The Ultimate Guide to Better Health & Wealth (Millennial Edition) - Chapter 8

Office Workers, Avoid These Health Risks


Occupational health problems are steadily rising in Malaysia. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh), there is a 30% increase in occupational diseases reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Department (DOSH) every year.

What’s worse, occupational health issues usually manifest themselves after a long period of time. So, the effects of all those years hunched over your laptop can only be seen and felt many years later.

5 Things you should avoid doing in the office that can lead to health problems

Office workers are largely tied to their desks for eight hours a day, with some pulling in longer hours depending on job demands and the industry they work in. The advancement of technology has made it even more convenient for us to accomplish many things without leaving our desks. From call-in meetings to brainstorming sessions, a lot can be done without ever leaving our desk.

Despite being highly efficient, this lifestyle may lead to occupational health issues.

According to WHO, the most common occupational diseases are chronic respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and noise-induced hearing loss. While workers in industrial jobs might be prone to accidents and health problems linked to long exposure to heat, noise, dust and chemicals, working in the comfort of an air-conditioned office is not all that rosy either.

In Malaysia, MSDs are one of the most common occupational hazards, averaging at 15% of cases compared to accidents at workplace and respiratory diseases.

This type of disease affects your body movement, causing common health issues like joint pain as well as back and neck pain. This condition worsens with age, so young office workers today who are affected by the disease will only feel the effects decades later.

Here are 5 things you should avoid doing in the office that can potentially lead to health problems.

Sitting in one spot for long hours

Studies have shown that sitting down for eight hours a day without much physical activity poses the same risk of dying as those who smoke and are obese. Don’t forget to account for the other times we are being inactive daily such as commuting to and from work, watching TV and reading.

Using the keyboard and mouse frequently

Typing on your keyboard and using a mouse in a repetitive motion throughout your working hours may result in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This condition is caused when the median nerve in your hand is squeezed or compressed. If you are feeling numb, itchy and tingly around your wrist, it is time to get worried!

Slouching over your desk for long hours

Hello, back pain! Slouching for long hours to finish up your work and meet the deadline can lead to painful health problems later. This coupled with improper posture and a sedentary lifestyle may result in painful back and hip aches. This can put a damper on your lifestyle because all you would want to do is go back home and lie down to ease the pain.

Staring at the screen all day

If you are working in an office, staring at your laptop or desktop screen is unavoidable. But, what happens when you have to do it for long hours every day until you retire? Headaches and eye strain will become a regular occurrence.

Skipping or eating irregular meals

Skipping lunch due to deadlines and meetings may be unavoidable sometimes, but when done regularly it can wreak havoc to your health. Dehydration, weight gain, constipation and gastritis are some of the issues that you will have to face, sooner than later.

How to prevent occupational health diseases

The sooner you take steps to change your lifestyle, the faster your health will take a turn towards the better.

Here are three immediate steps you can take:

Step 1: Assess your health

Before you underplay or overanalyse your current wellbeing, it is crucial that you get it as it is. Not sure where to start?

All it takes is an app. Pulse by Prudential is an AI-powered health app with interactive features that will make your life easy! One of its feature is Health Assessment that will give you an overall picture of your physical and mental wellbeing.

Answer a series of questions related to your lifestyle, mental health and body to generate your very own Digital Twin. A 3D anatomical view of your body, your Digital Twin will give you detailed insights to how each part of your body is doing.

Step 2: Track your fitness

Once you have an idea of your current health condition, it is time to start taking actions. Set goals to incorporate more movement at work, even when your work happens mostly in front of your laptop.

Start small by just ditching the lifts for stairs then you can graduate to taking mini walks around the block at regular intervals. All your efforts will add up and widen the gap between you and occupational diseases.

Quite understandably, motivation can be a big hurdle to make this a long term commitment. Pulse’s Fitness Tracker can help you to keep track of your goals.

Step 3: Don’t delay a consultation with a doctor

If you develop pain, or even a slight discomfort in any part of your body, it is an absolute must to consult a doctor immediately! Do not dismiss it or try to wait till the pain goes away.

Or if you want to get an idea of what could be wrong first, you can use Pulse’s Symptom Checker. Simply key in your symptoms and answer several questions. You will get an analysis done by the AI-powered chatbot.

Now that you have the analysis, it is time to consult a doctor. Using the Online Consultation feature on Pulse, you can consult a doctor within a few minutes through a video or phone call. All these can be done in the comfort of your own space and with minimal fees (Free for Prudential customers, RM10 for non-Prudential customers).

Download Pulse by Prudential for free now!

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