Things to avoid doing before age 40 – By SYLVESTER IKHISEMOJIE


Although doctors are often loathe to neatly categorising disease conditions according to age, it is important to understand here and now that sustaining a good level of health is one thing before the age of 40 years and entirely another thing after that age. To be sure, diseases abound at all ages; some are acute with a short duration and equally swift resolution while others are somewhat more protean and lead to disability, lifestyle changes and even death. Today, we shall attempt to look at broadly as possible at the spectrum of bad habits that often cause us many health problems in the later years; the middle age years and the senior years.

It is wise to pay attention to them because in many ways, small and big, many of us have been guilty on so many scores.

Children are not the only people who should be taking vaccines for a variety of ailments as there is evidence that as many of six different vaccines are also recommended for adults either as primary modes of prevention or as booster doses for such conditions as chicken pox, hepatitis and influenza. Around the world, more than half a million adults die every year from vaccine-preventable deaths. It is important to appreciate that vaccination helps individuals protect themselves from certain diseases and also reduces the chance of spreading such diseases to others.

Vaccination is therefore an important aspect of preventive healthcare which is equally useful for young women. Many young women up to the age of 30 years or slightly over would be at risk of getting a surprise diagnosis of breast cancer if they do not imbibe the habit and the skill of breast self-examination at least once in a month while taking a bath or while lying quietly in bed.

The case is similar for the young girls and women aged from nine to 26 years for getting the cervical cancer vaccine. Even when they have been proven to be infected even with one strain of the human papilloma virus (HPV), it is still worthwhile to have the vaccine because there are 200 or more other strains of HPV. Taking the vaccine would prevent the ability of any of the other strains from causing them cancer. In the same way, be sure to conduct tests that monitor the levels of cholesterol in the blood to avoid a surprise of a heart attack. Ensure that routine pelvic examinations are conducted where important to similarly be able to act proactively in dealing with cancers and other tumours in that region of the body. Added to this mix is the regular conduction of cervical smear examination.

It is equally important for people who are still under the age of 40 years to ensure they take enough fluids at all times. When the cells of the body are well hydrated all organs and tissues including the skin at kept at optimal states of health. This is a quality that can endure well into old age when the sense of thirst becomes somewhat diminished. In that connection, the passing of deeply yellow urine in the absence of disease is often an indication of inadequate water intake. Urine ought to be clear or a light yellow normally. So such an appearance as the former is thus an invitation to drink more water which is preferable to taking beverages or alcohol as it frees the system of the added burden of dealing either with excess sugar or caffeine.

The development of a sedentary lifestyle is a crucially important negative factor in the early years. Long hours spent viewing television or playing with a computer terminal either as a video game or a gaming console is ultimately harmful to the eyes, the neck and the overall health. The blue light emitted by any of these screens and smartphone screens as well is now believed to alter our brains to the perception that night has yet to fall even when it is pitch-dark outdoors. The reason for this is that the brain becomes confused and it is therefore deceived to believe it is daylight whereas it is night. This has profound implications for the sleep-wake cycle, affects the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, and deprives the person of getting adequate sleep that should average eight hours a day. If this pattern of life endures for several years during adolescence for example, the stage is then set for the development of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure during the years beyond the age of 40.

This kind of effect now evident in our bodies was unknown even a generation ago. The effects could yet be devastating in health terms.

Failing to make getting adequate sleep a priority is a huge mistake. During the ages 18 to 64 years, an average of seven to nine hours of sleep is required every night. Many millions of people around the world are of course unable to get that much sleep and the effects are slowly becoming evident; there is a world-wide explosion of rising waist-lines, obesity, stroke and diabetes. There is an increase in the number of heart disease sufferers and also of depression. Early this month, the World Health Organisation (WHO), warned that depression is now the single most important cause of disability around the world. It outstrips cancer, heart disease and road traffic accidents put together as the major public health issue of concern that now sees many people develop a tendency to provide rigid responses to their emotions.

In the main, adolescents and young adults are more involved in this attitude as a result of which they have withdrawn from normal social relationships and become addicted to their electronic devices. Insufficient sleep promotes premature aging and definitely makes people appear older than their real age.

Persistence of this attitude beyond a few years soon turns them into antisocial misfits who may be very good at what they do but prove incapable of sustaining normal relationships or maintaining satisfactory overall health. Even such mundane things as caring for the teeth can be a harbinger of serious health trouble down to road to 40 years and beyond. The appearance of dental plaques on the teeth and the gum-line when improper care is taken of the teeth is often associated with heart disease as we age. It is therefore a major achievement if adequate care of the teeth is taken by proper brushing at least two times a day for a minimum of two minutes each time with the bristles moving up and down the teeth rather than across.Punch


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