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.