Loneliness Can Be Deadly

Weighing in the loneliness. Image from the internet.

Many times, we feel alone. Like when we have a problem and it seems that nobody understands. Then you feel alone. But there are others who feel like they might die of loneliness. That is a different thing and as researchers have discovered, an extremely lonely existence could increase an “older person’s chance of premature death by 14 %. That is one very good reason to connect to other people as we age.

John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago and the lead researcher in the study said, “We looked at perceived loneliness versus objective isolation, and how it leads the brain’s biology to change over time. There are toxic effects.” This conclusion has already taken into account lifestyle behaviors, such as diet and exercise. However, the impact of feeling isolated can be profound and it is depicted in disrupted sleep, surges in the stress hormone called cortisol, high blood pressure, compromised immunity, and an increased feeling of depression. “When you are isolated from companionship, then the brain goes into self-preservation mode,” Cacioppo said. For the elderly, loneliness can be particularly threatening.

“Lonely older adults also were 45 percent more likely to die [earlier] than seniors who felt meaningfully connected with others, even after results were adjusted for factors like depression, socioeconomic status and existing health conditions,” the New York Times noted about Perssinotto’s study.

Here in the Philippines, our elderly are often very active. Some live in extended households with grand kids. They feel very useful until death. But in most Western countries, the cases are different. Most of their aged parents live in home care and are often not visited by their kids because of one reason or the other.

This is also a reminder for me. I need to visit my parents more often. Hopefully, this summer, as our schedule improves, we will get to visit them, even if it is only once a month.

Posted in general health, Mental Health | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Treat for the Back

G.P. — My back had really been sore lately. Well, I really have a problematic back in the sense that if I lift heavy things, stay too long in one position, or just work while bending, I would get a really bad backache. Then my whole body would feel pretty tired.

Well, actually, it is just any and every position that I take, as long as I stay in one place for a long time, then my back, especially my spine, would hurt really bad. A nice massage or some rubbing would make my back feel good and undo the strain, but then the effects are only temporary.

I think that I would really need a good bed, something that contributes to the healing of the back while sleeping. I am aware that there are orthopedic beds, like the ones used by professional athletes, but I know they are very expensive. Somewhere I have read that they can cost between $10,000-$24,000!!! Imagine that. And that is because of the materials and technology used to produce it.

But when we went to SM the other day, we found that they are selling orthopedic beds. Well, they are already a bit pricey for the Filipino market, but I think it would be really nice for my back. And they offer it on installment for three months, as long as you have a credit card. I just imagine myself taking a really nice, hot shower before going to bed, then applying beauty products with Argan oil such as those from Nature Republic on my face, and relaxing my back on my really nice mattress. I can let myself sink into reverie, reminiscing the day’s events until I finally succumb to the call of slumber land. Sigh…If only I can afford that new mattress. hahaha And if only my kids would sleep straight without crying or sleep talking throughout the night so I that I will not be roused many times. Okay, I shall dream on.

Anyway, the different brands of foam mattresses that we saw at SM really look nice and I was tempted to get one right there and then (without minding that I still have other accounts to think of). It is just not something that we need right now. I think I will have to wait until our baby grows a bit older and is willing to part with us. Then maybe it is time to buy a new mattress.

You see, when I sleep at night, I would really stretch my back and it really feels good. But then my baby would roll towards me to latch (because I breastfeed). I have to adjust to her even if my body is bent or crouching. Then we would both sleep in that position. My baby is comfortable and I am not. When I wake up, I am all sore.

Oh well, I just comfort myself saying that this is all just temporary. hehe In maybe three years at most, I can sleep normally again. For now, I will just keep on enjoying my little girls. 😀

Posted in general health, GP | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tantrums, Autism and ADHD

Many children are prone to tantrums. But that is just because they are young and immature, so their natural reaction for not getting their way is to throw a fit.

But what is a tantrum? Also known as a temper tantrum, it is “usually associated with children or those in emotional distress, that is typically characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, defiance, angry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification and, in some cases, hitting. Physical control may be lost, the person may be unable to remain still, and even if the “goal” of the person is met he or she may not be calmed.” Definition of tantrum from wikipedia.com.

However, there is a group of people who are now saying that frequent tantrums could be a sign for autism or ADHD. In England, a five-year-old boy was pulled out from school by his mom because of his disruptive behavior. The mother believes that he has autism or ADHD but his teacher says that he is the naughtiest boy in class.

Instead of drumming up the problem until it goes out of hand, maybe the best thing to do when there is a hint of a problem is to bring the child to a specialist in order to be checked. That way, teachers and other people could be warned about the condition. Additionally, the earlier that the child can undergo therapy, the better that the symptoms could be managed.

The issue is not like buying a gms drum at musicians friend. It is far more important because it does not only affect the child, the family, but also of the people around him or her.

It is easy to judge a child that he is naughty but there could be underlying problems. The best thing to do is to seek professional advice. Not just from one but at least two specialists because sometimes, one is not enough, as in the case of two of our friends. Then research on the things that you as parents can do at home.

Posted in Mental Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment