Chennai: The work nature of teachers makes them highly prone to cardiovascular diseases, say health experts. Recent research suggests that as teaching involves long hours of standing and walking in classrooms, it might increase the pressure within the leg veins and increase the chances of developing varicose veins, chronic venous disease and chronic venous insufficiency among others.
“Teachers stand for long periods of time each day, giving lectures and writing on the board. They may also sit for long periods while working on lesson plans and grading student work. These factors can have long-term effects on the legs. Women teachers who wear heels to work additionally strain their legs and feet. This can impact proper circulation and result in blood pooling in the veins. Vein problems can possibly be amplified if you spend long periods of time in heels, especially if you are overweight or pregnant” says Dr P Mohnish, consultant, department of interventional radiology, Gleneagles Global Health City.
Moving around, maintaining healthy body weight, choosing footwear wisely and wearing compression stocking are some measures teachers can follow to prevent leg and vein problems, says Dr Mohnish.
The research also indicates that there are a number of negative health outcomes associated with prolonged standing, especially standing in one place such as long-term back pain, physical fatigue, muscle pain, leg swelling, tiredness and body part fatigue. Of these varicose veins, a condition caused due to improper functioning of valves present in the veins is highly common among teachers, observe health experts. Doctors also point out that as the job requires long hours of interaction, it might result in 'voice abuse' or vocal chord straining over a period of time. Eye problems and dust allergy from blackboard usage which subsequently results in wheezing and asthma are also common amongst teachers, says Dr Shanthi, Doctors' Association of Social Equality.
“Teachers, right from kindergarten to university level face various difficulties. At the kindergarten level, they will have to deal with highly active kids who cannot express themselves or be controlled. At the middle and high school level, they will have to deal with adolescent kids who pose an altogether different set of challenges. All of this increases the mental stress of teachers and takes a toll on their health. This is also a reason for the increase in the number of premature cases of diabetes and blood pressure in teachers,” she says speaking about the mental health issues faced by teachers.
“There should be an emphasis on the psycho-social development of teachers. A healthy relationship between parents and teachers for the betterment for children should be encouraged. This will help bring down the mental stress of the teachers. Also, innovative technology for communication with students and lesser use of blackboard such as in smart classrooms should be introduced” she says.