Understanding Anorexia

Although most of the world is worried about the growing numbers of obese and morbidly obese people, other eating disorders also need as much attention from the public. One of the most complex eating disorders is anorexia nervosa (anorexia means lack of appetite and self-starvation), which is caused by a combination of different biological and environmental factors.

Who is at risk?
Both men and women can suffer from anorexia nervosa, and it doesn’t matter whether that person is aspiring to be a fashion model or not. Although studies in Singapore show that for the males, those aged between 45 to 49 years have the most number of cases, it is more fatal among women within the same age group. Interestingly, younger patients who suffer from anorexia nervosa, between 25 to 29 years, have the highest chances of overcoming the disorder than the older patients.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder which results in drastic weight loss and changes in the stature and height of a person far below the normal body weight for a specific age. Most of the individuals with this condition suffer from a distorted body image and think they need to restrict their diet, exercise compulsively, and resort to using laxatives after binge eating. What is also interesting is that people who have larger bodies than most anorexia patients can also suffer from the illness, which means that you don’t need to be underweight or stick-thin to be anorexic.

What to look out for?
A person is diagnosed with the illness if he/she meets the following criteria: restrictions in the diet that lead to poor physical development (although those who do not suffer from significant weight loss may be classified as atypical anorexics); has an intense fear of getting fat; and has a distorted image of his/her own body shape and weight and a strong denial of the low body weight.

From these criteria, anorexics can be classified into two types, such as; the restrictive type, who limits food consumption; and the purge or binge type, who feels guilty after a meal and compensates that guilt by vomiting, exercising and using laxatives.

If you know someone with the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, call for help as soon as possible. Watch out for the following symptoms: obsession with the caloric and fat contents of food; chronic dieting; excessive exercising; eating patterns that appear obsessive or ritualistic; fixation on food details; amenorrhea among women; thinning hair or hair loss; depression, lethargy, and isolation; appearance of fine hair on the face and body; and inability to feel cold in the extremities.

How is it treated?
Treatment of anorexia nervosa can be complicated because it will take a team of doctors and therapists to help the person recover. It’s usually divided into three components, which are medical, nutritional, and therapy treatments. Health issues and complications must be treated while the patient undergoes weight restoration through effective meals plans and recover from the eating disorder by recognizing the possible issues that might have caused it. Psychotherapy usually also involves the family of the patient to help in the treatment.

How to Deal with Recurring Fungal Infections

There are a lot of effective treatments available for fungal infection today, but how do you stop fungal infections from recurring?

What is a Fungal Infection?

There are a lot of fungi that are not harmful to humans and occur naturally in different environments. Some fungi, however, can cause skin diseases or even organ infections that can be deadly. To date, there are at least 13 types of fungal diseases caused by 300 known species of fungi such as the following: aspergillosis attacks people with weak lungs or immune system; candidiasis affects the bloodstream, throat or mouth, and vagina; C. neoformans infection affects the brain; fungal eye infections; mucormycosis that attack people with weak immune system; ringworm, a type of skin infection; blastomycosis; coccidioidomycosis; C. gattii infection; histoplasmosis, which is acquired through bat and bird droppings; Pneumocystis pneumonia; sporotrichosis; andother pathogenic fungi such as the Cladosporium and Exserohilum.

To test whether you have fungal infection, a blood culture test and/or fungal tests are done. A blood test is done if the doctor suspects that you are exhibiting symptoms of sepsis or blood infection caused by fungi. The symptoms might include fever and chills, rapid breathing or heartbeat, less frequent urination, and nausea. The fungal tests on the other hand, include the following tests: fungal culture of swab and fluid samples, KOH prep of scraping and swabs, and calcofluor white stain for body fluids, swabs and other samples. KOH prep is the primary screening test done in hospitals in Singapore, but it will not tell the patient what specific fungus caused the infection.

Steps to Prevent Fungal Infections

You don’t need to have recurring fungal infection problems to observe the following habits:

1. Take a bath everyday and after every strenuous activity, and don’t forget to wash your clothes and bed linen regularly.
2. Do not share personal items such as combs or brushes, socks and shoes, and towels with other people.
3. Wear clean, dry shoes especially when you’re in public areas.
4. Keep your feet clean and dry as much as possible. That includes trimming your nails regularly. Change your socks daily and wear shoes that fit correctly.
5. Choose socks that are made of wool or absorbent cotton to prevent fungal growth.
6. Wear cotton underwear instead of items made from synthetic materials.
7. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo at least twice a month if you have problems with dandruff or as a preventive step.
8. Follow the doctor’s instructions when applying medicine on skin fungal infections even when you no longer see the rashes.
9. Do not take oral medications such as antibiotics, hormones and steroids unless your doctor has instructed you to do so.
10. Monitor and control your blood sugar levels which can encourage the growth of yeast in some parts of the body.
11. Don’t use products that can irritate your vaginal tissue. Pick products that are unscented and don’t contain a lot of irritants.

