Lifestyle, habits; the silent killers to watch out for

Some lifestyle indulgences and habits that act like carpenters working on our coffins. Collins Mwai samples them, without the common ones such as eating junks, drinking and smoking;-

Some lifestyle indulgences and habits that act like carpenters working on our coffins. Collins Mwai samples them, without the common ones such as eating junks, drinking and smoking;-

The ‘heely’ danger in shoes

Women love it. They want to feel hyper. It’s said they gain mega confidence in heels, but dangers lurk behind every stride one makes in high heels.


Those six-inch stilettos are putting you at the risk of posture problems, skin irritations, and even toe deformities. High heels put all your body weight on our forefoot, causing you to adjust the rest of your body to maintain balance. The bottom half of your body leans forward so the top half must lean back—this disrupts the normal ‘S’ curve of your back, flattening your lower spine and displacing your mid-back and neck. It is very difficult to maintain good posture in this position—not only is it detrimental to the health of your spine, ‘stooped over’ is not a sexy look.

Clubs, concerts, earphones damage hearing

The major risk with clubbing is noise-induced hearing loss. Unfortunately, few bother to think about it. Yes, everyone suffers gradual hearing loss as they age, but with clubs, you risk premature hearing loss. The risk of damage is determined by how loud the music is, how long you are exposed to it and individual susceptibility to noise.

Why it is dangerous

You are going to walk out of a club or concert one day and begin to hear a ringing or booming sensation in one or both ears. This is a symptom of an ear infection or Ménière’s disease. Besides this, other forms of hearing loss can come in form of dullness in hearing. Experts argue that because of the decibels (loudness of a sound is measured in decibels), your ears, as they get damaged, become accustomed to high decibels. That’s how you begin to ask for pardon for normal decibels because you are used to the loud sounds or one too close to your ears like earphones.


But you can take steps now to protect your hearing for the future. The best way is to avoid loud music at clubs, gigs and festivals, and through personal music players. Earphones are particularly bad for your eardrums. But if you must, use headphones, not earphones.

Now, you must be asking how one can know that the music is too loud for the ears. Sure, without sound measuring equipment, it can be difficult to know how loud the sound is, but try the rule of thumb; if you have to raise your voice to speak to someone close to you, the noise is loud enough to damage your hearing. Don’t tempt fate, take precautions. Also, if the sound ever hurts your ears, you shouldn’t be in the concert, at the club or wearing that headphone or earphone.

For concerts or clubs, you can improvise with earplugs that are designed for listening to music. These do not muffle the sound but just reduce the volume.

Eating too fast will mess your weight, cause diabetes

Do you find yourself finishing your meals long before others? Are you the kind that put food into the mouth before you have finished chewing the previous bite? You got a problem, mate.

The problem

It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. And feeling full translates into eating less. Wolfing down your food can also lead to type 2 diabetes.

Fix it

Let’s make eating an art. Let’s master this art of slow eating. Now, turn off the TV and drop that novel away. You don’t need any other distractions, and concentrate on your meal. Distractions makes you subconsciously pick food and put it in your mouth without knowing. Avoid eating with appointments beckoning.  Try also putting your fork down between bites, this can help to extend the amount of time you eat.

Skimping on sleep, couch potato and TV lights is the death of you

For many, work, party life, family and so much more is just a cocktail too thick to handle. The result is going to bed way too late and waking up early. That means we take less than six hours of sleep a night. Terrible.

Don’t even try it

Don’t be fooled; Napoleon wasn’t any clever when he said a normal man should sleep for two hours. If he lived by his theory, then the French revolutionary leader was probably grumpy and foggy. His sex life was probably affected, but there is no Marie Antoinette to tell us. We bet Napoleon was short of memory, had health issues, his looks were affected, he was stressed, etc. Yes, less than six hours of sleep a night could double your risk for a heart attack or stroke.


Just sleep whenever you got the time. You don’t want to kill your libido because of depleted energy, sleepiness, and increased tension.

Computers/TV lights

When series hit our black boxes, they brought with them the bug called “watching movies until the Tv starts watching us because we dozed off.” Some people watch on computers or laptops.


The more Tv you watch, the less physical activity you are getting, increasing your odds of being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. Of course, the light from the screen will affect your eyesight.


Your eyes need to relax because the lights on TV and computers, and their involuntary manner of adjustments, are dangerous to the retina. You need more activity like moving around, talking, and others. You will have a fitter body and more time for sleep, more energy, a better mood, sharper mind, and more social connections.

Sitting for long

The couch potato syndrome. You want to watch six episodes of a series in a night?


High risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Do this...

Take some breaks in between your sitting to walk around. It eases the tension sitting tight creates on your body.

