Saturday, February 21, 2009

NUTRITION & YOU - What is healthy eating?


What is Healthy Eating?
Healthy eating is about variety, balance and moderation.
Eat a variety of foods using the Healthy Diet Pyramid as a guide to get all the nutrients you need. No one food supplies all the nutrients your body requires to stay healthy therefore it is important to enjoy a variety of foods from the food four groups, as well as within each food group.
Balance your food choices over the day to get enough of each type of foods. Also, moderate how much you eat. Eat appropriate amounts without excessive fat, added sugar and salt.
What is a Healthy Diet Pyramid?
The Healthy Diet Pyramid is a guide, to help you plan and eat a well balanced diet each day. In general, you should select more food from the base of the pyramid (the carbohydrates), and less from the top of the pyramid (fats, oils, sugar, salt).
Rice and alternatives - Placed at the base of the Pyramid are rice, noodles, bread, pasta, cereals, porridge, lontong, chapati, naan, idli, thosai & biscuits. These foods are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals & dietary fibre. You should consume at least five servings daily, preferably including one serving of wholegrain products.
Fruit - This group consists of fresh, dried, frozen, canned fruit and fruit juices. They are rich sources of vitamin A, C, potassium, fibre (excluding fruit juices) and flavonoids. Take two servings a day, especially the deeply or brightly (yellow, orange) coloured ones.
Vegetables - This group consists of leafy, non-leafy, cruciferous and root vegetables. They are rich sources of vitamins A, C, folic acid, minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, fibre and phytochemicals. Take two servings a day and include one serving daily of dark green or yellow-orange vegetables.
Meat and alternatives - This group includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, milk products, nuts and seeds. These foods are excellent sources of protein, calcium, B-vitamins, iron and zinc. Take at least two servings a day.
Water is also extremely important; you should be drinking at least 6-8 glasses of fluid (1.5-2.0 litres) a day.
Source: Health Promotion Board


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mesothelioma :The Basics

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is usually found in those previously exposed to asbestos. Cancerous cells form in the mesothelium, which is a protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs. These cells typically form in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or the sac that encircles the heart.

The average life span of a person diagnosed with the disease is about 4 to 24 months from the finding. About 3,000 people in the U.S. die of mesothelioma every year. People at risk are those who have been previously exposed to asbestos dust, including former steel workers, auto mechanics, mineworkers, and military workers, among many others. Their family members may also be at risk, as the asbestos dust from clothing can travel through the air.

Mesothelioma has an extremely long latency period, which means that symptoms of the disease may not emerge until 30 to 50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common type and affects the area around the lungs, may cause shortness of breath, chest pains, and a persistent cough, which may lead to coughing up blood. These symptoms are caused by the build up of fluid between the lining of the lung and the chest cavity. The disease may start in the chest area and spread to other areas of the body. Other symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include weight loss, severe breathing trouble, fever, difficulty swallowing, and swelling of the face and neck areas. It should be noted that some people with the disease do not experience any serious symptoms at all.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is rarer than pleural mesothelioma, and affects the abdominal area. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal swelling and pain due to the build up of fluid in the abdominal cavity, nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Breathing complications and chest pains may also be present, as well as bowel obstruction, anaemia, fever, and blood clotting.

The rarest form of the disease is pericardial mesothelioma, which first forms in the area surrounding the heart. Tumors grow in the tissues around the heart and spread from there. Chest pain, shortness of breath, constant coughing, and shivering may be symptoms of this form of mesothelioma.

Diagnosis of the disease is oftentimes difficult, due to the fact that the symptoms associated with mesothelioma are similar to those of other conditions. The symptoms of the disease become more serious as the cancerous tumors enter the later stages of development, so people who have been exposed to asbestos at any time in their lives should contact their doctor immediately. Even if a person has never been exposed directly to asbestos but is experiencing any of the above symptoms, they should inform their doctor as soon as possible, as asbestos dust and fibres may have traveled through the air from items such as clothing.

People who have been diagnosed with any form of mesothelioma should immediately contact a lawyer. Individual states have their own statutes of limitation, meaning that there is a set time limit regarding how long a patient has to act on their diagnosis. When searching for a lawyer to handle your case, be sure to find one that has prior experience with mesothelioma cases. They will have the contacts and resources to take care of your case in a timely manner. The Internet is a helpful and efficient resource for a mesothelioma lawyer search.

Patients do not have to be concerned with paying lawyers up-front, since the majority of mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will not request payment of any kind unless they successfully settle your case. Lawyers will usually take a 35% cut of whatever settlement or reward the patient receives, but patients seeking compensation for their disease have nothing to lose and everything to gain in going to a lawyer for help.

