought it good to discuss screening for prostate cancer. Screening is an inevitable tool to preventing prostate cancer disease.
Screening is a periodic assessment of the prostate to ascertain its viability. It can be called prostate check up. Prostate cancer screening is necessary since there is no obvious cause of prostate cancer, but risk factors like manhood, age, genetic etc. Those at risk can prevent its occurrence or if detected early, get treated and ensure healthy living.
As long as you are a man, you need to screen for prostate disease, especially if you are more than 40 years or you have family history of prostate disease. Although, there is a serious physical and psychological impact of prostate cancer, modern methods of detection and treatment of prostate cancer is very effective when diagnosed early.
In prostate screening, the three indices used in determining whether a person has prostate cancer include: 1) Prostate specific antigen (PSA), 2) Digital rectal examination (DRE) and 3) Prostate biopsy and histology. Prostate specific antigen (PSA), is the most commonly measured parameter. PSA screening is a simple blood test that measure the amount of prostate specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland. The normal serum level is estimated to be 0-4ng/ml. An abnormal PSA result >4ng/ml is only one indicator of prostate disease. Further testing include repeat PSA, and or a DRE and prostate biopsy and histology.
The only definitive way to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer is with prostate biopsy result, which will assign a Gleason score or grade to the cancer. This score helps physician determine what stage and how advance the cancer is and assess the need for treatment.
Warning signs for prostate screening. Many men with early prostate cancers show no symptoms. At more advanced stages, you may notice: difficulty with urination, blood in the urine, impotence, bone pain in hips, spine and ribs, nerve pains, muscle weakness and numbness in the feet.
Guideline for prostate cancer screening. The American cancer society recommended the following guidelines for prostate cancer screening. a) Men 50-60 years who are at average risk for the disease; b) Men who are 45 years of age and at higher risk either because they are African-American or have a father, brother or son diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65; c) Men who are 40 years with several first degree relatives with prostate cancer. This is the highest risk group.
However, testing intervals vary based on the degree of risk in an individual. You can read more about prostate disease in my book titled, Prostate, men’s nightmare. Stay healthy by screening for prostate cancer.
You are welcome to today’s discussion. This is a continuation of the last article on don’t let your work kill you.
Occupational lung diseases are a broad group of diseases caused by inhaling organic dusts, chemicals, proteins, and other toxic elements in the environment especially at work place. it is commonly called ‘Pneumoconiosis’, which is associated with inhalation of chemical dusts or fumes such as silica, asbestos, sawdust, coal etc. The degree of affectation is directly related to how long one is exposed to the toxic dusts and the dose or quantity of the dusts inhaled.
How toxic dust cause lung disease. The diseases caused by toxic dusts are many and depend on the duration and extent of exposure. There are acute, short term diseases as well as chronic, long term diseases.
When you inhale toxic dust, the dust particle gets absorb into the airway mucosa, the lining of the airway, and irritate the airway. The body then mount up an inflammatory process against the toxic particles resulting in airway secretion called edema and airway constriction. As time goes on with constant exposure, the reactive airway become hypersensitive to such toxic dust causing what is called occupational asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis and or occupational rhinitis. Repeated exposure with aggressive body immune reactions cause lung injury, scaring and fibrosis also known as granuloma. At this stage, the lung has began to shrink causing moderate to severe breathing difficulties. the fibrosed lung tissues can further degenerate and proliferate into malignant cells called lung cancers or mesthelioma.
How to identify occupational lung disease: In most cases, occupational lung diseases present 20 to 25 years post exposure. That is pretty long time. However, there are also acute presentations. Someone exposed to toxic dust may have cough, sneezing, difficulty in breathing, restlessness, chest pain and over time cough out sputum mix with blood.
Occupational lung disease can manifest as Asthma, a respiratory disease that can begin or worsen due to exposure at work and is characterized by episodic narrowing of the respiratory tract and difficulty in breathing; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Bronchiolitis obliterans, a respiratory disease caused by injury to the smallest airways, called bronchioles; Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an inflammation of the alveoli within the lung caused by hypersensitivity to inhaled dusts; Lung cancer is a growth within lung tissues.
You can do all manner of test including chest x-ray, pulmonary function test (PFT), bronchoscopy, computed tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and blood tests. All these tests do not alter the damage that has already taking place in the lung.
Difficult to treat: Occupational lung diseases are very difficult to treat, but the excellent way to treating them is through prevention of their occurrence. You can prevent lung disease by simply wearing face mask, avoiding smoking, following the safety guidelines and regulations at work place, do a regular lung function test at least twice a year if you are exposed or at high risk.