Skipping breakfast or meals

It might make economic sense, but you need to be healthy to sustain or even dream about your economic wellness.

To eat and eat

Skipping the first meal of the day can have serious consequences for your weight, your energy levels, and even your blood sugar. The Readers’ Digest says munching a piece of morning toast or crunching a bowl of bran flakes signals to your metabolism that it’s time to kick things up a notch. Skipping the fuel keeps your metabolism running on low, which can lead to weight gain and sluggishness. You will also create a starve-now-indulge-later eating pattern, which is why breakfast-skippers tend to overeat later in the day. Because you are re-fueling your body early in the day, you’ll also have more energy in the morning. You may find that you start to control your weight more easily, too.

Nail-biting? Get a life before you leak toilet seat

An embarrassing health habit. Some even bleed before they realise they have peeled off layers around their nail cuticles. Months ago, we compared it to leaking a toilet seat and we weren’t that far wide.


Nail-biting can lead to infection because of the bacteria under your nails. Experts say it can contribute to skin infections, aggravate existing conditions of the nail bed (where the U-shaped cuticles begin) and increase the risk of colds by encouraging the spread of germs from the nails and fingers to the lips and mouth. Mayo Clinic says compulsive nail biting is sometimes a sign of an underlying mental health condition, such as anxiety or an impulse control disorder.

Get a life!

If you are concerned about nail biting, consult your doctor or a mental health provider. Mayo Clinic advises that you avoid factors that trigger nail biting, such as boredom, find healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety, keep your nails neatly trimmed or manicured, and occupy your hands or mouth with alternate activities, such as playing a musical instrument or chewing gum.

Over-the-counter-drugs, sedatives kill

Almost every corner of a street in Kigali has a pharmacy. And for many of us, stopping over to buy some paracetamol is a common thing. But it breeds danger. Few people ever care to explain to the pharmacists what their ailment is. And the majority go without a doctor’s recommendation.

Why it’s dangerous

Whereas at hospital a doctor will diagnose your ailment and know what prescription is desired, over the counter, there is no chance. You simply walk over and ask the sleepy pharmacist at 1am that you need this-and-that and you have it, as long as you got the cash or card. Whereas you will be advised on dosage, salient aspects such as storage of the drugs and monitoring of expiry date as well as chemical reaction in the body are ignored in many over-the-counter cases.


Rely on doctors. Pharmacists know about the drugs but they rarely know about ailments. A doctor has to recommend the drugs. You can keep the contacts of your doctor, whom you can call in case you must use over-the-counter drugs. 

Painkillers/ sedatives

These are mainly got over the counter. Today’s environment, from office to our homes, is extremely strenuous to our body system. With stress and other body pains taking their toll on us, we tend to get back to the shortcuts remedy, which is, unfortunately, another long root toward your end.


When they are not taken properly, long-term habitual use can cause more problems than it solves. Using drugs like ibuprofen or diclofenac for arthritis or muscle pain can over time increase your risk for ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Calming drugs and sleeping pills can leave you feeling confused and prone to stumbling and falling if you take them in higher-than-prescribed doses. Since they make you feel good, you may want to keep on taking them, turning them into a habit or addiction, according to the Readers’ Digest.

To stop it

Just try out new pain-relief strategies to ease your muscles, joint, and headache with fewer pills and side effects. But you need commitment Good thing is that once you kick out the sedatives, your expenditures on drugs will drop and you will cut your risk for heart and high blood pressure problems as well as gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding. Yes, killing two birds with one stone is not just a saying, it exists.

Rubbing eyes, over-wearing specs and the shady truth

Rubbing your eyes

This can be impulsive, but we also do it to clean up or stop some unwanted goings-on in our face.


Why are you rubbing eyes? Is there any underlying problem that needs to be treated? Rubbing eyes can lead to astigmatism, irritation, infections, and abrasions of the eye. If you have eye allergies, you need to get the eye allergies treated. Besides, how clean is your hand at the time you use it to rub your eyes?

Over wearing your eye glasses

Majority of people who wear contact lenses over do it. Too much of even a benign thing is bad for your health. It can be that you forget to remove it, or you are too busy. But your eyes need the breather.


Opthalmologists say over-wearing your contacts can lead to permanent damage, such as scarring of the eye. The eye gets starved for oxygen and the germs that stick on the contact lens end up causing infections, according to Readers’ Digest.

Eye shades/ sunglasses

Fashion or whatever, shades are supposed to protect our eyes from strong lights. But you will see people wear them in dark rooms or at night. They are daring fate. It’s worse for those who just buy cheap shades.

The shady truth

Ultra-violet light can damage the eyes. You risk photokeratitis where after enjoying the sun, the eye gets painful, gritty and vision becomes blurred. Cataracts grow slowly over many years, dulling vision.


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