A Detailed Guide on Common Health Issues and How You Can Deal with Them
Our bodies have a complex mechanism for working to sustain us. Just like an intricate machine—let’s consider cars as an example—our bodies also require regular maintenance, fuel, and care to perform and function at their best potential. From annoying flu-related symptoms like a cold and cough to more severe conditions like diabetes or blood pressure problems, it's critical to be cognizant of these health issues and take precautions to avoid or handle them. Let’s address some of those common health problems in this guide, and a few natural ways to deal with them to ensure that your body—your vessel—is running smoothly amidst the speed bumps. Buckle up!
When approaching common health problems, we often make the mistake of focusing on the symptoms and trying our best to treat them. The crucial thing that we miss out on is finding out the root cause of the problem. Fixing the cause is often the best way to get rid of the symptoms of these health problems. This, however, requires a thorough strategy that considers numerous factors such as nutrition, external stressors, and hereditary factors. By addressing these issues, not only can current symptoms be alleviated, but long-term health and well-being can be promoted as well.
Let’s approach our common health symptoms one by one in this guide.
1. Common flu
This one had to be the first. The colder months usually indicate flu season and are followed by common symptoms of a cold, cough, sore throat, headaches, and body aches. While mild forms of the flu are common and go away on their own, sometimes the flu can take a toll on someone with a weakened immune system or someone battling health complications. If you usually suffer from the flu’s effects in the winter or monsoon season, it’s time to add immunity-boosting supplements and foods to your daily routine.
When everyone around you may be suffering from the common flu, you can find many ways to prevent it before you’re one of them too. Carry a hand sanitizer with you at all times, and keep your mouth and nose covered for some level of protection from the bacteria and viruses in the air. Also, make sure to wash your hands regularly with soap, preferably an anti-bacterial one, and avoid being in close contact with people who are sick. It is also important to avoid crowded places, like getting together with a large group during festivals, being in enclosed offices, and social gatherings, to make sure your health is your priority. The flu season is the time when your immune system should be functioning at its best. While a lot of immunity-boosting supplements are available on the market today, it can also be beneficial to regularly have a kadha for immunity, just like the ones our grandmas have been concocting for ages. The reason why our moms and grandmas always prefer a kadha for immunity is because it contains the goodness of adaptogenic herbs like tulsi, mulethi, black pepper, ginger, amla, and more. This not only provides symptomatic relief when you have the flu, but it also prepares you for the worst effects of the weather change. So, as winter or monsoon approaches, remember to take your kadha!
Another thing you can do to alleviate the symptoms of the common flu is to rest and treat your body as gently as possible. Just as you wouldn't drive a car that had broken down without fixing it, why should you treat your body any differently? Consuming whole-food multivitamins or immunity-boosting supplements, avoiding processed foods, and having lots of water to flush out toxins can help strengthen your immunity. Additionally, get at least 8–9 hours of sleep so your body can recover in no time.
2. Digestive issues
Digestive problems can be minor at times, but they can have a negative impact on a person's quality of life. Most common digestive issues include acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, food intolerance, gas, etc. When dealing with digestive issues, it is important to remember that the food we eat, as well as the quantity and quality of it, play a significant role in determining how our gut functions. The most effective approach is to identify the underlying cause and address it with the right food or supplement.
i) Acid reflux:
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus (food pipe), causing a burning sensation in the chest, and, in some cases, in the stomach too. The trigger foods for these are caffeine, spices, alcohol, carbonated beverages, etc.
To combat this, eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of fewer large meals and avoiding trigger foods till the situation subsides is a holistic way of reducing acidity. You can also try taking apple cider vinegar, or ACV, with water, as the mother in ACV is highly beneficial for regulating acid reflux. ACV is also known for its other benefits, like maintaining blood sugar levels and metabolism.
Constipation occurs when a person has difficulty passing stool regularly or has infrequent bowel movements. This usually happens because of a lack of fiber in the diet.
To up your fiber intake in this situation, you can include more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet regularly. If your diet restricts the carbs that come along with these foods, or if you’re trying to lose weight, you can also add fiber supplements to your diet. Fiber supplements are a great way to get your day’s portion of fiber and reap its benefits. You can also add a daily greens tablet to your diet to enjoy the benefits of green leafy vegetables and get the essential vitamins and minerals.
iii) Bloating and gas:
Excess gas in the abdomen can cause stomach discomfort, a stomach ache, or make you feel bloated or gassy. This typically happens when you eat the trigger foods. For example, some people experience bloating or gas when they consume dairy-based products or eat certain vegetables, like cruciferous vegetables.
To combat this, you may eat and chew your food slowly, and avoid carbonated drinks and beer. Also, avoid smoking and chewing gum. Stay hydrated and physically active.
3. Nutrient deficiencies
When the body does not get an adequate amount of certain vitamins or minerals, it is said to be deficient. This can occur as a result of poor nutrition, certain medical disorders, or malabsorption problems. Nutrient deficits can cause a variety of health issues, such as a weakened immune system, exhaustion, diminished brain function, and anemia.
i) Iron deficiency
Iron is required for the formation of red blood cells as well as the transfer of oxygen throughout the body. Iron insufficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficits in the world, and it can cause anemia, lethargy, and a weakened immune system.
