Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Health Management - a pill for thought

When it comes to issues of health management such as weight loss, smoking cessation and stress / insomnia management, many people often come looking for the 'magic pill'. "Have you got something for me to ...?" and when I start probing further or offer follow-up counselings, people start to get turn off.

They don't understand that there is really no such thing as a "magic pill" to health management.

I would describe health management as a jigsaw puzzle with no cheat-route. What the doctors and pharmacists can give are akin to pieces of the jigsaw puzzle for you to piece your desired picture together. Of course you would need the time and discipline to gradually fit the right pieces together at the right places. In the process, you may even encounter obstacles and unsolvable 'parts', which you may want to further discuss with your doctors or pharmacists.

Generally in managing these multi-facet health issues, we need to look into these 3 major influencing factors:

1) Lifestyle / Habit

Is binge eating or drinking alcohol is part of your lifestyle? How many times a week do you actually get off your butt to exercise?

You may be taking slimming pills and using slimming belts, but nothing is going to help when you don't cut down the amount of fat in your plate. That's LIFESTYLE for you. Healthy lifestyle is not talking about the moment, it has to be sustained.

2) Emotional / Psychological

Bad emotions, such as stress, can adversely affect your health. If it is the cause of your health issues, it needs to be tackled. Finding out the causes of these bad emotions and coming up with alternative ways to cope is the main strategy. Of course, family and friends support are very important too.

In more serious cases such as depression or if the bad emotions arise due to underlying medical conditions, prescription medications may be needed for treatment.

3) Physiological

Physiology is about how your body works and responds. Your body could be "used to" or addicted to something that is bad and in managing that, we need to find ways to cope with this adjustment as we take away the bad thing. For example, in nicotine addiction when your body is addicted it, taking the nicotine away may suddenly make you feel lethargic, have a headache or runny nose. It's called the withdrawal symptoms. These may last for a few weeks but will get better over time as your body adjusts.

Taking pills or supplements to alter your bodily function could help. And they act to complement positive lifestyle and emotional changes. Certain medications, such as sleeping pills, are only meant for short-term use. Long term usage may lead to addiction or tolerance.

I will blog about the various health topics such as insomnia and smoking cessation when I have the time.
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