Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Risky self-induced abortion

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Pregnant women who abort their foetus by consuming pills bought online face the risk of infertility and even death.

Harian Metro reported that many women who got pregnant before marriage resorted to taking such pills, the most popular being Misoprostol, which is used to treat gastric.

Gynaecologist Dr Adilah Ahmat said the pill was meant to be consumed orally but these women inserted the pills into their vagina instead.

“Three hours later, they will bleed and the pregnancy is aborted. It sounds simple but it is very dangerous,” she said.

The hexagon-shaped Misoprostol, when misused this way, leads to bacterial infection in the womb, resulting in pregnancy problems and infertility later on.

Dr Adilah said the bacteria could cause blood infection (septicemia), and possible excessive bleeding during the procedure could be fatal.

“If the procedure fails and the foetus remains alive, it could end up being deformed,” she added.

The daily reported that pills like Misoprostol were sold online via many websites and Facebook pages, and service was “available 24/7”.

The average price is RM220 for 10 pills to abort a foetus below two months and RM380 for 20 pills to get rid of a foetus over months and beyond.

A reporter who disguised as a buyer was informed by a seller, aged 24, that she worked at a pharmacy in Kuala Lumpur.

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Sabah best place for Gleneagles: CEO

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Sabahans no longer need to seek treatment overseas, thanks to the entry of premium healthcare provider, Gleneagles Hospital, that is due for completion in the first quarter of 2015, which is also expected to turn Sabah into a medical destination.

Parkway Pantai Ltd and IHH Healthcare Bhd Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tan See Ling, said Sabah had become an obvious choice, having seen the need to leverage the quality of health services here, and the city being the entry point to the regional healthcare market.

“We hope to be able to help in making the city a medical tourism destination like Balik Papan and Samarinda, Indonesia, while we (Gleneagles) can leverage the quality of medical care in Sabah.

“We could not have chosen a better location than Kota Kinabalu, as it is the port of call in East Malaysia and Borneo,” he said at the topping up ceremony for the hospital project, here, Tuesday.

The hospital will be their first entry into East Malaysia, having set up two hospitals before, one in Penang and in Kuala Lumpur.

Parkway Pantai Ltd, a subsidiary of IHH Healthcare Bhd, currently holds 15 per cent of the country’s healthcare market share, having 158,000 admissions each year from 12 multi-disciplinary hospitals via two brands – The Pantai and Gleneagles hospitals.

For Sabah, Gleneagles Hospital will have 200 beds, 80 doctors’ suites, six operating theatres, a 24-hour accident emergency department with trauma and intensive care centre and cardiac cath lab as key facilities, with a manpower of 300.

About 80 per cent of the positions have been assigned to Sabahans in professional, non-professional and support staff, with some returning doctors from United Kingdom and Singapore and the peninsula.

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Heart disease No. 1 killer of women

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

DEADLY: It accounts for 25pc of all medically certified deaths.

WH20 volunteers explaining the dangers of cardiovascular disease to women during an awareness campaign.

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIANS are  unaware that cardiovascular disease (CVD)  is  the main cause of death among Malaysian women for the past two decades.

It is 21/2 times higher than the proportion of deaths from all cancers combined, said Dr Jeyamalar Rajadurai, cardiologist, and chairman of the Women’s Heart Health Organisation (WH20).

“Between 1990 and 2010, it accounted for about 25 per cent of all medically certified deaths. CVD, especially strokes, is an important cause of disability. About one in four women died from either a heart attack or stroke.”

Established three years ago under the National Heart Association of Malaysia, WH2O aims to educate women about CVD risk and promote a healthy lifestyle in keeping with its slogan “Healthy Heart, Happy Woman”.

“Many women are not aware that heart attacks and strokes affect them.”

CVD is due to narrowing of the arteries supplying the heart and brain by atheromatous plaques. If the plaque build-up is small, it does not give rise to any symptoms.

As the heart artery becomes progressively narrowed, one develops chest pain (angina) on exertion for example, walking or doing heavy work. Sometimes the artery can become blocked rapidly within minutes or hours.

“This gives rise to a heart attack if it is an artery supplying the heart or a stroke if it is an artery supplying the brain.

There are several reasons why one develops these plaques, and these include both non-modifiable and modifiable risk factors, Dr Jeyamalar explained.

Show off your teeth: Oral care is important for well-being

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Why oral healthcare should be taken more seriously.

Studies show that more than 70% of 12- year-old children suffer from dental decay. – Reuters

Studies show that more than 70% of 12- year-old children suffer from dental decay. – Reuters

JUST mentioning the word toothache is usually enough to make people wince. Understandably, many avoid seeing a dentist until the pain becomes unbearable. Such delays can lead to complications, and potentially compromise the ability to swallow or speak.

Although statistics from the National Oral Health Survey of Adults (NOHSA 2010) showed that an alarming 88.9% of adults had dental caries, the public’s cognizance on the importance of oral healthcare still remains at low levels.

In addition, we still see reports from studies showing that more than 70% of 12-year-old children suffer from dental decay. Worse still, surveys have shown that eight to 10 milk teeth of Malaysian pre-school children are affected by caries even before they turn five.

