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The Three Biggest Office-Related Health Problems You Can Avoid

Written on:February 1, 2013
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If you have a nine-to-five job, you are spending 33% of your life in the office, and indeed most of your waking hours tied to your desk.

By any stretch of the imagination, this is a significant amount of time. The time you spend at work, and how you spend it can definitely affect your health. This article will talk about how you can keep yourself healthy.

The office environment is a leading cause of three main problems that crop up time and time again in the doctor’s office.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you are working in front of a computer all day, one of the greatest health risks is in carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a group of symptoms and signs that occur when one of your hand nerves become entrapped in the carpal tunnel of your wrist.

This entrapment of the nerve causes your hand to feel numb and tingly. This is especially true on your palm, and first three fingers of the hand.

It will seem as if your hand is asleep. People have trouble gripping and keep dropping things. These symptoms are usually not constant and only flare up when performing certain activities such as driving, typing or painting.

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If you have night-time symptoms that wake you, this can be a sure sign of advanced carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if the symptoms resolve with shaking the wrist.

People can also feel pain in the wrists especially the front of the wrists that may involve the forearm.

Carpal tunnel affects about 1 in 20 people in the UK, and it is thought that repetitive activities involving the wrist such as typing can cause inflammation and increased pressure in the wrist.

This increased pressure causes the nerve to be compressed. If compressed long enough it will start to present with those symptoms.

Occupational therapy such as having better posture while typing and using ergonomic mouse pads and keyboard can help treat carpal tunnel.

Furthermore, wearing a wrist brace to be worn at night time is one of the best treatments. Certain stretching and strengthening program for the hand can also help.

People who continue to have symptoms after conservative management can turn to surgical correction. No one likes surgery so make sure to have good posture and ergonomic materials at your workspace that support your wrists.

 

Depression

Many people hate their job; they don’t want to wake up in the morning, and dread going to work. This could be considered normal (although the advice here is to work towards getting a job one could enjoy more).

However, this mild irritation at one’s workplace most people feel from time to time sometimes means that people who are suffering from legitimate depression go unnoticed.

The stigma behind depression makes means people embarrassed or unwilling to face it. Depression affects 1 in 5 Brits at some point in their lives. Here are some symptoms you should watch out for.:

  • Do you feel increased frequency of sadness?
  • Do you seem to have lost interest in things you used to like doing?
  • Do you have feelings of guilt or decreased worth?
  • Do you seem to have low energy?
  • Do you have trouble with concentration?
  • Do you have decreased appetite?
  • Does your whole body seem to be moving slowly?
  • Have you ever thought about suicide?

If you have answered yes to five of these questions, you may be clinically depressed. You should go to your primary care doctor immediately.

How can you avoid being depressed at the workplace? Studies have shown that co-workers are the most important factor. Always remember that you are never alone.

Reach out and connect with your fellow co-workers. Look for the little things that make your job worth it. Socialize. Laugh.

Most importantly remember that depression can be treated very effectively with behaviour modification, or with medication. So if you think you may be depressed get expert help.

 

Obesity in the Workplace

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems facing the western world, and the blame can be placed to some degree on the workplace. Obesity is such a big problem because it affects so many parts of your body.

Obesity can lead to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the first world.

It can also lead to type two diabetes. Furthermore, the increased weight on your joints can lead to arthritis later on in life.

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If you wonder if you are considered obese, look up your body mass index. This is a number calculated based off of your height and weight. A BMI above 25 is considered pre-obesity. A number greater than 30 is considered obese.

Obesity is a major work place health problem especially if you are sitting in your chair for most of the day. The top two ways to combat obesity is either increasing activities and thus using more calories, or eating less and decreasing the amount of calories you put in.

Within an hour of sitting get up for ten minutes and walk around. Consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator if you are not too high up in the building. If your workplace has anti-fatigue mats, then you will be able to walk around in comfort for much longer, regardless of your current BMI.

Avoid sweet and junk food at work. Sodas and chips are high calories that are saturated with fat and sodium. If you can increase your activity and decrease your intake, you can ward off or beat obesity.

 

Conclusion

Three of the biggest work related health risks are carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, and obesity. Hopefully this article was able to give you tips on how to recognize these conditions and some of the steps you can do to avoid them. Some people love their jobs and some people hate theirs.

However, everyone should be able to consider their office a healthy place to be.

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