What are Sleeping Pills?

There are many ways to treat different sleeping problems such as insomnia that are combined with good sleeping habits. One of these is the prescription of the correct sleeping pills for your condition. Sleeping pills are called sedative hypnotics that will induce and/or maintain sleep and are classified into four categories; benzodiazepines, barbiturates, non-benzodiazepines, and antidepressants.

Let’s look at each type of sleeping pill and what it does to the body.


Benzodiazepines are not over-the-counter drugs and will need a prescription from the doctor to treat two types of insomnia patterns. The symptoms that are treated over a short period of time include sleep onset and middle waking. When taking these anti-anxiety medications, you will need close supervision from a doctor because benzodiazepines can cause problems with attention and memory and can be addictive. That is why these are not recommended for long-term sleeping problems. Some examples of benzodiazepines are diazepam, estazolam, alprazolam, quazepam, chlodiazepoxide, clorazepate, clonazepam, oxazepam, flurazepam, triazolam, lorazepam, temazepam, midazolam, and clobazam.


Barbiturates also have sedative and hypnotic effects because they inhibit the activities of the brain’s nerve cells. This type of medication was used to treat symptoms of epilepsy and anxiety, but like benzodiazepines, they can be addictive. Today, barbiturates are used only during seizures and as an anesthetic to induce sleep during surgery. Generic names of barbiturates include secobarbital, mephobarbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, amobarbital, and butabarbital.


This type of medication is given only for patients with insomnia and do not need to be taken every night to decrease the time it takes for a person to sleep. The medicine interacts with the receptors that are similar to benzodiazepine to slow down the brain’s activities. The doctor will prescribe non-benzodiazepines only at low doses for short-term insomnia treatment. You might be given any of the following non-benzodiazepines: zolpidem, eszopiclone, and zaleplon.


Sometimes antidepressants are recommended to relieve symptoms such as sleep problems, restlessness, and anxiety. There are 6 classes of antidepressants available today, with each type working on specific neurotransmitters. The classes of antidepressants are the following: monoamine oxidase inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tetracyclic antidepressants, miscellaneous antidepressants, phenylpiperazine antidepressants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Other Medications

Other medications might also be prescribed to help treat the symptoms of insomnia. These include melatonin and over-the-counter antihistamines like diphenhydramine. Melatonin is a hormone naturally found in the body and is involved in the regulation of the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is usually prescribed for older patients and the treatment usually lasts for about 10 weeks. Antihistamines are known for their side-effect that causes drowsiness, that’s why it can be a substitute for sleeping pills. They are also cheap and don’t require prescription, ideal for treating mild insomnia as well as allergies.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Your Baby and You


There is a reason why paediatricians here in Singapore encourage mothers to breastfeed for the first six months of the baby. While it is obvious that breast milk can make the baby healthy, you have to know the specifics. What can breast feeding do to you and your baby?

Here is a list:

  • Long term protection: Breastfeeding will provide your baby long term protection against chronic conditions – like type I diabetes, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.


  • Stronger bones: Now thinking of the welfare of the mother, breastfeed can actually make her stronger. According to an infant-nutrition Ruth Lawrence, mothers who breastfeed have lower risk of osteoporosis (postmenopausal). This is because when a woman is lactating, she efficiently absorbs calcium.


  • Decreases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): SIDS remains a mystery for many and no mother wishes this for the baby. When you breastfeed, it actually decreases the risk of SIDS by about half.

  • Calorie burner: Whether you have heard it or not, the truth remains that breastfeeding burns up to five hundred calories every day. This is good for the mother. Breast milk actually contains at least twenty calories per ounce. Imagine if you feed the baby twenty ounces a day, that’ll be four hundred calories you swished out of your body.


  • Quick post-delivery healing: Mothers want to heal quickly after giving birth for the baby. If you consider breastfeeding, it will surely hasten your post-delivery healing. The oxytocin (which is released during breastfeeding) will aid the recovery of uterus quickly.


  • Reduced risk of cancer: Cancer is everywhere and up to now, there is no specified cure to it. You can reduce your baby’s risk of developing cancer through breastfeeding.