The good news is, despite the high prevalence of caries, there is mounting evidence that tooth decay and cavities can be most effectively deterred by understanding what causes caries and following a few simple rules.

A combination of an effective daily oral care routine and an annual consultation with a dentist can be a good start.

Oral care is important for everyone’s health and well-being for a variety of reasons. Considering the impact of dental disorders, it is astonishing to see how often it is ignored. Evidence shows more than 3.6 billion people are suffering from caries globally, which today is categorised as an infectious disease.

It’s more unfortunate if children are the sufferers – the pain combined with swelling can hinder the ability to eat and speak, stunting a child’s growth. They end up missing hours of school, affecting their quality of life.

The pain increases when the tooth has to be extracted, leaving a wound that is just as painful, if not more painful, than before the extraction, and which takes time to heal.

A child under five with 50% of the 20 baby teeth affected by caries is at a higher risk of having other health problems when he/she becomes an adult. Unfortunately, the impact of caries is not limited to oral health, but to general health and overall quality of life.

Why do cavities develop?

Dental decay is caused by three major factors: bacteria, food and bad oral health. Except for bacteria, the other two – the food we eat and the oral condition of teeth and saliva – are within our control.

Make sure to have a balanced diet with fibrous foods, and limit the amount of daily sugar consumption.

Eat at the right time, with few snacks in between. Avoid foods that are sticky and starchy, as they retain the plaque mass for a longer duration on the tooth surface.

Plaque sticks on both hard and soft surfaces, and nurtures bacteria. It takes less than five minutes for your sugared food to be sought after by some two million resident bacteria in your mouth, particularly Streptococcus mutans and its relatives (Strep salivarius, Strep viridians, etc).

by Prof Dr Rahimah Abdul Kadir.

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Gwyneth Paltrow wants you to swirl coconut oil in your mouth

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Oil pulling is fast becoming a Hollywood trend as celebrities bring attention to it.

Gwyneth Paltrow says that swirling coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes a day will make your teeth whiter.

Gwyneth Paltrow says that swirling coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes a day will make your teeth whiter.

You know that oil you’ve got stored in your pantry – the one you use to cook with? It turns out it could be used for something else entirely. But be warned: It’s a trend that doesn’t sound too tasty.

In recent weeks, actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley have brought attention to “oil pulling”, a new beauty trend that has ancient roots.

“I just started oil pulling, which is when you swish coconut oil around (in your mouth) for 20 minutes, and it’s supposed to be great for oral health and making your teeth white,” Paltrow told E! News. “It’s supposed to clear up your skin, as well.”

In an interview with Into The Gloss, a website dedicated to beauty, Woodley, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, told the site: “You can do something called oil pulling, where you swish coconut or sesame oil in your mouth when you wake up and spit it out. It’s amazing! It really makes your teeth whiter, because the plaque on your teeth is not water soluble, it’s fat-soluble. So the lipids have to dissolve in fats, which is why oil works in your mouth.”

If you can stand having coconut oil (or any kind of oil for that matter) in your mouth for 20 minutes, then go ahead and try the Ayurvedic therapy of ‘oil pulling’.

The practice apparently originated from ancient Ayurvedic Indian natural medicine, which claimed oil pulling was a remedy for oral diseases.

But don’t throw away your toothbrush just yet – very little research has shown that oil pulling is the miracle-worker that some claim. An article online says that while the practice isn’t particularly harmful, it may not be as beneficial, either.

by Melissa Schupmann

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Pest-ilent problems

Monday, March 31st, 2014

About half the world’s population are at risk of vector-borne diseases.

Different species of mosquitoes can transmit various types of diseases, including dengue fever, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and Chikungunya fever. –AFP

Different species of mosquitoes can transmit various types of diseases, including dengue fever, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and Chikungunya fever. –AFP

A VECTOR is an organism that transmits infectious organisms – bacteria, viruses and parasites – from a host to humans and other animals.

The common vectors are blood-feeding arthropods, which are invertebrate animals with an external skeleton (exoskeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Vectors of infections in humans include mosquitoes, ticks, mites and fleas.

About half the world’s population are at risk of vector-borne diseases. Increased travel, migration and trade have aggravated the risk.

According to the World Health Organisa-tion, vector-borne diseases account for 17% of all infectious diseases worldwide.

Vector-borne diseases are difficult to predict, prevent or control. These diseases can lead to serious illness and death.

It is pertinent to note that although infectious diseases comprised 6.82% of admissions to the Health Ministry’s hospitals in 2012, they were the cause of 17.17% of deaths.

Common vector-borne diseases

The prevalent vector-borne diseases in Malaysia are dengue, malaria and Japanese encephalitis.

by Dr Milton Lum.

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Do more or fat chance Malaysia will reduce obesity, govt told

Monday, March 31st, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government needs to be more serious in battling obesity, the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity says.

Its president Prof Dr Mohd Ismail Noor said that creating awareness and public education were not enough.

