Lawrence Mudford has had a 38-year healthcare career working as a dentist and dental educator within both primary and secondary care. This has included serving on the board of the Faculty of General Dental Practice and as a member of the General Dental Council.
Part 2: Exceeding our expectations
In my last blog, I linked my experiences from a diagnosis with cancer a few years ago, and the importance I found in attaining better health prior to surgery, with our preparedness should we become a patient with COVID-19.
The sound advice that I received then, in terms of Physical wellbeing, lifestyle choices and mental health strengthening, all directly relate to how we can prepare for expecting the unexpected today.
The second area that I want to share in this blog relate to lifestyle. This is an essential areas where we can take ownership and feel more in control in these uncertain times. In many aspects, it is a recognition of Unexpected Expectations.
So, what can I say about lifestyle changes that is original, motivating, sound and encouraging? Answers on a postcard!
The truth is that prevention campaigns seem to have been with us for all time in one form or another. The section of society that heed the messages are usually (but I appreciate not always) those who are already focused on improving their healthcare. The part of society that could benefit the most may not have access to amenities or the finances to adequately change attitudes to greatest benefit.
And then, along came COVID-19. It does not respect social strata. It does not differentiate between workers in factories, politicians or even heath care workers. It affects us all. The main difference is that underlying illness and unhealthy life choices appears to allow the virus to produce a more serious condition in many people.
What we do know, is that there are some specific groups of people that can be affected more severely than others. As I write this in April 2020, we are slowly seeing trends emerge and especially in groups of people who have a history of respiratory disease, linked often to smoking: are obese, or at least overweight, have an immune system that is below par which can be a side effect from underlying illness as well as persons who have an increased and regular intake of alcohol - and then of course, there are those who do not fit the normal pattern of health issues.
The health promotion campaigns therefore have an important edge at this time. It's a simple message. Stopping smoking, increasing physical exercise and reducing or eliminating alcohol will all benefit our bodies so that should we be unfortunate enough to contract the virus, our chances of shaking it off, as well as getting back to a normal level of health more quickly, are all the more likely.
Stopping smoking, increasing physical exercise and reducing or eliminating alcohol will all benefit our bodies so that should we contract the virus, our chances of shaking it off, as well as getting back to a normal level of health, are all the more likely.
The Royal College of Anaesthetists has produced a patient information toolkit, Fitter Better Sooner, full of good practical advice on how to get fitter and prepare for surgery.
So, maybe that's the answer on a postcard to motivating and encouraging us - nobody is outside the reach of this virus and so it is vital that we all take ownership of areas in our life that we can have control over. We all have the opportunity to exceed our expectations, and that certainly applies in lifestyle choices.