May 10, 2017

Posted by | Comments Off on Managing High Blood Pressure

Managing High Blood Pressure

 

High blood pressure isn’t just common among the elderly and overweight. In Singapore, 24% of people aged between 30 and 69 years have hypertension according to a survey in 2004.

Risk Factors and Symptoms

There is no known cause for high blood pressure or hypertension. But there is a combination of factors that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition. The risk also increases with age or if the person has other medical conditions. Obese, smokers, heavy drinkers and people with sedentary lifestyles are more likely to have hypertension.

Blood pressure has two factors. It is the pressure created from the heart when it pumps blood and the force on the arteries in between the heart beats. Normal blood pressure, regardless of sex and ethnicity, should be below 120/80 mm Hg. The unit mm Hg, or millimeters of mercury, refers to the unit of barometric or air pressure. A reading with high blood pressure begins at 140/90 mm Hg.

Sometimes the person doesn’t know that he/she is hypertensive. For those who experience symptoms of hypertension, these include headache, nausea, fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pain and palpitations.

How to Do a Reading

When reading your body’s blood pressure, the measurement taken is the pressure of the blood on the walls of the arteries, the vessels that carry blood away from the heart to different parts of the body.

Reading blood pressure is easy and fast. It can be done manually or electronically. The reading results in two numbers usually written with one on top of the other. The number on top is called the systolic blood pressure, while the one at the bottom is called diastolic. Systolic is the pressure caused by the heartbeat. Diastolic is the pressure in between the heart beats.

Maintaining Your Blood Pressure

If you experience any of the symptoms, you need to consult a doctor right away. The doctor will perform several checks such as blood and urine tests to determine your fasting lipids, glucose level and electrolytes; electrocardiogram or ECG reading; and chest X-ray. Next, you will be prescribed medicine to keep your blood pressure manageable. It could be beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors.

Your doctor will advise you to lose or maintain your weight. Your body mass index should not be more than 25 kg/m2. Your diet should consist of less fat, salt and sugar. He/she will give you instructions about your target levels for blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and fasting blood glucose. LDL cholesterol refers to the bad cholesterol, which if uncontrolled, can block blood vessels. You might have to limit your intake of alcohol and consider quitting smoking. Follow instructions on when and how much medication you should take. Never self-medicate or take other medications, including herbal supplements, without consulting a doctor. If not treated, hypertension can lead to heart diseases, stroke, and kidney failure.

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Mar 11, 2017

Posted by | Comments Off on Actions to Take for Severe Bleeding

Actions to Take for Severe Bleeding

 

If you witnessed severe bleeding in your house or workplace, it is important that you know what to do. You have to act immediately because every second counts. Unfortunately, not all Singaporeans know what to do at the sight of gushing blood.  You have to learn it because you do not know when it will come in handy.

The good news is that here in Singapore there are basic trainings on first aid from certified organizations. There, you will learn how to dislodge a foreign object from the windpipe (when choking) to addressing severe bleeding. But in the case of severe bleeding, here are few refreshers:

  • Remove obstruction: In severe bleeding cases, the first thing that you have to do is to remove any obvious obstructions (like debris, dirt or clothing). If there is an object lodged deeply on the victim’s body, do not attempt to remove it – you might cause more harm than good. Your primary goal here is to stop the bleeding not get embedded objects. If there are protective gloves around, wear it.

 

  • Discontinue the bleeding: If you are not alone, have someone look for a sterile bandage. If it is not available, at least locate a clean cloth and then put it on the wound. Pressure is crucial when you bind the wound so do it tightly. After wrapping the wound with clean cloth, secure it using adhesive tape. If tape is not available, you will have to wait until the bleeding stops. Do not leave it – use your hands. The critical part is you should raise the wounded part just above the heart level.

  • Let the person lie down: The wounded person should be in lying position. This is done to prevent the loss of the victim’s body heat. It is strongly recommended that you raise the legs of the victim.

 

  • Do not remove the cloth or bandage: If it is severe, most likely the blood will seep through the cloth or bandage. When you notice this, do not attempt to remove the layer. You just have to add another cloth layer on top of it. Maintain the pressing or pressure. If you have tourniquets around and you are trained how to do it, it can help a lot.

 

  • Restrain the injured part after the bleeding stopped: It is important that you restrain the injured part after you notice the bleeding has stopped. This is to ensure than the affected area will not suffer more strain. After that, you can bring the victim to the emergency room.

When you see severe bleeding, it is important to be calm and think immediately.

