The New Year Health Guide For 2009

January 8th, 2009 admin Health Resources 0

The New Year has just started. It is the perfect time for a fresh start. Many people are planning to make resolutions in health for the New Year to improve their life such as losing weight, exercising more, getting more organised or quitting smoking. But none of these will be effective without a proper health checklist, something that prioritises the important things you need to do this year, this decade and for the rest of your life. All you require is a roadmap to hit the highway to better health. The following things can help you to make 2009 your year of good health.

Control your weight
Measure your height and weight to figure out your body mass index (BMI). Or just measure your waist. Abdominal fat is a major health hazard for men. Risk mounts with waist sizes above 37.5 inches, and measurements of 40 inches and above are truly dangerous. Eat fewer calories and burn up more in exercise.

Eat right
Cut down on saturated fat and cholesterol by limiting red meat, whole-fat dairy products and egg yolk. Avoid fats in stick margarine, fried foods and many snack and junk foods. Eat lots of fishes. Load up on whole-grain products instead of refined grains and simple sugars. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Cut down on sodium (salt). And if you need to shed excess pounds, reduce your portion size, avoid calorie-dense foods, and cut your overall caloric intake.

Avoid tobacco
If you are a smoker, quitting is your first priority. Counselling and support groups can help in this regard. With physician’s advice you can use nicotine-replacement therapy or prescription medications, such as bupropion and varenicline (drugs used for cessation of smoking). Even if you do not smoke, you should resolve to help a buddy or relative who needs to kick the habit. And remember to protect yourself and your family by steering clear of secondhand smoke.

Exercise regularly
You do not have to hit the gym or train for a marathon to benefit from exercise. Build physical activity into your daily schedule. Take the stairs, do household chores, play active games with your kids. Above all, walk whenever and wherever you can. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking a day, either all at once or in smaller chunks. If you have diseases like asthma that do not allow more exercise or need special precaution then consult with your physician.

Reduce stress
Figure out what makes you tense and then try to change the things you can control. Talk over your problems and worries. Get enough sleep. Do things that are fun, especially with people you like. Avoid TV broadcasts and tabloids. Exercise to burn off stress. Avoid caffeine if it makes you jittery. Do not try to medicate yourself with alcohol or drugs. Learn to appreciate and enjoy life’s many little pleasures. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing. Talk to your doctor if you need more help.

Protect yourself from infection
Be sure your immunisations are up to date. If you are ill, protect others by avoiding crowds and coughing into a tissue. Wash your hands often, and use an alcohol-based hand rub. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.

Prevent accidents and injuries
Many result from careless behavior. Wear seatbelts and drive defensively. Check your house for clutter and cords that might trip you up. Hold the handrail when walking stairs.

Avoid environmental hazards
These include air pollution, pesticides and toxins, contaminated food and radiation. Remember that excessive sunlight is toxic to your skin. These include air pollution, pesticides and toxins, contaminated food and radiation. Remember that excessive sunlight is toxic to your skin.

Get good medical care
See your doctor regularly. Know your numbers cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight. Take your medication as directed. Keep a record of your major illnesses and tests, your medications, and your allergies. Listen to your body and let your doctor know if you do not feel well.

If it seems like a lot, it is. But there are 12 months in 2009 and only 10 resolutions. Pick the ones you need most, change slowly, and get your family and friends to sign on to your resolutions for health. Above all, do not give up if you slip from time to time. Your goal is not perfection, but health. Take the long view and keep plugging away. Any progress you make in 2009 will give you a leg up for 2010 and beyond. If you make 2009 your health year, it will be a happy new year.

Marriage Conflict is a Normal Part of Married Life

December 23rd, 2008 admin Health Resources 0

Marriage conflict is a normal part of married life. When two people start life together by the bond of marriage, conflict is bound to happen.Each person has had different life experience, and undoubtedly, has different expectations of marriage and from his/her spouse. Therefore, each one is going to react differently to life’s challenges.

Marital conflicts are not bad in themselves. It is our response to the conflicts that can be either helpful or harmful. Conflict can range from a minor disagreement over what to have for dinner tonight to the extreme of abuse.

Conflicts over monetary matters, in-laws/parents, time given to each other, domination/control of one partner, insensitivity toward the spouses feelings, unilateral decisions being made, conflict over interests, children and individual lifestyles are common.

Many marital conflicts are caused by lack of good communication. The problem of “not listening” becomes extremely evident, if you raise an unpleasant topic, ask for something or criticise a person. The accused partner may feel very uncomfortable and tries to prepare a defense or some way to get rid of the unpleasant talk.

Conflict is a reality in all marriages. How you deal with that conflict is the ultimate test of your ability to communicate as a couple.

Ignoring a conflict would never be a wise option as what might seem trivial at the surface, certainly would have some unattended underlying issue. Marital conflict stems out of unmet need, want and desire. When one person needs or wants something badly enough, and the other person is unwilling or unable to meet that need, resentment grows.

The first step in resolving any marital conflict is to understand what the conflict is all about. Once you have taken that step, without being defensive during your investigation, the solutions become much more apparent.

