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Health Bulletins
March, 2012

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is an addictive behavior that involves harmful use of any substance (alcohol, drugs) for mood altering purposes. The effects of such addictive behavior not only reflect negatively on the user but on the entire society. In here we will reflect on how substance abuse is a social illness because practically every country in the world is compelled to address the problem.

Family

Parents who abuse any substance are more likely to neglect their child and so children may grow up to be uneducated, bad mannered etc… Research has shown that teenagers with such parents are more likely to grow up abusing substance.

The community

According to statistics, drunk driving results in an injury every minute and one death every 32 minutes. Additionally in 1992, over 25% of violent crimes and property crimes were attributed to drug and alcohol abuse. Income maintenance, cash assistance, foster care and other social welfare programs had to spend a lot on households affected by substance abuse.

Economics

Substance abuse causes governments around the world to spend billions on treatment and prevention costs, healthcare, losses on job productivity and crime and social welfare. Instead that could otherwise be spent on education or other channels.

 

Health issues

Substance abuse can lead to the spread of certain types of illnesses as users behave irresponsibly. For example this may lead to users engaging in unprotected sexual activities and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases.

 

Therefore, substance abuse’s impact on the society is so massive that legislation is constantly being updated to ensure that this social illness finds a sustainable resolution.

Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which blood pressure in arteries is chronically elevated. Hypertension is dangerous since it can lead to cardiovascular diseases like arthrosclerosis, heart attacks and aneurysm. In this article we will focus on the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention methodologies of this condition.

 

Normal blood pressure is 120/80, where 120 represent the systolic measurement (highest pressure in arteries) and 80 represent the diastolic measurement (minimum pressure in arteries). Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called pre-hypertension and 140/90 or above is considered hypertension.

 

What causes hypertension?

Though the exact causes of hypertension are unknown, some factors include:

• Smoking

• Obesity

• Diabetes

• High levels of salt

• Insufficient calcium, potassium, magnesium consumption

• Stress

• Aging

• Genetics and family history

• Kidney or thyroid problems

 

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

A person may be asymptomatic, but some symptoms to look for include:

• Severe headaches

• Nausea

• Dizziness

• Chest pain

• Vision problems

• Blood in urine

• Fatigue

• Breathing problems

Q: Why is my waist size important?

A: Carrying too much fat around your belly can increase your risk of

developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

 

Q: What are calories?

A: Calories are a measure of how much energy food or drink contains. The amount of energy you need will depend on your age, lifestyle (how active you are) and size (your height and weight).

 

Q: Can I crush medicines before taking them?

A: No! Because some drugs have special coating and will not work properly unless they are swallowed as a whole and others are designed to be released slowly. Also some active ingredients in drugs are dangerous when they are released all at once.

 

Q: Will I put on weight when I quit smoking?

A: Not necessarily, although many people do. On average, the long-term weight gain for each smoker who quits is about 3-4kg (6-8lb).

 

Q: What is a panic attack?

A: A panic attack is a rush of intense psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. They can be frightening and happen suddenly, often for no clear reason. You may feel an overwhelming sense of fear and a sense of unreality, as if you’re detached from the world around you. You may also experience physical symptoms, such as:

• A sensation that your heart is beating irregularly (palpitations)

• Sweating

• Trembling

• Shortness of breath

• Choking sensation

• Chest pain

• Feeling sick

Dietary Supplements

 

Dietary supplements are products taken orally that contain a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet.These ingredients may include:vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes and metabolites. Supplements come in many forms such as tablets, capsules, powders or liquids. With our schedules and lives being on the go; we may not get a daily balanced diet. Thus in our article we will focus on the benefits of complementing your diet with dietary supplements.

 

Benefits

1) Help you overcome nutritional deficiencies. Since our diet cannot provide all of the nutrients, nutritional supplements can fill in those gaps. Additionally they are easy to take.

2) Help boost your immune system and prevent diseases like cancer, influenza and many others. Vitamins like C and E act as antioxidants in the body.

3) Get rid of the toxins which we take in everyday from environment and food additives. Antioxidant supplements like lycopene and selenium help detoxify the body to a minimum.

4) Promote tissue maintenance and repair and bone health. Minerals like calcium and vitamin D help prevent bone loss diseases like osteoporosis.

5) Maintain the well-being of the body. Minerals like magnesium are needed to build DNA and are an integral part of the enzyme’s structure. Others like iron are energy sources and are components of red blood cells.

Safety

 

Please remember that supplements are not substitutes for nutritious meals but should be taken to complement your diet.

Climate Change

Climate includes patterns of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and seasons. Climate change affects more than just a change in the weather; it refers to seasonal changes over a long period of time. There are many factors that can cause climate change such as human factors, changes to the earth and solar systems. These climate patterns play a fundamental role in shaping natural ecosystems, human health, economies and cultures. In this article we will look at the impact of climate change on humans.

 

The World Health Organization identified five major consequences of climate change on humans: First, the agricultural sector is very vulnerable to climate change. Rising temperatures and more frequent droughts and floods can compromise food security; increasing malnutrition in countries heavily dependent on rainfall.

Second, extreme weather events mean more potential deaths and

injuries caused by storms and floods. Additionally such events are often accompanied by outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Cholera.

Third, warmer climates will change the nature of global rainfall, evaporation and other factors that affect water supply and quality. This can lead to water pollution and water scarcity for drinking and farming.

Fourth, rise in temperatures are expected to alter the geographic distribution of insect vectors that spread infections (e.g. malaria, dengue). Also, higher temperatures can hasten the onset of pollen season contributing to asthma attacks.

Fifth, climate related disasters destroy homes causing people to seek shelter or livelihoods elsewhere. Additionally deteriorating environments triggered by climate change can also lead to conflicts over resources which in turn displace people.

 

Research indicated that developing countries suffer 99% of casualties attributed to climate change.

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