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Feb 21, 2017

Posted by | Comments Off on How to Cope With a Herpes Infection

How to Cope With a Herpes Infection

Many people feel discomfited by the mere mention of the word “herpes”. We’re afraid of this sexually transmitted disease (STD), and so we diffuse our fear by making jokes rather than take the matter seriously. Perhaps because of this attitude, confusion exists about herpes and how it is different from other STDs.

Herpes is a viral infection, which means it is caused by a virus rather than bacteria. As a result, herpes is incurable with antibiotics, and the virus remains to exist in the person’s immune system for life. Depending on which part of the body is infected, herpes symptoms can occur in, on, or around the rectum, genitals, and/or mouth. However, not all infections show symptoms. In fact, most cases of herpes in Singapore don’t show any symptoms, so some infected persons have no idea about their condition.

For the brave individuals enduring this viral infection, here are the things worth knowing for living healthily with herpes.

Triggering Recurrences

Whatever triggers the recurrence of symptoms seems to be amplified by emotional stress. Although no researches have been made specifically about what triggers herpes symptoms, many health studies have demonstrated a link between weakened immune system and chronic psychological stress to affect recurrences of symptoms. A person who has a weakened immune system is more likely to experience recurrences if infected with herpes. Therefore, reducing stress will greatly benefit a person with this sexually transmitted disease.

Medication

Herpes is highly controllable in most patients with the help of std testing in Singapore and anti-viral medications. Three medicines area widely used by professionals for controlling this infection: Valtrex, Famvir, and Acyclovir. Other prescription drugs can also be used in rare instances, when the virus becomes resistant to the mentioned medications.

Recent studies show that the use of the drug Valtrex, and perhaps other anti-viral drugs, significantly reduces viral shedding can potentially decrease or prevent transmission of the infection. Topical medication like Zovirax can also help control cold sores.

Fatigue and Stress

When a person feels tired, his/her body has to work twice as hard to keep up with day-to-day activities, which in result stresses the nervous system. The virus that causes herpes lives in the bottom part of the spinal column called the ganglia. Since the spinal cord is the central part of our nervous system, the virus becomes part of it as well. When our nervous system is fatigued or stressed, viral activity increases and outbreaks may occur.

A person with herpes should maintain a healthy sleep cycle, which means an estimate of eight hours of peaceful and non-chemically-induced sleep. Healthcare professionals and doctors can provide suggestion for improving one’s quality of sleep.

Ultraviolet Light

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) lighting—from tanning or sun exposure—is known to re-activate herpes infections. To avoid recurrences, exposure to UV light as much as possible or use sunscreen with at least SPF 25 in the area where the infection exists. Infected people should also avoid sunbathing naked or using tanning beds without clothes on.

Essential Diet

Some patients benefit from elevated lysine and decreased levels of arganine in their diet. Lysine fights herpes-infected cells by counteracting growth-stimulating effects of arganine in herpes-infected cells. Foods that contain significant amount of lysine are soybeans, milk, and meat. To further boost the body’s lysine level, lysine-rich supplements readily available in many Singapore food and health shops.

Sexual Interaction Between Partners

In any intimate relationship between two persons with herpes, either one or both of them have oral or genital herpes or both. Even if both partners are infected, they may carry different types and strains, and therefore could pass that different strain to the other person. Thus, in such situations, the same precautions apply.

The doctor may recommend an STD screening and not to get touch or do anything with the affected part until it is treated and has totally healed. Likewise, those who have recurring cold sores should be cautious when performing oral sex. A man can wear a condom to prevent the transmission of oral infections. However, the condom does not protect the fingers, scrotum, or other parts of the body against infection.

For women, a female condom or a dental dam can be used in the vaginal area to prevent transmission of the virus during intercourse. Another alternative is to cut out a portion of a latex condom and use it to cover the vagina and the area around it.

Another important caution to remember is to avoid aggressive sexual intercourse as forceful thrusting can create microscopic tears in the genitals, which is susceptible to transmission of virus.

Alternatives in Intimacy

A person with herpes can still have a fulfilling sex life even after an STD test shows positive result. As long as the other partner knows and accepts the risks of having sexual intercourse with the infected partner, it’s fine to have sex.
Otherwise, explore other means without having genital-to-genital interaction, such as using sex toys and mutual masturbation (masturbating together with a partner). Exploring them can enrich one’s sex life and make up for the need to avoid sexual intercourse because of herpes.

Treatment and Prevention

As of the moment, there is still no definitive medication that can cure herpes or prevent uninfected individuals from getting infected. However, researches for ‘Herpevac’ are being developed to help prevent transmission of genital herpes. So far, it has passed the preliminary testing for effectiveness and safety, and is now in the final phase of clinical trials (on women only).