  • Serves as an effective vaccine: Research revealed that breastfeeding can fortify the baby’s antibody. In fact, breastfeeding is better than any vaccines but it doesn’t mean you have to do away with vaccines.


  • Better bonding: Breastfeeding is your time with the little one. Every second with the little one is precious and it is an excellent bonding time. This way, you will know your baby more.

However, breastfeeding poses a challenge for working mothers. It is hard to nurse the baby when you are at work but it is not the reason to give it up. Never give up and choose formula instead. Nothing beats the love of the mother and breast milk of course.

If you want to ensure that the production of milk is continuous, you have to seek your doctor right away. There are many support groups that you can go to.

What Are Dental Fillings?


Sometimes during one of your trips to the dentist, you are told that you need a tooth filled in. Even when you regularly brush your teeth, the food, lifestyle and old age will deteriorate your teeth. The plaque that remains in your mouth even after brushing and flossing will slowly eat away a portion of a tooth until it creates a hole called a cavity. The body cannot repair the damaged tooth so people have developed a way of saving decayed teeth.

When do you need a tooth filling and what happens during the process?

Finding the Cavity

Cavities in teeth are caused by tooth decay. If you have had a cavity for some time without consulting a dentist, they could cause toothache. Examining your teeth will reveal these cavities as holes in your teeth usually with a darker portion. Dental fillings repair broken teeth as well as fill up cavities caused by tooth decay.

Removing the Decay

The dentist will find the cavities by examining your teeth or through the use X-rays to look at places not easily reached like in between teeth. If you come to the dentist complaining of a toothache, you will be given a local anesthesia so the decayed portion call be drilled and examined. Sometimes, when the damage is too extensive, a tooth extraction may be required instead of a filling.

Filling a Tooth

The dentist may use a drill, laser or an air abrasion instrument to remove all the decay. Then the area is cleaned of all debris before a filling is molded. When all the damaged portion is removed, the cavity is filled then polished. The dentist makes sure the filling is molded to the shape of your tooth so it does not chip or break. Colored fillings, also known as composites, are applied in layers and hardened by a special light. Then it is polished.

Types of Fillings

The types of fillings are amalgam, gold, silver, composites, ceramics and glass ionomer. Amalgam is cheap, durable, and lasts long. However it could tarnish after some time and will not match the color of your teeth. Gold is also durable but does not corrode. It’s expensive and still don’t match the color of your teeth. Silver lasts longer than the others. Composites are cheaper than gold but match the teeth color. The filling process takes more time because they are placed in layers. Ceramics are brittle but do not stain easily. Glass ionomer match the teeth color and is also applied in layers like composites. It is weaker than composites however.

Some Problems

Some patients are allergic to amalgam and silver dental fillings, but there are very few cases of these. Dental fillings are also sensitive to cold and hot food and drinks. If the sensitivity or pain does not disappear after a month, you will need a toothpaste with a special formula or you should go back to your dentist. Over time, the fillings will deteriorate from use. Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups.

Important Things to Know About Paralysis


If there is one thing that you always pray for, it would be the safety of your loved ones at all times. But you have to accept that sometimes, things happen that will test the strength of your character. If in this case you have a loved one that recently suffered from brunt of injuries, you have to know how to care for them.

Here in Singapore, there are many patients enduring some degree of paralysis. You have to know that paralysis can either be partial (occurring on one side of the body) or complete (occurring on both sides of the body). If it is a paralysis that affected the patient’s lower half, it is called paraplegia. If it affects the patient’s upper half, it is called quadriplegia.

For the patient, everything may happen so quickly that they are still in disbelief and shock. This is a crucial time for them so it is important to be there. Being a caregiver is not easy but you have to find ways to continuously help the patient – even if they do not feel like helping their selves. Remember that adjustment takes time and effort.

As for the body care, the caregiver should know how to change the position of the patient at least every two hours. If you notice bed sores, you need to treat it. If left untreated, it can lead to many complications. If you want for the patient to have better chances of recovery, you have to search for rehabilitation facility. This decision will significantly affect the recovery of the patient in the long run. More importantly, emphasize the importance of exercise to your patient. There should be a routine. You have to be patient as the recovery can last from six months to two years or more.

Aside from these things, you have to know that there is a breakthrough that can offer hope to patients with injuries particularly spinal injuries. There is a brain implant conducted in two paralyzed monkeys and with neural chips, they started to walk again.

Researchers started to implant chips on the brains of the paralyzed monkeys. The chips then transmitted signals that can stimulate the leg muscles. One subject regained its ability to move or walk in just 6 days. Imagine if this technology is perfected. It will surely help a lot of people who are physically challenged.

