Diseases which affect human are divided into two groups; communicable and non-communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer are encouraged by poor lifestyle while communicable diseases such cholera, typhoid, Ebola etc are promoted by poor environment, poor sanitation, lack of good water and poor personal hygiene. Consequently, communicable diseases are more common in poor countries of the world while the non-communicable diseases are commoner in the rich countries.
1. Washing your hands regularly
Our hands are responsible for the spread of communicable diseases to ourselves and to others. Our hands have small invisible organisms called microbes, some of them are bad and are called germs. These germs could be viruses, bacteria and/or fungi.
The diseases that can be spread through our hands if contaminated include Ebola, Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Polio, Some worm infestations, Chest infections, Chicken pox, Common cold and several other diseases.
These organisms can be removed by hand washing; we should always wash our hands with soap and water followed by, if available, the application of sanitizers. If water is not available we should apply only sanitizer.
There is no scientific advantage of using bactericidal soap, so use the common soap around.
There are several types of sanitizers but the more popular ones are alcohol based either containing ethanol or isopropanol. A good one should contain between 62% -90% alcohol. Some other sanitizers contain povidine-iodine OR chlorine.
If we all try to wash our hands regularly, the incidence of communicable diseases will be drastically reduced.
2. Avoiding smoking
Smoking remains the most important preventable cause of illness and death, the estimated number of deaths per annum from smoking is over 4.5 million with more of this occurring in the developed world, more men die from smoking than women.
Smokers die about 10 years earlier than never-smokers, they have twice the risk of heart disease, 10 times the risk of lung cancer and several times the risk of other lung diseases including pneumonia. Smoking is incriminated in bowel cancer, cancer of the mouth, throat cancer and several other diseases.
3. Moderate alcohol intake
Virtually every organ of the body can be affected by heavy alcohol intake with many deaths resulting from accidents, respiratory failure and breathing in of vomit.
Apart from affecting the body resistance, alcohol abuse can depress consciousness leading to aspiration of vomit, other fluids and materials.
Alcohol abuse is associated with heart and blood vessel diseases. It is also associated with diabetes mellitus, obesity, cancer of the throat, of the liver and many others.
4. Avoid contact with sick individuals
Avoid contact with people afflicted by communicable diseases such as Ebola virus disease, cholera, TB, Chicken pox among several other diseases. Contact with them puts you at great risk of getting infected with their diseases.
5. Maintain a healthy diet
Eat fibre rich diet which contains vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and grains (cereals); these increase the bulk of our waste and aid bowel movements. Apart fibre, these foods also contain vitamins and minerals which help to build up our ability to fight against diseases and are also said to reduce the rate of some cancers. Daily intake of fruits and vegetables is therefore advised. Adequate intake of water is also well advised.
Red meat (beef, lamb and pork) and process meat (sausage, bacon, ham and salami) are said to contain a lot of saturated fat which can lead to higher level of cholesterol and body fat. This is associated with greater risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases and some cancers, minimize their consumption. As you age, eat more of fish, chicken, nuts, beans and soya-beans for your protein.
Regular exercise helps to burn off excess calories and thus helps to keep your weight in check. It is also said to aid bowel movement which reduces the risk of bowel cancer. Regular exercise also improves the performance of the heart and reduces the risk of blood vessel disease and also the development of diabetes. About 30 minutes a day of physical exercise, five days a week is advised.
7. Stay well-rested
Everyone should try to sleep for about seven to nine hours daily and at the same time; that is 10pm to 6am or 11pm to 7am. You can keep a dairy
Poor or lack of sleep reduces concentration, affects memory and general performance. Good sleep helps to build up or maintain your immunity against diseases, helps to maintain normal blood pressure and also body weight.
To have good sleep; avoid caffeine, heavy meals and alcohol close to bed time. Also switch off all electronics by about 10pm.
Life even in the rich countries of the world is very stressful, the situation in Nigeria for several reasons is worse. It is easier to cope with stress if you create time for relaxation. Relax by regular exercise, meditation, or yoga if you are into that. You can also relax by listening to music that is suitable for you, or watching movies. Some others relax by reading novels. Insist on your annual leave and travel out of your town of residence, could be to the village or out of the country.
Make time to rest and relax from now on.