Monday, 23 April 2007

How sweet are you?

I am still learning my job so I have resolved to attend as many of these health talks as I can in the first few months - not just to keep up to speed about what's going on in campus but to learn how to stay healthy.

This morning's session on diabetes was three things rolled in one. It started with the Dr. Syed Azhar, Dean of Pharmacy reporting some statistics and findings from the series of clinics carried out since 2005 for staff (and dependents) who have been identified as diabetic. Each of the diabetic patient is invited to 4 clinics where they learn about what is diabetes and how to deal with it. Out of the 340 persons identified as diabetic, 190 turned up for the clinics and 90 of them graduated today with presentation of certificates. Good job to the health personnel from our Health Clinic and School of Pharmacy as well as to the participants. A tremendous amount of effort and energy (and I must say love and compassion) has gone into the clinics. And I learned that Syed is an expert in massage therapy to rejuvenate 'maleness' (erectile dysfunction), a common affliction amongst diabetic patients.

The third activity was a talk by Dato Mafauzy, a senior consultant at the USM Hospital, giving 10 steps on keeping diabetes at bay. One thing which struck me was that he advised the patients that medication alone is not going to do the job. Basically if I can recall, watch the sugar level, cholesterol, blood pressure, take medication as prescribed and exercise, exercise, exercise (that means exercise at least three times per week, 30 minutes each; walking is good enought). Eat healthy - reduce the sugar intake, watch the amount of rice (it gets turned into sugar in the body), cut the santan (coconut milk). Reduce your body weight - a crude measure of being overweight is the size of your pants; for men it is 35 inches and women its 31 inches - any size over that and you can consider yourself overweight. But I was thinking that if I am a size 35 I would be huge given my height. Well, watch the weight, that's a key.

I remember when my youngest daughter was a little girl. She had a real sweet tooth and love chocolates and sweets. We were quite alarmed so we imposed a restriction on her. She had to get permission from us (the parents) before she could eat any sweets and we limited to one a day. She somehow complied with our degree and now she still loves sweets and chocolates but not excessively.

After the talkes we adjourned for healthy food. No santan. Only curry fish in a water-based soup. I skipped the fried chicken. I still wish that there are more vegetables at these lunches.

During lunch, I noticed this beautiful reflection on the glass at Dewan Kuliah A (see below). On the left is Mafauzy and on the right is Syed. Great job to all the health officers.

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