The signs and symptoms manifested by the various forms of occupational lung diseases can be managed medically, but nothing can be done to a damaged lung tissue. Although, some people advocate lung surgery, this has a high index of fatality depending on the extent of lung damage and procedure. Therefore, i urge you to avoid being exposed to toxic dusts at work and home. Try your best to maintain a healthy work ethic and remember to save the community by saving yourself and your environment.
Community health is facing a new trend of challenge which is caused by extreme poverty and the need for survival on one hand, and massive neglect and ignorance on another hand as people tend to think less of the danger of their actions or inaction on their health.
Today’s article is a case study of occupational risk that people take for granted at work places. We shall be dealing with issues affecting our health on the job in this series, so stay in touch.
Here we go. I had a terrible experience that beat my imagination few weeks ago. I accompanied a friend of mine to a popular community timber to make furniture for his new apartment. What I saw and experienced there was unspeakable, such that it pushed me to conduct a quick on-the-site research among the workers. Here are my findings:
There were heavy presence of young men and boys, most of which were carpenters, laborers and timber machine operators; few women and girls that were trading.
The entire atmosphere was filled with saw dust and wood particles.
No single person in the community was wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face mask, hand glove, safety boot, coverall, etc.
Both the workers and traders were directly inhaling the sawdust, walking with bathroom sleepers, some working with bear body.
The way they were throwing wood during offloading of trailer loaded with timber called for serious concern for risk of injury to passers-bye.
The machine operators were using their bear hands in crafting the woods.
Then, I went further to interview some of the workers who were willing to talk with me. In their comments, some of them said:
” It is only God that protects, even if you wear all the gargets you can still be injured”. “Wearing hand glove and mask make work slow”. “Wearing some of those things make me uncomfortable and heavy”. “I like being natural” “We are used to working in this environment like this, the dust does not affect us”
As I stepped out of that community, I was overwhelmed and I told my friend the extent of the hazard they are exposed to on a daily basis. He urged me to do something about the problem I have identified. So many thought went through my head, but this article is one of the ways to reach out to the larger society about the danger of bad practice at work place. Every occupation has its laid down code of conduct and ethical regulations guiding its operation. We must try as much as possible to abide by such code of safety and good health.
Let me remind you that the reason why we work is so that we have food to eat. The reason why we eat is so that we have energy to work and live healthy through the nourishment derived from the food. Why then should we allow our work to kill us? Think about it. My experience as I left that community was horrible; I started coughing with sore throat for about a week, until I took some medications and the symptoms subsided. So what happen to those who go there every day?
My special appeal to you, both victims and other community dwellers around the world:
I know that you are facing financial challenges, to the extent you don’t care about your health, but remember that when you loose your health you loose every thing, including money.
Change your attitude towards safety and self protection at work place. Ensure you abide by all approved safety measures because they help keep you healthy and prolong your life.
Cooperate with appropriate authorities and guidelines.
Join in the campaign against protracted sickness and sudden death resulting from bad practice at work. You can inform someone or share this post to those affected or potential victims.
You can donate for sensitization workshop, free face masks, hand gloves, coveralls, safety boots, printing of hand bills to be distributed among workers of the community following the link bellow.
When this project is completed, the report will be published on this platform for everyone to see. Don’t miss out in creating the community you desire. We shall continue in next article.
Donate for sensitization campaign
community health sensitization workshop to prevent occupational lung diseases with sharing of free face masks, hand gloves, coveralls, safety boots, helmets and hand bills.
Over the years several factors have been used to measure the health of a community, such indices as maternal mortality, infant mortality, perinatal mortality etc.These statistical indices only measure the outcome of a dysfunctional health in a community rather than assess what lead to such bridge of community health status.
In this discussion, i will be talking about four interruptive elements to be measured that reflect the state of poor health in the community. At the end of the discussion you will discover that the real contributory factors to healthy community is often undermined as we focus on the outcome of a process and not on the process itself.
Let me say here that community health is a complex subject that has its root in all human activities and interactions. We can only measure efficiently when we consider it entirety. However, the following indices serve as the new metric for community health;
Advancement of community people’s aspiration; the health of a community is dependent on the health of individuals that make up the community. Like any organization, no community can develop or grow past her members. In assessing community development and growth, it’s wise to determine how many persons in the community have their fortune positively changed over a period of time. How many of the community members(male and female) who wanted to learn a trade actually achieve them through enhance policies and favorable economy. How many persons who wanted to start, advance and complete a career achieve them? How many persons who wanted to loss weight actually did? How many persons who wanted to engage in community service actually did? How best can one measure community health than objectively looking for the people’s aspirations that are met over time. It’s been observed that aspiration accomplished make the soul healthy. A healthy soul produces a healthy and energetic body. When the community dwellers are aided to achieve their goals and plans, they in turn create a healthy atmosphere for healthy living.
