cat-right

Understanding and Managing Hypertension

Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is a condition wherein there is prolonged high pressure on the walls of the arteries. It is a dangerous condition as it makes the heart work above its capacity, causing the arteries to harden over time (a condition called atherosclerosis).

Hypertension increases one’s risk of other dangerous and potentially fatal conditions such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure—some of the leading causes of death in modern times.

Risk Factors for Hypertension
Risk factors for high blood pressure are either controllable or uncontrollable.
Its two uncontrollable risk factors are age and genetics. Men above 55 years old are unavoidably at a higher risk of developing the condition; for women, the age is 65. Having a family member with hypertension also increases one’s chance of developing it.

Controllable risk factors of hypertension include the following: a high-cholesterol diet, diabetes, being overweight, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. Risk factors compound; thus the presence of multiple factors raises one’s chance of having hypertension exponentially.

Blood Pressure Levels in Adults
Blood pressure level is read by combining a person’s systolic and diastolic levels. Normal blood pressure have systolic level lower than 120 and diastolic level lower than 80; persons with a systolic level between 120 and 139, or diastolic level between 80 and 89 are considered prehypertension; while persons with a systolic level above 140 or diastolic level above 90 are considered hypertensive.

Individuals with prehypertension should already take measures to lower their blood pressure, such as by following a healthier diet and becoming more active.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Hypertension
While most people will have hypertension in their old age, it can still be prevented or delayed. Luckily, avoiding the condition is the same as simply following a healthy lifestyle. This means doing the following:

• Avoiding eating salty foods
• Limiting alcohol consumption
• Observing a healthy, balanced diet
• Staying within one’s recommended BMI
• Taking medication only as prescribed, and
• Maintaining an active lifestyle

Weight and Hypertension
Weight is perhaps the biggest factor in controlling hypertension, with one’s risk of developing high blood pressure rising along with one’s weight. Furthermore, risk of heart disease (the biggest cause of death in developed countries) are higher for people who are overweight or obese.

Objectively monitoring one’s risk for high blood pressure requires watching one’s body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. Overweight and obese people should immediately take action to reduce the effects of hypertension.

Understanding BMI
BMI compares one’s height and weight, thus giving an approximate total body fat. (Note that it’s fat that actually makes one prone to hypertension, not being heavy per se.) The normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9; an overweight BMI is 25 to 29.9; and an obese person has a BMI of 30 or higher. However, some people with a high BMI may simply be muscular; therefore it’s also important to measure one’s waist.

What You Need to Know About Acid Reflux

Acid reflux (also known as heartburn) is a medical condition characterized by a burning and/or sensation around the chest area caused by acids in the stomach going back up the esophagus.

One of the most common medical problems in Singapore, it’s estimated that about 60% of the population will experience some form of the condition at some point in their adult lives. The medical term for acid reflux is gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD.

Causes
The causes and triggers of acid reflux vary. Most people who have the condition exhibit the following:

• Abnormalities in the lower esophageal sphincter
• Abnormalities in esophageal contractions
• Slow digestion of food in the stomach
• Hiatal hernias

Factors that increase the chances of a person having acid reflux are:

• Eating very large meals
• Obesity or being overweight
• Lying down or bending after a heavy meal
• Eating before going to sleep
• Pregnancy
• Smoking
• Eating certain foods, such as tomatoes, citrus and chocolate
• Taking certain medications like ibuprofen, aspirin and muscle relaxants

Symptoms
The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, the burning sensation in the chest as acids go back up the food pipe. Other symptoms include:

• Nausea
• Laryngitis
• Hoarseness
• Regurgitation
• Ear pain
• Asthma
• Salivating
• Lingering bitter taste
• Teeth corrosion (due to the acids)
• Trouble swallowing
• Chronic cough
• Sore throat

Acid reflux is unusual as, in some people, resting only makes the pain worse

Treatment and Prevention
The most common treatment for acid reflux is taking antacids, an over-the-counter medicine that works by reducing the acidity of the stomach. This is advised for infrequent episodes. However, antacids are not advised for regular use as they inhibit absorption of nutrients.

For persistent or chronic acid reflux, a GP may advise taking specific medications like proton-pump inhibitors or H2-receptor antagonists. In severe cases, surgery may be requires to prevent the acid from leaking into the esophagus.

