Non-Covid Killers

Feels like everyone is out here talking about COVID-19! (As we should, because this viral infection is really like nothing we have ever seen! So please wear your mask and have sense.)

I just hope that it doesn’t mean that we are neglecting everything else.

I know for a fact that Covid-19 is absolutely devastating, but there are some other conditions that are very preventable, or manageable once contracted, and could send you to the grave either in a slow, money-wrenching manner, or a quick, shocking way! So let’s talk about a few of them…

First of all, are you checking your blood pressures?

Are you taking your meds? (I know they’re probably a lot, but… are you?)

What about your blood sugar? And what are those herbs you’re taking? (Who told you they can prevent cancer? If you don’t toss them out the window this minute?!)

Okay, have you checked any of the things I mentioned above before? No? Not ever? Wow!

So how do you know if you’re hypertensive? Or diabetic? Or have any other condition? And with all the interesting ‘brews and blends’ you’ve been downing, please tell me you’ve at least checked your liver and your kidneys recently…

Okay, lemme stop shouting.

Let me be calming down lol.

There were a number of the things that got to me multiple times as a medical student, and then later on during my practice as a doctor.

One of those was the number of people that came in with strokes, from uncontrolled hypertension – either because they had no idea they were hypertensive in the first place, or they decided to stop taking their medications for a short while (often to try some herbal preparation or another).

Another was the number of young people with diabetes. Diabetes they know nothing about.

Diabetes they could probably have either prevented or slowed down if they’d only checked at some point.

Oh, and again, there was the number of people who would rather buy a herbal drug from the market or in some hidden kiosk, than visit a hospital – which often led to people showing up with irreversible liver or kidney issues that would finish them sooner than later.

In most Ghanaian homes, health is not much of a priority, and one phrase that people boast about is “I have not been to hospital in more than five years!”

Fam! If your car did not go to the mechanic for five years, at least for regular servicing and diagnostics, would you be comfortable driving it?

I’m sorry for shouting… I’ll try to tone it down a little bit…

A check up once a year could prevent so many diseases and deaths!

Proper diets and mild-moderate exercise such as even brisk walking for say thirty minutes, a few times a week could also do so much!

And can we please hold on with all the herbal concoctions? I don’t mean to say they are bad. Because not all of them are… but what research do we have on them? How do we know the specific side effects? How much is too much? (especially since we’re all different sizes out here) Do they work for everyone? How do you know it’s not you that it will not work for? Etc. etc!

I’ve seen multiple liver and renal failures because of the herbs, and honestly in Ghana, no transplants are done… so unless you can afford to fly out for that transplant (which may really only buy you just a few years) please let’s hold it with these concoctions!

I know that my audience may not be reading this… You might know this already. Maybe my target audience should be all our friends and family sitting in our trotros, buying one concoction or the other. Maybe my target audience should be that person priding himself over not going to hospital since he was born. (It will shock you the number of fifty-year-olds who will tell you this!)

But you who know better… are you doing any better?

And if you are indeed doing any better, who have you helped out there? Who have you saved from a stroke or from liver disease?

Okay my rant is over… I still have a lot to say, so I will eventually be back with more. If you know anyone who can benefit from this, please share it with them. You never know who could do with this information. And if you have any questions or any additional material, I am waiting for you in the comments 😀

PS. Please wear your mask!! (Yes, this time I am really shouting!)

*Trotro – minibus. Popular mode of transportation in Ghana.

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