Fit to Post Health
  • Doctors look at a radiography of lungs. AFP file photo.

    Pneumonia is a lung inflammation that can occur in chronically ill elderly people and young children below the age of five.

    Here are ten things that you need to know about pneumonia and how to treat it.

    1. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air spaces in the lungs.

    2. Pneumonia may be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi.  Streptococcus pneumoniae, a type of bacteria, is the most common cause of pneumonia. And the most common cause of viral pneumonia is the influenza virus.

    3. Pneumonia can be fatal in severe cases.

    4. Signs and symptoms of the infection are similar to a cold - sneezing, coughing, a sort throat and shortness of breath. A high fever, chest pains and chills follow.  

    5. The following factors increase the risk of developing pneumonia:

    - a weakened immune system due to disease
    - chronic disease such as sickle cell anemia, heart disease or diabetes
    - being in the intensive-care unit of a hospital, especially if on ventilator support

    6. A chest x-ray can detect pneumonia but not

    Read More »from 10 facts about pneumonia
  • Tips on preventing prostate cancer (Getty Images photo)Tips on preventing prostate cancer (Getty Images photo)

    Prevention is better than cure. There may not be any scientifically proven sure-fire ways to prevent prostate cancer, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of prostate cancer such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips based on information from the Mayo Clinic.

    Eat healthy
    A healthy diet full of greens may help reduce risk of prostate cancer. Although this hasn’t been proven scientifically, males who want to prevent prostate cancer can consider trying to have a healthy diet by:

    Choosing a low-fat diet
    Males who eat the highest amount of fat per day increases the risk of getting prostate cancer, according to some studies. Although it hasn’t been proven that too much fat can cause prostate cancer, eating a smaller amount of fat per day has other benefits, such as controlling your weight. It also helps keep a healthy heart.

    Eating more plant-based fat than animal fat
    Some studies on fat consumption and prostate cancer risk show that fats from animals had the

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  • Prostate cancer occurs four times more frequently compared to 30 years ago, and is now the fifth most common cancer in Singapore, according to a SingHealth report.

    Here are ten things that you need to know about the cancer, based on a booklet on prostate cancer by the National Cancer Institute.

    1. What is the prostate?

    It is part of a male’s reproductive system that is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is the urinary tract.

    For a healthy male, the size of a healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut. If it grows too big, it will squeeze the urethra, which may cause slowness or stopping of the normal flow of urine.

    The prostate is also an important part during sexual intercourse. As the prostate is a gland, it makes up part of the seminal fluid, which, during orgasm, helps carry sperm out of the man’s body as part of semen.

    2. Cancer cells in the prostate

    Growth in the prostate can be benign, which means it’s not cancer.

    Benign

    Read More »from 10 things to know about prostate cancer
  • Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Liquor will flow, Yusheng will be tossed. Are there any dietary dos and don’ts during this festive period for cancer patients?

    Chemotherapy has a suppressive effect on the immune system and puts one at greater risk of infection from food sources.

    Raw fish or meat dishes are particularly risky. With raw fish served with a variety of shredded raw vegetables, the ever-popular dish of Yusheng, which is thought to usher in good luck for the New Year, should probably be given a miss.

    Plentiful food on the dinning table with lots to spare is considered auspicious during the New Year celebration, as it is believed to signify a bountiful year ahead.

    It also means that, following the celebration, there will be a lot of leftovers in the few days ahead.

    Reheating and eating overnight food has the virtue of reducing food wastage but runs the risk of higher bacterial contamination and infection for patients on chemotherapy.

    Dining out is usually not a

    Read More »from Chinese New Year diet dos and don'ts for cancer patients
  • Treatment options for coronary artery disease include medication, coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery. (Thinkstock photo)Treatment options for coronary artery disease include medication, coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery. (Thinkstock photo)

    Many people find out they have coronary artery disease (CAD) when they experience chest pain called angina or have a heart attack. There are three treatment options for CAD: medical treatment, coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery. How do doctors decide which treatment option to use?

    CAD is due to a build-up of plaque inside the coronary artery. The plaque narrows the artery and eventually impacts the blood supply to the heart. It can present in two ways with very different prognosis and treatment:

    1. Stable angina, where patients only get symptoms on exertion.
    2. Acute coronary syndrome, where symptoms occur even at rest, resulting in a heart attack.

    “All patients with CAD should receive baseline medical treatment, which consists of medication and lifestyle modifications that aim to control symptoms and risk factors,” says Dr Aaron Wong, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), a member of the SingHealth

    Read More »from Heart disease: Which treatment option is right for you?
  • Parkinson patients may have swallowing difficulties (Thinkstock photo)Parkinson patients may have swallowing difficulties (Thinkstock photo)

    Parkinson disease is a neurological disorder that may present with a slight shaking or tremor in one’s finger, hands, lips or feet.

