Category Archives: Diseases

Coping with Health Issues During COVID-19

Anxiety

One of the more challenging situations this pandemic had caused my family was when I needed to seek medical help and that uncertain feeling when I reached the hospital.

It happened last year, just a few days after the government recommended a lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby areas. I was anxious because I was feverish and lethargic for five days. The first thing that came to mind was I might have Covid. I felt helpless thinking about it. What would happen to my family if it was Covid? Would I recover from it?

Fortunately, the triage doctor, upon checking the tests, advised me to go home. There’s no need for hospital admission because I only had Urinary Tract Infection. UTI is manageable with prescribed antibiotics at home.

Paranoia

The lockdown continued for months. I was not able to visit our doctor for a scheduled checkup. I was and still am afraid to visit the clinic for fear of exposing myself to the virus. I was not aware of teleconsultation or medical consultation online until I had a recurrent UTI.

This was taken in 2012. The closest body frame I am in right now.

Weight Gain

Besides anxiety, which causes restlessness and some sleepless nights, the pandemic also leads to a rising incidence of obesity. Ironically, obesity is one of the risk factors for getting Covid. Being at home for the longest time and inactivity made me gain weight. At five feet and one inch, I weigh 162 pounds. According to the weight and exercise calculator, my BMI (Body Mass Index) is 30.61. It means I’m suffering from obesity.

Moderate Fatty Liver

Our doctor, through teleconsultation, advised me to have a blood test. It turned out, I have high levels of creatinine, uric acid, SPGT, and SGOT, in my blood sample. My cholesterol and blood sugar levels are within the normal range, though. The doctor said the high SGPT could be due to Moderate Hepatic Steatosis or moderate fatty liver, as shown in my abdominal ultrasound. The weight gain sadly takes its toll on my liver.  

Other factors that made me gain weight include stress eating and eating processed foods, particularly canned goods included in the relief package. It could also be the reason I have high uric acid and recurrent UTI.

Weight Management

The good news is that moderate fatty liver is reversible. The doctor said it needs a good amount of self-discipline to achieve. He recommends proper food intake and exercise.

Losing weight was not new to me. In fact, I have addressed the same health issue in 2012. It was a successful journey, I lost a few pounds at first, but I slowly gain those pounds back after several months.

Lifestyle modification would be different this time because of my age. Losing weight is difficult when you reach your 50s due to slow metabolism in older age.

The ideal weight for my height is between 101 and 125 pounds or 45 to 56 kilograms. It’s unrealistic to reach that number. What is workable is reducing at least 5 pounds off my weight is a good start.

My dusty yoga mat and dumbbells are just waiting for me in the corner.

Lifestyle Change

A nutritionist recommends the inverted food pyramid as a gauge to lifestyle change. It means I have to eat in moderation by cutting down on salty, sweet, and oily or fatty foods. Instead of sugary beverages, drink plenty of water to burn calories and flush toxins from the body.

Also, the nutritionist recommends brisk walking every day for at least 30 minutes. I have started walking indoors, and I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

A big part of being healthy is getting enough rest and sleep every day. The nutritionist suggests seven hours of sleep every day if I intend to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I also intend to do yoga and learn proper meditation to lessen my anxiety. We need to keep our minds and body healthy to keep ourselves safe from COVID-19.

Healthy food tips for people with diabetes

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It does not mean that just because you have diabetes, you will not have any access to great tasting food. Do you know that having the right healthy meal plan may even help reverse diabetes? Having diabetes does not mean that it is the end of the world. Rather, it is an opportunity for you to just pay attention to your meals so that you can improve your condition.

The very first tip that you will hear when you have diabetes is that you have to lose weight but aside from exercising, the type of food that you are going to eat will create a huge difference on how successful your weight loss is going to be. Here are some tips that you have to remember so that you can eat healthy food with ease:

1. Choose high fiber meals.

Fiber is needed by the body in order to prevent you from feeling hungry. It can also lessen the cravings that you may have for unhealthy food. At the same time, they can effectively provide just the right amount of sugar and carbohydrates needed by the body as they are digested slowly. Most people think that they do not need carbohydrates but without carbohydrates, people will not have enough energy.

2. Avoid Processed Food

There may be a lot of processed food that you are fond of. For instance, you may like packaged cereals and baked goods. Processed food products are usually packed with a lot of sugar that you would not need to have.

3. Add Leafy Greens to Your Diet

It may be a bit hard for you to start including vegetables to your diet if you have never liked eating them but adding some leafy greens will help you become healthier and at the same time, you can also start feeling full without feeling guilty.

Remember that diabetes food may not be too different from the food that healthy people usually eat. You can change your lifestyle through the food that you consume and you will surely feel the difference.

In pursuit of a good story

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS is a viral respiratory illness transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and bodily secretions from an infected person. It manifests flu-like symptoms.

At the height of the SARS scare in 2003, DOH (Department of Health) beat people have no other recourse but to cover and write about the latest update on the health malady.

I want a different perspective of the story so I designate myself to visit the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, one of the DOH’s assigned government SARS centers in Metro Manila. The other one was found in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

I have planned to come up with a news feature and a profile story from the interview with front line health workers who are directly handling suspected SARS patients.

The idea is quite scary isn’t it? What was I thinking then? We are not even covered by a medical insurance just in case me and my co-workers catch the virus during the coverage. I don’t even have the slightest idea of the existing life insurance rates. Also, I have two little susceptible kids to worry about.

But there’s no turning back. With only surgical masks and alcohol as our protection we proceeded to RITM.

My photographer was all worried to enter the RITM premises, but I assure him we are not going to meet a patient inside as we are not allowed to do so.

The interview and hospital facility guided tour turn out well. I felt good about myself as only few print reporters at the time including those from TV were able to visit the SARS referral center.

I did it all for the love of my job and goal to get a first hand account. After all the worries, I get to see my story published the following day.

Fortunately, none of us get sick after the coverage. Thank God.