Satisfy the basic need of the people; every community has its basic need, in as much as there exist diversities of individual’s need. For instance, all communities need basic health facility, means of transportation( either by road, air, water), source of quality water, toilet facility, electricity, good shelter, education, employment and many more. In the real sense of it, all these basic need should be met for people in the community to have a sense of well being. When a community lack any of the basic things that improve living condition and enhance health, there’s bound to be serious health challenge in the community.
Maintenance of health status; maintaining health requires both knowledge and effort. Some people argue that it is expensive to stay healthy. Whatever is the case, maintaining health requires some knowledge and a lot of personal effort, including actively ensuring that one follow certain healthy lifestyle and behavioral adjustment. For example, To stay fit you need to exercise regularly and watch strictly the quality and quantity of food you take, take more vegetables, fruits and water.
Protection of life and property; it is sad to mention that human killing is no longer frown at in the society today. We now live in community where men take blood bath, beheaded fellow humans at the applause of other men. Public and private properties are destroyed at will at the slighted provocation. Now let me ask you this question: do you know the number of suicide, sudden death, preventable sicknesses that emanate from such practice? Our community is perpetually in a state of unrest, gun battle between rival cult groups, incessant rubbery and kidnapping. Death toll now become head line news in our national news. All these activities in no way contribute to health rather they deteriorate it. community members yell for a save heaven where they can hide and stay in peace. Peace is now a scarce commodity, an option in high demand. We need to protect the community for the health of those who live in it.
Conclusively, when we measure accurately those factors outline above we are on a high way to enjoying better health.
Today we are going to see the dangers of seeking and getting medical advice from the wrong source or people.
A certain day in a medical outreach organized in a community, I was opportune to be in attendance. I consulted a woman whom has been hypertensive for a very long time, but she has not been complying to the medications giving to her by her physicians. She met me for the first time, with some of the test results and X-ray report she was asked to undertake.
Telling me her history, i quickly ran my eyes over to pick some of the signs that were obvious. Then, i looked at the investigation results she brought. She had classical features of heart failure- leg swelling, palpitation, restlessness, sweating, tiredness.
It was at this point i began to ask her questions. Having heard her side of the reasons she has not been compliance with the treatment measures so far; some of which were: financial, what stood out to me was that her sister told her not to take the drugs. Reason being that if she takes the medications she has to continue taking them for life. I thought of two things; one was to tell her exactly what was happening to her and how she allow her sister to lead her into that. Two, i asked her whether her sister was suffering with her as she was crying on my consulting desk. Probing why she left her health decision at the mercy of her sister who is not even a medical personnel, i decided to explain to her what was going on in her body. Little did i know that she has all the drugs that could help her in her bag which was giving to her from her physician.
As she showed me, i redirected her on how to take them and counselled her on the danger of getting information from a wrong source. Though she promise to change her behavior, i can’t tell how she is now. It’s a lesson for those who depend on wrong sources of information to attend to their health. Here are some of the common sources of wrong information:
Co-workers: the people you work with in the office share freely in your decision as regarding the drugs to take, who to meet or where to seek help when you have medical challenges. Some of them go all the way to personally take you to their own source of help when they had seemingly similar issue.
Church members: we are often victims in the hand of church members who want to help us out of ill-health but fail to differentiate a quack from an expert. They may claim all sort of thing but the truth is that they can’t help you except they knowledgeable in the field.
Friends: our friends are wonderful people that mean too much to us, but they sometimes don’t lead us right. Their information mat be passionate, enticing and innocent but at the same time destructive because they lack necessary truth on what the solution to your problems are.
Social media: This is one of the commonest source of wrong information, as there are many who claim what they are not on social medial and deceive millions on people everyday. It is a good practice to verify what you read online and confirm who post the before you believe them.
Mentor: do you know that some of the advice a mentor give, especially those outside his or her field may be wrong? That is why wise mentors simply refer to an expert, or verify an information before relating it to his or her audience.
The gap between those who offer the right information those who do not is years of learning and practice. Experience is a product of observation and practice. Therefore, those without necessary experience can not guide you well especially in the area of your health. Not every information available to you in the community is true. You have the responsibility to find an expert and get the right information on your health because what work for someone else may not work for you. Avoid trial and error approach. Better still you can contact me regarding your health challenge any time here firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s discussion identified four major contributory factors to poor community health among others. These four factors are in the fore-front in community health breakdown. They directly lead to physical sickness among the community dwellers.
