Taking Control of Your Health: Managing High Cholesterol in Singapore

Taking Control of Your Health: Managing High Cholesterol in Singapore

Living in Singapore, known for its bustling energy and vibrant culinary scene, it’s easy to let health concerns slip down the priority list. However, one silent yet significant factor can be lurking beneath the surface – high cholesterol. This waxy substance, while essential for our body’s functions, can turn into a silent threat when its levels climb too high.

Why Should You Care about Cholesterol?

Cholesterol itself, at health levels, isn’t bad. It plays an important role in building cell membranes, hormones and even vitamin D. However, the trouble arises when the “bad” type of cholesterol, like LDL (low-density lipoprotein), accumulates in your body. These substances will be deposited in your vessels, affecting the blood flow. This, in turn, increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Testing Your Cholesterol

Knowing your cholesterol levels is the first step to taking control. Regular cholesterol screenings with your healthcare provider, in adherence to the national screening guidelines, aids in early detection and intervention. Your doctor can interpret your results and advise on the best course of action.

Conquering Cholesterol: A Roadmap to a Healthier You

The good news is, that managing high cholesterol can start with small steps. Here are some practical tips you can incorporate into your Singaporean lifestyle:

  1. Embrace a Heart-Healthy Diet:
    • Say no or cut down on saturated and trans fats: Fatty meats, fried foods and processed snacks are loaded with these. Lean and healthier protein sources like fish and chicken breast can be chosen instead.
    • Fill your plate with fibre: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are great alternatives.
  1. Move Your Body, Regularly with Healthier SG:
    • Physical activity is important in achieving healthy cholesterol levels. Engage in physical activity that is suitable for your age group, fitness levels and medical issues. Speak to your healthcare provider to find out more about what is suitable for you.
  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight:
    • Excess weight and obesity may result in high cholesterol levels. Losing weight can help one improve their cholesterol levels and overall health. To find personalised weight management strategies that work for you, consider speaking with your doctor or a registered dietitian who can provide professional guidance and support.
  1. Partner with Your Doctor:
    • It’s important to have regular checkups so you can keep tabs on your cholesterol levels. That way, you can stay on top of your treatment plan and make any necessary adjustments. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about them. They’re there to help you and will be delighted to answer any questions.

Remember, managing high cholesterol is a marathon, not a sprint. By making small, sustainable changes to your lifestyle and partnering with your healthcare team, you can take control of your cholesterol and pave the way for a healthier, happier you.

Commit to your heart health today! Schedule a cholesterol screening with your doctor, visit the MHC clinic for personalised guidance and support, and join the growing community of Singaporeans living heart-healthy lives. Together, we can raise awareness and conquer high cholesterol, one step at a time!

Let MHC be your Healthier SG navigator. Enjoy personalised health plans, expert advice, and a dedicated care team by your side, all within the convenient Healthier SG framework.

Facts about Diabetes Mellitus: Key Information for Health-Conscious Individuals

Facts about Diabetes Mellitus: Key Information for Health-Conscious Individuals

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic condition that affects how your body utilises blood sugar (glucose) for energy. It’s a prevalent health issue in Singapore. Uncontrolled, it can lead to a cascade of complications that significantly impact your health and well-being.

While there are multiple types, the common ones in Singapore are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Understanding the Different Types of DM

While there are multiple types, the common ones in Singapore are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

  • Type 1 DM: The body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells, resulting in insufficient insulin production.
  • Type 2 DM: The body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to its effects, leading to high blood sugar levels.
  • Gestational DM: Develops during pregnancy.

Recognising the Risk Factors

Several factors can increase your risk of developing diabetes, including:

  • Genetics: Family history
  • Ethnicity: Certain ethnicities, like Asians and Indians, are at higher risk.
  • Unhealthy diet: Consuming sugary drinks, processed foods and excessive carbohydrates can contribute to diabetes.
  • Physical inactivity: Lack of regular exercise can elevate your risk.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Being Aware of the Symptoms

Some symptoms of DM and/or its complications include:

  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Feeling more hungry
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing wounds

Complications

Uncontrolled diabetes can cause disturbances in other various body systems:

  • Heart disease and stroke: DM increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues.
  • Kidney disease: DM can harm your kidneys, leading to chronic kidney disease and even kidney failure.
  • Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy): Damage to the nerves which causes problems like numbness and tingling.
  • Vision problems: Diabetes can damage delicate structures in your eye, like the retina, thereby causing visual problems.
  • Foot problems: Diabetic neuropathy and poor circulation can increase the risk of foot infections, ulcers and even amputations.

Taking Control of Your Health

Early diagnosis and proper management are crucial to preventing DM complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and nerve damage. Here are some key aspects of diabetes management: 

  • Health screening
  • Regular blood sugar monitoring: Regularly checking your blood sugar levels helps you track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your diet or medication.
  • Healthy eating
  • Regular physical activity
  • Medication adherence: If prescribed medication, take it as directed by your doctor to manage your blood sugar levels effectively.
  • Weight management

By understanding diabetes, its types, risks and management strategies, health-conscious individuals in Singapore can take control of their health and well-being. Remember, early diagnosis, proper management and a healthy lifestyle are key to living a fulfilling life with diabetes.

Take the first step towards a healthier, happier, and more productive future for your company. Contact MHC Asia today! Please chat with us through WhatsApp for more information.

Resources:

Maintaining Bowel Health: Tips for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Maintaining Bowel Health: Tips for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Eating isn’t just a delightful experience that tantalizes our taste buds; it’s a cornerstone of well-being, providing essential nutrients that fuel our bodies and invigorate our vital organs. The profound connection between what we consume and how our bodies thrive makes nurturing a healthy digestive system a top priority, accomplished through mindful food choices and sensible eating practices.

