Fatigue or lethargy is the biggest and most common complaint of people today. Why does it seem so rampant now in men and women?
If we look at the world today, everyone is ever in a hurry to catch up on his or her work and life. We are so used to running the rat race that in the process, we risk running into a cycle of low energy and lack of motivation.
Fatigue then is like your best frenemy and you develop a feeling of apathy where you simply can’t be bothered anymore about day-to-day life. It’s a normal response to what’s going on as fatigue or lethargy can affect both physical and mental state.
You don’t have the energy to do things like you used to such as climbing the stairs, and you have difficulty in concentrating, feel sleepy all the time, etc. Experts say that 10% of people worldwide suffer from persistent tiredness at any one time and women are more affected by it than men.
The possible causes are endless but as far as medical history goes, these are the most common causes of lethargy.
Lack of sleep
Sounds like a clear enough reason but getting too little sleep can add up to your daily frustration. If you often stay up late, this can bring about fatigue as you struggle to work through the day and tasks at hand.
Not eating enough or having the wrong type of foods can be a problem. For example, if you start your day with doughnut, your blood sugar will peak and crash, which will then leave you sluggish for the rest of the day.
Read more: Why Your Food Is Making You Feel Tired
If you experience even moderate level of dehydration, it is big enough to make you feel mentally sluggish and mess with your concentration. If you’re feeling lightheaded or foggy, try drinking a glass or two of water.
Feelings of depression not only cause emotional symptoms but physical as well. Lethargy, headaches and loss of appetite are among the most common signs. If you’re feeling tired and down for more than a few weeks, do seek medical advice.
A certain degree of mental pressure is good to push you along. However, when stress becomes excessive, it can lead to worry and despair, which will eventually cause lethargy. Not being in control over a situation can be frustrating, annoying and very tiring.
Read more: 8 Ways Stress Affects Your Body
This condition happens when your body don’t have enough red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen to your tissues and organs. Women who are going through post-menopause or are having heavy periods are susceptible to anaemia.
Underlying medical issues
Two common medical explanations for fatigue are underactive thyroid and chronic fatigue syndrome. The former affects your metabolism function while the latter can be so bad that you can’t manage your daily activities.
The short answer is yes!
It is called ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ or stress-induced cardiomyopathy. It has another name, takotsubo cardiomyopathy – named by Japanese researchers after the tako-tsubo pot used in Japan to catch sea creatures, which apparently people’s hearts take a resemblance to when they experience the syndrome.
It is thought that you can die from a broken heart especially during period of intense grief and mourning but it is pretty rare. On the outside it looks like a heart attack but the damage to the heart seems more emotional rather than physiological.
Researchers find that women are more likely than men to experience this sudden, intense chest pain and shortness of breath. You can experience this even if you’re healthy.
Broken heart syndrome normally strikes after a bout of emotionally stressful event like the death of a loved one, a divorce, breakup or romantic rejection. It could even happen after a good shock like winning the lottery.
So not only can extreme sadness or happiness hurt us physiologically, it can have a direct impact on our physical bodies. During this period, your body unleashes a flood of chemicals including adrenaline, which may surge your heart muscle, leaving it unable to pump properly.
Even though it feels like you’re having a heart attack with similar symptoms and test results, it is different. Unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence to suggest blocked heart arteries in broken heart syndrome.
This is quite a peculiar syndrome as a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally, or with even more forceful contractions.
In rare cases, this can be fatal but the good news is that broken heart syndrome is treatable. The heart muscle recovers fairly quickly and that is the remarkable thing about the human heart.
This big ‘O’ is not of the pleasurable kind as you may think!
Obesity is fast becoming a threat to a majority of the world’s population today. Almost 30 percent or 2.1 billion people globally are either obese or overweight!
Obesity rates have increased in countries all over the world in what researchers called as the most comprehensive assessment conducted to date. Data were collected from 188 nations from 1980 to 2013.
What was once a condition associated with the affluent is now affecting all levels of society.
Researchers found that people of all ages, incomes and regions are becoming increasingly obese, with not one country succeeded in reducing obesity rates in more than three decades. The condition is also appearing more in the young, rising nearly 50 percent in children and adolescents worldwide.
