Can you make up for years of poor eating? – Harvard Health

Hi y’all! I hope you had a great week. I did! Very busy but very rewarding.

Have you ever wondered if you can ever get it right health wise, after years of eating wrong? Well, you can. Here’s how!

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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Preeclampsia

Q: Please Doc, what can be the cause of preeclampsia in pregnancy and how can one stop or avoid it for subsequent pregnancies?

A: Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy which is characterized by high blood pressure reading and signs of organ damage. A bit of background first….

Blood pressure readings are interpreted as same, pregnancy or no pregnancy. Any level more than 140/90mmHg is seen as hypertensive. A woman may already be hypertensive before pregnancy and on medication. She may be found to be hypertensive before the 20th week of pregnancy in which case it is believed she had previously undetected high blood pressure or she may be discovered to have high blood pressure after the 20th week, in which case it is believed that this high blood pressure is pregnancy-induced (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension: PIH). This would usually resolve within 6 weeks of having a baby. If a woman with PIH goes on to develop protein in urine, she is at risk of preeclampsia (in which protein leaks from kidneys into urine) or eclampsia (in which the woman experiences fits and seizures)

The risk of preeclampsia is higher in women who have had this condition in a previous pregnancy, first pregnancies, women who get pregnant after the age of 40 years, women who are obese and women with multiple pregnancies or those who have a long interval between babies (greater than 10 years) or short interval between babies (less than 2 years) etc

High blood pressure in pregnancy needs to be addressed as this poses a danger to both mother and baby. It may affect the flow of blood and nutrients to baby leading to slow growth or pre-term delivery. It may also lead to eclampsia or separation of placenta from the uterine wall before the baby is born.

Your doctor will determine the best course of action and may prescribe medications (to reduce blood pressure, or to even prepare your baby’s lungs for life outside the womb given the anticipation of preterm delivery), hospitalization to monitor you or delivery of the baby if the doctor believes the womb is now a hostile environment for the baby due to any of the dangers mentioned above.

There are varying thoughts about strategies thought to help prevent this condition. However, ensuring that risk factors are reduced by reducing weight, eating and living healthy may be helpful strategies.

For more on blood pressure, please click on the links below:

Be sure to make your antenatal classes interactive. Ask your doctor questions about your health and indeed your blood pressure readings if they are cause for concern.

Have a great evening, y’all 😀


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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: What To Do About The Odour

Q: Please what can someone do whose discharge has odour?

A: Hi! Thanks for writing in. I assume you are referring to vaginal discharge.

Vaginal discharge is quite common in females especially in sexually active females, though it can also occur in people who are not sexually active. It can be rather disturbing if associated with symptoms like itching, sores in the genital area and bad odor.

There are different causes of discharge and many organisms responsible for vaginal discharge (bacterial, fungal and protozoan), and the offending organism/cause will determine the treatment.

Some causes include poor hygienic practices, use of harsh chemicals to wash the genital area, use of tampons and pads for long periods without change, insertion of herbs or other objects into the vagina, and wrong cleaning practices, like cleaning from back to front (the correct way should be from front to back)

From the description of your symptoms, it is rather difficult to determine the cause of your discharge.

I would advise you try to maintain a high level of cleanliness, eat healthy, involve in exercise as this helps in cleansing the system, try to keep the place dry always, by during with a towel or tissue after washing (wash with only water or water and a mild toilet soap). Washing and urinating after intercourse can also help. I would also advice you visit a doctor, who would request you have some tests done and then based on the results would prescribe the appropriate drugs for you.

Following the result of your tests, your doctor may advice that your partner be treated if he thinks it’s a sexually transmitted infection. This would prevent you from getting re-infected on meeting him after your treatment. It’s important to note that this is not always the case…your symptoms may not be due to a sexually transmitted disease and in that case, there may be no need for your partner to be treated.

Fungal infection such as candidiasis are not usually transmitted through intercourse and so would not require this.

Sorry about the discomfort you maybe going through, but once treated properly you will be preventing yourself from likely complications and recurrence.

Hope this helps. Cheers!

******This post was contributed by a doctor ‘guest’ blogger. For related posts, please click on these links:

Have a good night, y’all 😀


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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: My Husband And I Are AS Genotype

Q: Pls. Ma. I need your advice. My husband and I went for genotype test we found out that we were both AS. What should we do? Is there a possibility of us having AS as first child?