Some measures that can be taken to resolve conflicts or minimise conflicts in a marriage are highlighted below:

* Be kind, gentle and loving to each other

* Create a non-threatening environment of understanding

* Providing more empathy than sympathy

* Avoid cutting remarks that could start the “insult cycle”

* Try to keep your emotions under control

* Be willing to forgive

* Take joint decisions: Share your goals with each other

* Couples must approach each other with kindness and concern

* Be careful of your words: If you are angry, wait until you calm down before continuing the conversation

* Show appreciation for what your spouse does

* Communicate: It is better to deal with problems early and honestly than to let them pile up until an explosion occurs

* Do not drag the past

* Admit your mistakes

Marriage is a personal union of individuals. Good marital relationship requires patience, kindness, humility, sacrifice, empathy, love, understanding, forgiveness, and hard work. Following these principles should help any marriage to improve.

The essence of them all can be summed up in one sentence: Always treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated. If you follow this rule, your marriage will have a much greater chance for success. If you discard this rule, failure is just around the corner.

Reducing HIV Cases

November 29th, 2008 admin HIV-Aids 0

Universal and annual voluntary testing followed by immediate antiretroviral therapy treatment (irrespective of clinical stage or CD4 count) can reduce new HIV cases by 95 percent within 10 years, according to new findings based on a mathematical model developed by a group of HIV specialists in WHO. The findings were published in The Lancet to stimulate discussion, debate and further research.

Authors of the study also report that the universal voluntary testing followed by immediate ART could have additional public health benefits, including reducing the incidence of tuberculosis and the transmission of HIV from mother to child. Additionally, the model suggests that there could be a significant reduction of HIV-related morbidity and mortality in resource-limited countries with generalised HIV epidemics.

The current WHO policy on treatment involves voluntary testing and clinical and/or immunological evaluation (e.g. Cd4 count) to determine eligibility for treatment with antiretrovirals.

The authors emphasise the theoretical nature of the exercise based on data and raise a number of concerns regarding feasibility, including the protection of individual rights, drug resistance, toxicity and financing challenges.

WHO-recommended preventive interventions need to be maintained and expanded. This includes male circumcision, partner reduction, correct and consistent use of condoms, and interventions targeting most-at-risk populations, also known as “combination prevention.”

WHO will convene a meeting early next year bringing together ethicists, funders, human rights advocates, clinicians, prevention experts and AIDS programme managers to discuss this and other issues related to the wider use of antiretroviral therapy for HIV prevention.

Thought of World AIDS Day

November 29th, 2008 admin HIV-Aids 0

Around 40 million people worldwide are HIV positive, 95% of them live in developing countries.

In 2004, approximately five million people were newly infected with the virus. HIV/AIDS has killed more than 20 million people worldwide. 3.1 million people died of AIDS-related causes in 2004.

The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) was created in 2001 to provide major financial resources in the fight against three diseases. These diseases kill over 6 million people each year and the numbers are growing.

As of mid-2007, the Global Fund Board approved more than US$ 7.7 billion for programmes in 136 countries. Together with the efforts of many implementing partners, Global Fund-supported programmes have already saved 1.8 million lives. Till mid 2008, the Global Fund committed US$ 11.3 billion in 136 countries to support aggressive interventions against all three diseases.

The Global Fund announced its approval of nearly $3 billion in Round 8 funding to improve access to HIV treatment and prevention and help reduce deaths from TB and malaria by 50% by 2015. The Global Fund’s board approved 94 grants worth $2.75 billion over two years, representing the group’s largest funding round to date (Global Fund release, 11/10).

The decision was made in New Delhi, during the Global Fund Board Meeting. The Board decision was rendered particularly difficult because the unusually large average size of the proposals meant that there was not enough money to pay the full cost of the proposals recommended for approval by the Technical Review Panel (TRP).

As of mid 2008, Global Fund supported programmes are estimated to have averted more than 2.5 million deaths by providing AIDS treatment (ARV) for 1.75 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment (DOTS) for 3.9 million people, and by distributing 59 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria worldwide.

Round 8 funding support now brings the Global Fund’s overall portfolio to US$ 14.4 billion in 140 countries. “This is the highest amount of new financing approved by the Global Fund ever. These new resources will significantly help the world in achieving global targets such as universal access to AIDS treatment and prevention, and cutting the number of deaths from tuberculosis and malaria by half by 2015,” said Rajat Gupta, Chair of the Global Fund Board.

He added that 38% of the resources will be used for HIV/AIDS programmes, 11% for TB programmes and 51% for malaria programmes. Around 90% of the approved grants will be distributed to low-income countries, 77% of which are in Africa and the Middle East. The remaining funds will be dispersed to countries in Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund, said the “increased demand” for funding “requires a renewed resource mobilisation effort.” He added that the Global Fund has a “fantastic message to bring back to the rich nations of the world: programmes to fight these three diseases save lives, reduce disease burdens and strengthen health systems” (Global Fund release, 11/10).

There is abundant evidence that science-based HIV prevention is effective, especially when backed by high-level political leadership, a national AIDS programme, strong community involvement together with adequate funding. Components of successful prevention efforts include clear and accurate communication about HIV/AIDS and methods to prevent infection, HIV counselling and testing, and treatment.

Gap analysis reveals that vast majority of people living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world do not have access to the treatment, as a result of limited health care infrastructures and the high cost of many medications. It has been estimated that a total of US$7-10 billion a year is needed from all sources to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in low and middle-income countries. Allocation of around US$5.4 billion stands as great commitment of Global Fund to fight AIDS.