The world in which we live today is plagued with diverse sicknesses and diseases. Despite laudable advancements in medicine, science and technology, thousands of people – men and women, young and old, rich and poor – continue to suffer and die from all forms of curable and incurable ailments. This has made many to come to the wrong conclusion that sickness is a normal part of human existence; that it is impossible for an individual to be in good health throughout the 365 days in a year. Yet, this was not the original plan of God.
Man was created hale and hearty by God, and all that God created around him was perfectly good. His desire was that man would continue to be in fellowship with Him so as to continue to enjoy all the good things He had provided for him. But man rebelled against God, and became subject to the devil and his cruel dominion. And since the goal of the devil has always been to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, man lost all the privileges and benefits he had and sicknesses and afflictions became a common feature in his life.
But man was not left hopeless. God, in his abundant and unfailing mercies, provided a means of bringing man back to himself, and to make him regain all he had lost – including good health! He gave His only begotten Son to accomplish this. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
The suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross was primarily meant to free mankind from the yoke of sin. But that’s not all – he also came to free mankind from the problems that came with sin. And these include sicknesses and diseases. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). With the painful stripes inflicted on Jesus for our sake, our healing and health was secured and guaranteed!
Far beyond the good that modern medical science offers, God’s word has been proved for centuries to be health to the body: My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-22). Obedience to God’s word coupled with faith and prayer can produce better health in us and reduce our hospital visits and reliance on pills. Daily intake of God’s word keeps you from sinning. And this is the sure prescription for a healthy living for the mind, body and soul. In other words, the surest way to avoid sickness is to avoid sin like a plague.
As you read, believe and claim God’s promises concerning all that Christ has come to accomplish in your life including salvation for your soul and healing for your body, you will experience the joy of living a sin-free and sickness-free life. Remember, God’s promises for good health have no age limit. It is the devil’s lie to keep you inactive, useless and lonely. You can claim His precious promises of healthy living and long life today.
KILL THESE SILENT KILLERS
Good health is a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being. And God’s desire for all His children is that we remain in good health all the days of our life: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 2). Unfortunately, this has not been the case for many women. A good number of womenfolk suffer from a wide range of ill-health emanating from unhygienic lifestyle/habits and negative mental attitudes and dispositions. Medically, it is proved that many of the illnesses people suffer, and how long they suffer a particular sickness, are closely linked to wrong negative attitudes of the mind. Such diseases or sicknesses which thrive on negative mental attitudes, medical experts term psychosomatic diseases. Psychosomatic diseases are silent killers because they destroy subtly and imperceptibly. There are other silent killers, such as HIV and cancers as we shall consider in this article. Every woman should particularly beware of these silent killers because her peculiar nature makes her very vulnerable to them.
SILENT KILLER HABITS AND PRACTICES
1 WORRY AND ANXIETY: In response to environmental and social demands, women tend to worry about so many things – what to eat, where to live, how to take care of the children (unborn ones inclusive), how to settle bills, getting along with husbands and in-laws etc. This increases tension and may lead to hypertension
2 HAVING TOO MUCH TO DO WITHOUT PROPER PLAN AND BALANCE: This often leads to stress and confusion. Plan your work and avoid ‘biting more than you can chew’ in a day.
3 LACK OF REST AND OVER-ACTIVITY: Getting enough rest is imperative to living a healthy lifestyle and when you do not relax and get enough sleep you are putting yourself at the risk of illness as well as other dangerous side effects.Â When you don’t get enough rest you will have difficulty concentrating, thinking clearly, and even remembering things. You might not notice this at first or blame it on your busy schedule, but the more sleep and rest you miss, the more serious these symptoms will become.
4 FEAR FED BY UNBELIEF IN THE HEART: Women have a lot of fears – fear of children’s security, husband’s fidelity, prevailing disease in the community, fear of what might happen to the baby in the womb, etc. What many do not realize is that fear creates turmoil and chaos in our lives and contributes to ailments such as migraines, panic attacks, high blood pressure, and depression. The human body is not meant to live in a state of fear. Adrenaline was made for emergency situations only. Yet people are imperceptibly subjecting themselves to fear and anxiety every single day. It is no wonder our health suffers. But “…God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of love, power and of a sound mind (2Timothy1:7).
5 ALLOWING BUILD UP OF STRESS FROM RESPONSIBILITIES: So much is laid upon the woman: she may be a wife, mother, secular worker and Christian worker, saddled with so many responsibilities. When these are not properly planned and balanced they become stressful and make the woman to be nervous. This could result in peptic ulcer.
6 ANGER AND RAGE: These trigger excessive production of certain hormones in the body which may result in stroke, heart attack, or paralysis. According to new research findings, all of the negative energy exerted in moments of anger isn’t just a waste of time or a minor nuisance; it can lead to serious health complications that shorten lifespan and interfere with quality of life.
7 BITTERNESS AND UNFORGIVING ATTITUDE: Some women are known to be experts in these negative attitudes, which can cause both physical and spiritual illnesses. There may be loss of appetite, loss of weight, peptic ulcer and psychosomatic problems.
8 ALLOWING SELF PITY AND DEPRESSION: Depression involves sadness, pessimism, a preoccupation with personal problems, and feeling sorry for oneself. It could also be accompanied by fatigue, excessive sleeping, insomnia, anguish, crying, and hopelessness. Other possible symptoms include poor appetite, heavy eating, weight loss or gain, feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness, anxiety, regrets, decreased productivity, poor concentration, or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
9 BAD FEEDING HABITS: Skipping meals, overeating, eating at irregular times, eating the wrong types of food and unbalanced diet can predispose the woman to excessive weight gain (obesity), and diabetes mellitus. Women, by their privileged position in preparing meals at home, tend to eat in-between meals. This contributes greatly to their weight gain.
