In this fast-paced world, work stress, deadlines and family and social pressures result in a majority of working women ignoring their health and suffering from health conditions which can easily be avoided.
The most common problems faced by working women pertain to nutritional deficiencies and stress-related illnesses. Listed below are a few of the health disorders that women tend to be prone to and how avoiding them requires a conscious albeit doable change in diet combined with a regular fitness regime.
1) Anemia: a consequence of iron deficiency. Common manifestations: Symptoms are vague and include weakness, lethargy, low appetite, giddiness, breathlessness on walking and irritability. Causes: Less intake of fruits, vegetables and salads OR excessive menstrual blood loss. Remedy: Eat dates, apples, bananas and green leafy vegetables AND periodic checks by a gynaecologist.
2) Calcium and Vitamin D3 deficiency. Common manifestation: Lethargy, body aches and low work output. Causes: Poor dietary habits/dietary neglect. Remedy: Diet should include intake of 300ml of milk, cheese (50-100g), 5-6 almonds, 2 walnuts and 2 cups of curd every day.
3) Protein deficiency (vegetarians are more prone to encounter this). Common manifestation: Weight loss, muscle weakness and swelling of legs. Causes: Poor dietary habits/dietary neglect. Remedy: Use protein supplements, soya milk. Eat dry fruits such as walnuts, almonds and makhana. Ensure that your diet contains paneer/cheese (supplemented by eggs/ meat for non-vegetarians) and a bowl of lentils or sprouts.
4) Stress. Common manifestation: Poor performance at work, lack of concentration, headaches, frequent absenteeism, forgetfulness etc. Cause: leaving behind children with maids at home leading to constant worry and poor eating habits. Remedy: Provision of crèches at or near work places and health food outlets near or at work.
To sum up, a compulsory workout or yoga program for 30 minutes daily in the morning/evening will do a lot of good to restore energy levels. Meditation classes could do wonders for stress management. So go hit the gym or just start practicing deep breathing. In addition, organizations should facilitate periodic health checks for all women employees provided by a visiting doctor at the workplace.
Contributed by Dr. Lalitha Sekhar, Director of Medicine and Geriatrics at Medanta.