By Christian George
In today’s world, people seldom visit the hospital except on the grounds of serious health challenges but Hygeia Health Management Organization, yesterday, demystified the panacea to old age related diseases to include frequent checkups and early detection of diseases as these will help to curb escalating underlying diseases among old people.
Representing the health organization at the retiree forum organized by Pension Alliance Limited at Port Harcourt, Dr. (Mrs.) Odum Chidinma Obinna explained that old age comes with a lot of health challenges and that retirees should develop the habit of visiting hospital regularly for checkups as it will help in the early detection of diseases and would be easier for experts to manage.
She stressed that many are of the believe that they are healthy and strong without knowing that their body system is managing an underlying illness and such people would rush to clinics when the situation is out of hand, which sometimes may result in loss of life.
She maintained that sometimes, sickness may not show up until when it is out of hand and in old age, health should be given priority.
Dr. Obinna said that screening is ideal to discover hidden sicknesses such as glaucoma, diabetes, hypertension, tuberculosis etc and drugs taken as prescribed by a doctor would help to reduce the effect of such diseases.
According to her, “screening in medicine is a strategy used in a population to identify an unrecognized disease in individuals without signs or symptoms. Screening tests are somewhat unique in that they are performed on persons apparently in good health. It is vital for detecting tell-tale signs of sicknesses and providing the necessary impetus to understand one’s health and make changes whenever necessary, health screening along with a healthy diet and exercise is necessary for maintaining good health and higher quality of life.”
She also identified that screening essentially helps in identifying diseases in people who do not yet have any symptoms or signs of it and detection of diseases such as cancer usually means a very high curative rate.
The health expert reiterated common diseases for screening include breast and cervical cancer, high cholesterol, HIV, glaucoma and cataract, colorectal and prostate cancer, diabetes, Hepatitis B, tuberculosis as well as obesity.
Cancer, according to her, “is a disease that is eating its way steadily into the fabric of modern society of which most are sporadic while others are lifestyle induced. It can actually be considered a multi-factorial disease with a combination of genes and environment playing a role as its causative factions and early detection can force it to long-term remission.
While many do not pay attention to their weight, Dr. Obinna said that obesity can increase the risk of many conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol; type two diabetes, coronary heart disease etc, adding that glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Though the condition cannot be prevented the disease progression can be halted through early diagnosis and an optical visit is recommended at least once a year to help check the eyes pressure.
In her words “glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. It is a group of eye diseases causing damage to the optic nerve due to an increase in the ultra-ocular pressure. It presents no sign initially and often referred to as ‘sight-theft’ as there is no initial loss of peripheral vision.
Risk factors include being black, over age 40, family history of glaucoma, poor vision, diabetes, head or eye trauma. Signs include unusual trouble adjusting to dark rooms, difficulty focusing on near or distant objects, squinting or blinking, change in colour of iris; red-rimmed, encrusted, or swollen lids, recurrent pain in or around eyes, double vision etc. Sadly, this condition cannot be prevented but disease progression can be halted earlier through earlier diagnosis. Optical visits are recommended at least once a year to help check the eye pressure.”