Health News of Saturday, 16 June 2012
Your Health is Your Responsibility – Take Control! It is important that we do everything possible within our power to ensure that we stay healthy. Having the appropriate knowledge is very important in our quest to remain healthy so that we can do more of the things we enjoy. Some conditions have a way of escaping our memory and we occasionally need a reminder. In some instances, our guardians, spouse, family members or friends may need to step in to alert the health care professional.
Easy to forget conditions include:
1. Pregnancy complications of Rhesus Negative mothers
2. Bell’s Palsy or Facial Palsy
3. Post Partum Blues or Depression
4. Underperformance in school children
A. Pregnancy complications of Rhesus Negative mothers
a. This is a potentially serious condition but easy to correct. Could this be the cause of the poor pregnancy outcomes or multiple abortions you are experiencing?
b. If a woman is Rhesus (Rh) Negative and carrying a baby who is Rh positive, then the mother’s immune system will see the baby’s red blood cells as “foreigners” and will make antibodies to fight and destroy the baby’s red blood cells. This may not be a problem with the first pregnancy but subsequent ones are at risk since the antibodies would have built up significantly.
c. This process of antibody production could occur when an Rh negative mother has a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and induced abortion. It is IMPORTANT to know your blood group – O negative, A negative (and all the ones that are followed by a negative), will need to alert your health care giver when pregnant.
d. If you are Rh negative, it is important that to protect your babies, you are given an injection called Rhogam (this is no advertisement), which is a type of vaccine. It should ideally be given when your pregnancy is 28 weeks old and then repeated within 72 hours of delivery if baby is Rhesus positive.
e. There may be some issues with Rhogam but the benefits outweigh the downsides.
B. Bell’s Palsy or Facial Palsy
a. This is not a STROKE but seek immediate medical care since you may not know what it could be heralding. Bell’s palsy is a sudden weakness of the face causing one half to droop. Your smile is one sided and your eye on one side resists closing.
b. It may occur at any age. The exact cause is unknown but it affects a nerve controlling muscles of the face. It is sometimes considered to be a reaction that occurs after a viral infection such as a common cold and may also occur in pregnancy.
c. Bell’s palsy is often temporary and most people experience total recovery within six (6) months. Rarely it may leave permanent tell-tale signs and may also recur in a handful of people.
d. One may experience increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side, headaches, pain around the jaw or behind the ear on the affected side. There may also be abnormal production of tears and saliva. Seek medical care.
C. Post Partum Blues or Depression
a. We all expect a new addition to a family to bring excitement and joy but sometimes it may cause depression. Post partum depression is not a character flaw or a weakness and with the right intervention at the right time and with good family support, you can enjoy your baby.
b. Post partum blues is a milder form of post partum depression. In some cases one may even develop post partum psychosis after you have your bundle of joy. This is in no way a thesis to scare you away from childbirth but rather to make you aware so that you can take the appropriate steps quickly once you are confronted with the situation. Always SEEK prompt medical care, there is no point “waiting to see.”
c. One may often experience some of the following; loss of appetite, inability to sleep, intense irritability and anger, overwhelming fatigue, lack of joy in life, difficulty bonding with baby, feeling of shame, quilt or inadequacy and even thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. Avoid diagnostic greed, do not wait for many symptoms before seeking help, you are better off seeing a professional and being declared okay than to wait until things become complicated.
D. Underperformance in school children
Quite often, children may not be performing well in school and we unfortunately resort to the cane, screaming at them and heaping insults on them without finding the root cause. We will be complicating matters and eventually set the stage for rebellion in addition to poor or underperformance in school. We need to consider the following (other reasons or causes exist) before drawing conclusions and as parents or guardians, our input is extremely important.
• Poor Nutrition
o Food is fuel for the body and the brain can never perform appropriately without the proper “fuel”. We need to ensure that children eat a balanced meal before going to school. Hunger or poor meals could distract a child at school and prevent him/her from understanding what the teacher may be imparting. Check the meals and you may realize you have a straight As child!
• Poor Eyesight/vision
o The child may not be doing well simply because he is unable to read from the board. It may only need a simple test of vision to correct this.
• Hearing Challenges
o Certainly if the child has a problem with hearing, he may miss so many things discussed in class or even hear the “wrong” things. Your guess in such a situation is as good as mine.
So the next time your child finds himself at the bottom of the class check the above and get medical assistance, you may be hosting a genius. I believe you are aware that some children will bloom late and at that point there is just no way to stop them, the sky is their limit.
The drill remains the same, you will cope better with all the above if you stay healthy – exercise often, eat right, drink adequate amounts of water and get enough sleep hours.
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club
*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week – “It is now official; lack of sleep may predispose you to a STROKE. Jump into bed an hour earlier and sleep a stroke away. You cannot be healthy during WAR or VIOLENCE, let’s all pray and work towards PEACE in our country”