The average mesothelioma-related settlement in the U.S. is $1 million. Cases that go to trial average awards of approximately $6 million, according to the RAND Corporation. A bill called the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005 (FAIR Act of 2005) introduced on March 17, 2005, seeks to create set amounts of compensation for mesothelioma victims, which would depend on their symptoms.

People who have mesothelioma are able to seek large compensation amounts because their disease is a result of a company’s decision not to take sufficient measures to protect its workers from breathing in asbestos while on the job.

Eye Problems Causing Headaches


Do you often suffer from headaches? What are some factors which causes headaches?
High astigmatism can cause headaches and may be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lens. However some people have also successfully treated by refractive surgery, like Lasik. It is important to exclude other common factors that may contribute to eye strain. One factor is presbyopia, which occurs naturally when a person reaches 40 - 45 years, in which the focusing muscles of the eye become weaker with age. This result in a person having difficulty reading small print and tiredness. But it can be overcome by prescribing reading glasses. The next common cause is dry eyes, which can be overcome by using eye-drops. Some headaches may not be caused by the eye but rather from poor posture or neck strain. And this is common with people who spent long hours in from of the computer.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Long Term Sinus Infections?

Most common sinus infection, when the infection continues long term, is a fungus not bacteria. This according to David Sherris, MD, department of otorhinolaryngology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, who said that more than 90% of chronic sinusitis are caused by an immune-system response to a very common fungus that is present in everyone's nose.
Some people's immune systems react to the fungus in a way that mimics chronic sinus infections. These chronic sinus problems, which can last three months or more, are different than acute ones which last a month or less and are caused by bacteria. Discovery of the fungus reaction opens the way to new forms of treatment even though it may take two to four years for any to be available.....

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Spondylolysis


Spondylolysis........

Medical report.......

Lumbosacral Spine

There are early maginal osteophytes seen along the L4 and L2 vertebral bodies. Vertebral alignment was otherwise satisfactory. Lordosis was preserved. Disc spaces were of normal height. There is a lucent line seen in the pars of interarticularis of L4. This is consistent in appearance with a Spondylolysis. No evidence of spondylolisthesis was noted. This is narrowing of the L5/S1 disc space. Rest of the disc spaces were of normal height. No other bony abnormality is noted.

Spondylolysis is a defect in the
pars interarticularis of a vertebra. The great majority of cases occur in the lowest of the lumbar vertebrae (L5), but spondylosis may also occur in the other lumbar vertebrae, as well as in the thoracic vertebrae.Spondylolysis occurs in three to six percent of the population. It is typically caused by stress fracture of the bone, and is associated with certain activities, such as weight lifting and gymnastics. Spondylolysis also runs in families and is more prevalent in some populations, suggesting a hereditary component such as a tendency toward thin vertebral bone.

Although spondylolysis can affect people of any age, children and adolescents are most susceptible. This is because their spines are still developing, and the pars is the weakest part of the vertebra. Placing extra strain on this area of the spine during childhood increases the chance that a pars defect will occur.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common bowel disorder that has symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and changes in stool consistency and frequency.

The symptoms may vary over time and in different individuals, but abdominal pain - especially in the region of the colon - is always present and is associated with disturbed bowel movements.

Although IBS does not lead to obstruction, bleeding or cancer of the colon, the quality of life for individuals with severe symptoms may suffer.

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)

While diagnosing IBS, TCM tries to identify several patterns of dysfunction that involve the spleen, liver, kidney and large intestines.

Apart from its symptoms, TCM looks at other complaints such as cold hands and feet, lower back pain and frequent urination.

The objectives of TCM treatment are to restore balance by replenishing and regulating quip and yang energies and improving digestion in the affected organs. Bear in mind that the definition of these organs, according to TCM, goes beyond the conventional understanding of anatomical form and function. The holistic approach of TCM regards each organ systems within our body to be inter-dependent.

A TCM practitioner may dispense customised herbal prescriptions containing herbs such as ginseng, podia cocas, red dates or hawthorn.

Interestingly, TCM traces the root causes of IBS to improper diet, poor eating habits and digestions, stress and emotional disturbance. Successful treatment will involve lifestyle modifications to prevent or minimise recurrences.

HOMEOPATHY

The homeopathic approach to IBS is constitutional. The correct homeopathic remedy will help attack the core of the problem, starting the healing process from within.

It has been found that food intolerances and emotional stress could contribute to IBS.

Hence it is important to understand the mental and emotional state of that person, not only the physical symptoms.

However there are some remedies that may help. For instance, argentums nit is good for those with severe flatulence followed by alternating signs of constipation and diarrhoea and mucus stool. Cantharis is good for those who feel burning pains in the abdomen and experience nausea, thirst and vomit.

