Fit to Post Health
  • Washing your hands often can help prevent the spread of fungi if a loved one in your home has contracted ringworm. (Thinkstock photo)Washing your hands often can help prevent the spread of fungi if a loved one in your home has contracted ringworm. (Thinkstock photo)

    Contrary to its name, a ringworm infection is not caused by a worm but by a fungus. It can be contagious and is often characterised by a red circular rash with clearer skin in the middle. Offering tips about what to do if you have a ringworm infection is Dr Koh Hong Yi, Associate Consultant of the Dermatology Unit at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

    “Ringworm is a fungal infection affecting the skin, hair or nails. These fungi are not normally found on human skin but can infect us from other infected individuals, animals, objects and even soil,” says Dr Koh.

    Common types of ringworm infection

    While a ringworm infection can appear virtually anywhere on the body, it tends to affect skin on the feet (tinea pedis, also called athlete’s foot) and groin area (tinea cruris, also known as jock itch).

    “These areas are frequently affected because of the warm and moist environment they offer, which is ideal for fungal growth,” says Dr Koh.

    Related article: Men,

    Read More »from Can home remedies cure jock itch and athlete’s foot?
  • Flat foot is very common in Asians with estimates suggesting that it affects approximately 1 in 5 individuals. (Thinkstock photo)Flat foot is very common in Asians with estimates suggesting that it affects approximately 1 in 5 individuals. (Thinkstock photo

    “Do I have flat feet?” is a common question asked by patients I see at SGH.

    You’ve probably come across or heard about the terms “flat feet” or “pes planus” (to apply the correct medical terminology). These terms are often used by patients, shop assistants and health care professionals, but what do they mean?

    Typically, in a non “flat-footed” individual, the arch of the foot is usually raised off the ground when the person is standing. If the foot arch is low or nonexistent, the person is said to have “flat feet” or sometimes, “fallen arches”.

    Pes planus tends to be a very common condition in the Asian population with estimates suggesting that it occurs in around 1 in 5 individuals.

    How do I know I have flat feet?

    Flat feet can only be truly identified while the individual is standing or walking. When someone with flat feet stands or walks, their inner foot or arch flattens. In addition the foot may roll over to the inner side (this is known as excessive subtalar pronation).

    Read More »from 1 in 5 Asians has flat feet issues
  • Eating healthy and exercising regularly can help minimize your risk of getting abnormal heart murmur. (Thinkstock photo)Eating healthy and exercising regularly can help minimize your risk of getting abnormal heart murmur. (Thinkstock photo)

    A normal heartbeat has two sounds. A heart murmur is the extra rasping, humming or whooshing sound that can be heard in-between. It must be investigated to be sure it’s “innocent”, meaning harmless.

    As opposed to an innocent heart murmur, an abnormal heart murmur may point to a serious underlying heart problem such as damaged heart valves or congenital heart defects like a hole in the heart.

    “Prognosis for abnormal heart murmurs varies according to the underlying heart problem and its severity. It is excellent in patients with otherwise structurally normal hearts and poor in patients with severe underlying valvular or congenital heart defects,” says Dr Peter Ting, Consultant, Department of Cardiology at the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), a member of the SingHealth group.

    Related article: 10 superfoods to protect your heart

    What causes a heart murmur?

    The extra or unusual sound characteristic of a heart murmur is due to the faster blood flow through the heart valves and/or

    Read More »from Heart murmurs: What symptoms to watch out for
  • Being too engrossed when using your smartphone can cause unawareness of bad posture or doing repeated actions for long durations. (Thinkstock photo)Being too engrossed when using your smartphone can cause unawareness of bad posture or doing repeated actions for long durations. (Thinkstock photo)

    Staying connected via a smartphone or tablet can be a health hazard. Texting or gaming – with the hand and fingers repeatedly making the same actions – on a smart device can put the user at risk of injury. The repetitive action can cause damage, while the way that the device is held – especially for long periods – can also lead to soreness and pain in the wrist, thumbs and fingers.

    Likewise, sitting or standing hunched over a tablet can strain the neck ligaments and muscles. Most people stretch their neck and head forward when reading, watching a film, or typing on a tablet, and if they hold that posture for a long time, micro or very tiny tears can occur in the muscle fibres or tendons.

    “The bad posture occurs when reading a book too, but you are more likely to adjust your posture when you start feeling some strain. With digital media that includes sound and moving pictures, people are usually engrossed to the point of not moving, at least not until the battery dies!” said Dr Darren

    Read More »from More young smartphone users with neck and hand pain
  • Fat build-up in the liver can cause liver inflammation, which ultimately could lead to liver failure. (Thinkstock photo)Fat build-up in the liver can cause liver inflammation, which ultimately could lead to liver failure. (Thinkstock photo)

    Most people with fatty liver have no or minimal symptoms. Fat build-up in the liver is thought to be common, and is associated with certain metabolic disorders such as diabetes. In some cases, it can cause liver inflammation. The condition is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) as the liver inflammation is not related to alcohol intake.

    When NASH becomes severe, resulting in scarring of the liver, it can lead to cirrhosis – a potentially life-threatening liver condition that could progress to liver failure and is associated with internal bleeding and coma.