A: What to do? Well, what do you think? J As I have explained in earlier posts, with your genotypes, for every pregnancy, there is a 25% probability that you and your partner will give birth to a child with SS genotype, 50% chance that you will have children who have the trait (AS) just like you and another 25% chance that you would have a child with AA genotype. This is the information that you would be given at genetic counseling. Truth is, you could very well have all SS genotype children or all carriers of the trait or all normal genotype AA or any combination of the genotypes.

As adults, we always have the option of choices. This is the reason why, you are never forced into any procedure in a hospital, even if it is for your good. You must always sign an informed consent form stating that you understand what needs to be done, the risks involved and that you give your consent for the procedure to be carried out. In this case, it is important, however to weigh all the issues and consequences thoroughly before embarking on this lifetime voyage. Perhaps, it may be wise to visit a Sickle Cell Center and have a chat with the doctors about what to expect during a crisis or generally, just bringing up a child with Sickle Cell Anaemia. It is possible to know the genotype of the baby before birth through prenatal diagnosis. Speak with your doctor about this.

I have included a post I wrote a while back on sickle cell. Please click on it and read:


Finally, I’m not sure whether you presumed that being a virgin makes a difference to the probabilities above, of having a child with SS genotype or indeed any other genotype. But, just in case you wondered, it doesn’t matter. Those probabilities remain the same, irrespective.

Have a good night y’all 😀


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#HLWDK Daily Health tips: Ulcer

Q: Good evening Doc. God bless you with great grace. Please what can someone do to cure ulcer?

A: Thanks for writing in.

There are two conditions that may often be confused, one for the other: Peptic ulcer and Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Gastric acid is secreted normally in the stomach to help the process of digestion. Peptic ulcer is a sore in the stomach, esophagus or duodenum and occurs when there is either over-production of this gastric acid in the stomach or reduction in the quantity of mucous that protects the stomach from the acid. Infection with an organism, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) has been found to be a cause of peptic ulcer.

GERD, on the other hand occurs when stomach acid backtracks into the esophagus causing heart burn.

In the past, it was thought that spicy foods caused peptic ulcers. However, there’s no evidence to support this, though spicy foods can certainly make the symptoms of ulcer worse  Smoking, stress and drinking alcohol are also likely to worsen the symptoms of peptic ulcer. Caffeinated and carbonated beverages may also be culprit.

Ulcers are also common in people who take certain pain relieving drugs known as Non- Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen.

People with peptic ulcer usually complain of abdominal pain or even sometimes, chest pain as the pain can be anywhere from the breast bone to the navel…giving room for a wide range of descriptions  The pain is usually worse at night or when the stomach is empty.

People with ulcers may vomit blood or pass out fresh or altered blood in stool. For the latter, the stool looks tarry black. Complications of peptic ulcers include internal bleeding, leakage of the acid into the abdominal cavity etc

Treatment is targeted at reduction in acid production, neutralization of acid, treatment of Helicobacter infection, promotion of healing or protection of stomach lining. Your doctor will determine the best option or combination(s) with your active participation, of course

Thus, prevention is targeted at switching pain relieving drugs (if you have an ulcer, please stay away from NSAIDs, reducing your level of stress, stopping smoking and reducing your alcohol intake. Maintaining a healthy diet filled with loads of fruits and veggies which provide sufficient vitamins to aid healing, is also a good way to go. It is still not very clear how H. pylori infections spread but it is thought to be probably from person to person or from food and water. So, judicious and very frequent, hand washing will certainly help

Does milk help? Well, temporarily but it quickly makes it worse. Milk coats the surface of the stomach, reducing the pain but then stimulates more acid production. Sounds like you can’t win, aye?! ;D

For GERD, there are also conditions like pregnancy and obesity that make this condition worse and there are also foods that encourage this. Examples of these ‘foods’ are fatty foods, alcohol, orange juice, chocolate and coffee, onions, tomatoes, peppermint and spicy foods.

So for the person in the question, I suggest you keep a food diary over a period of time and try to figure out the trigger foods. If you suspect tomatoes, try to confirm this by having a ‘tomato meal’ and watching for heart burn and an unpleasant taste at the back of the mouth. If this is not the issue, perhaps it’s a weight issue or even over-eating.

