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December – the month of cheating

December – the month of cheating

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EDITOR: There are two notable incidents that come to my mind during Christmas. The first one was reported locally, whereas the latter occurred overseas.

A gentleman who was a watchman died immediately after Christmas. It was rumoured in his community that he ate a large amount of ham for Christmas and it was alleged that this led to his death. It was spoken about as a big joke. In the other case, an elderly lady was reported to have consumed plenty of sugary foods at Christmas; she indulged in the use of plenty of sorrel and ginger beer, coupled with black cake. Her relative and friends, who knew of her Christmas spree, attributed her death to the high intake of sugar during the festive season.

It is commonly accepted that people toss caution to the wind during the festive season. This is done in regards to eating, drinking and spending. They knowingly do things that are wrong in the fallacy of “having a good time”. The health care providers have generally noted this kind of behaviour and refer to December as one of the two cheating months. The other is around Carnival. People are said to become non-compliant with their medication regimen and indulge in risky health practices. They argued that it would be easy for them to get back on track when the ‘Good Time’ is over.

Regrettably, they do so to their own detriment.

The following should be noted as we enjoy ourselves during this festive season:

1. Alcohol damages the liver; it has a high content of sugar; it affects judgment and alters behaviour – socially it can lead to a depletion of financial resources, thereby causing a destruction of the family unit.

2. The consumption of plenty sugary substances would lead to an elevation of blood sugar level – cakes, malt, ginger and sorrel beer, sodas, etc. This puts the individual at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, infection, eye problems, foot problems, limbs amputation, coma and nerve damage especially if the individual is a diabetic.

3. Some foods contribute to high levels of fats and salt in the body and should be eaten with care – ham, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, bacon, cheese, cakes and salted nuts. This contributes to high blood pressure, increase the cholesterol and harden the arteries, which will affect the heart and kidney.

4. Spend carefully and wisely. Have a financial plan and follow it carefully. Avoid spending impulsively. In the days immediately before Christmas do not be swayed by the large crowd of shoppers and promotions in the media.

5. It is important to remember that the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Christ who came to save us from the evil of sinful practices. So celebrate, but not in a way that will hurt you.

6. Remember, each individual is responsible for his / her own health and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Blessed Christmas to all and a Prosperous and healthy New Year!

Joseph Mapp
Marriaqua District Health Team

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