In Your Hands, by Dr. Hector

In Your Hands

By Dr. Hector          |

One of my lovely patients, an octogenarian with a delightful sense of humour has a parting shot whenever he comes to the clinic. He says, “Doctor, whatever you do, please don’t grow old!” Another older friend who did not want to be a burden to anyone always said he’d prefer to live no longer than the biblical three score and ten years. He died a few weeks before he turned 70. I am determined not just to add years to my life but to add life to my years.

I like the concept of “Wellness” – everything that you do which keeps you away from the consulting rooms of doctors. More than ever in history, your life is literally in your hands. Take a quick look at the palm of your hands. What did you see? Your life, of course! Time it was when poverty, ignorance and bugs killed people. They still do in some parts of the world but even in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia there has been a shift.

Do you know that preventable medical errors are the number three killer in United States, after heart disease and cancer? Medical errors cause nearly 250,000 deaths (10% of all deaths) there every yeari– 685 fatalities each day, an estimated cost of $1 trillion annually. The statistics are not much better in Europe. The irony is that if such shocking statistics are obtained from countries with excellent health facilities, can we expect better outcome in poorer nations? Should we not make concerted effort to look after ourselves?

According to the National Wellness Institute (NWI) of America, Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.ii NWI has a six-dimensional model of Wellness iii developed by Dr Hettler:

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, knowing one’s body and looking after it

Contribute to community and environment, live in harmony not conflict with others

Challenge one’s mind, be creative, find solutions to problems

A rewarding career in keeping with one’s interests; skills, talents and gifts utilised

Be aware of one’s feelings and accepting these, be optimistic about life

Live in consonance with one’s beliefs and values, be tolerant of belief of others

Being well is synonymous with health and we are all journeying along a health continuum from “1 to 99”, where zero is death and 100 is perfect health. It is true that your weight, abdominal circumference, blood pressure, test results and other indices are all important but there’s more to life than physical health. Whether you are drifting backward or moving forward on the self-assessed scale, your life is in your hands.

When someone has a symptom, (s)he is likely to take the following actions:

(1) Ignore it!

(2) Self-medicate

(3) “Google-it” and believe the worst (or be reassured)

(4) Seek Help:

    (a)Family / Friends

    (b) Consult a Doctor /Nurse/Pharmacist or other health professional

    (c) Visit an alternative health practitioner

We hope that you know when to ignore a symptom and when to seek the right treatment at the right time.

Our goal in KayHector Consulting Ltd is to have well-informed people/patients who take responsibility for their health and become experts at differentiating trivial symptoms from even subtle ones that require prompt attention and a visit to a health professional. Taking responsibility for one’s health will be recurring themes here as well as medical information in plain English.

Thanks to modern technology, our health information may only be a fingertip distance from you! We can also signpost you to Private GP/Specialist consultation via telephone, video link, online chat or face-to-face.

Next time we will write about embarrassing symptoms. Those ‘minor’ worrying problems that people are usually too reluctant to discuss with their doctors, many preferring to suffer in silence. If there is any health topic you would like information about, or you are an expert and wish to send us a health-related article, please contact us.

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Doctor Hector
KayHector Consulting Ltd