Self-help measures can also be practiced to treat or prevent acid reflux. These include eating smaller meals, chewing food carefully, avoiding foods that trigger the condition, maintaining a healthy weight/BMI, and raising one’s head when sleeping.

Complications
Occasional acid reflux is normal and may need no further treatment. However chronic episodes may cause serious complications, such as ulcers in the stomach or esophagus, scarring and narrowing of the esophagus (this will make swallowing more difficult), and Barrett’s esophagus (a condition the cell linings change).

Getting the help of a medical professional is advised for people who experience prolonged or repeated acid reflux, severe pain, difficulty swallowing, or for whom OTC medicines provide no relief.

Everything You Need to Know About Aromatherapy and...

Aromatherapy is becoming more widely used in households for anxiety, insomnia, and for tiredness and exhaustion in general. They are also becoming more popular in a lot of clinics and nursing homes as a way to take stress away from patients.

But what exactly is aromatherapy and how can it help you?

What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the process of using natural, or “essential”, oils that are extracted from different kinds of plant material, such as stems, roots, leaves, and even flowers and bark. The “use” often means heating the oil in order to release the smell, but there are also other ways that this can be done.

Different plants have different medicinal properties that can heal certain conditions and help to relax people who are anxious and stressed, which makes aromatherapy a popular practice in various forms of healthcare.

Why You Should Get Started
Aromatherapy is great for treating the following:
• Stress
• Anxiety
• Fatigue
• High blood pressure
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Asthma
• Congestion
• Coughing

It’s also a great way for feeling good in general, especially after a long day, as the scents themselves are oils from plants that are also used in a lot of perfume, skin care, and even hair products, such as shampoo.

There are also a lot of qualities that the scents from essential oils are known for, such as the following:
• Lavender – Soporific
• Sweet orange – Playful
• Frankincense, tangerine – Calming
• Cinnamon leaf – Amorous

Essential oils have also been used in cleaning products because of their antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

How to Use Aromatherapy
While aromatherapy has been around for a long time, newer methods, such as a diffuser, make it more efficient and allow you to get the most out of your oils.

You can also skip the diffuser and just inhale it directly by applying a small amount on your palm and rubbing your hands together, after which you can take a few deep breaths of the oil. Keep in mind that when applying oils directly, keep them away from your eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.

On Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used topically aside from aromatherapy, and can have significant effects when applied on certain pressure points in the right amount and in the right dosage.

When it comes to topical applications, carrier oils are often used, such as jojoba, argan, or coconut oil. This is because some essential oils are more potent than others and can cause certain skin irritations and allergies.
Carrier oils dilute the essential oil to make it safe enough that you can apply it to your body, and you can both buy and even make these oils in your own home by chopping up plant material and boiling them for their extracts in a simple, easy to do process.

4 Surprising Things You Need to Know About Your Ai...

When the humid climate in Singapore starts to make you really sweaty, you want to be able to count on your aircon unit at home or at work to make sure that you stay cool and comfortable, and if it’s in your office, keeping cool can keep productivity high.

Every aircon unit needs a little bit of care to keep on running as smoothly as possible. However, there are a few more things you need to know about your air-conditioning units, such as the following:

1. Dirty aircon filters will kill your airflow and efficiency.
Filters don’t just maintain the quality of the cool air you get – they also Aircon filters keep dust, debris, and even tiny mold spores from getting into the unit’s fan, but it can eventually build up over time. When this happens, your A/C unit will have to work harder, which results in potential overworking and reduced overall performance.

Aside from regularly cleaning the filters, you can keep your aircon units cool by installing blinds or awnings to shield them from direct sunlight (which can also decrease their overall performance).

2. You can connect your aircon to a thermostat to keep your room cool.
One of the best parts about having an A/C unit at home is that you can program it to start cooling at any time of the day.

For instance, when you are away, you can program it to start at a certain time, such as when you get out of work. That way, when you get home, you will always be greeted with a cool breeze that serves as a welcome break.

3. Aircon units have a limited life span.
Different types of aircon units have different life spans. While a good HVAC will most likely have a lifespan between fifteen and twenty years, the average AC unit will have a lifespan six to eight, and can last up to ten with good maintenance.

This makes maintaining your aircon units a must if you want to keep them working efficiently well past their shelf life, and especially if you start seeing any signs that could indicate that something is off with your unit, such as smoke and funny noises or smells.

