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Health Considerations for Filipinos Before Partying the Holidays

The Philippines has been known to have the longest and most extravagant Christmas celebration in the world. Usually, Filipinos start preparing at the first week of September and lasts up to the second week of January. Medical experts believed that though one’s schedule is packed with parties left and right, one must take time to consider his health.

filipino health consideration holidays

image credit:sugarlace.com

As tradition dictates, Filipinos tend to have countless parties and one can’t help to be less conscious of his health during these times. There are various factors which causes one to suffer these conditions. But for all of them, one factor is very prevalent – which is living an unhealthy lifestyle. Doctors can’t help but reiterate the precautions, especially those about food and alcohol intake, smoking and prescribed drug intake. People might overlook the fact that most of the symptoms of these illnesses surface several months after. However in severe cases, patients might even suffer the symptoms days after the yuletide celebrations.

Based on facts gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) back in 2011, here the five (5) of the top fifty (50) causes of death in the Philippines: 

Coronary Heart Disease

On top of the list is coronary heart disease. As defined, it is a condition causes the reduced flow of blood through the coronary arteries to the heart. The National Statistics Office (NSO), was able to account more than 100, 000 Filipinos died of such cause back in 2009.

According to research, usually the arteries are damaged due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. Symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath. When symptoms occur, patients are immediately asked to take a number of tests to be able to accurately diagnose the latter’s status. Blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG) and Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT) are some of the tests being requested by the doctors. On the other hand, when the artery has been completely blocked by the fatty deposits, one might suffer from a heart attack. Symptoms of which include pain in the arm or shoulder, severe chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath.

Stroke

When a patient suffers a stroke, his brain lacks the oxygen needed due to haemorrhage or reduced blood flow. As a result, brain function will also be reduced or interrupted. One need to consider the fact that each part of the brain has a specific body part function. Hence, when a stroke occurs, the specific body part which is connected to the affected area of the brain, will not function normally. In 2009 for the Philippines alone, more or less 40,000 people suffered and died due to this. Such figure makes up about 9.55 % of the total number of deaths in the country for that year.

A stroke is triggered by a blocked artery or haemorrhage which occurs when a blood vessel bursts of leaks. Some of the symptoms include paralysis or numbness to certain parts of the body, headache and trouble in walking. Another factor that one should take note is that whether or not a person is having a difficulty in speaking and perception. When such occurs, one is advised to immediately rush the patient to the nearest hospital for stroke is considered as an emergency case. Time is of the essence in this case, a patient might die within minutes depending on the type and severity of his stroke.

Hypertension

Hypertension also commonly known as high blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against one’s artery is abnormally high. Although patients have admitted that they symptoms of such were not mostly detected, in 2009 it still among the top deadliest diseases in the country leaving around 35,000 casualties.

Patients may experience from dizziness, headaches and even nose bleedings. However, doctors admitted that such would only be evident when the patient is already suffering from extremely high blood pressure. Hence, doctors advised that if patients have been already diagnosed of having such, checking one’s blood pressure should made as a routine. Patients are pre-cautioned by physicians to regularly take their maintenance medication for if not such an ailment may lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

Diabetes Mellitus

More commonly called simply as “diabetes,” it is usually caused by high glucose content in the blood.  Such condition occurs when the body’s inadequate production of natural insulin, abnormal reaction of one’s body to insulin or in other cases, both. Considered as a metabolic disease since it disrupts the body cell’s normal process of converting food into energy. And in this case, it is the insulin being excreted by the pancreas which has the major role in the conversion process. Although the mortality rate of diabetes is low as compared to other diseases, the Philippines government is still alarmed with the fact that it caused about 19,000 deaths back in 2009. Some experts even predicted that by the year 2030, about 7 million Filipinos will be suffering from it.

There are various types of diabetes. Some of the most common of its symptoms are frequent visits to the restroom to urinate, unusual thirst, weight gain or loss, exaggerated hunger, fatigue, and skin infections. In addition, patients noticed that they have swollen gums and frequent gum infections. Some might also experience numbness in the hands and feet. As for men, especially for those aged 50 and above, they might also suffer from sexual dysfunctions.

Once diagnosed, like other diseases mentioned in this article, doctors will prescribe a set of maintenance medication and a diet plan to the patient. They would also be required to do any sort of physical activity which would help in lowering one’s blood sugar. As for other cases, blood monitoring is required either personally or by a medical professional. Further, some of the patients would be required to undergo insulin therapy. For severe cases, a pancreatic transplant or bariatric surgery may be insisted.

Liver Diseases

In the early 1990’s, liver diseases are not really common in the Philippines.  However, with the increase of casualties over the years, experts opted to increase public awareness to this “silent killer” which resulted to more than 6,000 casualties in 2009. One of these diseases is liver cirrhosis or liver cancer brought about by excessive alcohol intake and an unhealthy lifestyle.

A number of symptoms had been listed down by specialists to caution the public. Having yellowish skin and eye, swelling in the legs and ankles, dark urine colour, loss of appetite, chronic fatigue and  abdominal pain swelling are just a few of them. However, when one suffers severe pain in the abdominal area, he must seek special medical attention immediately.

Controlling the Risk Factors and Prevention of Severe Results

One should take into consideration that the above-mentioned diseases can strike at any age. Nonetheless, experts believed that some of the risk factors for these ailments can still be controlled and managed. Advisories had been given by nutritionists every so often that people should start living a healthier lifestyle. First, instead of serving the traditional high-cholesterol menu during Christmas feasts, one should serve healthier alternatives. There are a number of online sites nowadays that suggest meal courses for those who might feel a need for an elaborate meal during the holidays. Second, if one still can’t get his hands off from lechon and other traditional dishes served during these events, nutritionists suggest that one should only eat little portions of such. Some suggested that to control such, one should get a smaller plate than what is usually used.  Such a trick, experts say, would surely satisfy one’s hunger visually.

As for those already diagnosed and under maintenance medication, doctors demand that they should always follow the prescription given to them. Maintenance drugs are given to help a patient stabilize his illness or symptoms of such. Finally, like everything else, food consumption and alcohol intake must be done in moderation. If one cannot say no to these parties, one should be cautious not to consume more than one’s limit.

References:

  • who.int
  • worldlifeexpectancy.com
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medicalnewstoday.com
  • mebmd.com
  • britannica.com
  • allaboutdiabetes.net
  • liverhealth.org

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