“Health is wealth” is not just an expression, but a truth of life. Someone in good health can accumulate wealth, but illness can bring down even the wealthiest of empires. Every dentist longs to provide the best possible treatment to all their patients. However, in doing so, they may neglect their own health.
According to an article in the 2004 Postgraduate Medical Journal, one-fifth of young doctors engaged in patient care display prominent mental health problems. If we are to ensure that patient care isn’t compromised, we must ensure our own health. A study published in the January 2013 issue of the RGUHS Journal of Medical Sciences concluded that 46 percent of female doctors suffer from hypertension, and 38 percent suffer from emotional stress accompanied by disturbed sleep and persistent indigestion.
According to a January 2014 study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, cardiovascular disease is the reason 21 percent of dentists retire early. Cardiovascular diseases are second only to musculoskeletal disorders, which account for 29 percent of dentists retiring early.
A doctor who is ill cannot provide proper care and attention to a patient. Here are a few tips to help keep your health in check:
- Attend routine physicals/check-ups to ensure that you are addressing any concerns with your personal health. Be honest with your physician about any pains or irregularities you might be experiencing.
- Exercising every day is a great way to stay active, and keep your general health and immune system in good condition. A study published in the October 2003 issue of JADA says that most dental practitioners are at risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder due to prolonged working postures, repetitive movements, awkward postures and lack of muscle flexibility and strength. Aerobics, stretching and certain strength exercises can help prevent these disorders.
- If already diagnosed with a condition, remember to take medication in a timely manner and follow up with your physician.
- Invest in a physical tracker to ensure that you are walking around sufficiently throughout the day in between treating patients.
- Be open with your staff if you have a medical condition that can lead to any kind of disruption of patient care. Explaining the condition to various team members will make sure they are aware of how to manage any complications if you are in trouble. If possible, keep a memo handy for the staff to refer to in case they need to help you.
Through dentistry, we take care of our patients’ well-being, starting with their mouths. In order to leave them with a positive experience and treat them as best as we can, we must be certain that our own health is a priority as well.
~Arjun Chadha, PDM Dental College and Research Institute (India) ’18, International Member