To combat iron deficiency, it is critical to ingest iron-rich foods such as red meat, chicken, seafood, legumes, garden cress seeds, and leafy green veggies. Since vegetarian sources of iron have low bioavailability, you may combine them with vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, limes, tamarind, etc. In severe instances, you may also require iron supplements.
ii) Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is necessary for bone health as well as immunological function. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, particularly in regions where sunshine is scarce, but it can also happen if you stay indoors too often. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include a weaker immune system, exhaustion, bone discomfort, and mood swings.
To treat vitamin D deficiency, spend time in the sun or ingest vitamin D-rich foods such as fatty seafood, egg whites, mushrooms, and fortified foods such as milk and cereals.
iii) Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 is required for the formation of red blood cells as well as neural activity. Vegans and vegetarians who do not eat animal products are prone to vitamin B12 shortage. Symptoms of vitamin B12 insufficiency include tiredness, weakness, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, and cognitive decline.
To combat vitamin B12 deficiency, it is critical to ingest vitamin B12-rich meals such as meat, seafood, dairy products, and fortified cereals. If you’re a vegan, you can opt for fermented foods and also look at a vegan vitamin B12 supplement to get all the benefits without compromising on your diet preferences.
iv) Calcium deficiency
Calcium is necessary for bone health as well as neural activity. A lack of calcium can result in osteoporosis, muscular cramps, and a weaker immune system.
To combat calcium insufficiency, it is critical to consume calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy green veggies, and fortified foods such as orange juice and grains. To treat all of these deficiencies, you may also opt for whole-food multivitamins or multivitamin tablets for men and women to solve your problems in one go. They are a sustainable option for anyone who doesn’t want to take several pills in one day and still wants the right amount of nutrients coming into their body on a daily basis.
4. Lifestyle Disorders:
There has been a drastic change in our current lifestyle when compared to that of our grandparents. From eating refined and processed foods to opting for escalators or elevators in buildings. Although we created many devices and means for our convenience, they are now causing health problems. Let us look at these common lifestyle disorders.
Unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to fat accumulation in our bodies, pushing us toward obesity. Obesity is linked with multiple diseases, from diabetes and heart disorders to hypertension.
Although obesity could result from genetics or hormonal imbalances, it is a reversible condition that can be tackled with mindful eating practices and regular physical activity. Obesity can also be treated with the help of certain medications and surgical procedures.
Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of sugar circulating in your blood goes beyond the optimum range. Excess sugar in blood vessels for an extended period of time causes internal damage. Thus, the supply of blood to organs by these blood vessels is affected. This results in organ dysfunction and gradual failure. Diabetes, if left untreated, can cause severe health hazards like stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, etc.
Diabetes management can be achieved with a balanced diet (low GI and high fiber foods), staying physically active, and stress management. In advanced stages, additional blood glucose-lowering medicines or insulin injections may be advised.
iii) Heart Disease
An erratic lifestyle can trigger heart disorders such as cardiovascular disease. An unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, obesity, and stress can lead to the build-up of plaque in blood vessels, thereby obstructing blood flow to the heart. This can result in fatal conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
Dietary corrections, exercise, and stress management go a long way in treating certain cardiovascular diseases. Additional medicines and doctor’s advice need to be considered in severe, hereditary, and congenital conditions.
The high amount of pressure in the blood vessels that supply blood from the heart to various parts of the body is termed hypertension. Obesity, stress, smoking, drinking, and an unhealthy lifestyle can all contribute to this condition. When left untreated, it can be fatal.
Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, getting regular physical exercise, not smoking, restricting table salt, including high-fiber foods, and opting for low-sodium foods may help in the management of hypertension.
5. Hormonal Imbalances
Too much or too little of a particular hormone can cause a hormonal imbalance. Hormones are like messengers that carry messages from the brain through your blood to various organs like muscles, tissues, etc. PCOD and thyroid disorder are the two most common hormonal imbalances.
Polycystic Ovarian Disease, also called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is characterized by irregular menstruation, facial hair, weight gain, and acne in women due to the formation of multiple cysts in the ovaries. It primarily affects women of reproductive age and may interfere with conception.
Eating healthy, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy body weight all aid in the management of PCOD. Your gynecologist may also suggest hormonal medicines to help you regularize your hormones and treat PCOD.
ii) Thyroid Disorders
Thyroid disorders take place when your thyroid gland produces too high (hypothyroid) or too low (hyperthyroid) amounts of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is extremely important for processing various metabolic activities. Thyroid disorder disturbs the smooth functioning of metabolic processes, leading to weight loss or gain, fatigue, dry skin, hoarseness in voice, dry skin, heart palpitations, etc.
Treatment of thyroid disorders includes the consumption of hormonal medicines. In certain cases, treatment options include radioactive ablations and surgery.
To sum up, common health issues can have a substantial effect on an individual's well-being and quality of life. These problems can be caused by several variables, including poor nutrition, a lack of activity, worry, and environmental factors. Understanding the reasons and symptoms of these diseases is critical for their prevention and management. A diet high in whole, nutrient-dense meals can provide the minerals, the body requires to function correctly and promote general health. Overall, a proactive approach to health and wellbeing can aid in the prevention and management of many prevalent health issues, as well as the promotion of a healthy, active, and gratifying lifestyle.
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