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Any amount of regular running is associated with a lower risk of dying prematurely, particularly from cancer or heart disease, compared to not running at all, a research review suggests.

Researchers examined data from 14 previous studies with a total of 232,149 adults who were followed for 5.5 to 35 years. During that time, 25,951 of them died.

Compared to individuals who didn’t run at all, those who did were 27 per cent less likely to die for any reason during the study, 30 per cent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and 23 per cent less likely to die of cancer.

The frequency, duration, pace and total weekly running time didn’t appear to impact the lowered mortality risk associated with running, the analysis found.

“Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity,” Zeljko Pedisic of the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues write in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits,” Pedisic and colleagues write.

The World Health Organisation recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or at least 75 minutes of intense activity every week.

Ideally, each exercise session should last at least 10 minutes.

Moderate-intensity activities can include things like brisk walking, gardening, ballroom dancing, water aerobics or a leisurely bike ride.

Vigorous exercise includes things like jogging, lap swimming and cycling at a minimum of 10 miles per hour, according to the American Heart Association.

The current analysis, however, suggests that running much less than these guidelines recommend could still make a big difference, the researchers conclude.

For example, running no more than once a week for less than 50 minutes at a speed below 6 mph (or below 8 kph) still seemed to be associated with longevity benefits.

This means running for 25 minutes less than the recommended weekly duration of vigorous physical activity could boost longevity, the researchers note.

This makes running a potentially good option for those whose main obstacle to exercise is lack of time, they say.

But upping the “dose” by running longer than the guidelines suggest wasn’t associated with a further lowering of the risk of death from any cause, the analysis showed.

The analysis wasn’t designed to prove whether or how running might impact death rates.

And the studies included in the analysis did not account completely for other factors that might influence the results, such as illnesses besides cancer or heart disease that could prevent some people from running and contribute to their earlier death, the authors note.

In addition, the analysis doesn’t show how much running is ideal, how fast people should go, or how long or far each workout should be for optimal longevity benefits.

-asiaone

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The hallmark of modern living can be summed up quite nicely with these words: So much to do, so little time. Work, play, family, friends, interests – these all call for our attention and we wholeheartedly embrace the challenges of juggling these many elements of our lives.

Between balancing our needs and finding the time to do so, other areas of our lives may end up short-changed, especially those that we deem not as important, especially meals.

Eating too fast or missing meals because we need to balance the demands on our time places unnecessary stress on our digestive system, and this can badly impact our health.

Heartburn, metabolic problems, heart disease, weight gain, indigestion, feeling bloated, stomach cramps – these are just some of the problems that could crop up if you do not take your time when you eat.

Tips for a better digestive health

To help prevent digestive problems, here’s what you can do:

Chew properly: Thoroughly chew and swallow each bite before taking another bite. Taking smaller bites also helps you chew better.

♦ Drink enough water between meals: As a rule of thumb, you should consume two to three liters of fluids daily, from food and beverages (plain water is the best). This also depends on your age, gender, lifestyle, weather and condition (i.e. pregnant or breastfeeding).

♦ Increase fibre intake: Dietary fibre increases stool bulk and softens it, making it easier to pass. Other health benefits include controlling blood sugar and lowering cholesterol levels. Get your fibre from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and other legumes.

♦ More probiotics: Another main component of the digestive system is the gut microbiota, microorganisms serving various roles in the gut. For the gut to be at its optimum level, the gut microbiota needs to be a balance of good and bad bacteria. Consuming probiotics may help maintain the balance.

According to a study conducted by Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2018, regular consumption of live cultured milk drinks containing L. acidophilus and L. paracasei showed positive effects on the research subjects’ digestive health whereby their food digestion time from 20 to 45 hours was reduced by five to 15 hours, and they also showed improvements in constipation symptoms.

More clinical trials are ongoing worldwide to clarify the role and explore the potentials of probiotics.

♦ Beware of food sensitivities: Many people aren’t aware that they suffer from food sensitivities, thinking that their recurrent stomach-ache or bloating symptoms are just coincidental. These can affect digestion and nutrient absorption. Dairy products and grains are among the common causes. Consult an expert to detect possible offending foods and improve your digestion. Food sensitivity is different from food allergy.

♦ Practise mindful eating: This means paying attention to the way food is prepared and consumed. It makes you more aware of how your body is affected by your eating habit. It starts from buying your ingredients, so choose more natural produces and less processed foods. Appreciate the food on your table and try to savour the meal. Another way is to use small tableware to limit your portions. These habits help you to eat slower, which aids digestion.