    Doctors are uncertain why a fatty liver may progress to NASH in people who drink little or no alcohol. However, they suspect that something in the environment could trigger the inflammation, or there may be a genetic predisposition.

    “While the causes of NASH are still unknown, many conditions can increase your risk. These include obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high triglycerides, a type of fat found in the

    Read More »from Inflamed fatty liver: Non-drinkers also at risk
  • Why isn’t my weight dropping?

    I believe that management consultant Peter Drucker once said that "you can't manage what you don't measure" and this is true of your results from a fitness or nutrition program.

    My team and I are pretty obsessive about tracking the results of our clients. And body weight is one of the items we track.

    It sometimes happens that an overweight client will have better fitting clothes, improved mood, concentration, energy, strength and fitness levels - without a drop in the weight on the scale.

    In fact, sometimes scale weight even goes up!

    "That's not why I joined a gym, I might as well eat roti prata and fried noodles like before!" is something they might be thinking.

    However keep in mind that your body is NOT a machine that we can have a very deterministic outcome with (i.e. one action = one guaranteed result). Neither do people usually get a linear outcome e.g. 1kg per week. Its more like 0, 0.5, 0, 2kg per week.... etc.

    Here are some reasons why your scale weight may not be dropping even

    Read More »from Why isn’t my weight dropping?
  • Drinking sufficient fluids is one way to prevent blood in urine. (Thinkstock photo)Drinking sufficient fluids is one way to prevent blood in urine. (Thinkstock photo)

    It’s almost a natural response – when we see blood, we think something must be wrong. However, blood in urine, termed hematuria by doctors, isn’t always a cause for concern.

    “Blood in urine is one of the most common issues affecting both younger and older patients seen in the urology clinic,” says Dr Nor Azhari Bin Mohd Zam, a consultant with a special interest in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of renal stone disease at the Urology Centre of Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

    “In the young, the most common causes are urinary stones or a urinary tract infection (UTI). In older patients, it is more likely to be bladder or kidney cancer, especially if the blood in the urine is painless and the patient has a history of smoking,” he adds.

    Related article: 50 per cent of women experience a UTI at least once in their lifetime. Here’s how to prevent it

    When blood in urine is not serious

    Certain medications including aspirin, heparin or warfarin (a

    Read More »from Blood in urine: Is it always dangerous?
  • Colorectal cancer tends to arise from polyps that start out as benign or non-cancerous growths. (Thinkstock photo)Colorectal cancer tends to arise from polyps that start out as benign or non-cancerous growths. (Thinkstock photo)

    In Singapore, colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer) continues to be the most common cancer affecting men. It is the second most common for women after breast cancer. It has been overall the most common cancer in Singapore over the last 10 years. It is a cancer that may be prevented or treated if discovered early.

    “Most types of colorectal cancer arise from polyps which start out as benign or non-cancerous growths from the cells lining the inside of the colon or rectum. The change from being benign to becoming cancerous may take years but once a polyp becomes cancerous, it can grow and invade surrounding organs,” says Associate Professor Tang Choong Leong, Head and Senior Consultant from the Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

    Colorectal cancer symptoms

    Most cases of early colon cancer hardly present any symptoms. Even during advanced stages, colon cancer can have seemingly benign symptoms:

    • Change in bowel
    Read More »from 1 in 5 colon cancer cases are young adults
  • Viral myocarditis may be a cause of unexplained sudden deaths. (Thinkstock photo)Viral myocarditis may be a cause of unexplained sudden deaths. (Thinkstock photo)

    If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or swollen feet and ankles following a bout of flu or viral infection, you should see a doctor to rule out a potentially fatal heart condition called viral myocarditis.

    People with mild viral myocarditis may feel no symptoms at all or they may experience a heart attack or severe heart failure (dilated cardiomyopathy) as the condition worsens.

    “Viral myocarditis may be the cause for a significant number of unexplained sudden deaths in seemingly healthy young people,” says Associate Professor Lim Chong Hee, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), a member of the SingHealth Group.

    Patients with viral myocarditis may be mistaken as having the flu because of the initial flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue and heart palpitations, adds Assoc Prof Lim, who is also Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Programme at NHCS.

    Women who get viral myocarditis in their final month

    Read More »from The flu-like heart infection that can kill
  • What other chemicals are in our foods?

    It was reported recently that the Subway chain of sandwich restaurants has decided to remove the chemical Azodicarbonamide from breads. Most consumers would prefer not to eat a chemical found in shoes and rubber mats. The most common symptom if you are sensitive to this chemical is asthma along with increased cancer risks.

    This is a good sign of a company listening to the voices of informed customers. As a side note, the breads in most other fast food chains like Dunkin Donuts, Burger King and Mcdonands also contain this chemical, so now you are a more informed customer as well! Hopefully our desire for healthier, non-cancerous food choices will make food producers give us what we want.

    But there are a bunch of other things in processed food that we should be aware of! Maybe if consumers give feedback about these we will find less of them in our foods. Here are some other common chemical additives that we should try to avoid.

    Bisphenol-A (BPA)

    This is a chemical found almost everywhere

    Read More »from What other chemicals are in our foods?

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