Treatment is targeted at the acid and healing the esophagus. Remember that occasional heart burn is not regarded a problem but if it happens frequently, like two or more times every week, then it becomes a problem and is now referred to as Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). So, drugs used can stop acid production, reduce acid production and cause healing of the esophagus or neutralize the effect of the acid.

Prevention involves trying to avoid your trigger foods (quite a number are actually healthy  maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding heavy meals just before bedtime, try eating smaller meals and avoid tight clothes that may also put pressure on your abdomen.

So, see a doctor first to confirm the diagnosis….peptic ulcer or GERD and then he’ll advice on treatment.

Have a fabulous evening and remember…no heavy meals before bedtime


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#HLWDK Daily Health tips: Stuffy Nose

Q: How can one treat long nasal congestion?

A: I’ve been asked this question several times and in different ways. But ‘why is my nose blocked all through the year?’ is the common thread that runs through all the questions. ‘Stuffy nose’, ‘blocked nose’ or nasal congestion are different names used to describe this condition. In the simplest of terms, this condition refers to a situation when there is an obstruction (blockage) to the flow of air, in and out of the nose. This may be due to swelling of nasal tissues (tissues in the nose) and blood vessels with excess fluid.
Some causes include:
Common cold. We are all familiar with this common cause of nasal congestion 😀 This causes blockage of the sinus, which results in nasal congestion.
Allergies in which an individual’s immune system reacts in an exaggerated manner to certain foods or to pollen is a cause of nasal congestion. This ailment tends to run in families and so history of people with same condition or asthma etc in that family is not uncommon.
A nasal septum (the wall between the nostrils) that is crooked or bent to one side may cause nasal congestion. This ‘deformity’ may be from birth, due to injury or occur as a process of growth.
Excessive use of nasal decongestants can also lead to this as after the decongestant is stopped, there is rebound nasal congestion. And so, one ends up with the same situation they were trying to solve from the beginning! 😀 So, if you must, do not use your nasal decongestants for more than three days
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses (air cavities) that line the nose. When these air cavities (which are supposed to be filled by air) become filled with fluid as a result of blockage, bacteria, fungi and viruses can thrive in this environment and cause infection. Pus-like nasal discharge, facial pain and persistence of symptoms for more than a week, maybe suggestive of this.
Other conditions include:
• Cold weather

  • Foreign body in the nose
  • Presence of tumour or polyp (a small growth with a stalk protruding from a surface)
  • Medications for high blood pressure
  • Spicy foods (remember how you start sniffling once you start on a hot dish?)
  • Stress etc


There’s a pretty long list of causes, but your doctor will attempt to narrow down to what the probable cause for you is.
In the meantime,
Ø try drinking a lot of water
Ø Use saline sprays instead of the nasal decongestants, if you’ve been indulging in this 😀
Ø Use a humidifier which loosens the mucous. Turning on the hot water shower and inhaling the steam is another great idea.
Ø Avoid irritants of the nose like smoke
All these measures will help reduce the nasal congestion.

Have a great week ahead, guys 😀


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#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: My Baby Groans While Stretching

Q: Dear Doc, please my baby is 6 weeks old but stretches his body so much and groans while he is stretching. It is so bad that he is not able to sleep well since he does it while sleeping. We saw a pediatrician and she said it is normal but I am still worried because the stretching and groaning is intense now. Please help.

A: The stomach aches that babies have (colic) can be very distressing for a parent to watch but perhaps understanding what it is about may be helpful. Colics usually start occurring in some children between 3 to 6 weeks of age and disappear between the 3rd to 4th month of life, without any treatment. So, your baby fits right into this age group. Unfortunately, we still do not really know what causes these colics and why some babies suffer from it while others do not. However, it has been found to occur more in first born babies (whether boy or girl), formula-fed babies and can also be associated with the diet of a breastfeeding mum.

Some modifications may help reduce their severity:

  • Be sure to burp baby after each feed
  • Hold baby and gently rock her after a feed
  • Hold your baby upright during her feed
  • Check your diet: reduce caffeine-containing foods and sometimes, it may be the dairy in your diet that you baby is reacting to. Taking dairy off your diet for a week or two may lead to improvement in symptoms.

Remember to see your doctor where in doubt, especially if this continues past the time noted above.

Just a note about gripe water which a lot of people want to give their babies when they have this condition….honestly, the benefits are more in our imagination than in actual fact 😀

So, with or without gripe water, this colic shall pass J

Have a great weekend y’all 😀


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