By Francis Ezediuno
I wonder why some car owners spend thousands to keep their cars in optimum shape. Some of us spend handsomely to look good, fit and trim, while some people spend a fortune to get the latest smart phone and also lavishly spend to get data and airtime on same devices.
They live in big and pretty houses and also empty their bank savings to refurbish such and yet default when it comes to taking care of the most precious asset they have, which is their health?
From experience, human body is built like a car engine and every engine needs servicing once in a while. Little wonder people just fall ill, and die and the cause of death is deemed a supernatural attack from somebody in the village. However, a close look scientifically would reveal something else, probably death from exhaustion or from an underlying hitherto unnoticed malady.
From the research, the ailment that one refuses to treat at an early age would come back to hunt one in the old age and the primary cause of death may be attributed to it. There is always a primary and secondary cause of death.
A popular physician once said that all deaths can be attributed to something when subjected to scientific post-mortem examinations.
So, what are we doing about our health? Are we just leading our lives as if we do not care or we are leading it with caution?
Hypertension or a state of high blood pressure has no symptoms. It can lie low for several decades, undetected but when it rears up its ugly head, the negative actions maybe swift. High blood pressure could lead to stroke, heart attacks, heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas and eventually death.
Just mentioning high blood pressure does not mean that this is the only ailment that can attack a careless individual, there are dozens of it.
The advice is to seek medical help immediately you detect that the engine has one complaint or the other but before that, a regular visit to the physician once in 6 months is not a bad idea. That does not mean the individual does not believe in God or in divine healing, but rather only heeding the call not to perish through lack of knowledge.
So what do we do? How do we save ourselves the stress of needless pain as we advance in age?
There are steps we can take to achieve this. These are:
Health Insurance Plan: This would save you money and you would be able to access health care even if you are broke. We always have a problem with this in Nigeria because of the term INSURANCE attached to it. Most individuals see it as a waste of money and shockingly, this exists among the elite and educated class.
The thinking is in terms of the money that will be spent on the insurance and they may not get to use in the event that they would not fall sick. What skips their ignorant understanding is that when sickness calls, it will dig deeper into their pockets and they would be forced to spend more than what they would have spent to get a health insurance plan. This is the wisest thing to do because access to health care is very expensive.
Enrolment of family members: There are different health insurance packages for this. You can enrol your wife, children, parents and in-laws depending on your pocket but wisdom dictates you enrol them after you have done yours.
Do not just register and go off to bed: Ensure it is judiciously used to the fullest and when it is due for renewal, renew your enrollment.
Be aware that not all medical examinations and conditions are covered: You must be aware that not all medical examinations and conditions are covered by the insurance scheme and some medical facilities would not accept to dispense treatment and drugs under the scheme.
This is due to no fault of theirs, as medical facilities which fall under this category are the government owned tertiary health facilities which do not get paid directly into their purse but through the Treasury Single Account [TSA] of the federal government.
Go for medical examination: Go for medical examinations every now and then. At least, twice a year. That is every 6 months.
Take every medication and counsel: Like a religious zealot, take every medication and counsel given to you by the physician and do not wait till your next appointment date before you report any emergency.
Liaise with your Health Management Organisation: In case of a long distance journey, ensure you liaise with your Health Management Organisation to direct you to any health facility in the town you are visiting in case you may need to access it.
Constantly service your body: As you age, some funny things tend to happen to us physiologically, somebody nuts and bolts may be loosen due to aging and there is need to constantly have them serviced so as to prevent a total engine knock.
Keep in mind that as we age, the disease that may eventually kill us would be lurking around the corner and if waved aside, it will hit without warning and suddenly like a thief in the night.
Self medication should be discouraged: Over The Counter [OTC] drugs intake should be reduced to the barest minimum as often advised on drug packages, the advice of a physician should be sought if symptoms persist after three days.
Drug cocktail should be reduced: What is the meaning of cocktail, it means the combination of different types of drugs. This practice is often observed amongst labourers and workers found working in construction sites who abuse drugs and analgesics such as Tramadol.
For good and sound health, persons should make regular calls at the nearest health facility a compulsory part of living and once a person is late in his or her late 30’s and early 40’s, blood pressure checks should form part of the weekly schedule.
The health of the children in the family too should not be taken for granted. Immunity levels of children can be affected by environment and biological factors. This is the more reason why parents should always monitor their children and wards for any irregular change in behaviour.
At the slightest notice of any abnormal display of behaviour, the counsel of a qualified paediatrician should be sought because their vulnerability puts their health at risk.