However, before having intimate relationship with a person, one should go through the preventative measure of making sure that both parties are safe from herpes and other infections, and an STD screening is the best way to confirm that. If inevitably STD testing appears positive, always remember that it’s still possible to live a healthy and normal life with these precautions in mind.

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Jan 31, 2017

Posted by | Comments Off on How to Deal with Post-Meal Belly Bloat

How to Deal with Post-Meal Belly Bloat

 

Remember that feeling of finishing a sumptuous meal? You feel happy and satisfied never mind what will happen after. You won’t feel anything except joy for few hours but when you face the mirror, you will come to regret eating that sumptuous meal. You are suffering from post-food belly bloat. Many Singaporeans hates this. It is true that being bloated sucks.

Bloating can affect you in many ways. For example, it can ruin a special occasion because you are wearing something that you do not like but for the sake of hiding the bloat, you wear something else. It will annoy you and make you uncomfortable because you know you do not look your best.

How you wish to puff it the instant you recognize it but that is not that easy. The good news is that there are certain hacks that you can do to minimize that annoying and unpleasant post-food belly bloat. Here are some:

  1. Do not overeat. The basic thing that you have to keep in mind is that you will not bloat if you do not overeat. If you are conscious about your belly bloat then eat in moderation. Remember that eating more will make you look more bloated. If you already feel full, do not force yourself to finish the plate. If you want to finish everything on your plate, best trick is to eat and chew slow. When you eat fast, there is a tendency that you swallow more air that will result to more gas retention.

 

  1. Decrease your portion. Another thing to consider is decreasing your portion. When things are very delicious, you tend to put everything on your plate. That is not the right thing to do. The temptation is always there. You have to be steady and keep calm. You will eat up everything at once but where is the fun? Aside from consuming more gas, you are depriving yourself of having a good time. A good food takes time – about 30 minutes.

  1. Skip the salt. Salt gives additional flavour. No wonder it makes everything extra delicious but you have to skip it. Aside from the plethora of health issues it carry, it can also encourage water retention. Water retention will surely make you feel bloated.

 

  1. Enlist friendly bacteria. You need loads of friendly bacteria. If you can buy probiotic yoghurt, buy it and consume it every morning. Good bacteria is helpful because it can facilitate movement of food in your stomach which can curb bloating. If you do not like yoghurt, you can ask your doctor for other alternatives.

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Jan 26, 2017

Posted by | Comments Off on On Set Bedtime Routine: Grown-ups Should Also Observe It

On Set Bedtime Routine: Grown-ups Should Also Observe It

 

Sleep is a very important aspect in one’s growth and development. It is your body’s way of recuperating and restoring the energy needed for the next day’s use therefore it should not be ignored no matter what. Many Singaporeans think that only kids need sleeping and so adults set a bedtime routine. Parents enforce a strict bedtime routine for the children.

When the night falls, children already know the drill – sleep at around 8 or 9PM, lights out and no gadgets. Children have no choice but to follow the set bedtime routine. Unfortunately, it is an entirely different scenario for adults. Adults think that they are above the routine – no set sleeping time and continuous scrolling on social media not to mention Netflix addiction and unplanned pub hopping.

When you are an adult, there are many things that you should do – work related or not, and before you know it, it is already 3AM. By this time, you are already panicking because you have work at 9AM. How much sleep will you get? Then you resort to frantically counting the sheep over your mind in the hopes that you will sleep soon. Sometimes you even curse yourself for getting distracted.

If this is a problem, you have to train yourself maintaining the same bedtime as well as waking time every day. It gives adults a good chance of accomplishing quality and revitalizing sleep. How can you set a bedtime routine? Well, you have to know the basics first.

For sure you heard about circadian rhythm (or often referred as body clock). This is the body’s natural cycle that efficiently regulate all physiological processes. Sleep is mainly controlled by circadian rhythm. There are four stages of your sleep cycle. Stages 1 and 2 are the lightest stage (you can easily be awaken), Stage 3 is deeper (you are now hard to wake) and Stage 4 is called Rapid Eye Movement where you dream. Fewer sleeping time will lead to sleep deprivation.

It is time that you know the benefits of set bedtime routine. For one it can improve emotional wellbeing plus it can enhance cognitive function. If you slept well, it can in fact have a positive impact on your relationships. When you lack sleep, notice that you are not your normal self because you tend to experience poor mood, low energy and surge irritability leading to poor performance or productivity.

Now, how will you set your bedtime routine? It is not like you are going to ask your parents to enforce it to you once again. You are a grown person so you have the power to change your life. The first thing that you can do is to set a night time alarm. It will let you know when your body will get ready for sleep.