Environment: The breakdown of health in an individual resulted from human activities that violate nature’s dictate. The environment comprise the air we breath, the trees around us, the water bodies, animals, non-living things etc.
From creation, there has been healthy coexistence between nature and human beings. Until the industrial age when modernization tends to disrupt the cohesion through sophisticated human involvement. Today we talk about global warming, climate change and the like, which are directly resulting from adverse abuse of human activities on the environment such as deforestation, gas flaring from homes and industries, various forms of pollution. All these hazardous substances in the environment, directly affect human health and well being. for example, most of the cases of interstitial lung disease such as fibrosis, Asbestosis, pneumoconiosis, and possible lung cancers resulted from primary or secondary inhalation of toxic gaseous substances in the environment.If we can control and maintain a healthy balance in nature, the rate at which people become sick will be reduce.
Social interaction: In the community, social cohesion is of high importance as it unit the people and keep them together. factors such as language, family structure, ethnicity create in the community dweller, a deep sense of belonging and social security. It encourage sharing of commodities and free communication. When people understand themselves they freely trust one another than a stranger.
The positive impart of association affect their health also since they can easily discuss the health challenge they are facing to someone who understands them and could help in their own way. Generally speaking, i have had cases where a woman remain sick in the house without seeking help just because she has no close relation to fall back on in her most vulnerable time. Social interaction and networking has been a vital tool in psychological therapy till date. Just talking to someone who care to listing to what you have to say, has the ability to calm a worrying soul.
Education: No community can develop without quality education – both formal and informal. The rate at which a community grows directly inform the actual educated people living in it. Although, what we see this day is the opposite. When the mind of people are enlightened towards what make a healthy society, they work tirelessly to achieve and maintain good health at all cost. When majority of the community dwellers are well informed about how sickness came about, the behavior that affect their health negatively and practices that endangered the community well being, they will work to adjust their behaviors to stay healthy. As a matter of fact policies will be made to check defaulters.
For instance,no sensible people fully aware of the consequences of air pollution on both man, animal, plant and other non-living component of the community will continue in the activities that pose danger to their health. on a serious note, education mean so much than mere drugs as education is preventive and drug is therapeutic. it is always better to prevent a disease from striking than waiting to treat it after it strikes.
Leadership: The concept of leadership is one of the most talked-about issues in the world. Leadership simply means influencing someone to do or believe something. A leader is someone who is in charge of other people. I personally have issues with leaders who occupy positions at various levels in the community without recognizing the responsibilities attached to such positions. Leadership in a community is meant to direct the way that lead to development. It’s supposed to be an instrument that create a healthy community. It’s meant to be a source of peace and security, but the reverse is the case in our community today. Most communities are destroyed for deform leadership. Those who assume office become sectional, tribalistic and inaccessible. They see the people they are to lead as threat to their existence as leaders that they must eliminate them.
Leadership in the community has created serious agitation and people are now protesting against one another, yelling for separation and independent existence. The community has experience setback as the very foundation of togetherness, unity and sharing of common purpose have been destroyed. One is push to ask which way to go? as the essence of meaningful coexistence has eluded us. Our leadership pattern created more rancor, fighting, grieve than ever before. people no longer trust their head. They prefer and believe a stranger than their leader. What a surprise!
When leaders become ant under the cloth of their subject, what can the subject do than to put off the cloth to regain freedom. Furthermore, any community that has no confident in her leader or respect for her head is in no way different from a jungle where there is no respect for human feelings and rights. The bad state of health development our community faces today is majorly traceable to poor leadership. You can order my book titled” Leaders’ first mirror” for more insight on leadership that command followership.
In the last discussion, I highlighted different forms of community where people live together to share in common activities. In course of their interactions, so many health risks take place.
In today’s series, i will lead you to several factors that play significant role in community social cohesion and willingness to set and strive for common goals. A community does not have to be homogeneous i.e. people with the same ideology, religion, ethnicity, family history etc. Almost all communities have people from diverse backgrounds who are determine to overcome their differences and work toward common goals or objectives.
However, the following factors make community unique
History: Every community standing today migrated from somewhere. They are a product of life event that took place in the past. Historical factors may hinder or promote community development and the current activities as well as the behavior of the community dwellers.
Social elements: such as ethnicity, language, family structure, gender disparity and other social factors can affect the cohesiveness of a community. For example language barrier is a serious disadvantage to community growth except the community finds a way of using a common language that can be understood by many if not all.
