Health

026 Health Battles: What To Do Next?

  • Health Must Always Stay As A Top Priority

It’s already the fourth day into the fresh new year. But I do not feel fresh at all.

Plagued by a bad flu since the day after Christmas Day, I know I have yet to recover fully even though the antibiotics had depleted.

Sticky phlegm is stubbornly tickling my throat. The sinus region is stuffed with mucus beneath the skin. Feeling lethargic yet hard to get into sleep, I cannot wake up early for my regular morning exercise for five straight days.

As much as I wanted to make a fresh start in the new year and set new resolutions, this influenza serves well as a good reminder that personal health management must stay as a top priority, above every thing else.

  • Complacency is a serious problem

I had some degree of success in managing my health last year. Having shed nearly 10 kg through daily physical exercise and improved dietary habits, I was looking forward to favourable results in this year’s health report. And I have good reasons to be confident.

One apparent reason is appearance. Here was how I looked in September 2016.

And this is how I look now in mid Dec 2017.

And I’ve become healthier. For eight consecutive months, I did not have any flu or whatsoever until recently. In fact, I was quietly glad that my immunity system remained strong when quite a number of my colleagues were falling sick in the midst of our annual education conference at Yogyakarta in early December. But two weeks later, I realised that I was no better when I finally succumbed to influenza.

In retrospection, I had allowed complacency to set in when I indulged in party food between November and December. In a blind belief that I could easily burn away any excess calories through physical exercise, I had eaten more cakes than I should for instance. In last November alone, I had three birthday cakes in a week. Not to mention all the gatherings I went in December.

  • Alarm Bells Are Ringing

As the adage goes, appearance is deceiving. Alarm bells rang off loudly when my annual health report came in mid December. The bad cholesterol had shot up above the high risk range of 160, raising the prospect of strokes and heart attack. Uric acid level was no better. Luckily, I suffered no symptom of gout. In addition, the thyroid was performing at a lower than desired level.

The only consolation was BMI had dropped below obesity level while the good cholesterol had elevated, bringing the overall cholesterol ratio to just within the desired level.

Interestingly, two doctors made vastly different interpretations of the same data, and therefore gave contradictory advice.

My family doctor, the GP, thought that the visible weight loss through exercise and dietary improvements demonstrated that increase in bad cholesterol had more to do with genes than anything else. While the thyroid was not functioning at optimal level, it was in a better state than the year before. His advice: Start taking cholesterol control medicine.

The doctor at the health check clinic disagreed. He deduced that the thyroidectomy I had last year slowed down my metabolism and was likely to be the cause for the increase in bad cholesterol level. His advice: Start taking thyroid medication. Certainly not cholesterol control pills.

Now, what should I do next?

One thing for sure. Stricter control of dietary habits. That means..No chocolates. No fried food. No seafood. No snacks and titbits for now. Oh no.. but Chinese New Year is coming..

Do you have better ideas?

William W. K Tan

6 Jan 2018, Saturday

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Categories: Health

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