Simple Strategies for Wellness

A few fundamental principles can make a difference when embracing a lifestyle that supports optimal digestive health. Here’s how you can take charge of your digestive well-being:

  1.  Embrace the Fibre Revolution: Fuel your body with the goodness of high-fibre foods – a cornerstone of digestive health. Incorporating various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your diet ensures a seamless digestion process. Fibre not only prevents constipation but also bolsters a healthy weight. Furthermore, it protects against diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and haemorrhoids.
  2. The Fibre Symphony (Soluble and Insoluble): Dive into the world of fibre’s dual prowess – soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre in vegetables and whole grains adds bulk to your stools, facilitating smooth movement through your digestive tract. On the other hand, soluble fibre, found in foods like oat bran, nuts, and legumes, attracts water and prevents overly liquid stools.
  3. Balance Fat Intake: While fat plays a role in your diet, opt for moderation and balance. High-fat foods can slow down digestion, potentially leading to discomfort. Pairing fats with high-fibre counterparts can aid in smoother digestion. Lean meat, such as skinless poultry and pork loin, provides essential protein without overburdening your digestive system.
  4. Cultivate a Probiotic Haven: Unlock the potential of probiotics, the tiny warriors that mirror the healthy bacteria residing in your gut. Probiotics are guardians of your overall well-being in a world of dietary challenges, antibiotics, and stressors. These microorganisms can enhance nutrient absorption, tackle lactose breakdown, shield against IBS, and fortify immune defences. Nourish your gut with probiotic-rich foods like low-fat yoghurt and kefir, integrated seamlessly into your daily routine.
  5. Harmonise with Regular Eating Patterns: Sync your meals with the rhythm of your body. Your digestive system operates optimally by following a consistent eating schedule, avoiding unnecessary strain. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks regularly create a harmonious environment, reducing the likelihood of bloating and indigestion. Aim for meals every 3 to 4 hours to facilitate effective digestion.
  6. Hydration: Hydration isn’t solely about quenching your thirst; it’s a key player in digestive well-being. Adequate water intake facilitates fibre movement through your colon, culminating in softer stools that pass quickly. Sip water throughout the day to maintain a well-hydrated digestive system.

Physical Activity

Physical activity emerges as a stalwart ally when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that those who embrace an active lifestyle are more likely to keep their weight stable, whereas a sedentary existence often paves the way for incremental weight gain. However, the amount of activity required to prevent weight gain remains a subject of ongoing debate. Recent research suggests that the recommended two-and-a-half hours of weekly training must be revised.

Intriguingly, the Women’s Health Study followed 34,000 middle-aged women over 13 years to discern the optimal activity level for weight maintenance. The findings underscored that women in the normal weight range required an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily to retain their weight within a 2-3kg range.

Vigorous Activity vs. Walking

Unveiling the nuances of activity intensity, the research emphasizes the effectiveness of vigorous activities over leisurely walks in weight control. The Nurses’ Health Study II, tracking over 18,000 women for 16 years, revealed that incorporating 30 minutes of additional daily physical activity led to less weight gain. Vigorous pursuits like bicycling and brisk walking emerged as practical strategies, while slow walking failed to yield comparable results.

Activity and Weight Loss

While exercise undoubtedly contributes to weight loss, it synergizes most effectively with a reduced-calorie diet. Studies indicate that in the absence of calorie moderation, extended periods of exercise or high-intensity workouts become essential for weight loss success. Research on overweight, inactive adults showcased that high-intensity exercise resulted in abdominal fat loss, whereas low- and medium-intensity routines elicited no significant change.

A parallel trial on post-menopausal women engaging in moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity for 45 minutes five days a week unveiled notable reductions in body weight, body fat, and abdominal fat over a year.

How Activity Fights Obesity?

The mechanisms by which physical activity counters obesity are multifaceted:

  1. Enhanced Energy Expenditure: Physical activity increases overall energy expenditure, enabling weight maintenance or loss, as long as calorie intake isn’t escalated to counteract the extra burned calories.
  2. Fat Reduction: Activity targets total body and waistline fat, retarding the onset of abdominal obesity.
  3. Muscle Power: Muscle-strengthening endeavours, from weight lifting to push-ups, augment muscle mass, elevating resting energy expenditure and supporting weight management.
  4. Mood Uplift: Physical activity alleviates depression and anxiety, fostering commitment to exercise regimens over time.

The Optimal Daily Activity Quota

Aspiring to do at least an hour of activity daily for effective weight control proves pivotal. While 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days can lower the risk of chronic disease, a more active lifestyle is essential to counterbalance sedentary habits and societal influences that fuel overeating.

Recognise that fostering an active lifestyle is not solely an individual endeavour as our environment significantly influences our activity levels. Factors such as accessible parks, sidewalks, and bike paths play a role.

Common Digestive Disorders

From time to time, many of us encounter stomach issues that range from minor discomfort to more severe disturbances. These concerns stem from our eating habits, stress, or digestive disorders. Symptoms like cramps, vomiting, and changes in stool consistency can signal something amiss in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This complex system involves various organs working together to nourish our bodies and eliminate waste.

Digestive disorders manifest when the intricate balance of the digestive system falters. Experts categorize these disorders into two main types: organic and functional GI disorders. 

Organic GI Disorders: These disorders arise from structural abnormalities in the digestive system that impede proper function.

Functional GI Disorders: Despite appearing structurally normal, the GI tract doesn’t perform as it should in these disorders.

Common Digestive Disorders and Their Symptoms

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): A prevailing symptom of IBS is abdominal pain, which can occur before or after bowel movements. Diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both are also characteristics. Other signs include bloating, white mucus in stools, and a feeling of incomplete bowel movements. Traumatic life events, mental health conditions, infections, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can also contribute to IBS.
  2. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): SIBO arises when bacteria from the large intestine invade the small intestine. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation. Treatment often involves antibiotics and medications to address digestion and underlying causes.

When Should You Consult a Doctor?

For those experiencing the disorders above, knowing when to contact a doctor is vital.

  1. IBS: Seek medical advice if severe abdominal pain, cramps, or other IBS symptoms disrupt daily life or worsen suddenly.
  2. SIBO: If you’re facing SIBO symptoms for the first time, immediately contact a doctor. Consultation is crucial if you have a prior diagnosis and your symptoms worsen, or treatment proves ineffective.

Navigating Digestive Wellness

Understanding digestive disorders empowers you to identify symptoms, seek proper treatment, and enhance your overall well-being. Whether you’re dealing with the everyday challenges of IBS or facing rarer conditions, such as Hirschsprung’s disease or achalasia, timely medical intervention can make a difference. Remember, your digestive health is a fundamental aspect of your overall health, and seeking professional guidance ensures you can face any challenges that arise on this journey to well-being.

At MHC, we recognize the power of early diagnosis, enabling timely intervention and improving disease management outcomes. From the initial consultation to follow-ups, our program will continue to help patients control and manage weight, a great way to avoid colorectal cancer.

You may book an appointment in Amara Clinic or contact our Corporate HQ for questions and enquiries about personal and corporate healthcare programmes, including Executive Health Screenings, GP services, or weight management programmes. Staying healthy and active helps promote a healthy colon. Please chat with us through Whatsapp for more information.

References:

Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Strategies in Singapore

Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Strategies in Singapore

Colorectal cancer is a formidable adversary, but with early detection and proactive measures, it’s a battle that you can win. This comprehensive guide aims to empower Singaporeans with knowledge about colorectal cancer, the importance of screening and the actionable steps they can take to safeguard their colorectal health.

Understanding Screening: A Vital Step in Colorectal Cancer Prevention

Screening involves looking for cancer before any symptoms appear. Detecting cancer early dramatically improve treatment success rates. Doctor would usually recommend screenings based on age, family history, and lifestyle. Remember that a screening test doesn’t imply a cancer diagnosis; it’s a preventative measure.