It seems those in the Middle East and North Africa, Central America and the Pacific and Caribbean islands have now reached high obesity rates.
The biggest obesity rises among women came in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Honduras and Bahrain. Among men, it was in New Zealand, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The report by University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle found that the United States alone is home to the biggest chunk of the planet’s obese population at 13 percent.
Obesity is a serious issue as it is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers. Annually about 3.4 million adults die from chronic complications of weight, according to the World Health Organisation.
Pearly whites seem to be the stuff of TV commercials. No matter what we do, our teeth will never be as white.
Why do teeth become yellow?
Well, a number of different things can affect the colour of your teeth and most causes of tooth discolouration can be categorised into extrinsic or intrinsic stains.
Extrinsic stains are mostly noticeable on the surface of the enamel – the hard, outermost layer of your teeth.
These stains normally develop because of your diet. Dark-coloured foods and beverages like coffee, red wine, black tea, colas, dark sauces and various fruits such as grapes, blueberries and pomegranates are usually the culprit. These items contained a high amount of chromogens, which are pigment-producing substances that tend to stick to tooth enamel.
If you like acidic foods and beverages, this can worsen the matter as it can erode tooth enamel and make it easier for chromogens to attach to teeth. A bitter compound found in wine and tea called ‘tannin’ also helps chromogens to latch onto tooth enamel.
Other well-known factors of yellowing teeth are smoking and chewing tobacco, and poor dental hygiene, which allows dental plaque to accumulate on the teeth.
Intrinsic stains occur within the tooth. It happens when various factors alter the light-transmitting properties of the enamel and the underlying dentin.
It has been found that numerous medications can cause this internal stain. In children, antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline when taken while teeth are still developing (normally before the age of 8) can cause their teeth to turn brownish-yellow.
As for adults, chlorhexidine – an antiseptic used in prescription-strength mouthwash to treat gingivitis, can lead to discolourations. Other medications like the acne-fighting minocycline, antihistamine and blood pressure pills can sometimes cause yellow teeth too.
Besides these two stains – extrinsic and intrinsic, two other contributing factors of yellow teeth are genetics and ageing. Some people are just born with teeth that appear more yellow, or more white, than others.
This also has to do with the thickness of your enamel, which is semi-translucent so if you have thin enamel, the true colour of your naturally yellowish dentin will be more prominent. Similarly, when you age your enamel thins out, making teeth appear more yellow.
This is why you should not diagnose yourself with Wikipedia!
When you’re down with an unexplainable illness, it is only natural you’d turn to the Internet to find out what is causing you pain. It’s fast and easily available, but this could be a bad idea according to a US study.
Nine out of 10 Wikipedia entries contained factual errors!
Medical advice on Wikipedia are rife with inaccuracy because unlike traditional encyclopedia, this popular site lets ordinary users create, delete and edit entries. A factor that increases the risk of mistakes.
The US study compared Wikipedia articles with peer-reviewed medical information on lung cancer, depression, diabetes, coronary heart disease and other illnesses.
Many patients were putting themselves at risk by using the website as an alternative to doctor consultations. For example, an entry stated that to correctly diagnose high blood pressure, high readings must be obtained on three separate occasions. Researchers said that is not true and could lead to a delay in crucial treatment.
It was also reported that between 47 and 70 per cent of physicians and medical students admitted to using Wikipedia as a reference. Actual figure may be higher as some of those surveyed may have been reluctant to admit using the site.
The researchers from Campbell University advised that the best resource when seeking a diagnosis would still be to speak to a healthcare professional.
via: The Independent
Don’t be surprised but these symptoms could actually be why you’re having back pain.
When you’re sick with the cold or flu, your stress hormones might elevate and cause the feeling of pain. It makes you extra sensitive to other aches and pains that you might otherwise shrug off. Also, during this time your body tends to produce pyrogens to create fevers and help your body fight infection, but they’re also toxic to the body and contribute to that achy feeling you get when sick. Pyrogens tend to gather around nerves that transmit pain so if you’re backache prone it can worsen it.
The infection deep within the lungs can often manifest as pain in the middle back. If your back pain is associated with fever, difficulty breathing and persistent cough, then it’s a sign that you’re suffering from pneumonia and not a pulled muscle.