4. Aircon servicing for your units is a must.
Maintaining your aircon unit/s for your home or office is one thing, but regular servicing to make sure they are always in peak condition is another.

You will especially need to call aircon servicing if you experience problems for your unit/s, and because most problems will be electrical, looking for problems such as blown fuses and circuit breakers can save you a lot of problems later on.

5 Signs You’re a Millennial Mom

As parents, we often find ourselves shaking our heads while saying, “kids these days”—kids of today’s generation who would rather stare at their phone than personally communicating with people around them. And then we come to think: what happens to these kids when they grow up and become parents?

Well, it’s already happening. Millennial adults are those born between 1980 and early 2000s. And if you happen to be one of them and already have kids, then you’re classified as a millennial mom. Here are some fun facts that you can relate to.

1. You are into technology and social media.
Today’s generation of parents has grown and matured with technology, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that moms are highly connected. In an average, moms use four social media accounts—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest—and spend up to 17 hours a week on these networks. That’s like four hours more each week than average moms!

2. You do not want to be a mom all the time.
“Alone time” and “pamper day” is non-negotiable for today’s generation of moms. In fact, many would prefer to pay extra to have someone help them take care of the kids, manage their busy schedule and tackle some household chores.

3. You let your kids lead the way.
From weaning to letting your climb trees and ride their first bike, most millennial moms allow their kids to experience life at its rawest. Whether they get dirty, hurt or wounded, you prefer your kids to lead the way. You want to make your kids fee that they have choices that you didn’t had when you were their age.

4. You are naturally creative.
Although you are educated of how things should work, you still find creative ways to make things work and perhaps inspire other moms. Whether blogging about your highs and lows with your kids, vlogging about your everyday life or opening an Etsy shop for your custom-made goodies, you always come up with a fun idea to engage with moms and parents like you.

5. You are seriously smart.
More of today’s generation have college degree than any other young adults of other generation. And considering that women today are more well-rounded and liberated, it’s a given that mom’s today are smarter and more open-minded.

These changes are not as bad as what people perceived it is. Change is constant, and so are the ways of how women raise their children and their family. Embrace it and learn to make it work for you, your family and everyone around you.

4 Signs He’s Not Feeling the Spark and You Need to...

Trying to figure out whether a guy likes you can be exasperating. It could be like he’s showing interest or maybe he’s just being nice because she doesn’t want to offend you.

However, when a guy really likes you, it is usually obvious—so too when he doesn’t. The uncertainty comes to picture when he falls somewhere in between. Since every woman who’s in the dating scene would want to know whether a guy likes them or not, here are some signs that’s screaming they need to move in because he’s just not that into you.

1. You always make the first move.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with women making the first move. But that shouldn’t mean that you should always be the one to ask him out and keep things moving along. Does it look like he’s just saing yes to whatever you say, but is not actually pursuing to get your attention? The, that’s a red flag.

2. You’re the one who’s making all the plans.
Look back on the last few dates you had. Were you the one making the plans every single time you go out? Were you the one who chose the restaurant or bar? You might think that your date at the arcade was cute and fun, but if you suggested for that and he just agreed with you, maybe he just went along because he had nothing else to do. That may sound harsh, but it could be true. You want your partner to work with you and put in some effort to every plan you make, if he doesn’t, well maybe because he’s not that into you.

3. You envy other couples.
When you’re single, it just makes sense when you feel envious of couples. However, when you’re already in a relationship, you should not feel that way since you already have someone you share interests and you’re satisfied with. Therefore, feeling jealous of couples is a sign that something is not going right and you are not treated the way you need and want to.

4. You remember everything, while he remembers nothing
This can make you feel like an idiot. It’s like you think you are already a couple and he is treating you like you just first met. If you know so much about him and always remember to ask how his day went, but he can’t remember your favourite restaurant or something you just brought up yesterday, that’s not a good sign.

It can be hard to admit, but if you can relate to any of these signs, you might want to check with him what he’s really up to for the both of you—whether or not you’re officially a couple.

4 Phone Battery Myths, Debunked!

In the past few years, smartphone manufacturers worked hard to improve the quality and lifespan of phone batteries—and a lot has changed ever since. It means that those tips you heard to stretch out your phone’s battery life five to 10 years ago may no longer be as effective as they once were.