Colorectal Cancer: The Basics

Colorectal cancer originates in the colon or rectum’s tissues, part of the digestive system. The digestive system breaks down nutrients and eliminates waste from the body. Colorectal cancer ranks the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. While various factors influence the risk of developing colorectal cancer, early detection and prevention are critical.

Why Early Detection Matters

Early detection offers a significant advantage when it comes to colorectal cancer. It’s essential to emphasise that the earlier cancer is found, the more treatable it is. This is why regular screenings are recommended, even if you feel healthy.

Types of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests

There are various screening tests available to detect colorectal cancer. These include:

  1. Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT): This test checks the stool for traces of blood not visible to the naked eye.

         Two types are used:

    • Guaiac FOBT – which detects colour changes on a particular card.
    • Immunochemical FOBT (FIT) – which uses antibodies to detect blood. If blood is found, further testing is recommended.
  1. Sigmoidoscopy: A procedure involving a thin, flexible tube inserted into the rectum and lower colon to examine for polyps and cancer. It’s a vital tool for early detection.
  2. Colonoscopy: Similar to sigmoidoscopy, but covers the entire colon. It’s performed using a longer tube and offers the advantage of removing polyps and taking tissue samples for examination.
  3. Virtual Colonoscopy: This involves creating detailed images of the colon using X-rays. While it’s less invasive, any abnormalities require further testing.
  4. DNA Stool Test: This test analyses stool DNA for genetic changes that could indicate colorectal cancer.

Understanding the Risks of Screening

While screenings are crucial, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks:

  • False-Negative Test Results: Sometimes, even with cancer, the test might show normal results, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment.
  • False-Positive Test Results: The test might suggest cancer when none exists, causing undue anxiety and necessitating further testing.
  • Complications from Screening Tests: Procedures like colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy carry minimal risk, including tearing of the colon lining and bleeding.

The Power of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer screenings save lives. Detecting polyps and cancer at an early stage can prevent the progression of the disease and increase the chances of successful treatment.

When to Get Screened

According to local guidelines, commencing at age 50, screening is recommended for individuals without risk factors. Screening should be initiated for those with heightened risk before turning 50, depending on the specific risk factor(s) at play.

Choosing the Right Screening Test

Different screening tests have pros and cons; your personal preferences, medical history, and risk factors should influence your choice. Options include stool tests (FOBT, FIT, and FIT-DNA), sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy and virtual colonoscopy.

In the ongoing battle against colorectal cancer, new research has unveiled compelling evidence highlighting the impact of diet and lifestyle choices on cancer risk. A recent report, a breakthrough in the field, has provided insights into the role of wholegrains in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. This article delves into these findings and sheds light on other factors influencing your risk of developing this disease.

The Wholegrain Advantage

Research has unearthed a critical link between wholegrain consumption and colorectal cancer risk reduction for the first time. The report revealed that consuming 3 servings, totalling 90g, of wholegrains daily, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread, can lead to a 17% reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer. But how do wholegrains achieve this?

One mechanism is accelerating the transit time of potential carcinogens through the bowel, reducing the duration they come into contact with the cells lining the bowel. This underscores the preventive potential of wholegrains and highlights the importance of dietary choices in shaping cancer risk.

Unveiling Risk Factors

The report doesn’t just stop at the positive aspects of prevention. It also reinforces certain well-known risk factors that increase the likelihood of colorectal cancer:

  • Processed Meat Consumption: Indulging in processed meats like bacon or salami heightens the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Excessive Red Meat Intake: Consuming more than 500g of cooked red meat per week, such as beef or pork, increases risk.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Consuming two or more alcoholic drinks daily, equivalent to two glasses of wine or two-spirit measures, elevates the risk.
  • Weight Management: Being overweight or obese correlates with colorectal cancer risk.

On the flip side, the report further substantiated the positive effects of physical activity. Regular physical activity, like cycling to work or using the stairs, has been found to decrease the risk of colon cancer. This serves as a reminder of the multifaceted impact of our lifestyle choices on our overall health.

Taking Practical Steps Towards Prevention for Singaporeans

  1. Embrace Positive Dietary Changes: Reduce red and processed meat consumption research indicates that consuming red and processed meat can elevate your chances of developing bowel cancer.

These categories encompass beef, lamb, pork, goat, sausages, bacon, cured meats and reformed meat products. If your daily intake exceeds 90g of red or processed meat, aim to cut it down to no more than 70g. To put this into perspective, one back bacon rasher equals around 25g; a single sausage is about 60g, a medium pork chop weighs approximately 120g and a medium steak clocks in at about 115g.

  1. Increase Dietary Fibre: Intake fibre plays a vital role in a healthy diet by supporting digestion, preventing constipation and reducing the risk of bowel cancer. Add wholegrain cereals, wholewheat pasta, oats, beans, chickpeas and lentils to boost your fibre intake.
  2. For adults, daily consumption of at least 30g is recommended. For example, two slices of wholemeal toasted bread provide 5.6g of fibre, while a baked jacket potato with the skin on delivers 4.7g.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Aim to consume 6-8 glasses of fluids each day. Water, low-fat milk, sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee count toward hydration. While fruit juices and smoothies also contribute to fluid intake, limit their consumption to a combined total of 150ml per day, considering their sugar content. Swap out sugary soft drinks for diet, sugar-free or no added sugar alternatives to effortlessly reduce sugar intake.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight: Carrying excess weight, especially around the waist, increases your susceptibility to bowel cancer. It is estimated that 11 out of 100 bowel cancer cases are linked to unhealthy body weight in the UK. Checking your Body Mass Index (BMI) provides a simple gauge of your weight’s appropriateness for your height.
  5. Embrace Physical Activity: Engaging in regular physical activity diminishes your risk of developing bowel cancer. An active lifestyle aids in maintaining a healthy weight and promoting overall well-being.

Adults over 19 should strive for daily activity, with at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise spread across a week. This can translate to 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week, which can be extended to 60 minutes as fitness improves. If you’re new to physical activity, begin with 10 minutes and gradually increase. The guidelines also advise including strength training twice a week. Apart from being physically active, especially for those over 65, minimising prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour is essential.

  1. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol consumption is linked to various cancers, including bowel cancer. Roughly 6 out of 100 bowel cancer cases in the UK are associated with alcohol intake. To cut down on alcohol, incorporating several drink-free days into your week is a practical approach.
  2. Quit Smoking:  Around 7% of bowel cancer cases in the UK are attributed to smoking. The risk escalates with the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Smokers are more likely to develop non-cancerous growths (polyps) in the bowel, which could turn cancerous if left untreated.