    Tremors associated with Parkinson disease usually occur when the person is at rest and stop when the person is moving. That’s unlike essential tremors, another neurological disorder, which tend to occur during voluntary activities like writing or eating, but stop when the patient is at rest.

    “Parkinson disease affects three out of every thousand individuals, aged 50 years and above in Singapore, and its prevalence is expected to increase with an ageing population,” says Associate Professor Louis Tan, Senior Consultant at the Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute (TTSH Campus), a member of the SingHealth group.

    What causes Parkinson disease?

    Parkinson disease is the result of damage to a group of neurons in the brain called substantia nigra. These dopamine-producing neurons are responsible for keeping the body’s movements smooth and

    Read More »from Parkinson cases expected to rise in Singapore
  • Dairy products such as ice cream, milk, cheese, yogurt and custard contain lactose, a FODMAP that can cause IBS. (Thinkstock photo)Dairy products such as ice cream, milk, cheese, yogurt and custard contain lactose, a FODMAP that can cause IBS. (Thinkstock photo)

    Do you suffer from flatulence, cramping or a bloated stomach? These are common gastrointestinal complaints often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic medical condition affecting about 9 per cent of the population in Singapore.

    Bloated stomach and other gastric symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors such as abnormal movement of the gastrointestinal tract, impaired food absorption, intestinal bacteria and psychological factors such as anxiety. In most cases, the cause is benign and the gastric discomfort can be resolved with dietary and lifestyle management.

    “Abdominal bloating is a common complaint and may be due to numerous medical conditions involving both the gastrointestinal tract as well as other organs,” says Dr Wang Yu Tien, Consultant, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

    When the cause of bloated stomach and other IBS symptoms is the fermentation of poorly absorbed foods

    Read More »from Try a low FODMAP diet to ease your IBS symptoms
  • Keeping physically active can help you to be disability-free and as healthy as possible in your senior years. (Thinkstock photo)Keeping physically active can help you to be disability-free and as healthy as possible in your senior years. (Thinkstock photo)

    Efforts put into early prevention and detection of chronic diseases, as well as close monitoring by doctors, have paid off. Singaporeans now have longer life expectancy, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. In Singapore, men can expect to live up to 78.8 years and women, 83.3 years.

    “One reason why Singaporeans are living longer is better chronic disease management. Primary and community-based healthcare providers have taken a bigger role in managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure”, says Dr Nguyen Minh Ha, Associate Consultant, Department of Geriatric Medicine at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

    Chronic disease management – key to living longer

    Poorly controlled chronic diseases reduce life expectancy unless patients receive long-term medications and follow-up. Cancer, heart and hypertensive diseases are among the top causes of death in Singapore.

    "Primary care doctors are now able to provide

    Read More »from Why are Singaporeans living longer?
  • Caffeine should be avoided at least 30 minutes prior to measuring your blood pressure. (Thinkstock photo)Caffeine should be avoided at least 30 minutes prior to measuring your blood pressure. (Thinkstock photo)

    The point of health screening is to detect certain conditions before they show symptoms. Early detection and treatment can result in better outcomes, a reduced risk of complications and savings on the cost of treatment later. Thus, it’s important to go for a medical check-up regularly even if you feel healthy.

    Common health screening tests include blood pressure measurement, diabetes screening test, a cholesterol test, a Pap smear (for ladies) and a colonoscopy to help detect colorectal cancer. Here are some tips from our doctors to remember for your next medical check-up.

    Common health screening tests

    1. Blood pressure measurement

    One thing you ought to know about blood pressure measurement is that you should refrain from smoking or ingesting caffeine 30 minutes prior to the measurement, says Dr Goh Lay Hoon, Family Physician from SingHealth Polyclinics (Sengkang), a member of the SingHealth group.

    Contrary to some beliefs, emptying your bladder right before the BP measurement will

    Read More »from Want to save money? Prepare correctly for medical check-ups
  • To save a person from drowning, call for help and try looking for a floatation device. (Thinkstock photo)To save a person from drowning, call for help and try looking for a floatation device. (Thinkstock photo)

    Unlike in the movies where drowning victims are seen flailing their arms and shouting for help, real drowning victims stay quiet as they are struggling to breathe. They may try to “grab” the water surface in order to keep themselves above water.

    “To the untrained eye, drowning victims may appear like they are doing the dog paddle when, in fact, they are quietly drowning,” says Dr Wee Choon Peng Jeremy, Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

    The Singapore Life Saving Society reported that 48 cases of death by drowning were heard in the coroner’s courts in Singapore in 2012 (some of these deaths occurred the previous year). About two-thirds of victims were males.

    Drowning leads to lack of oxygen

    During drowning, water enters through the nose and mouth and causes the person to initially gasp for air and swallow small amounts of water. What follows is the natural reflex to hold one’s breath before the urge to

    Read More »from Ever heard of delayed drowning? It could kill you

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