So, before telling your friend with iPhone X to disable his Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, let us shed some light on the old beliefs that many of us are probably still preaching about.

Myth 1: It’s detrimental to the battery to keep it plugged in overnight.
Your touchscreen phone is called smartphone for a reason—it has smart technology that automatically stops your phone from charging when its battery reaches 100 percent recharged. Instead of continuous supply of energy from the power source to the battery, your phone enters ‘trickle charge’ mode when it is plugged in and full. With that being said, leaving your gadget charging overnight is not detrimental to its battery.

Myth 2: Keeping your Wi-Fi switched on will kill the battery sooner.
Although this is slightly true, it isn’t noticeable. Keeping your Wi-Fi does consume some energy, but very mild that that you cannot notice it. When your phone automatically searches for Wi-Fi connection, it is only catching signals from access points to let you know that there are connections nearby. This is a very low energy-consuming task and is not taking up to much battery juice at all.

Myth 3: Avoid using your phone when charging.
You’ve probably heard this advice from a concerned mom or from your tech-savvy grandpa. They say that using your phone while it is plugged in can electrocute you or make your phone explode. Although the recharging time before your battery fully juiced up is longer when your phone is in use, the performance of a charging phone’s circuitry is the same. So, if you need to make an important call or want to check your Facebook, fiddling with your phone while charging won’t harm you.

Myth 4: Disabling functions like Location Services and Bluetooth drastically improves battery life.
While this used to be true, Bluetooth and Location Services of smartphones today are no longer as bloodthirsty as before. If they used to suck the life out of your old phone’s battery like a vampire, now you can enable the function all day without noticing its toll on your phone’s performance. Although this additional use of service means additional use of energy, we are talking about a very little battery life difference—like 30 minutes shorter over the span of 24 hours, not really worth the hassle.

Now that you have a clearer idea of what your smartphone is really capable of doing, try to maximize its usage. After all, smartphones do not come cheap, so try to make the most out of yours.

How to Avoid Food Poisoning While Travelling Abroa...

Vomiting and diarrhea are the most unwanted companions any traveler could have. But how can you experience authentic local foods in a new place without troubling your stomach?

Here, we’ll spell out some tricks on how to avoid food poisoning, while still being able to eat like a local.

1. Find a busy place
A busy and well-visited place means higher food turnover, which also means greater food freshness and less likely that what you’re having has been sitting around for long hours at unstable temperature. So even if you have to wait for your food to be served, simply take it as a little sacrifice for a safer meal that won’t trouble your tummy during your entire vacation.

2. Go for hot and steaming foods
High temperatures kill germs and bacteria that can cause digestive problems. Lukewarm and cool temperature, on the other hand, encourages bacterial growth. When deciding on a meal, find places that serve freshly cooked items—ones that you can see smoking and steaming hot when served.

3. Opt for fruits with peels
Exploring developing countries is not the best time to try out fresh salads or any raw food. But since it’s inevitable to crave for fresh fruits, look for ones that you have to peel yourself. Avoid peeled mangoes and fruit juices from street vendors. Instead, visit a fruit and veggie market and buy unpeeled fruits, like bananas, oranges, pineapple, watermelon and the like, for your own consumption.

4. Look for signs of good hygiene
When eating locally, expect different food standards from your home country. Vendors may prepare your food with their bare hands and probably most of the food is not properly stored. However, there are still many who you can trust when it comes to food hygiene. Look for things like tongs and serving utensils, food covers, steaming hot food and sinks with water and soap when deciding where to dine.

5. Always wash your hands before eating
Your very own two hands can also be a cause of stomach problems. Besides making sure that your food is handled hygienically, also ensure you have clean hands before touching your food. At the very least carry sanitizing wet wipes or a pocket sanitizer you can use before and after every meal.

6. Drink Safe Water
Tap water is one of the common causes of stomach problems among travelers. But even if you’re buying a bottle of water or any beverage from a mini mart, see to it that it’s safe and clean by checking the seal. It should be intact, and the bottle should not be distorted or damaged in any way.

Street and local foods are an essential part of travelling and experiencing the place’s culture, and the fear of food poisoning shouldn’t stop you from trying authentic local cuisines. Knowing what to do in advance is the key to enjoying authentic food and making sure that you stay healthy all throughout your trip.