10 SMOKING OF CIGARETTES, CIGAR, PIPES AND TAKING OF SNUFF: This predisposes one to heart attacks and cancer, especially of the lungs.
11 TAKING HARD DRUGS (COCAINE, HEROIN, MARIJUANA, ETC): This could lead to serious mental problems.
12 NON-CHALANT ATTITUDE TO HEALTH MATTERS: Some women don’t pay much attention to health-related issues, ideas and discussions. This set of people leave everything, including their health, to fate. They believe they can’t do much to improve their health and this makes them flout health rules and shun helpful ideas about their health. This is a very dangerous attitude.
13 LAZINESS/LACK OF EXERCISE: Lack of exercise causes lots of physical and psychological setbacks. It increases one’s chances of developing heart disease and increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
14 FLIRTING AND ADULTERY: These immoral attitudes could lead an individual to contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS, loss of self respect, and debasing of the dignity of manhood/womanhood.
15 POOR PERSONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HYGIENE: A woman unable to maintain a good personal and environmental hygiene will expose herself and members of her household and even neighbours to numerous health hazards.
Some common killer diseases caused by these killer habits include:
1 OBESITY: This is an excessive accumulation of fat in the body which leads to great increase in weight. It is determined by the index of BMI (Body Mass Index) whereby the weight in kilograms is divided by the height in metres squared. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9, while obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more. The primary cause of obesity is consumption of more calories (food) than the body needs or uses. It is also caused by insufficient exercise.Â Obesity favours the development of many other diseases such as diabetes mellitus, gall stones, hypertension, inguinal and hiatus hernia, varicose vein, uterine prolapse and tiredness from overwork on the heart and lungs.
2 DIABETES MELLITUS: This is a metabolic disease characterized by excessive urination (with sugar in the urine), weight loss (due to excessive urination), excessive craving for water, and general body weakness. It has an attendant raised blood-sugar level as a result of inadequate secretion of a hormone called insulin.Â Contributory factors are overeating, alcohol consumption, excessive craving for sweetened/sugary foods and drinks. This, if not well controlled, will affect many other systems of the body and can cause diseases and/or untimely death. Change of feeding habit, regular exercise, and weight-shedding will go a long way to prevent diabetes.
3 HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION): High blood pressure means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. The arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to all of the tissues and organs of the body. Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 and below 140/90 mmHg. Thus, a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg and above is considered high blood pressure. The top number, which is known as the systolic blood pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. The diastolic pressure, which is the bottom number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction. The diastolic pressure, therefore, reflects the minimum pressure to which the arteries are exposed. 85-90% of people with high blood pressure have primary hypertension where the cause is unknown. 10-15% of people have secondary hypertension which is caused by other ailments such as kidney disorder or hormonal disorder. Hypertension can lead to heart-disease, stroke, paralysis and death. Predisposing factors include obesity, diabetes, emotional tension, stress and heredity.
4 TUBERCULOSIS: Tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial infection. It is spread through the air and usually infects the lungs, although other organs and parts of the body can be involved as well. Most people who are infected with tuberculosis at the latent stage harbour the bacterium without serious symptoms. Symptoms associated with this stage include weight loss, fever, night sweats, and loss of appetite. If the affected individual is adequately treated, he gets cured. However, if left untreated, the latent TB will degenerate into the active TB disease, which has chronic and debilitating symptoms, including severe cough, chest pain, and bloody sputum.
5 CANCERS: Cancer is a disease of cells. It is an abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread). First, cells begin to grow out of control in the body. Second, those cells have the ability to travel from their original site to other locations in the body. If the spread is not controlled, cancer can result in death. The most common forms of cancer are skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer (mostly in women), and prostate cancer (mostly in men).
6 HIV/AIDS: AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). By damaging or destroying the cells of your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to effectively fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause disease. This makes you more susceptible to certain types of cancers and to opportunistic infections your body would normally resist, such as pneumonia and meningitis. The virus and the infection itself are known as HIV. The term Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is used to mean the later stages of an HIV infection. Immoral sexual relationship, use of infected sharp instruments like needles, tattooing instruments, razor blade, shaving instruments, and transfusion of infected blood could cause HIV/AIDS and its attendant problems.
1 Enter into covenant relationship with God by being born again through repentance and faith in Christ and thereafter live a righteous and holy life daily in following the Lord. Doing this gives you right to enjoy all the covenant blessings of the Lord in all areas of your life – spiritual, health, finance, family, etc. (Exodus 3:25; 15:26; 3John 2; 1 Peter 2:24).
2 Take the following preventive measures against the silent killers:
(i) Learn to always carry your problems, cares and concerns to the Lord in prayer. Leave them there at His feet with a simple childlike trust “casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6). Doing this takes care of all worries, anxiety, fears etc.
(ii) Always put the best (positive) construction on every situation of life and on what people say to or about you. This helps a great deal to keep your mind and heart healthy and sound to think and act right always as well as develop the best attitude to life. (Philippians 4:8).
(iii) Learn to always forgive every offence. Pray for grace and make up your mind to do so.
(iv) Obey simple health rules.
(v) Eat good and balanced diet with fruits and vegetables at regular intervals and at the right time.
(vi) Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
(vii) Do exercise regularly,
(viii) Rest. Sleep of 6-8 hours a day is ideal.
(ix) Go for routine check-up at six-month intervals.
(x) Do regular BP checks at every available opportunity. You can buy your own digital sphygmomanometer (Blood Pressure equipment) to check your blood pressure regularly.
(xi) Regular self breast-examination, Pap smear and early reporting of any abnormal swelling or growth in any part of the body will help a lot in cancer screening and prevention.
(x) Renew and strengthen your spirit always by daily reading and meditating on God’s word. Remember that your body needs a healthy mind to function effectively.