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     Volume 4 Issue 60 |August 26, 2005|

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Straight Talk

is Better than


I think it is extremely ironic that we seem to take more care of our cars than we do of ourselves. I am sure most car owners take their pride of possession in for servicing at regular intervals and every time there is the slight hint of something not quite right the car is rushed to the local garage. Most of us have heard the saying, "Health is better than Wealth"? But to be perfectly honest like most proverbs and sayings it probably went in one ear and out the other. I don't think many of us attach much significance or importance to the meaning until we are physically incapacitated or suffering from some ailment or the other. Then the penny drops and we realise that if you have your health you really are blessed and to be sincere most of us would give anything to regain our health. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live or even how much money you have, if you are not well even the most simple of tasks can take on gargantuan proportions and your enjoyment of life becomes seriously reduced. Starting from a toothache, headache or stomach ache, to a more serious or debilitating illness, it can be a bit of a struggle to get on with even one's daily activities. Some people are genuinely lucky and possess a strong constitution; others are less fortunate and succumb to diseases more easily. There are some illnesses that are beyond our control and then there are some that we bring upon ourselves. Somewhere along the line we start to take our good health for granted and in many ways abuse our bodies by lack of a balanced diet, insufficient exercise or just general neglect.

For some of us it really does require the doctor to be sitting opposite us across a desk shaking his or her head with the words, "Mr. Khan, your cholesterol level is excessively high, you must reduce your consumption of fatty foods" or, "Mrs. Rahman, you must try and reduce your uric acid level by cutting out certain foods otherwise it will start affecting your quality of life…" to actually make us sit and think. We are truly foolish to take a gamble with our health. Many people find going to the doctor more hassle than it is worth and put it off until they are in so much pain that they have no option or wait until a perfectly simple and easily treatable ailment develops into something more complicated and in some cases beyond treatment. It seems to me that most of us could give Hamlet a run for his money in terms of the amount of time we spend procrastinating about something as simple as going to the doctor! I am no exception and like countless other people I also spent too much time putting off my visit to the doctor until I had family threatening to take me kicking and screaming in a most undignified manner and my friends calling me and giving me verbal ear bashings until I capitulated and made that phone call to my GP. That is how I found myself sitting across the consultant, being told in no uncertain terms what was wrong with me, what medication I should be taking and to make things worse, that I was to abstain from tea, fruit juices, citrus fruits etc. My initial reaction was one of indignation how could he curtail my two cups of tea a day! That was just….wrong! But at the end of the day when it is your health on the line, you just do what it takes, or at least that's what you should be doing.

Now you must be wondering if I actually have a point to make and yes I do. Assuming we are not all suffering from an illness that is not of our own doing, all it takes is a little bit of self control and will power to try and look after our health. No body is saying that we need to suddenly become health nuts (living in fear of the "ef" word i.e. fried food or existing solely on "ghash-pata" i.e. salads) or turning into fitness freaks (there really is no need to build that extension just to house all the new gym equipment you are thinking of buying). Nor am I suggesting that we all sign up to being full time hypochondriacs. But a little bit of discipline in the way we treat our body can really pay off in the long run. Food wise, what we put inside us, has a direct effect on our physical wellbeing and that in turn has an impact on our mental wellbeing. A few years ago, a friend of ours was taken to hospital with a possible heart attack. But fortunately it was diagnosed as something far less serious. At the time he had been living with abandon; eating, smoking and drinking to excess. I think he knew he was overdoing it, but when you're young you feel invincible. However this scare made him rethink the way he was leading his life. He started eating healthily, doing a bit of exercise, cut out smoking and has never looked back. Today he looks great, feels fit and has a generally better quality of life. It just seems to me that we don't really need to wait for that wake up call to look after ourselves. A regular check up is not a bad thing, in fact it is advisable. In the UK women are advised to have cervical smear tests on a regular basis and after a certain age it is recommended that men should have a prostate check up. It really does pay to be safe than sorry.

Just to leave you with a little pearl of wisdom, "He, who has health, has hope; and he who has hope has everything". (Arabic saying)

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