To keep these symptoms at bay, follow a sensible diet. Increase intake of high fibre foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, brown rice and whole grains to reduce constipation. A food intolerance test will help to distinguish which groups aggravate the symptoms.

Drink large amount of water - at least 8 - 10 glasses a day as this will soften stools.

MODERN MEDICINE

Studies show that IBS affects at least 10 to 15 percent of the population in Singapore. A recent survey revealed that men and women between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the highest risk of developing IBS.

Individuals with IBS usually have abdominal pain or discomfort with painful constipation or diarrhoea, accompanied by instances of bloating, flatulence and incomplete emptying of stools. Severe IBS is also known to cause depression, anxiety and irritability. Psycho-social factors, dietary factors or past gut infections may trigger a change in the sensation and contraction of the colon resulting in IBS symptoms.

Not all individuals with IBS especially those with mild symptoms, need to seek medical attention. However, if there is a recent change in bowel symptoms along with weight loss, fever, blood in stool or a family history of cancer, immediate medical consultation is mandatory.

Your doctor may advise you to go for a barium enema x-ray in which chalky substance (barium) is administered through the rectum into the colon so that x-ray pictures of the colon can be obtained.

Alternatively, colonoscopy - a procedure involving the use of a flexible tube mounted with a camera - may be performed to check for any abnormality in the colon.
Most individuals with IBS have mild symptoms and are able to control their symptoms through education, reassurance, stress management, diet and lifestyle modifications.

Regular exercise and relaxation techniques are helpful in reducing stress, that aggravates IBS. A high fibre diet is usually recommended, except in those with severe bloating.

Avoiding artificial sweeteners, milk products and caffeine is essential. Medications acting on the colon, are needed for individuals with moderate to severe symptoms.

Psychological counselling and specific therepies may also benefit individuals with predominant symptoms of depression and anxiety.

It is important to consult the same doctor who has diagnosed your IBS symptoms so that a tailored programme can be worked out to ensure rapidly recovery.




Thursday, February 05, 2009

Common Ingredients used in Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) - Part 1

1. Pao Shen (American Ginseng)

Functions:
• Reinforce the spleen (digestive system) and replenish the vital energy (Qi)
• Remove heat
• Supplement body fluid and relieve thirst

Suitable for:
• Excess heat due to deficiency of Yin
• Conditions caused by smoking and drinking
• Cough due to lung deficiency
• Irritability and anxiety


2. Bei Qi (Radix Astragali Milkvetch Root)

Functions:
• Supplement the vital energy and reinforce the spleen
• Reinforce the immune system
• Remove the toxin and promote growth of new tissue

Suitable for:

• Fatigue and weakness
• Poor appetite and loose stool
• Frequent cold due to poor constitution
• Prolonged ulcer


3. Yu Zhu (Solomon Seal Rhizome)

Functions:

• Replenish Yin and nourish the Lung
• Supplement the body fluid and relief thirst

Suitable for:

• Cough due to heat
• Dry throat and thirst


4. Bai He (Lily Bulb)

Functions:
• Nourish the Lung and relief cough
• Clear the mind due to deficiency of heart Yin


Suitable for:

• Cough due to heat of the lung
• Insomnia and anxiety


5. Ling Zhi

Functions:
• Reduce anxiety and relieve stress
• Relieve cough and remove phlegm
• Enhance immunity

Suitable for:

• Insomnia
• Chronic cough

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

RESTING HEART RATE

How to count your Resting Heart Rate

Please take your heart rate/pulse with 2 fingers: never use your thumb as your thumb has a pulse in itself. Hold and count for 6 seconds and place a “zero” after the number you counted.

Average person Resting Heart Rate: 70-90bpm
Below 70bpm is considered athletic & in a good shape

TARGET HEART RATE

When you exercise, your body speeds up, and so does your heart as it works to meet your increased energy needs. But how much speeding-up of your heart is safe when you exercise. You need the answer to this question in order to maximize your exercise benefits while not overworking your heart.

Check Your Exercise Status


Use the F.I.T.T formula as a guide to help you plan effective exercise program

For sedentary individuals
F = Frequency Exercise 5 times a week or more
I = Intensity Exercise at 55-69% of your Maximum Heart Rate
T = Time At least 30 minutes
T = Type Exercise duration may be a single bout or accumulated through several 10 minutes bouts over the days e.g. brisk walking, cycling (leisure)

For physically active individuals
F = Frequency Exercise 3 times a week or more
I = Intensity Exercise at 70-90% of your Maximum Heart Rate
T = Time At least 20 minutes each session
T = Type Aerobic exercises e.g. swimming, cycling (fast), running

How to calculate your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
220 – Age = Maximum Heart Rate
For example, if you are 35 years old your MHR is 220 – 35 = 185 per minute (bpm)
65% of this MHR is 120 bpm, your Target Heart Rate

Monday, February 02, 2009

Food As Medicine

HEADACHE? EAT FISH!Eat plenty of fish - fish oil helps prevent headaches.So does ginger, which reduces inflammation and pain.

