Reflections on our health in 2021 and attention for 2022 – 01/01/2022

The year 2021 is over and today we are living the first journey of 2022. Naturally, our tendency is to reflect on what we’ve been through, the good times, the lessons and also the adverse times. From deep reflection, we must always extract good learning. Don’t make the same mistakes and also incorporate positive teachings. Life moves into a new year and we have to assimilate new concepts.

In the field of health, the year 2021 was another historic and emblematic year, it will be part of the texts of textbooks for those children and adolescents who will be studying in 40, 50 years. We have a lot to reflect on this year that has ended and left at least 10 important lessons for all of us. Let’s see below:

Lesson 1 – Covid-19 vaccine

I could not fail to place in the first position this great victory of science in the fight against this tragic pandemic. As much criticism as we can place on the logistics and rush to develop vaccines, these were the protagonists of a paradigm shift. A change from a catastrophic scenario, with countless deaths and a lack of control in the contamination of people of all age groups. Vaccination was essential to especially reduce the number of severe cases of covid-19, not requiring oxygen support, intubation and extensive occupation of ICU beds.

Lesson 2 – Telemedicine

Image: iStock

In 2019, before the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, we faced resistance to the application of telemedicine in the daily routine of healthcare processes. However, the outbreak of the pandemic, associated with the need for isolation and distance, showed that telemedicine would be essential to guarantee the continuity of medical care and the continuous transmission of information and guidance, especially to the neediest and most needy regions. The regulation and definition of telemedicine guidelines were two considerable victories throughout 2021.

Lesson 3 – Inflammation and Immunity

It became very clear throughout 2021 that being vaccinated against covid-19 was not an absolute guarantee of immunity. We followed up several cases of people who had been vaccinated, with one or two doses, and yet they were contaminated and died. This scenario reinforces an old concept about the importance of reducing inflammation in our bodies. This inflammation, in fact, is associated with many factors, such as an unregulated diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, illegal drug use, excessive stress and sleep disturbances.

Lesson 4 – Post-covid-19

Although we know that the pandemic is not over, the year 2021 revealed that, for a few years, we will still live with the organic consequences of covid-19. As a physician, I can truly testify that the demand in offices for treatments for the sequelae or complications of the disease has increased exponentially. In many cases, such as high blood pressure crises and post-covid-19 arrhythmias, we are succeeding in controlling these problems. On the other hand, in cases of neurological and pulmonary sequelae, the battle has been more arduous and with more limited results.

Lesson 5 – Mental Health

Social isolation, the need for distance, the serious financial crisis, the increase in unemployment were some reasons for people’s emotional lack of control. Generalized anxiety, depression and Burnout syndrome have become frequent and recurrent both in the family environment and in companies. As a result of this emotional imbalance, many people have had heart attacks, bouts of arrhythmias, high blood pressure, strokes, digestive problems, and skin conditions. Addressing aspects related to mental health has been the main strategy to contain several health problems.

In the quest for balanced mental health, we cannot fail to emphasize the fight against harassment, violence and abuse against women either. The emotional impact that women have to face after so many aggressions leaves sequels and traumas for the rest of their lives.

Lesson 6 – Variants of Covid-19 and Influenza Influenza

Coronaviruses present with some disguises called variants. They are different forms of the same virus, with potential for transmission and possible lethality. The omicron variant has caused an increase in cases around the world. We do not yet know if other variants will appear and contribute to the continuation of this pandemic.

Along with this growing trend of covid-19 variants, we have seen the spread of another virus—influenza H3N2. This flu has caused an increase in hospital admissions due to very debilitating symptoms such as high fever, severe muscle pain and prostration. Currently, this has been the epidemiological challenge in Brazil — dealing with the omicron variant of covid-19 and the spread of influenza influenza.

Lesson 7 – Medical use of cannabis

We still have a lot to evolve in terms of the medicinal use of cannabis. But we cannot deny that, more and more, research and studies are being developed to confirm its applicability in the prevention and eventual therapy of some diseases. In this pandemic period, there was a lot of speculation about the cannabis for the treatment of covid-19.

Lesson 8 – Floods and Diseases

Photo shows rain damage in Ubaíra, Bahia - Fernando Vivas/Governo da Bahia - Fernando Vivas/Governo da Bahia

Photo shows rain damage in Ubaíra, Bahia

Image: Fernando Vivas/Government of Bahia

We are once again facing a summer of heavy rains and floods. In addition to the fateful occurrence of deaths like in Bahia, we know that these floods denote our fragile urban infrastructure, as well as the harbinger of the spread of diseases such as leptospirosis and skin infections. Unfortunately, another year is ending and a new year that emerges in the midst of this serious public health problem.

Lesson 9 – Early Athlete Retirement

Cardiovascular diseases do not choose age or professional category. Not even athletes, like football players, are exempt from the risk of cardiac arrhythmia. This scenario reflects something very serious: all people need to undergo periodic cardiac follow-up, follow the specialized guidance of qualified professionals and adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

Still, strictly following these principles, we can be surprised and have to drastically change our lives, even anticipating our retirement. Look at the cases of Argentinian Aguero and Dane Eriksen.

Lesson 10 – Attention to children

One of the great lessons of 2021 concerns children’s health. Not only health related to basic themes such as breastfeeding and psychosocial support, but also the fight against domestic violence, targeting actions in favor of child vaccination and the early fight against childhood obesity. There is always an alert to public authorities regarding the inclusion of policies that prioritize child health.

Today is January 1st, 2022. We have to start scripting a new film, write new chapters, always try to innovate and assimilate mistakes from the previous year. There is no lack of motivation for us to do something better, to look for other horizons.

We just can’t get discouraged over time, succumb to self-indulgence. There will be challenges and difficulties, but may we have the strength and stamina to renounce the negative lessons of 2021 and embody the positive legacy. Health, peace and prosperity to us all.

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