Empowering Yourself for a Healthier Future

Colorectal cancer’s prevalence is a concern, but we possess strong evidence that underscores the power of lifestyle changes. By embracing a diet rich in whole grains, moderating red and processed meat consumption, limiting alcohol intake and staying active, you take proactive steps towards fortifying your body’s defences against colorectal cancer.

It’s not about drastic shifts but gradual, sustainable changes that accumulate over time. With this knowledge, you can make choices supporting your colorectal health, creating a foundation for a brighter, cancer-free future.

At MHC, we recognize the power of early diagnosis, enabling timely intervention and improving disease management outcomes. From the initial consultation to follow-ups, our program will continue to help patients control and manage weight, which is a great way to avoid colorectal cancer.

You may book an appointment in Amara Clinic or contact our Corporate HQ for questions and enquiries about personal and corporate healthcare programmes, including Executive Health Screenings, GP Services, or Weight management programmes. Staying healthy and active helps promote a healthy colon.

Resources:

  • https://www.wcrf.org/positive-steps-to-decrease-colorectal-cancer-risk/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35283438/
  • https://www.aicr.org/resources/blog/new-colorectal-cancer-report-your-faqs-answered/
  • https://ukhsa.blog.gov.uk/2019/04/01/seven-ways-to-reduce-your-risk-of-bowel-cancer/

Understanding Hypotension: Tips for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Understanding Hypotension: Tips for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a condition that occurs when the blood pressure drops below the normal range. While some individuals with low blood pressure may not experience noticeable symptoms, others may suffer from dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, hypotension can even be life-threatening. Health-conscious Singaporeans must know the causes, symptoms, potential risks of low blood pressure and when to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and personalised advice.

What is Hypotension?

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a condition that occurs when the blood pressure drops below the ‘normal’ range – or rather, below the normal expected for an individual in a given environment. Whilst systolic blood pressure (SBP) less than 90mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) less than 60 is the commonly recognised cut-off, there is no single universally accepted numerical cut-off. In individuals with marginally lower pressures than the commonly recognised range but have no evident worrying symptoms or pathological conditions identified – it may just be the norm for them. However, if the BP is significantly reduced and blood flow to the vital organs are compromised, symptoms such as dizziness/fainting may manifest. In such situations, this need to be addressed promptly as it can results in serious consequences, even fatality.

Causes and Symptoms:

Low blood pressure can be triggered by various factors. Determining the root cause is essential for proper management. Common causes include:

  1. Dehydration/Blood loss – this leads to volume loss resulting drop in pressure.
  2. Pregnancy: Blood vessels expand as a natural process, leading to pressure drop. This is more typical in the 1-2nd
  3. Certain medications – Certain medications such as those for managing hypertension naturally leads to drop in pressure.
  4. Medical conditions such as Heart/valve disease, Parkinson’s disease, Endocrinopathies.
  5. Severe infections – Situations like this can affect the body to lose its ability to regulate the mechanisms to maintain proper blood pressure. The process is usually complex and may be associated with multi-organ failure.
  6. Severe allergic reactions – this is a extreme situation where the chemicals/mediators released in response to an allergen lead to a chain of effects resulting in cardiovascular collapse.

Symptoms of hypotension:

  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness,
  • Fainting when moving from a lying or sitting position to standing.
  • Confusion
  • In severe cases, a sudden and persistent drop in blood pressure can lead to a life-threatening condition known as “shock,” which requires immediate medical attention to prevent organ damage and potential fatality.

Types of Hypotension:

Different types of low blood pressure are observed in individuals, each with its specific triggers and demographics affected. Broad categories include:

  1. Orthostatic Hypotension (Postural Hypotension):

This type of hypotension occurs when there is a sudden decline in blood pressure upon standing from a sitting or lying position. It is common in older adults and can be caused by dehydration, long-term bed rest, pregnancy, certain medical conditions, and specific medications.

  1. Postprandial Hypotension:

Postprandial hypotension is characterized by a drop in blood pressure 1 to 2 hours after eating. It primarily affects elders, especially those with high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system diseases like Parkinson’s. Lifestyle modifications such as eating small, low-carbohydrate meals, staying hydrated, and avoiding alcohol can help manage this condition.

  1. Neurally Mediated Hypotension (Vasovagal syncope):

Young adults and children are more susceptible to neurally mediated hypotension triggered by standing for extended periods. It results from miscommunication between the heart and the brain.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypotension:

Diagnosing low blood pressure (hypotension) involves a thorough physical examination and medical history assessment by a healthcare provider. Measuring blood pressure is a fundamental part of this process.

Additionally, specific tests may be conducted to identify the underlying cause of low blood pressure:

  1. Blood Tests: These tests help diagnose conditions that can lead to low blood pressure, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar or diabetes), or anaemia (low red blood cell count).
  2. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This quick and painless test assesses the heart’s electrical activity. It can help diagnose current or previous heart attacks.
  3. Tilt Table Test: The test evaluates how the body reacts to positional changes. During the test, the patient lies on a table that tilts, simulating the transition from a horizontal to a standing position. Heart rate and blood pressure are closely monitored during the procedure.

Treatment of low blood pressure depends on its underlying cause. If low blood pressure is causing symptoms, addressing the root issue becomes essential. For instance, if certain medications contribute to low blood pressure, the healthcare provider might recommend adjusting the dosage or switching to alternative medicine. It’s crucial to consult the healthcare provider before modifying or discontinuing any medication.

In cases where the cause of clinically significant low blood pressure is unclear, or no specific treatment exists, the primary goal is to raise blood pressure and alleviate symptoms.

Here are some approaches to achieve this:

  • Increase Salt Intake: For individuals with low blood pressure, consuming slightly higher amounts of salt can be beneficial. However, seeking advice from a healthcare provider is essential, as excessive sodium intake can lead to heart failure, especially in older adults.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking fluids, especially water, can help increase blood volume and prevent dehydration, essential in managing hypotension.
  • Wear Compression Stockings: These elastic stockings, also known as support stockings, aid in improving blood flow from the legs to the heart. They can be particularly helpful in alleviating pain and swelling associated with varicose veins.
  • Medications: Specific medications may be prescribed in cases of orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing). For example, fludrocortisone can boost blood volume, and midodrine may reduce the ability of blood vessels to expand, thereby raising blood pressure.

Preventive Measures for Health-Conscious Singaporeans:

For individuals aiming to maintain optimal health and manage hypotension effectively, the following tips can prove beneficial:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drinking adequate water throughout the day helps prevent dehydration, a common cause of low blood pressure.
  2. Limit Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause a drop in blood pressure, so moderate drinking is advisable.
  3. Gradual Postural Changes: When transitioning from lying to sitting or standing, do so slowly to allow the body time to adjust to the changes in blood pressure.
  4. Regular Exercise: Physical activity improves cardiovascular health and can help regulate blood pressure levels.
  5. Balanced Diet: Opt for a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, while restricting salt and processed foods to maintain healthy blood pressure.

