By Dr.Anuma Kalu ulu
This column is not designed to be exhaustive on the various medical topics it would be addressing, but targets to highlight common misapplications among some Nigerian health practitioners and members of the public. The goal is to bring change and improve the quality of healthcare and life expectancy.
For instance is the misconception that fatty foods make one fat simply as the name implies. This makes people who want to lose weight to avoid fatty foods and invariably consume a lot of carbohydrates. This thinking is far from the truth as the main source of weight gain in terms of food is carbohydrates. Do not get me wrong, fatty foods have their deleterious effects, mostly on clogging up our arteries and giving us vascular diseases leading to heart attacks, kidney diseases and strokes, but this will be a topic for another day.
Today is for those who wish to lose weight. The body harnesses double the amount of energy from one gram of carbohydrates as it does from one gram of fat, and even less from one gram of proteins.
Since energy to perform body functions must be maintained in equilibrium, if one is taking adequate amount of carbohydrates, then the body will have inexhaustible supply of energy and won’t need to burn off already-stored body fat to provide the needed energy, so there will not be any loss of weight.
Inexorably, there will be weight gain because the excess body carbohydrates is converted to a body fat called glycogen and stored, thereby increasing the body weight.
Of course if one did not lead a sedentary lifestyle and exercised, then the energy from the carbohydrates may be insufficient to cater to the increased catabolic needs of the exercising and may foray into the stored body fat to augment, thereby losing weight eventually.
Concerning someone wishing to lose weight by reducing carbohydrates intake and consuming more proteins and fats, right from the outset, he already has energy-deficit. So he will be dipping into the stored body fat to maintain normal body functions and will be losing weight already. If this person exercises like he should, that catabolic state will be significantly additive.
In summary, to lose weight, we need to eat more fatty foods and proteins than carbohydrates and also engage in exercises. We should not forget our vitamins, natural mineral and plenty water intake.
First Aids Best Practices When One Faints
Generally, people faint because there is decreased oxygen, nutrient and blood supply to the brain which requires a higher hydrostatic pressure to perfuse when the person is standing erect, akin to people who live upstairs in a building having less flow of their pipe-borne water than those living on floors below them. It takes only three minutes of lack of oxygen to the brain for it to be irrevocably damaged and the person becomes a vegetable. Nature made it for you to faint when this oxygen is in short supply, so that your heart (the pump) and your brain would be at the same hydrostatic level so that blood and oxygen, even if the person is hypotensive, can flow passively to the brain to supply the needed oxygen to the brain.
Going by above, many Nigerians do untold damage to people who are propped up from falling after fainting because we could be depriving the brain of the needed oxygen if the shortage lasts longer than three minutes. What we need to do is catch the person from falling hard to avoid injuries from the fall, but quickly and gently lower the person to a safe ground.
Even the practice of pouring water is useless and could even drown the person if the face is not spared. The only beneficial thing would be very cold water on the rest of the body sparing the face, to induce vasoconstriction and increased peripheral vascular resistance, in case of causative orthostasis.
Similarly, crowding around the person showing compassion is counterproductive as the mob may deprive the patient of the atmospheric oxygen needed. Only people actively doing medical maneouvers should be surrounding the patient.
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