Physician's Weekly
August 26, 2022
The health challenges that many teachers face

Teachers perform one of the most important jobs in the world. Their ultimate goal is to guide, nurture, and educate impressionable minds of varying aptitudes and interests in the acquisition of knowledge. In their line of duty, the world over, they are required to maintain their passion for teaching, and share their all-encompassing knowledge, buttressed by their compassion for their students in an often challenging, demanding, and less than ideal environment.

The content for this article has been garnered from an extensive review of research and articles regarding teachers’ health issues, emanating from all corners of the world. Below I’ve listed an array of medical complaints, while not exclusive to teachers, however, they are alarmingly commonplace among members of the profession.

Headaches: Many are prone to migraine headaches which can be triggered by overwork, skipping meals, stress, hot classrooms, fatigue, and noise.

Insomnia: Work failure, emotional dissonance, social exclusion, staying up correcting homework, lesson preparations, and worrying are some of the reasons for insomnia.

Exhaustion/ Fatigue/ Burnout: This may come about as a result of dealing with difficult parents and students, reduced autonomy, feeling underappreciated, inadequate financial compensation, financial stress, and being held responsible by parents and the system for suboptimal academic performance(s).

Obesity: Is often a result of consuming calorie-dense foods and drinks, and inadequate exercise.

Eye strain: This is more common in teachers who have to protractedly use the computer – e.g. when used for lesson preparations or entering marks/ grades.

Carpal tunnel syndrome: This is most often reported in overweight female teachers who repeatedly flex their wrists and those who are required to use a computer keyboard during the course of their work.

Heart disease: The higher incidence of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity amongst teachers translates into an increase in the number of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, heart failure, and arrhythymias.

Type 2 diabetes: Poor dietary choices, lack of exercise, and the predisposition to being overweight increase the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Hypertension: Reduced sleep, stress, lack of exercise and poor diet (high in sodium) make teachers more prone to hypertension.

Back pain: Prolonged sitting, poor posture, being overweight and inappropriate furniture increases the reporting of low back pain.

Hearing loss: Teachers extended exposure to collective high-pitched voices, especially nursery and preschool teachers, over a number of years, may experience hearing loss over the course of their career.

Laryngitis: Female teachers, especially those who speak for extended periods at any time often report hoarseness and even loss of voice as a result of inflammation of their vocal cords.

Anxiety and depression: Studies have shown that over 50% of teachers suffer from anxiety and up to 20% are depressed.

Knee pain: Teachers that have worked for more than 30 years are almost twice as likely to report knee pain when compared to others of a similar age who are not teachers.

Respiratory tract infections: There is a significantly increased risk of teachers contracting, head, throat, and chest infections when school is in session when compared to nonteachers.

Author’s Contact Information: Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale, [email protected], 1(784)570-9300 (Office), 1(784)455-0376 (WhatsApp)
Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Dr. C. Malcolm Grant, Family Care Clinic or The Searchlight Newspaper or their associates, respectively, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information provided