More and more, we are paying attention to our health. There are the most common things we know: eat in moderation, cut down on sugar and fat, don’t smoke, don’t drink, exercise… and we know the “top killers”, which include heart attacks, cancer and diabetes. But what about other diseases that don’t get talked about enough? We even forget they exist, till we hear of them again. Together, let’s take a look at 8 commonly overlooked health issues.
1) Bad Sleeping Habits
You’re always busy, aren’t you? There’s always something else to do, and you push yourself everyday, thinking that it will get better. It rarely does. Instead, you sacrifice much needed sleep to “finish off” some work. Not sleeping properly can cost you terribly in the long run, and can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Also, don’t you feel grumpy and grouchy the next day (or everyday) if you don’t get enough sleep? Scrolling on your phone right before bed time is a big no-no too! Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each day to ensure a healthier, better you!
The good thing is, depression is getting talked about more often. The bad thing is, it’s still treated like a joke, or a plea for attention, nothing more. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act”. Biochemistry (brain chemicals), environmental factors, personality and genetics may play a role in a person developing depression, but fortunately depression is also treatable. If you or someone you know has depression, you can try calling the Befrienders at 603-79568145.
3) Eating Disorders
There are several types of eating disorders, but we’re going to talk about the two most well-known ones: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Nowadays, we are trying to break free of conventional beauty standards, but it’s not always easy. Conventional beauty standards have been around for long, and young girls may fall into the trap of needing to look like a certain way to be called “beautiful”. More girls than boys develop these eating these disorders, and it is due to a fixation on their weight. Anorexia is the one where people limit their food intake, oftentimes starving themselves. On the other hand, those with bulimia binge eat, and then purge themselves.
4) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
According to WebMD, carpal tunnel syndrome is “caused by pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of the arm, goes through a passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in the hand”. This is probably the millenial health condition, because it can be caused by frequent phone-holding and typing. Yes, the way you flex your wrists holding your phone up can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome if you’re not careful! Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling or weakness in your hand. Think that doesn’t sound too bad? If left untreated, it could lead to permanent muscle damage and loss of function in your hand.
5) Chronic Stress
Living life in a big city, trying to keep up with the demands of work and survival, stressful isn’t it? Actually, a little stress now and then is beneficial, and stress is even categorised into good and bad stress. Also known as eustress, the good stress can act as a motivator. However, if you’re constantly stressed, that can have the opposite effect. Stress triggers a set of responses in our body, and our body will try to cope with the “stress demands” the best it could. But when this response is left on for too long, it could lead to feelings of no control, helplessness, hopelessness and burnout. Take a break now and then!
6) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
According to the World Health Organistion, more than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide. Yikes. Also, most STIs can have no symptoms or mild symptoms, so it may be a while before you realise you’ve contracted one. This is pretty scary, but it’s not talked about enough in Malaysia to raise awareness due to stigma. If no one’s going to talk about it, make sure you educate yourself. Google is right there, so make good use of it. Last but not least, use protection!
7) Mental Health
Most of us know pretty well how to take care of our physical health, but we often neglect what we cannot see – our mental health. In fact, you probably take better care of your skin than your mind. According to MentalHealth.gov, mental health includes our social, psychologial and emotional well-being. With good mental health, you will be able to handle stress better, build better relationships with others and generally perform and feel better about yourself. It’s easy to neglect our mental health when we get so caught up in work or material things. Slow down. Take a few deep breaths. Sit with yourself. Continue breathing. Surround yourself with positivity!
Before you laugh, are you quite sure you don’t suffer from this? Especially for those who have jobs that require lots of sitting (which is most of us, honestly), backache is a common problem. And it can turn into a long-term, not-just-for-the-elderly problem if you continue sitting. While sitting, develop a proper sitting posture, and make sure you try to get some exercise in between. Stand up and walk around at intervals, walk to lunch and back… your back will thank you for it!