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Medical Horoscope III – Correctable Medical Ailments. (September, 2005)

In the last two Newsletters we discussed general aspects of premarital medical check up and correctable surgical problems in the young male. In the present Newsletter some common medical conditions and health in general will be discussed.

Positive health: Health is not merely absence of disease but also overall development of body, mind and spirit. And the quest for positive health starts long before the onset of disease and involves proper management of one’s lifestyle and environment from an early age. Before embarking on a lifelong journey with one’s spouse on the occasion of the wedding, it is desirable that both partners are in optimum and positive health status. A careful assessment of family background and hereditary factors, diet, exercise, weight management and addictions and habits in the prospective bride and the groom by way of a properly tailored premarital medical check up will go a long way in a healthier and happier married life.

Heredity: Your genes inherited from parents determine what and who you are. Defective genes, result of inheritance or mutations in the parents lead to various kinds of diseases which are either obvious and externally visible/detectable or may be dormant, manifesting later as a result of external or environmental factors. Marriage between blood relatives like uncle niece or between cousins would lead to more chances of such diseases or defects or even deformities. Avoiding such “consanguinous” marriages and availing “genetic counseling” in case of a strong family history of such diseases will minimize the risk of these diseases. Among these are muscular dystrophy, albinism, cystic fibrosis, retinitis pigmentosa etc. In addition, heredity plays a large but still poorly defined role in common diseases like diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, auto-immune diseases, obesity etc. Many of us are at risk of such diseases due to our family history. While we cannot change our genes, we can modify our lifestyle to negate or minimize their impact. At the time of the “premarital medical check up”, these factors can be discussed with the bride or bridegroom and their parents or guardians so as to motivate these young people to have a better quality of married life.

Life style changes: Quick fix methods to control either various genetically influenced diseases or any purely acquired assets like obesity, chronic lung diseases and some stress related conditions are of no use, because the change for the better would be transitory and would invariably recur. One needs to be counseled and strongly motivated to incorporate permanent life style changes before and after marriage. The following changes need to be implemented:

Dietary habits: Eat to live and not live to eat principle still holds good. A sensible diet with moderate calorie intake, plenty of proteins and less of saturated fats is essential. Eating at regular times, avoiding binge eating or several snacks between meals, particularly junk foods is important. Do take plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, pulses and lentils, skimmed milk and curd and moderate amounts of cereals and white meat.


Exercise: Modern urban life styles are largely sedentary and favour weight gain. Regular exercise reduces weight gain, improves metabolism and induces a sense of well being. Even several functions of the brain like memory, power of concentration and less deterioration with ageing are connected with a healthy, strong body. Thirty minutes of brisk cardiovascular exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, treadmill, games like tennis, badminton etc 5-6 times a week is essential. One can never be too busy in the profession, not to have time for one’s own health!

Weight management: Maintaining ideal body weight (refer to Height/weight charts) and a “Body Mass Index” (B.M.I is calculated as a ratio between height in meters and body weight in kilograms) of around 22 is essential for a healthy person. Sensible diet and regular exercises could be further reinforced by incorporating daily meditation, relaxation and yogic practice.


Habits: Avoiding smoking, moderate or no alcohol use, avoiding red meats and junk foods high in saturated fats will help avoid chronic diseases. Substance abuse and recreational drugs use are major hazards with young people today and need serious professional attention. Addictions to alcohol, tobacco and drugs have derailed many a marriages. This would form the subject of another forthcoming newsletter.

Parents : take note that good health for your sons, daughters, sons in law and daughters in law can be achieved by taking proactive steps even well before you get them married. It is not enough if you give them education and lots of wealth; they need good health to enjoy a long and happy married life! Be well informed; be proactive in health matters of your children!

Dr. U Ram Mohan Rau, MBBS, MRCP (UK),

Consultant Physician, Dr. U Mohan Rau Memorial Hospital


Updated on 01.09.2005.

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