In the first part of this discussion on lockdown health problems (which can be found here), we looked at the
- Mental health,
- Psychological and
- Social / family problems
that can be brought about by lockdown or quarantine measures. In this second part, we will look into the physical health problems that can, and do arise.
We will deal with the
Nervous system which is related to the previous discussion of Psychological and Mental health problems.
Then we will discuss
- the Cardiovascular system,
- the Musculoskeletal system,
- the Respiratory System, and
- the Endocrine system.
Other body systems can also be affected, but this discussion is not meant to be exhaustive.
Link(s) to quality product(s) for use in these stressful situations will be provided in this article.
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* Nerve entrapment symptoms *
These result from periods of protracted immobility. The nerve(s) get damaged (usually temporarily) by protracted pressure on them, or by fluid accumulating around them. Conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome which affects the hands, and peroneal nerve palsy (Zenker’s paralysis) which affects the lower legs.
It is important to avoid sitting or in any way being in one position for a long time. Whatever one is doing (in the author’s case, writing), one needs to get up and walk around for a few minutes. This is so as to release pressure on nerves and the musculoskeletal system.
A walk around also helps to get circulation going to all parts of the body. The brain in particular needs a good and constant blood supply. It uses one fifth of the whole blood circulation.
There are some very common and life-threatening conditions that can result from the immobility caused by quarantine, including Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). This is formation of blood clots in the veins, especially calf veins. The clot formation is caused by poor blood circulation.
People at highest risk of clot formation include those with a personal or family history of clotting disorders, people with a sedentary lifestyle, women (on combined oral contraceptives), obese people, and people with damaged veins. To prevent DVTs (which are fatal by way of Pulmonary Embolism or blood clot dislodgement and migration to the lungs) it is important to remember to NEVER BE IMMOBILE FOR PERIODS EXCEEDING 2 HOURS.
The stresses of lockdown / quarantine can also cause blood pressure to rise to abnormal levels (hypertension). Hypertension has many known harmful effects. Ischaemic heart events, including heart attacks, can also occur.
This can suffer from deconditioning if care is not taken to keep the recommended minimum level of physical activity. And the harmful effects will not only be limited to the musculoskeletal system, but to the mind, the whole body and the soul.
A general feeling of unwellness can develop. This is particularly important for people who have been on exercise programs. “It is bad not to exercise, but it is even worse for a person who has been exercising, to stop exercise” (Prof Tim Noakes, world-renowned Sports and Exercise scientist).
A link to quality exercise equipment for the whole family is provided above, for use at home during lockdowns or regular times.
Also importantly, and to also touch on THE SKIN as an organ, care must be taken even under lockdown, to get out of the house and walk around or spend some time in the yard. This helps the body to get Vitamin D.
This vitamin is formed when the rays of the sun fall on the skin. In the skin, the sunshine is converted to Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for, among others, strong and healthy bones.
Coupled with the above adverse effects on families, people staying indoors may not be aware of the need to keep a good circulation of air in the homes. Poorly circulating air causes many health problems. It contains insufficient oxygen and a higher than acceptable level of waste gases and radioactive materials.
The world is currently in a transition from Summer to Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, and from Winter to Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Consequently, there are a lot of seasonal viruses in circulation, the transmission of which could be promoted by overcrowding and poor ventilation.
If there is indoor smoking, this will also have bad respiratory effects, especially on children. Please note that tobacco smoke can linger in a house for up to three days!
The abnormal situation of lockdown / quarantine, can cause a disruption in the normally well regulated hormones. This is more likely where set routines such as bedtimes and meal times are disrupted. The daily rhythm of the endocrine system then disappears.
There can be a dramatic increase in stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones, at abnormally elevated levels, cause many destructive events. The body goes into a generally catabolic or tearing down state.
The effects of disturbed hormones can affect any part of the body, from head to toe. There can be a disrupted sleep-wake cycle, which can only serve to worsen the problems outlined in the previous article.
There can also be an increase in the blood pressure. This can cause adverse events in the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
There are a lot of health problems that arise as a result of lockdown / quarantine, despite its noble intentions. Awareness of these problems is important. Individuals, families, communities and authorities should take preemptive measures to prevent or prepare for such events during periods of lockdown.
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