“At some point, the government has to be more serious about controlling the environment that encourages obesity.”

He said this yesterday after the official launch and opening of Nutrition Month Malaysia 2014 by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

Dr Mohd Ismail urged the local authorities to shut down all food outlets by midnight instead of allowing them to run 24 hours.

He said the argument that these outlets were kept open for night shift workers did not hold water because many youngsters were frequenting the outlets.

He noted that some countries had imposed a tax on sweet soda drinks.

by Loh Foon Fong.

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How old is your heart? New online tool calculates ticker’s ‘age’

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Tell the calculator your lifestyle habits and it tells you whether you’re at risk for heart disease and your life expentancy.

What is your heart’s ‘real age’? – shutterstock/AFP

What is your heart’s ‘real age’? – shutterstock/AFP

Is your heart older than you are? A tool from Joint British Societies allows people to test their heart’s “true age”, which subsequently provides an estimate regarding chances of heart disease later in life.

Entitled the JBS3 Risk Calculator, the tool works by calculating a person’s lifestyle habits, cholesterol level, blood pressure and medical conditions, any of which easily affect heart health. Examples of lifestyle factors include smoking, exercise and diet habits.

The calculator identifies those at risk for heart disease and predicts life expectancy before a stroke or heart attack occurs. According to LiveScience, in a new report researchers at Joint British Societies note the increase in evidence regarding the long road to heart disease, and that knowing the heart’s real age can dramatically affect lifestyle choices.

They pointed out that for most people, the calculator reveals the benefits from making healthy lifestyle changes early in life and maintaining such changes over time, with such changes recommended over prescription drug use.

AFP Relaxnews

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Eight tips for maintaining a healthy weight.

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

MAINTAINING a healthy weight does not require a magic formula. All you really need to do is practise healthy eating habits and exercise regularly.

This is important so that you do not become victims of overweight and obesity, as these can lead to non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes.

To maintain a healthy weight, you must first understand the principles of energy balance. It is essential for you to maintain the balance between the energy derived from the food you eat and the energy you use through physical activity.

If your daily energy intake regularly exceeds your energy expenditure, this will lead to weight gain, and gradually, this will lead to overweight or obesity problems. Therefore, your food choices and the amount you eat, as well as the level of physical activity you engage in, plays an important role in helping you prevent weight gain.

Energy (or calories) comes from the foods you eat every day. It is required to fuel your various bodily processes, such as maintaining heart and organ functions, as well as maintaining body temperature, muscle contraction and growth.

But how much energy intake should you have in a day?

The Malaysian Dietary Guidelines recommends a daily energy intake of 2,000-2,500 kcal for an adult male, and 1,500-2,000 kcal for an adult female.

However, many Malaysians today tend to frequently exceed their recommended daily energy intake. Coupled with urbanisation and modern lifestyles that promote physical inactivity, this has posed a threat to many Malaysians.

Recent findings from the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) in 2011 showed that one out of two Malaysian adults are either overweight or obese.

Nonetheless, maintaining a healthy weight is not that hard to do. In addition to regular physical activity, here are eight eating tips to help you start living a healthier life.

1. Keep your meal balanced

Many of us tend to make the mistake of loading our plates with too much rice, a lot of fish or meat, and little or no vegetables and fruits at all.

Your daily diet should comprise of food from the five food groups – cereals, grains, cereal products or tubers; fruits; vegetables; protein-rich foods (e.g. poultry, meat, eggs and legumes); and milk and milk products.

Therefore, you may want to have some cereals with milk for breakfast, a plate of rice with steamed fish, bayam soup and an apple for lunch, and a bowl of kuey teow soup with shredded chicken, kailan and guava for dinner.

by Assoc Prof Dr Zaitun Yassin and Dr Mahenderan Appukutty.

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TB is highest contracted communicable disease in Sabah.

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

KOTA KINABALU: A total of 4,515 cases of tuberculosis (TB) were recorded in Sabah in 2013, which on record is the highest contracted disease compared to other communicable diseases.

State Health Department director Dr Christina Rundi disclosed this yesterday  in her speech delivered by her deputy, Dr Richard Avoi, during the launch of Sabah Anti-Tuberculosis Association’s (SABATA) 60th Anniversary Seminar entitled “To Improve Detection, Treatment and Curing Tuberculosis.”

According to Dr Rundi, the number recorded for the disease is the highest compared to other communicable diseases such as malaria and dengue.

“TB is on the rise and is a serious problem in Sabah and it is still a challenge to keep the disease under wraps, especially with cases that are diagnosed too late,” she said.

She added that possible contributing factors to the delayed diagnosis of TB are due to the patients themselves, who are unaware of early symptoms, or the healthcare delivery system.

“It is also believed that there are still many more undetected cases of TB (in the state), as the search for TB cases is still low,” Dr Rundi said.

Another challenge, she said, is to deal with the refusal of treatment, especially from the immigrant community, which has contributed to the rise of drug-resistant TB cases. Therefore, she urged for cooperation between non-governmental organisations and the Health Department to help in controlling TB, especially through awareness programmes.