When a person is suffering from kidney stone, it can also feel like a muscle pull in the mid-back, somewhere around the rib cage. But if there’s no obvious injury, that excruciating pain that comes with your backache is not normal.
Women who are already susceptible to back pain can have their aches made worse by endometriosis. The condition in which the uterine lining grows outside the uterus and irritates surrounding tissue, can lead to abdominal and lower back pain that spikes during the menstrual period.
The hardening of the arteries affects the large blood vessels, which run right in front of the spine. In the elderly, atherosclerosis can cause weakening of the wall of the large arterial blood vessel in the abdomen which may lead to a bulging (aneurysm) of the aorta wall. This can send a pulsating low back pain.
Though extremely rare, bacterial infections of the discs or bones in the spine can happen. It is possible to contract Tuberculosis in the spine, which is called Pott’s disease. Generally, bacterial infections of bones or discs could be a contributing factor to back ache, they’re usually quite serious.
Shingles is caused by a virus called Herpes Zoster, the same virus that causes chicken pox. Shingles affects the nerves that provide sensation to the skin. It is believed that after you fight off chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in the nerve roots. So in most people, it never acts up again as Shingles but in times of extreme stress or people with a compromised immune system, it can present itself. When it strikes, it can cause pain along the nerves, especially lumbar nerves in your lower back.
The MenCare Project is a collaboration between the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO) and Pfizer Malaysia. The MenCare Project endeavours to encourage men to support breast cancer screening for the women in their lives. Early detection is key.
Breast cancer continues to be the predominant cancer amongst women in Malaysia. One in 19 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85 and about 4,000 women are diagnosed each year, mostly between 35-60 years. Local research has shown that malaysian women are more likely to go for breast cancer screening if the men in their lives are supportive.
The MenCare Project was launched in 2006 by NCWO and Pfizer which revolves around the revolutionary initiative to involve men in increasing awareness of breast health and improving update of breast cancer screening services.
This year, MenCare launches The MenCare Coffee Table Book ‘Don’t Let Her Stand Alone’ to commemorate 5 years of continuous advocacy by MenCare. The book has a collection of inspirational anecdotes from survivors and their husbands, information on breast cancer screening and signs and symptoms to look out for.
The MenCare blog was also launched at the same time to provide an online support for men and the women in their life and it functions as a forum for everyone to share their experiences and to gain insight and inspiration from each other.
Amongst the male celebrities that showed up to show their support for MenCare were Chan Fong, Sharizan Borhan, Hansen Lee, Kid Chan and Henry Golding. Henry himself was very supportive of the effort having seen his mother go through cancer when he was just 6 years old. She then suffered a relapse two years later but is now fully recovered. He believes strongly that men can lend strength to the women in their lives via this program and that men can do their part by educating themselves and communicating openly with their partner about the disease.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer:
1. Change in the nipple – the shape, crusting, a sore or an ulcer, redness. Nipple turning in when it used to stick out.
2. Change in the skin of the breast, including a dimpling, unusual redness or other colour changes.
3. Changes in shape and size.
4. A lump, lumpiness or thickening.
5. Unusual discharge from the nipple without squeezing.
6. Persistent or unusual pain that is unrelated to monthly menstrual cycle that remains after some time, occurring in one breast only.
If you have any of those symptoms, please go to your doctor immediately to get checked. Do not wait! Early detection saves lives.
While there are many forms of diseases and illnesses that affect both men and women, there are cases that do affect the latter more than the former.
Women are susceptible to the big three female cancers – Breast, Ovarian, and Cervical Cancers..and the facts are alarming.
Did you know that:
- 1 in 9 women will most probably develop breast cancer sometime in their life
- In 2002, over 14,000 women were diagnosed with cancer
- 75 cases of cancer are diagnosed each day in Malaysia
- The chances of a daughter contracting hereditary cancer from her mother increases 10-fold
So what can you do to prepare and prevent for the Big 3?
1. Limit Alcohol & Quit Smoking
The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer and various research has shown that there is a link between smoking and breast cancer. Therefore, these are two vices you should try to eliminate from your life.