What you can do?

Understanding hypotension is vital for health-conscious individuals in Singapore. While low blood pressure may not always present noticeable symptoms, its potential risks should not be underestimated. By staying hydrated, adopting a balanced diet, and making lifestyle adjustments, it’s possible to manage and prevent the adverse effects of low blood pressure.

If you experience persistent symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and personalized advice. Taking proactive steps towards maintaining healthy blood pressure levels will contribute to overall well-being and a better quality of life.

Take charge of your employees’ or your health with MHC’s comprehensive Health Screening packages. Early screening and detection can prevent serious conditions from developing later in life. Our customizable test packages include essential measurements like height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes screening.

Whether you need standard packages or tailored solutions for your company’s requirements, MHC has you covered. Our facilities are conveniently located across Singapore, ensuring your employees receive the best care possible.

Invest in your health today! Contact us to discuss your corporate health screening needs. Together, let’s prioritize a healthier and happier workforce.

Managing Hypertension: A Guide for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Managing Hypertension: A Guide for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. In Singapore, hypertension is estimated to be around 37% in 2022 as per the National Population Health Survey. Unmanaged hypertension may lead to a variety of complications/diseases such as heart disease, stroke and renal impairment. Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is therefore vital for overall well-being.

Causes and Risk Factors of Hypertension:

The actual cause of hypertension is unknown. However, there may be several factors that may increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • Age: Your risk of hypertension increases as you get older.
  • Family history: If you have a family history of hypertension, you are more likely to develop the condition yourself.
  • Race: Hypertension is more common in certain races, such as African Americans and Asians.
  • Obesity: Being overweight may also be a major risk factor for hypertension.
  • Physical inactivity: Physically inactive individuals are more likely to develop hypertension.
  • Smoking: Smoking can increase your risk of hypertension.
  • Too much alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
  • Certain medical conditions: Several medical conditions, such as kidney disease and diabetes, may increase the risk of hypertension.

Potential Complications of Hypertension

If hypertension is not managed correctly, it can lead to several serious health problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision problems
  • Dementia

Understanding Hypertension

Hypertension is a silent killer, often showing no apparent symptoms until too late. This condition occurs when the blood is pumped around the body at higher pressure, causing potential damage to blood vessels and increasing the risk of kidney failure, coronary heart disease, and stroke until it is too late. But the good news is that you can take control of your hypertension through lifestyle changes, including a heart-healthy diet.

The Power of a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is the foundation of managing hypertension effectively. Making the right food choices can prevent hypertension and keep your blood pressure in check. Let’s delve into some essential dietary guidelines:

1. Moderate Your Sodium Intake: Sodium, a mineral crucial for normal bodily functions, can increase blood pressure when consumed excessively, particularly in sodium-sensitive individuals. To reduce sodium intake, follow these practical tips:

  • When Cooking at Home: Minimise salt, sauces, stock cubes, and seasoning powders. Instead, enhance flavours by using natural herbs and spices like onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, parsley, spring onions, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Eating Out: Request your food to be prepared with less salt and sauces, and avoid drinking soup stocks and sauces, as they often contain high sodium levels.
  • Shopping Smart: Choose fresh food whenever possible and read Nutrition Information Panel on food labels to select products with lower sodium content. Look for the Healthier Choice Symbol on products as they contain less sodium.

2. Increase Intake of Fibre-Rich Foods: Foods rich in fibre, magnesium, and potassium have been shown to lower blood pressure. To incorporate more of these heart-healthy nutrients into your diet:

  • Opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables: Replace refined grains with wholemeal or multigrain options, and choose fruits and vegetables over salty snacks.

3. Limit Fat Intake: Excessive dietary fat can cause weight gain and increase the chances of getting hypertension. Make healthier fat choices with these tips:

  • Healthy Cooking Methods: Use less oil when cooking, and choose steaming, boiling, and grilling over deep-frying.
  • Lean Protein: Select lean meat or poultry without skin, and limit consumption of deep-fried foods.
  • Fat-Free Options: Choose fat-free or lower-fat dairy products like milk and yoghurt, and check food labels for healthier fat options.

4. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Frequent alcohol consumption can elevate blood pressure and adversely affect heart health. If you decide to drink, moderate your intake to no more than one standard daily drink.

5. Lose weight, if Needed: Losing weight, even modestly, can significantly reduce blood pressure. Regular exercise and eating a well-balanced diet may help you maintain a healthy weight and manage hypertension better.

Taking control of hypertension through dietary adjustments is a proactive step towards improving your heart health. Following these dietary guidelines can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and even complement medical treatments if you’re already diagnosed with hypertension.

Remember:  Small changes in your diet can significantly improve your overall well-being. Embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle and reap the benefits of a healthier heart and body.

Medication and Monitoring

Sometimes, lifestyle modifications may not be enough to control your hypertension. If so, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure. It is important to take your medication as prescribed and to monitor your blood pressure regularly.

Hypertension is a serious condition, but you can manage it effectively. By making lifestyle modifications and taking medication as prescribed, you can lower your blood pressure and risk of developing severe health problems.

Are you looking for an affordable, reliable health screening facility in Singapore? Your health is your most valuable asset, and early detection of diseases is vital to maintaining a vibrant and fulfilling life. We understand the importance of preventive care at MHC, so we offer a range of meticulously designed Health Screening packages. These packages are tailored to suit your individual needs and provide essential insights into your health, enabling timely intervention to prevent the development of serious conditions in the future.

Why Choose Health Screening at MHC?

  1. Early Detection for Better Prevention: Regular health screenings are proactive measures that empower you to take charge of your well-being. By identifying potential health issues early, you have a higher chance of preventing hypertension from progressing into more severe conditions. Our Health Screening packages are designed to pinpoint the slightest signs of health risks, enabling you to address them promptly and effectively.
  2. Tailored to Your Needs: We recognise that each person’s health profile is unique. Our Executive Health Screening packages are thoughtfully curated to address diverse health concerns and risk factors. Whether you’re an individual seeking basic screenings or a company looking for corporate health packages, we have packages that suit your requirements.
  3. Location: At MHC, we prioritise the well-being of your employees and strive to provide exceptional care at all our convenient facility locations in Singapore.

Contact us today through our Whatsapp or our Corporate HQ for any questions or enquiries on how you can manage or prevent hypertension.

