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Back problems? Heart disease? Here are work-related ailments dad may be suffering from

Your dad has done the most amazing things to give you and your siblings a good life. After all these years, it’s time for you to give him with the best gift ever—caring for his health. The Philippines’ premier healthcare institution Makati Medical Center lists common injuries, ailments, and diseases that fathers who work in particular industries or professions are prone to.

Note that these are not restricted to men but are worth checking out if only to help protect your hard-working dad from such afflictions.

Back problems. “There are multifactorial causes for low back pain,” says Vicente Antonio A. Reloza, MD, Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “Some of these include a sedentary lifestyle, weakness of one’s core muscles and the beginning changes of aging. A combination of these, plus loads placed on the spine such as in improper lifting, may lead to a more specific diagnosis such as a herniated disk.” When a disk herniates or “slips” it can impinge on an exiting nerve. In this case, pain is usually felt not only in the low back area but in either or both legs as well. 

Lower back pain can be prevented by keeping in mind proper body positioning. “If at work, for example, make sure to use the seat back rest to keep you from slouching,” says Dr. Reloza. “When at home and needing to lift a heavy water bottle off the floor, for example, bend both knees, keep object close to you and lift up keeping your back straight.”

Working fathers are prone to have back pain, which is caused by sedentary lifestyle, weakness of core muscles, or aging. 
He adds, “For severe pain, sudden in onset, you can place a cold pack over the painful area, ten to fifteen minutes at a time every four hours for the first three days. After three days, a hot pack may be used. It also would be best to visit a specialist such as a Rehabilitation Medicine doctor who will prescribe a physical therapy program aimed at pain relief, improving your core strength and flexibility. For your safety, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications should be used under the guidance of a medical specialist and should not be taken for an indefinite period of time.”

Heart disease. The heart is the organ responsible for delivering gallons of blood to the entire body, so it plays a highly critical role in your health and wellbeing. “The engine of our body is the heart”, says Lourdes B. Dorion-Diaz, MD of the Section of Cardiology. “It is made up of muscles and blood vessels which pumps around two gallons of blood for our body every day. It is very important that we maintain it in good condition always as it is affected by non-modifiable factors, like our genes, or modifiable factors, through healthy lifestyle like proper diet, exercise, not smoking, and personality or attitude. Tell your dad to go for a check-up even if he does not feel anything. For how do we say that we truly have a good engine when we don’t have it checked?” 

The common heart diseases are heart attacks, heart failure, and coronary artery disease. So help your dad nourish his heart by constantly reminding him to drink two liters of water a day, to eat food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as broccoli and salmon, and to make time for regular exercise. Managing stress levels is also a way to prevent developing heart disease and a host of other illnesses.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is an inflammatory disorder that is caused by repetitive stress and movements and usually afflicts the wrist and hands. It derives its name from the space in the wrist—called carpal tunnel—that is surrounded by bones and ligaments. The median nerve that sends signals to the brain so that the hands can move properly passes through this space. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when repeated bending or movements of the wrist, for example, cause inflammation or swelling.

The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are pain, a tingling sensation, and shaking of the hand. Normally, people in occupations that involve heavy lifting, or repeated movements of the wrists and hands like painting, mechanical work, typing, carpentry, assembly work, and the like, are at risk of this disorder. So if your dad starts showing symptoms, doctors would advise that he rest, take anti-inflammatory drugs, use cold packs, wear a splint and, if possible, avoid activities that could aggravate the injury. 

Perforated eardrum. The eardrum is a thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the inner ear. A perforated—or ruptured—eardrum has a tear or hole that is usually caused by infections, changes in air pressure, injuries, and sudden loud noises or explosions. 

A perforated eardrum usually heals on its own. However, there are cases when medical intervention or even surgery is needed, especially when it leads to infections and hearing loss. 

Symptoms of a perforated eardrum include sharp pain and ringing sound in the ear, hearing loss, and bleeding or fluid discharge. If your dad travels a lot by air, or is exposed to noise and other environmental hazards, advise him to protect his ears by wearing the appropriate hearing protection devices.

Remember this: as your parents grow older, it’s time for you to take care of them. Thank your dad in the best way possible by ensuring that he remains healthy for many more years to come. 

For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at (02) 8888 999, email [email protected], or visit www.makatimed.net.ph.

Topics: Makati Medical Center , Vicente Antonio A. Reloza , Lourdes B. Dorion-Diaz , Fathers , Work-related ailments
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