HAY FEVER? EAT YOGURT!Eat lots of yogurt before pollen season.Also eat honey from your area (local region) daily.

TO PREVENT STROKE DRINK TEA!Prevent buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls with regular doses of tea. (Actually, tea suppresses my appetite and keeps the pounds from invading....Green tea is great for our immune system)!

INSOMNIA (CAN'T SLEEP?) HONEY!Use honey as a tranquilizer and sedative.

ASTHMA? EAT ONIONS!!!!Eating onions helps ease constriction of bronchial tubes. (When I was young, my mother would make onion packs to place on our chest, helped the respiratory ailments and actually made us breathe better).

ARTHRITIS? EAT FISH, TOO!!Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines actually prevent arthritis. (fish has omega oils, good for our immune system)

UPSET STOMACH? BANANAS & GINGER!!!!!Bananas will settle an upset stomach.Ginger will cure morning sickness and nausea.

BLADDER INFECTION? DRINK CRANBERRY JUICE!!!!High-acid cranberry juice controls harmful bacteria.

BONE PROBLEMS? EAT PINEAPPLE!!!Bone fractures and osteoporosis can be prevented by the manganese in pineapple.

PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME? EAT CORNFLAKES!!!!Women can ward off the effects of PMS with cornflakes, which help reduce depression, anxiety and fatigue.

MEMORY PROBLEMS? EAT OYSTERS!Oysters help improve your mental functioning by supplying much-needed zinc.

COLDS? EAT GARLIC!Clear up that stuffy head with garlic (remember, garlic lowers cholesterol, too)

COUGHING? USE RED PEPPERS!!A substance similar to that found in the cough syrups is found in hot red pepper. Use red (cayenne) pepper with caution - it can irritate your tummy.

BREAST CANCER? EAT WHEAT, BRAN & CABBAGE. Helps to maintain estrogen at healthy levels.

LUNG CANCER? EAT DARK GREEN & ORANGE VEGGIES!!!A good antidote is beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A found in dark green and orange vegetables.

ULCERS? EAT CABBAGE ALSO!!!Cabbage contains chemicals that help heal both gastric and duodenal ulcers.

DIARRHEA? EAT APPLES!Grate an apple with its skin, let it turn brown and eat it to cure this condition (Bananas are good for this ailment)

CLOGGED ARTERIES? EAT AVOCADO!Mono unsaturated fat in avocados lowers cholesterol.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE? EAT CELERY & OLIVE OIL!!!Olive oil has been shown to lower blood pressure.Celery contains a chemical that lowers pressure too.

BLOOD SUGAR IMBALANCE? EAT BROCCOLI & PEANUTS!!!The chromium in broccoli and peanuts helps regulate insulin and blood sugar.

Kiwi: Tiny but mighty. This is a good source of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E &fiber. It's Vitamin C content is twice that of an orange. Apple: An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Although an apple has a low Vitamin C content, it has antioxidants & flavonoids which enhances the activity of Vitamin C thereby helping to lower the risks of colon cancer, heart attack & stroke.

Strawberry: Protective fruit. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits, and protects the body from cancer causing, blood vessels clogging free radicals. (Actually, any berry is good for you ... they're high in anti-oxidants and they actually keep us young ... blueberries are the best and very versatile in the health field ... they get rid of all the free-radicals that invade our bodies).

Orange: Sweetest medicine. Taking 2 - 4 oranges a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent & dissolve kidney stones as well as lessen the risk of colon cancer.

Watermelon: Coolest Thirst Quencher. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione which helps boost our immune system. They are also a key source of lycopene - the cancer fighting oxidant. Other nutrients found in watermelon are Vitamin C & Potassium. (watermelon also has natural substances [natural SPF sources] that keep our skin healthy, protecting our skin from those darn suv rays).

Guava &Papaya: Top awards for Vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high Vitamin C content. Guava is also rich in fiber which helps prevent constipation.Papaya is rich in carotene, this is good for your eyes (also good for gas and indigestion)

Tomatoes are very good as a preventative measure for men, keeps those prostrate problems from invading their bodies.Enjoy !!

Note that all the above should be eaten in moderation.