Preventing Hepatitis: A Comprehensive Guide for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Preventing Hepatitis: A Comprehensive Guide for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Hepatitis is a condition characterised by liver inflammation and can be caused by various factors, including viral infections, bacteria, and toxins. Acute Hepatitis is primarily driven by Hepatitis A, B, C, and E viruses, although other non-liver-specific viruses can also trigger it. As for chronic Hepatitis, the most common culprits are the Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses. According to SingHealth, Hepatitis B is the leading cause of chronic viral Hepatitis in Singapore.

Hepatitis Symptoms

Hepatitis A symptoms usually develop within 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. They can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dark urine
  • Light-coloured stools
  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

Hepatitis B symptoms can develop anywhere from a few weeks to several months after exposure to the virus. They can be similar to the symptoms of hepatitis A, but they can also be more severe. Some people with hepatitis B may not have any symptoms at all.

Hepatitis C symptoms can develop for weeks, months, or even years. Many people with hepatitis C never develop any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they can be similar to the symptoms of hepatitis A or B.

Hepatitis D symptoms are the same as the symptoms of hepatitis B. However, hepatitis D can only occur in people infected with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E symptoms are fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, and jaundice.

Hepatitis Transmission

Hepatitis A is spread through the faecal-oral route which can be transmitted through stool contact with an infected person. This often happens from contaminated food or water or close personal contact, such as sexual contact or sharing needles.

Hepatitis B is spread by getting contact with infected blood or body fluids. This can happen through sharing needles, through sexual contact, from mother to child during childbirth, or through medical procedures involving using contaminated needles or equipment.

Hepatitis C is often spread through contact with infected blood. However, it is less easily transmitted than hepatitis B. At times, it is spread through sexual contact but is less common.

Hepatitis D can only occur in people already infected with hepatitis B. It is spread through the same routes as hepatitis B, including sharing needles, sexual contact, and from mother to child during childbirth.

Preventing Hepatitis

Hepatitis A Prevention

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A.
  • Practice good hygiene, including regular handwashing with soap and water.
  • Avoid consuming contaminated food or water.
  • Practice safe and protected sex and avoid sharing personal items like toothbrushes and razors.

Hepatitis B Prevention

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
  • Use barrier methods (condoms) during sexual activity.
  • Avoid sharing needles or personal items that may come into contact with blood or body fluids.
  • If pregnant, ensure prenatal screening and take appropriate measures to prevent transmission to the baby.

Hepatitis C Prevention

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, so focus on prevention measures for hepatitis B and safe sex practices to reduce transmission risks.

Hepatitis D Prevention

As hepatitis D can only occur in individuals already infected with hepatitis B, preventing hepatitis B transmission is the primary preventive measure.

Hepatitis E Prevention

Avoid consuming contaminated water and practice good hygiene when handling food.

Diagnosing Hepatitis

Some diagnostic tests can detect Hepatitis. The type of test used will depend on the type of Hepatitis that is suspected:

Hepatitis A

The most common test for hepatitis A is an antibody test. This test measures the antibodies to the Hepatitis A virus in your blood. Antibodies are proteins your body produces as a response to an infection. If you have antibodies to hepatitis A, you have been infected with the virus at some point.

Hepatitis B

Many different tests can be used to diagnose hepatitis B. These tests include:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg): This test measures the levels of HBsAg in the blood. HBsAg is a protein that is produced by the hepatitis B virus. If you have HBsAg in your blood, you are currently infected with the virus.
  • Hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb): This test measures the levels of HBcAb in the blood. HBcAb is an antibody that the body produces in response to the hepatitis B core protein. If you have HBcAb in your blood, you have been infected with the virus at some point.
  • Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg): This test measures the levels of HBeAg in the blood. HBeAg is a protein that is produced by the hepatitis B virus. If you have HBeAg in your blood, it means that you are currently infected with the virus and that the virus is actively replicating.
  • Hepatitis B DNA: This test measures the levels of hepatitis B DNA in the blood. Hepatitis B DNA is the genetic material of the hepatitis B virus. If you have hepatitis B DNA in your blood, you are currently infected with the virus.

Hepatitis C

The most common test for hepatitis C is an antibody test. This test measures the antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. Antibodies are proteins your body produces as a response to an infection. If you have antibodies to hepatitis C, you have been infected with the virus at some point.

Hepatitis D

The only way to diagnose hepatitis D is to test for both hepatitis B and hepatitis D. If you have hepatitis B, you can be tested for hepatitis D by measuring the levels of hepatitis D antigen (HDAg) in the blood. HDAg is a protein that is produced by the hepatitis D virus. If you have HDAg in your blood, it means that you are currently infected with both hepatitis B and hepatitis D.

Hepatitis E

The most common test for hepatitis E is an antibody test. This test measures the antibodies to the hepatitis E virus in the blood. Antibodies are proteins your body produces as a response to an infection. If you have antibodies to hepatitis E, you have been infected with the virus at some point.

Medical Tests for Hepatitis

Liver Function Tests

  • These tests measure liver enzymes and proteins in the blood to assess liver health and function.

Hepatitis Serology Tests

  • Serology tests detect antibodies specific to each hepatitis virus and help diagnose the type of hepatitis infection.

Liver Biopsy

  • A liver biopsy involves removing a small tissue sample from the liver for examination under a microscope to assess liver damage and inflammation.

Vaccinations for Hepatitis

Hepatitis A vaccine

Hepatitis A is a two-dose vaccine- the first dose is given as an injection, and the second dose is given 6-12 months later. The vaccine is about 95% effective in preventing hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B vaccine

The hepatitis B vaccine is a three-dose vaccine. The first dose is given as an injection, and the second and third doses are delivered 1-2 months and six months later. The vaccine is about 95% effective in preventing hepatitis B.

It is recommended to get vaccinated for all children at the following ages:

  • 12 months of age
  • 18 months of age
  • 4-6 years of age

The hepatitis A and B vaccines are also recommendable for adults who are at increased risk of infection, such as:

  • People who travel to countries where hepatitis A or B is common
  • People who work in healthcare or other settings where they may be exposed to blood or body fluids
  • People who have sex with multiple partners
  • People who use illegal drugs

If you are concerned about your risk of hepatitis A or B, talk to your doctor. They can recommend the appropriate vaccines for you.

Hepatitis C, D, and E

There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C, D, or E. However, there are treatments available for hepatitis C. If you are concerned about your risk of hepatitis C, our General Practitioners are available for consult. We can recommend appropriate testing and treatment options for you.

Where to Get Tested for Hepatitis in Singapore

MHC offers vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B in our clinics. You may book an appointment at Amara Medical Centre or Novena clinic. Alternatively, you may also contact our clinics for the latest update on the available vaccinations. Hepatitis is preventable through vaccination, safe practices, and good hygiene. Early detection through medical testing is crucial for effective treatment and preventing severe complications. Singaporeans should take proactive measures to safeguard their health by vaccinating, practising safe behaviours, and seeking medical attention promptly. By doing so, they can significantly reduce the risk of Hepatitis and maintain a healthy and fulfilling life.