2. Get Healthy
Besides eating cleaner and leaner, do your body another favour by being physically active. It’s extremely important to maintain a healthy weight as being obese or overweight increases the risk of cancer too.
3. Limit the Dose and Duration of Hormone Therapy
If you frequently use birth control pills or anything else that containes hormones to alter how your body works (ie. Menopause), be aware that using a combination for more than three to five years increases the risk of cancer. Do ensure you speak to your doctor about other options if possible.
4. Get Insured
If all else fails, you want to make sure you’re adequately prepared. These days, there are insurance companies that cater specifically to the concerns of women without burning a hole in the bank.
This article is brought to you by Etiqa Insurance & Takaful.
Etiqa has a Suri 4-in-1 comprehensive protection plan that pays cash upon diagnosis and other hospitalisation benefits from as low as RM1.38 a day. More information available here.
Hands up, who is guilty of committing this offense before?
Sometimes the urge to go is strong in the wide, welcoming blue pool but if you know what’s good for you, you’ll now stop using the swimming pool as your personal toilet.
Scientists from China Agricultural University and Purdue University warned that urinating in the pool could lead to health problems.
It was found that when compounds in the urine mix with chlorine, it could bring about a chemical reaction, which has been linked to cause respiratory effects in swimmers.
Chlorine, which is widely used to disinfect pools, can potentially react to a number of chemicals found in human sweat and urine.
Most commonly is uric acid which accounted for 24 to 68 percent of the byproduct cyanogen chloride in the pool water samples collected for the studies. The percentage variation depended on temperature, water pH and chlorine condition.
Cyanogen chloride can have adverse effects on multiple organs, including the lungs, heart and central nervous system through inhalation.
Swimmers are warned to stop the common practice of peeing in pools to improve the air and water quality.
Source: Daily Mail
With the increasing number of dengue cases occurring around Malaysia, knowledge on the signs, symptoms and precautions of the illness is crucial.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms?
Here’s the low-down on dengue fever: All it takes is one bite from one Aedes mosquito to infect a person. It is also important to note that the signs are not immediate after the bite — the virus would usually takes five to eight days to incubate before symptoms begin to appear.
Due to the fact that there are different severities of dengue fever, the symptoms can vary and are categorised into these three stages below:
Mild Dengue Fever: Symptoms of this stage can appear up to seven days after the Aedes mosquito bite, and usually disappear after a week. The good news is that this form of the disease hardly results in serious or fatal complications. Symptoms of mild dengue fever are:
- Aching muscles and joints
- Body rash that can disappear and then reappear
- High fever (40°C) for up to a week
- Intense headache
- Pain behind the eyes
- Vomiting and feeling nauseous
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF): In some cases, mild dengue fever might gradually result to DHF after a number of days. As DHF is fatal if left untreated, timeliness is a key factor to treatment during this stage. Mild dengue fever symptoms tend to occur in DHF, as well as the ones listed below:
- Bleeding from your mouth/gums
- Clammy skin
- Considerably damaged lymph and blood vessels
- Internal bleeding, which can result in black vomit and faeces (stools)
- Lower number of platelets in blood – these are the cells that help clot your blood
- Sensitive stomach
- Small blood spots under your skin
- Weak pulse
Dengue Shock Syndrome: This is the worst form of dengue, with fatality rates up to as high as 50%. Along with mild dengue fever symptoms, signs that are likely to appear are:
- Intense stomach pain
- Sudden hypotension (fast drop in blood pressure)
- Heavy bleeding
- Regular vomiting
- Blood vessels leaking fluid
What Precautions Can We Take?
Although there are neither vaccine nor drugs that can successfully prevent the infection of dengue, certain precautions can be done to prevent the breeding and biting of Aedes mosquitos.
1. Mosquitos are more active during early mornings, late evening and night; which is why it’s advised to stay clear of dengue hot spots and breeding grounds during these times.
2. Install mosquito screens in windows and doors.
3. Prevent mosquito bites by wearing socks, shoes, long pants and/or long sleeved tops.
4. Insect repellents are your best friends. If you’re not a fan of the spray on types, get anti-mosquito patches.
5. Take note and clean up potential breeding grounds around your home and surroundings: