By Lilian Maingi-Barasa
October is a very special month for me. Every October, I put extra effort in making sure my body is still functioning well.
My breasts are usually the first in the check-up list.
This is because October is world’s breast cancer month, and sadly, a permanent reminder that my mother succumbed to stage four-breast cancer in 2002.
Her death shook me to realise that even the healthiest looking people could be harbouring the deadliest of diseases. It is for this reason that I urge everybody, especially young people to spare time this month for a proper health check.
Usually, we assume that because we are young, we are not prone to those complicated illness associated with old people.
But the truth is that most illnesses begin incubating early. Ask any older person you know who is in perfect health and they will tell you they were very conscious with their bodies when young.
During your youth, you will be faced with choices about behaviours that will influence your health today and the rest of your life.
Are you a man who is 18 years and above? If you have not yet seen your doctor for a proper medical check-up, book an appointment immediately. World statistics show that one in three men will develop various types of cancers as opposed to one in every four women.
So this month, instead of endangering your health by binge drinking, feeding on junk, changing sex partners and being a couch potato, take charge of your health by making a date with your doctor as soon as possible.
The same advice goes to all women who have started their monthly periods.
Several checks in your body will save you many health-related complications.
Some sicknesses in a woman’s body are passive but when they manifest, it is usually too late. Breast cancer is one of those diseases.
Take a breast exam today and ask your doctor to show you how to feel for suspicious lumps in your breast.
A pap smear test and a pelvic examination are compulsory once you turn 18 and taking one every two years might save you from cervical cancer.
Do not be a victim of lifestyle diseases. A physiotherapist friend once told me that wearing high-heeled shoes was causing women back problems.
Have you witnessed a number of women with prolapsed disks and bent postures? Most of them are a result of strained muscles as they strive to maintain the model height by wearing uncomfortable shoes.
Young girls have also taken to admiring skinny Western style models that do not feed well. So they use strange creams to lighten their skins and expand their hips while others are forcing their bodies in small fitting clothes.
The aftermath is malnourishment, risk of skin cancers and loss of self-esteem.
Eat a well balanced diet, supplement with iron and calcium as you age and keep fit. Walk as much as possible and ditch the smokes and the beer.
Keep healthy relationships and embrace spirituality. With that, you are assured of aging gracefully and not spending your entire pension in the hospital.
Invest in your health today and reap years of vitality later.