'Pay attention to your health' - Doctor wants diagnoses of entertainers to be a wake-up call

May 17, 2018
Mundo Ravers
Niko Chromatic performing at Chromatic Live at Mas Camp, last year. The event was held to raise money to assist his treatment.
Dr Shane Alexis
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Chronic illness such as hypertension, kidney failure and diabetes are some of the leading causes of death among the younger generation.

Just last week, the entertainment fraternity was plunged into mourning following the passing of Niko Chromatic, who has been battling kidney disease for about three years. A few years ago, Mundo Ravers from the dance group Ravers Clavers also died as a result of kidney failure. Popular sound system selector Gary Chuck is also recovering from a massive stroke.

But according to medical practitioner Dr Shane Alexis, these illnesses are not just prejudiced to a particular set of persons, but spread across any socio-economic background. He said that he is imploring everyone, especially the young generation, to pay more attention to their health. He said he is hoping that the diagnoses and deaths of popular figures will be eye-openers for everyone.

"I am imploring young people to invest in their health the same way they would invest in their business, phone and clothes. Do a comprehensive health check, maybe once a year but maybe more, depending on if you are seeing or feeling anything unusual. It's not just the entertainers who are affected or at a higher risks. Their cases are just highlighted because they are public figures. Seeing a doctor should be just as important as seeing your nail tech or hairdresser," he told THE STAR.

 

CHECK FAMILY HISTORY

 

Alexis stated that a check of family medical history is just as important because the chances of being affected by these illness are usually higher than average for a person whose parents suffer from these ailments.

He noted that having an unhealthy lifestyle will make the diseases present themselves faster.

The doctor, therefore, advised persons never to shy away from asking questions during a check-up, especially when he/she is diagnosed with a medical condition.

"It is also important to ask questions when you are diagnosed with a disease. Ask the doctor what will happen if you treat or don't treat. This way, you can determine the best way to go forward. Quite often, the dialysis and surgeries are preventable if you adjust your lifestyle and education," he said.

Alexis stated that although the local medical fraternity is trying to make Jamaicans more aware of these life-threatening diseases, there is still room for improvement.

"We need to improve our primary care medical system so that persons can go to the nearest facility whether public or private and feel like they are getting good care in a timely fashion. It's also good to educate persons about what the disease is about. We can't tell people to exercise in places where it is not safe or there are no fields for them to jog. So, all of these health issues are tied up in a lot of things that affect the country in terms of security, etc," he said.

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