Economic factors: also determine whether a community stays together or not. The economic status of majority of the community dwellers dictate directly and indirectly the health of such community. When majority of the community people can afford to provide for the basic health need of her members, disease outbreak and sickness in the community is brought to the barest minimum. The livelihood of a community is a key factor in their health indices.
Cultural factors: explains the importance people place on their lay down believe system. I was astonished when i saw a tribe in Rivers State celebrate her culture. I was told that the custom of the land allow young girls or ladies to appear naked in the town square in the present of spectators. This event showcase ladies that are due for marriage. That is what the tradition and culture of that tribe permits, and know that their are health, behavioral and human right violations that need to be addressed as long as the practice continue.
Intellectual element: the level of literacy in a community directly influence its developmental strive. When majority of the community dwellers are aware of what it takes to build a healthy and habitable community, they will go all out to ensuring they achieve their goals, instead of few leaders trying to succeed on their own accord. For example, considering the human right violation associated with the cultural practice highlighted above; am sure no educated family will allow their wards to participate in such culture that abuses girl-child dignity by showing her nakedness to the world.
Leadership: this is the most important factor that controls all others. Where leadership fails, human right violation thrives. Health and security break down and the community become unbearable for people to live in.
Conclusively, a community is an essential functional unit of any society and must be made healthy at all times. All the elements that make up the community must be understood and rehearse by everyone in order to maintain a save and healthy community where development can thrive.
A community is the smallest unit of a nation. It’s a unit of social interaction where people share things in common. People in a community share believe, culture, religion, value, identity and unfortunately disease.
Understanding your community
Settlement community is a place where people live to do things in common. For example, your village is a perfect representation of what a community look like. It’s a setting of people who practice some sort of respect for what they believe and value.
Work community is a place of interaction between colleagues and co-workers. this is where people share experiences through practice. They share common value when they work on a project to achieve their goal.
School community is a place of intellectual interaction where people engage in teaching and learning.
Market community is a place where those in the community participate in trading- buying and selling of goods and services.
Religious community is a place where people set up for themselves some believe and practice and profess them. It could be a church, mosque, shrine, etc. The community dwellers hold dearly their believe as the source of their existence and safety.
One thing is common among the various forms of communities highlighted above. They all have a central goal that drive them. That goal if pull away will scatter the people and leave a vacuum.
Therefore, a community is glue together by a force, which can best be described as common purpose that keep people together. When that common purpose is altered or disrupted or interferes with, the community lost her value and enter into a state of commotion and non-existence. This is the reason so many communities today, even nations are glamouring for division, independence and what have you; because the purpose that held them together has eluded them.
According to Wikipedia,”Community health is a major field of study within the medical and clinical sciences which focuses on the maintenance, protection and improvement of the health status of the population groups and communities”.
The World Health Organisation, WHO defines community health as,”Environmental, social and economic resources to sustain emotional and physical well being among people in ways that advance their aspirations and satisfy their need in their unique environment”.
Community health can best be understood by taking cognizance of all the elements that make up the community, including immaterial things that are not quantifiable. Some of the questions that come to mind when thinking about community health are; how save is the environment of the community? Can the people interact freely with each other? Is there cohesion and unity in project delivery? How many projects have been successfully completed? What is there source of livelihood, what are the people really doing to live on? What is the quality of their water as well as the source of their drinking water? What is the level of education of majority of the community dwellers? How ease is doing business? Is there health facility in the community? How accessible, affordable, equip is the health facility? Are there health personnel readily available at the facility? How is the state of the roads in the community? How accommodating are the living houses? Any power or electricity in the community? and many other questions that apply to human activities and living conditions.
A typical modern community has transcended the old view of historical and traditional values community held so dearly. Objectively, looking at communities that are healthy, represented on the picture above, reveals that the community dweller and stakeholders consciously address the above questions and ensure that the standard of living of majority of the community dwellers is raised to an acceptable minimum standard. They address the factors that pose threat to the physical health of the individuals through policy making as well as executing meaningful project that contribute to the life of people.
For example, a community with an epidermic of cholera is traceable to a common source of contaminated water. The source of water use for domestic activities like cooking, drinking are contaminated by faecal material defecated into the water body. If that community has good toilet facilities or better sewage disposal system, the faeces wouldn’t find its way into the water bodies. Better still if they have quality source of drinking water, they wouldn’t be drinking contaminated water.
However, community health shouldn’t be a concern of few individuals probably those in health industry, rather it calls for everyone within the community. To achieve community health every individual in the community must be healthy in all ramifications first, but this can not be achieve without collaborations within sectors, and active participation by all members of the community.
You should ask yourself what contribution have you made toward the health and development of your community. That is the way forward. We shall continue with this discussion in the next article.