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Dec 20, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on Diet During Cancer Treatment

Diet During Cancer Treatment

Treatments for breast cancer, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, can cause a range of side effects, and some of which can affect your appetite. You may not have the desire to eat, but it’s critical to have enough calories and nutrients in your body to reduce treatment problems, boost immune system and help minimize weakening side effects such as fatigue. If you have not yet gone for one, we recommend a cancer check with Harley Street oncologist in Singapore to ensure that all is clear. Here are some important points to keep in mind that will help manage the side effects of your treatment better.

Diet after Surgery

Most cancer patients in Singapore reported that they feel ready to eat again after their surgery, and notice that their appetite increases each day. To gain back the energy and promote healing of tissues, try to balance a healthy diet with foods you enjoy eating. Think of easy-to-eat foods that your body can manage to digest without much effort. A bowl of cereal with your choice of fresh fruits is quick and healthy and can contain one-third of your vitamin requirement for the day.

Even if your appetite is low, try not to miss a meal and get into a pattern of eating. Even if your meal is just avocados on toast, it will still provide energy and get you eating on time.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

The side effects of chemotherapy vary from patient to patient. Some may not experience change in appetite, while others may experience a change in their desire to eat, although it’s very common to find your appetite fluctuating during the entire cycle of the treatment.

Changes in Appetite

Here are some tips to help you manage your unstable appetite:

• Have six small meals a day instead of three big meals
• Drink smoothies, fresh fruit juice or milkshakes if you don’t feel like taking solid food
• Avoid drinking liquids before and during meals as this decreases your appetite
• Do something active, such as a short walk, before a meal to increase your appetite.
There are also some cancer patients in Singapore who find themselves eating more due to the drugs given during the treatment.
• Go for low-fat drinks and foods
• Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of meat
• Be aware of the sugar content of “diet” foods.

Feeling Nauseous

Taking anti-sickness medicine can help ease nausea and vomiting. If you feel nauseous every after treatment, bring this up to your oncology team to find a suitable prescription drug for you.
However, as much as possible, try to manage your nausea the natural way. Drink water more frequently; it’s much better to drink in small sips than drinking large amounts in one go. For the food, go for small, frequent meals rather than large meals at once. If you still feel nauseous, ask your specialist if you can take herbal teas. Teas such as ginger and mint tea can help settle an upset stomach.

Change in Taste

Your sense of taste can change because of the therapy, making food taste less appealing. Make use of herbs and spices or go for strongly flavoured dishes to regain your taste buds. Try a variety of flavours and food to find which ones you like best.

If possible, refrain from using metal spoon and fork. There are some cancer treatments that cause a metal-like taste in the mouth. Use plastic utensils and glass plates, instead.

Sore Mouth

Another side effect of chemotherapy is sore or dry mouth, making it more difficult to take in food. To ease the discomfort, try the following:

• Use straw
• Gently floss your teeth and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth
• Soothe your gums and lips with ice cubes
• Go for soft or quid food, like stews and soups
• Avoid salty, spicy or acidic foods

Diarrhea

Occasionally, chemotherapy causes diarrhea. If this happens, try these:
• Reduce intake of fiber-rich food (can be avoided by peeling vegetables and fruits, so that it’s still rich in vitamins, minus the fiber)
• Drink plenty of water
• Control your portions of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in fiber.

Go to a cancer center if your diarrhea doesn’t subside. Your oncologist can prescribe you with medications if needed.

Constipation

Eating less, doing less activities and taking medications can cause constipation. Your specialist can provide you with laxatives to manage your bowel movement. Also, it helps to eat fiber-rich foods, such as whole wheat bread, cereals, dried fruits, beans and oats, paired with plenty of healthy fluid, such as teas and fresh fruit juice. Along with healthy food, regular light exercises help boost your metabolism.

Food Safety

Since breast cancer treatments tend to weaken the immune system, you need to be careful with the food you take to avoid food-borne illnesses. Talk to your specialist how to safely handle, prepare and store food, as well as ask when you’ll be able to eat certain foods again.

• Keep cross-contamination by separating raw food, fruits and vegetables and cooked food
• Cook the food well by using a food thermometer to accurately check its internal temperature
• Refrigerate or freeze food within two hours of buying it
• Wash fruits and vegetables well before consuming them and clean the top of canned goods before opening them
• Avoid buffets as the food are usually displayed for long hours and may have come in contact with many diners.

The food you eat is crucial in ensuring your health when under treatment. As some breast cancer treatments can take a toll on your health, you want to stay healthy and provide your body with much needed nutrients to stay healthy and help fight cancer. Go to a cancer center and talk to an oncologist for some advices on the right food to take.

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