For Corporate Healthcare programme enquiries, please contact our Corporate HQ for questions and enquiries about corporate healthcare programs, including Vaccinations, Executive Health Screenings, GP Services, or Weight management programmes

Combating Fatty Liver: Healthy Habits for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

Combating Fatty Liver: Healthy Habits for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

The liver is vital as your body’s primary cleaning and processing hub.

One of the liver’s essential functions is detoxification, which eliminates toxins from the bloodstream from sources like contaminated food, alcohol, and medications. Moreover, a healthy liver regulates blood sugar (glucose) levels and filters out bilirubin from the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a by-product resulting from the normal breakdown of red blood
cells.

Furthermore, the liver is responsible for processing food, extracting essential nutrients, and producing bile necessary for digesting fatty foods. It also acts as a storage centre for any surplus nutrients.

Fatty liver is a condition when there is excessive fat in your liver. It is a silent disease, meaning it often does not cause symptoms in the early stages. However, if left untreated, fatty liver disease may often lead to serious health concerns, such as liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Causes of Fatty Liver Disease 

Here are some causes of fatty liver disease:
– Obesity
– Overweight
– Type 2 diabetes
– High blood cholesterol
– High triglycerides
– Alcohol abuse
– Certain medications
– Some medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease

In the early stages, fatty liver disease often does not cause any symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, some people may experience the following symptoms:
– Fatigue
– Weight loss
– Pain in the upper right abdomen
– Jaundice
– Nausea and vomiting
– Dark urine

Treatment for Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver treatment depends on the disease’s severity and underlying cause. In some cases, no treatment is necessary. However, if the condition is more advanced, treatment may include:
– Weight loss
– Exercise
– A healthy diet
– Medications to lower cholesterol and triglycerides
– Alcohol cessation

Healthy Habits for Health-Conscious Singaporeans

  1. Eating a well-balanced Diet and Portion Control: A balanced diet is crucial in combating fatty liver. Aim to eat various vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fat in your daily diet. Avoid too much consumption of sugary and processed foods, as they can contribute to fat accumulation in the liver. Additionally, practising portion control helps manage calorie intake and prevents overloading the liver with excessive fats and sugars.
  2. Have regular Physical Activity: It is essential for maintaining a healthy liver. As recommended by health experts, doing at least 2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or at least 2 hours and a half of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week may be helpful. Activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming can significantly improve liver function and reduce the risk of fatty liver disease.
  3. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Too much alcohol consumption is a leading cause of fatty liver disease. For those who consume alcohol, it is essential to do so in moderation. The recommended limits are one standard drink for women (per day) and up to two standard drinks for men (per day). Better yet, consider reducing alcohol intake or opting for non-alcoholic beverages altogether.
  4. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is vital for overall health, including liver function. Water helps flush out toxins from the body and aids digestion, preventing unnecessary stress on the liver. Aim to drink an adequate amount of water daily and reduce the intake of sugary beverages.
  5. Avoid Smoking: Smoking harms your lungs and adversely affects liver health. Smoking increases oxidative stress, damaging the liver and impairing natural detoxification processes. If you are a smoker, seek support to quit and improve your liver’s overall well-being.
  6. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can hurt liver health. Do stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or time in nature. Proper stress management promotes a healthy liver and overall well-being.
  7. Regular Health Check-ups: Regular health check-ups are essential for monitoring liver health and detecting potential issues early on. If you have a family history of liver disease or other risk factors, consider getting liver function tests and follow-up with your healthcare provider regularly.

Diagnosis of Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease is often diagnosed with blood tests, ultrasound, and liver biopsy.

  • Blood tests: can measure liver enzymes, which are proteins released when the liver is damaged. You may have fatty liver disease if you have high levels of liver enzymes. Blood testing is the most common way to diagnose fatty liver disease, including ALT, AST, and GGT.
    • Ultrasound: is a non-invasive imaging test that can be used to view the liver. Ultrasound can measure the amount of fat in the liver and look for signs of liver damage. Ultrasound is a commonly used imaging test used to diagnose fatty liver disease.
    • Liver biopsy: a procedure where they take a small sample of liver tissue and examine it under a microscope. This procedure can be used to confirm the diagnosis of fatty liver disease and to assess the severity of the disease. It is the most accurate test for diagnosing fatty liver disease but is also the most invasive.

MHC offers weight management programmes that combine injectable or oral treatments with a complimentary workout session. The goal of managing and treating weight gain is not simply to lose weight but to improve overall health and lower the risks of other health complications. From the initial consultation to follow-ups, our program will continue to help patients control and manage weight, a great way to avoid liver disease.

To book an appointment for weight management programme, you may book at Amara Clinic or contact our clinics for your Personal Health Screenings. For Corporate Healthcare programme enquiries, please contact our Corporate HQ for questions and enquiries about corporate healthcare programs, including Executive Health Screenings, GP Services, or Weight management programmes. Staying healthy and active helps promote a healthy liver.

Staying healthy and active helps promote a healthy liver. Please chat with us through
Whatsapp for more information.

An Overview of Colorectal Cancer

An Overview of Colorectal Cancer 

With about 1500 newly diagnosed cases of Colorectal cancer in Singapore each year, the risk of a person getting colorectal cancer during his lifetime is 5.6%. Colorectal cancer comes out to be the most common cancer when considering both the male and female populations in Singapore. It is also the second leading cause of death in the USA.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

The term Colorectal Cancer refers to the cancer of parts of the large gut. i.e., either the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum make up the majority of the large gut. This cancer is most often characterized by the uncontrolled growth of the cells of the large gut lining known as epithelial cells.

Colorectal cancer is strongly linked to family history as well as other gastrointestinal disorders of the large gut such as colonic polyps. Polyps are the outgrowth in the inner lining of the large gut. In fact, most colorectal cancers start as polyps which then acquire the ability to divide indefinitely.

Colorectal cancer may grow outward into the wall of the gut and involve the outer layers from which it can spread to blood vessels or lymph nodes and ultimately to the other parts of the body.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer in its early stages may be undetected due to being silent (having no symptoms at all) although there are certain alarming signs of colorectal cancer. These include;

Change in Bowel habits – Colorectal cancer might manifest as diarrhoea or constipation.
Unexplained Anaemia – When detected on routine investigation might warrant screening for colorectal cancer.
Blood in stools – Most often presenting as fresh blood mixed with stools.
Anorexia and weight loss.
Abdominal Mass – Manifesting as abdominal fullness and other mass effects.
● Abdominal Pain – Most often in the lower abdomen.