Let us just hope for the best. While this is perfected, you have to help your loved ones. Your love and support can get through everything.

Everything You Need to Know About Dog Allergy


Pets are one of man’s best and loyal friends. As much as you want to get pets, it is important that you first refer to your house rules. There are some residential areas here in Singapore that allows pets while some do not. After confirming that pets are allowed, the next thing that you do is to choose whether you want a pet dog or cat.

If in this case you want to have a pet dog, your next dilemma is to make sure that you are not allergic to it or the people around the house. A dog allergy can be mild to severe depending on your exposure and sensitivity to allergens. If you are highly sensitive, you can develop serious symptoms like breathing problems as well as rashes minutes after touching the dog or entering the house.

Here are the things that you should know about dog allergy:


It is not hard spotting or identifying symptoms. Symptoms include sneezing or stuffy nose, watery and red eyes, itchy eyes, hives or skin rashes and facial pain (usually form your nasal congestion). Some develop rashes after being licked or scratched by the dog.


You have wrestled and considered all things in the house except for your dogs. It is time that you check if you really have a dog allergy. If you suspect that you are allergic to them, you have to immediately see your allergist for proper diagnosis and eventually treatment.

The most common test is skin-prick. This test will let the allergist confirm the allergy. In this test, a small of dog allergen is placed unto your skin. You will be monitored for signs like redness and swelling. Results will be available in just twenty minutes. Even if you are sure it is a dog allergy, it pays to be sure with the help of allergists.

Allergy management

The best thing that you can do to eliminate your allergy is to avoid the dog. Though it is painful to consider it, you have to think about removing your pet. If it cannot be helped, at least do not let them inside the house and if you cannot deal with that, at least close your bedroom. There are high efficiency air filters that you can purchase for reducing allergen inside the house.

There you go. Now you can finally understand the allergy. Perhaps you heard about an allergy-free dog. Does such exist? There is no allergy-free dog however you can consider particular breeds as their allergens are not as much as majority dog breeds. You should choose Portuguese water dogs and poodles.

Easy Ways to Manage Your Coffee Intake


Most of us drink coffee early in the morning to feel alert and fuel our body. Other than that, we also use it as a reason to take a break and bond with other people. However, indulging in this beverage may have some negative effects. Aside from increasing your risk of diabetes and obesity, excessive caffeine consumption may also mess up your body clock and affect your sleep patter.


But you don’t need to completely avoid drinking coffee. Here, we’ve listed down ways on how you can still enjoy your cup of Joe without having negative effects on your health.

  1. Schedule a Cut-Off Time for Your Coffee Intake

Caffeine usually takes time to wear off and that often causes the sleeping problems among coffee drinkers. This is the reason why it’s best to limit your coffee intake in the morning hours up to the early afternoon (specifically 2 PM). Consuming heavily caffeinated drinks after this hour will only interrupt your sleep at night, and you’ll surely regret it on the following day.

  1. Limit Your Consumption to Four Cups a Day

Adults shouldn’t be drinking more than 400 mg of caffeine each day, since excessive caffeine consumption may cause irritability and anxiety. Other than that, you might also develop caffeine dependence. If you really are craving for a taste of coffee, then opt for its decaffeinated version instead.


  1. Take a Coffee Nap

Hate the feeling of an early afternoon slump? If so, consider drinking a cup of coffee and taking a short nap afterwards. Caffeine takes about 20 to 30 minutes to kick in, so it’ll likely take effect as soon as you wake up. A study conducted by health experts in Singapore even revealed that combining drinking coffee and napping is more effective than just doing either alone.

  1. Reduce Your Coffee Consumption Throughout the Day

Early morning would be the best time to consume a good amount of caffeine, as it’s the time when you are likely to be groggy or lethargic. But as the day progresses, it’d be best to start tapering your caffeine intake. The best way to do this is to opt for decaffeinated tea or coffee instead to ensure a caffeine-free evening and to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

  1. Be Mindful of Your Mug Size

Another way of managing your caffeine intake is to be mindful of the size of the coffee mug you’re using. Just like how fill our plate for dinner, we also tend to fill our mug to the brim regardless of its size – and this could be a problem especially if you’re drinking caffeinated beverages. So if possible, opt for a smaller mug over a larger one to delude yourself that you’re consuming more coffee.

Managing your caffeine intake doesn’t have to be difficult. All you’ve got to do is follow these easy tricks and you’ll be able to enjoy your daily cup of Joe in a proper and healthy way.


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