Clinically your physician may feel a mass on examination. The diagnosis of colorectal cancer is usually made after a colonoscopy either as a part of screening or on the doctor’s advice. A biopsy Is usually taken during colonoscopy for histopathological testing. A CT scan as well as a barium enema might be done to demarcate the extent of the spread of colorectal cancer.


What are the Risk Factors and Causes of Colorectal Cancer?

The risk factors of colorectal cancer include;

• Smoking.
• Having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
• Being obese or overweight (Obesity is especially linked to colorectal cancer in men).
• A diet containing a greater amount of red meat or processed meat.
• Having low levels of Vitamin D.
• Sedentary lifestyle (limited physical activity).
• Alcohol consumption.
• Being older than 50.
• Family history of colorectal cancer or having adenomatous polyp of the colon.
• Having type 2 diabetes.

The causes of colorectal cancer are a bit unclear. It is shown to develop from a number of environmental as well as genetic factors.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 15% of colorectal cancers have been shown to have a strong genetic root. Some inherited genetic syndromes that predispose to colorectal cancer are;

• Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP).
• Hereditary non-Polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
• Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome.
• MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP).

Colorectal cancer may result from acquired genetic mutations as well. These involve DNA damage to the patient throughout his/her life. Certain risk factors play a role in these acquired mutations but the exact causes have not been determined yet.

How to prevent Colorectal Cancer?

Some of the preventive measures against the development of colorectal cancer are;

Screening for colorectal cancer – Regular screening can decrease the risk of the development of colorectal cancer. Polyps if found can be removed if indicated to prevent their transformation into malignant masses. Patients should have a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at the age of 50 years as routine screening. Those having a familial history of colorectal cancer or polyposis may start screening 10 years earlier than the age at which their family member developed the disease or the age of 40 years, whichever comes earlier.
Dietary measures – Diets having a high content of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are linked with prevention against the development of colorectal cancer.
Regular physical activity – Increased physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer and polyps while limiting the sitting time as well as time lying down also helps in prevention.
Limiting alcohol intake – Several studies have found an increased incidence of colorectal cancer with increased alcohol intake.
Maintain Bodyweight at healthy levels.
Cessation of smoking.
Taking multivitamins – Some studies suggest a reduced incidence of colorectal cancer with regular intake of multivitamins, calcium and magnesium.

 

References

1) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155598#causes-and-risk-factors
2) https://www.nuh.com.sg/Health-Information/Diseases-Conditions/Pages/Colorectal-Cancer.aspx#:~:text=In%20Singapore%2C%20the%20risk%20of,there%20is%20chance%20for%20cure.
3) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention.html

How to increase Testosterone levels naturally – Testosterone Deficiency in Men

How to increase Testosterone levels naturally – Testosterone Deficiency in Men

According to a study by the European Association of Urology, there is a 20% prevalence of testosterone deficiency in adolescents and young males. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism demonstrated the generational decline in testosterone levels in males. According to this, there was about a 0.4% cross-sectional decline per year of age. A more recent study revealed “a highly significant age-independent decline in total testosterone in the first and second decades of the 21st century. The decline was unlikely to be explained by increasing rates of obesity.”. In short, there is a great amount of research work indicating declining testosterone levels in men across various cultures.

What is Testosterone deficiency?

The inability of the body to produce enough testosterone is called testosterone deficiency. The production of testosterone is controlled by the testes as well as a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Its production increases during puberty and is responsible for maintaining physiological and sexual well-being in men.

Broadly speaking, an individual having a blood serum testosterone level of less than 300ng/dL is said to be testosterone deficient. Although this is highly variable across different age groups and individuals, since a person having testosterone levels greater than the said threshold may still be testosterone deficient because of high SHBG (Sex hormone-binding globulin), a protein which binds free testosterone in the blood. This results in decreased levels of readily available testosterone.

Similarly, adolescents and young males have a higher testosterone requirement for their physiological well-being. In addition, the sensitivity for testosterone receptors varies across individuals resulting in a slightly variable potency of the effect of testosterone.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Testosterone deficiency?

Testosterone deficiency has several health implications, some of which are;

  • Loss of libido (decreased sex drive).
  • Loss of lean muscle mass.
  • Tiredness and Chronic fatigue.
  • Difficulty losing weight (increased body fat content).
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Lack of motivation and symptoms of depression.
  • Decreased bone density leading to easy fractures.
  • As testosterone is essential for the adequate development of male gonads which in turn leads to further deficiency in testosterone production.
  • Decreased sperm count and fertility.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Delayed puberty.
  • Lack of deepening of the voice.

What are the Causes of Testosterone deficiency?

Although a decrease in the level of testosterone is a normal part of the ageing process, it is influenced by several environmental factors as well as lifestyle choices. Some of the most important causes of lower testosterone levels include;

  • Obesity – Increased fat tissue in the body leads to increased aromatisation of testosterone which is a process that converts testosterone into oestrogen.
  • Environmental oestrogen mimicking molecules – Found in plastics and certain plant sources as well. These are classified as phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse – Increase the levels of the female sex hormone estrogenic as well as the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Chronic stress – Increases the levels of cortisol which mostly counteracts the effects of testosterone.
  • Testicular injury or infection.
  • Varicocele.
  • Genetic conditions – Such as Klinefelter’s Syndrome can lead to lower testosterone levels as well.
  • Hormonal disorders – Pituitary gland disease or other hormonal disorders affecting the pituitary-gonadal hormone axis.
  • Lack of competition and a sedentary lifestyle – Also shown to be responsible for a significant decrease in testosterone levels.
  • Poor sleep hygiene.
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes – Also negatively impact testosterone levels.

How to increase testosterone levels naturally?

The best natural preventions against testosterone deficiency are;

  • Regular physical exercise – Studies show higher levels of testosterone achieved through exercises especially resistance training and heavy lifting. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is also helpful in optimizing testosterone levels. At the same time, physical exercise can also impact levels of testosterone negatively as well if it is excessive or increases overall stress levels (higher cortisol).
  • Optimizing diet – A diet containing higher levels of fats, and fat-soluble vitamins especially vitamin D is highly effective in regulating testosterone levels. Similarly, certain minerals like zinc and magnesium are also highly effective. This involves a higher intake of red meats, fish, and oysters.
  • Taking plenty of sunlight – Studies have shown the positive impact of sunlight on vitamin D levels as well as a person’s overall mood. Both of which impact testosterone levels positively.
  • Take up sports – Competition has also been linked to higher levels of testosterone levels.
  • Adequate Sleep – Regular uninterrupted night’s sleep of at least 6 hours or more is also highly important and not stressed enough. It is important to note that regularity and quality of sleep is the most important aspect of sleep hygiene.
  • Address any medical conditions – Contact your doctor to optimally deal with medical issues resulting in testosterone deficiency.

 

References