Eating is not only to savour the taste of food and satisfy our hunger, but also to sustain ourselves with nutrients. However, we tend to forget that digestion is also part of the eating process after food disappears into our stomach.

This process is as important as choosing the food we eat. Having good digestion also ensures our body is properly nourished and stays healthy.

-star2

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The status quo of medical practice is so deeply rooted in society that most people would not think of treatment options other than drugs, in treating chronic conditions or preventing them altogether.

Healthcare as it is currently practised, is reactionary, i.e. you only seek medical attention when you experience symptoms and sickness.

The focus is on diagnosing the immediate problem and curing the symptoms with drugs or supplements.

Additionally, health screenings that are ordered in this current system only go as far as catching a disease already in the body, not in anticipating and preventing it.

Managing the symptoms of an illness alone brings a high risk of allowing the real problem to worsen, and this happens more often than we think.

By administering medication that comes with its own side effects, you are only applying a plaster to a gaping wound that will become worse if you don’t properly identify the root cause of the issue.

The body is denied the opportunity to heal itself while it still has a chance, and by the time you discover the root cause, you may require advanced care and more medications.

A reactionary style of administering healthcare does have its merits, specifically for urgent and life-threatening situations.

A heart attack, an allergic reaction or an infection are certainly not cases where functional healthcare would be practical, and you would need a health provider’s immediate intervention for such problems.

However, when it comes to chronic conditions that are influenced by everyday choices in daily life, such as the food you eat, the intensity of physical activities, travel plans and more, drugs and other quick response treatments may provide short-term fixes, but falter in the long run.

Consider an iceberg, where what you see is less than a third of the entire thing as the remainder is hidden below sea level.

Chronic illnesses like cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia and diabetes are “visible” above sea level, but what causes these illnesses remain submerged, because we aren’t diving deeper for further examination.

On the contrary, functional medicine is a whole-body approach that focuses on customised and personalised care for each person.

This isn’t a new concept either.

As far back as 1889, when the father of modern medicine Sir Dr William Osler was appointed one of the four founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the United States, he was quoted as saying, ”The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”

What is functional medicine?

The concept of functional medicine revolves around the idea that the cause of most chronic illnesses is due to an underlying dysfunction and imbalance in our internal system.

When building a diagnosis, a health provider doesn’t stop at “what is the problem?”. They also go on to ask: “Why did this happen?”

And the follow-up includes diagnostic testing, counselling and other treatments backed by research and science.

The goal is to correct any imbalances, while ensuring that the patient is equipped to maintain a lifestyle that prevents potential conditions from escalating.

These two questions are the foundation of functional medicine, which also includes understanding a patient’s medical history, symptoms, activities and lifestyle.

From there, it is possible to find out what’s lacking in a patient’s physical system and set a course to help correct the imbalance.

Your health provider will also identify the roadblocks and any potential issues that may hinder your progress towards optimal health and function.

Treatment in functional medicine can involve any of the following:

• Making nutritional and lifestyle changes, such as getting better quality sleep and exercising effectively.

• Eating whole foods instead of unhealthy processed foods.

• Taking natural agents like supplements, herbs, nutraceuticals and homeopathics.

• Taking bioidentical hormones.

• Going for emotional counselling.

• Assessing family medical history and using nutrigenomics as a means of prevention.

• Strengthening the body’s normal healing abilities.

• Precribing drugs if necessary, or surgery.

Additionally, teaching patients about what’s going on in their own body enables them to be more proactive about their own health on a daily basis, leading to better results in overall treatment.

Illustration photo shows various medicine pills in their original packaging in Brussels, Belgium August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Illustration

Diving into the cause

Currently, conventional healthcare leans towards the practice of prescribing medication to help stop symptoms.

For example, if you have pain, you are prescribed painkillers, or if you have sleep problems, you will be prescribed sleeping pills.

But if it is a chronic problem with deeper underlying issues, the symptoms will come back or you may become addicted to the medications.

Functional medicine doesn’t smooth over the problem with drugs alone.

If drugs are indeed prescribed, the main goal is to shift an individual’s physical wellbeing down a path that will eventually not require the use of drugs, and instead, focus on the underlying causes that trigger the symptoms and improving the body’s natural functions.

For instance, the conventional treatment for heartburn is to take medicines that will alleviate the symptoms temporarily.

In functional medicine, the doctor sets a course of discovery to determine the root cause of the heartburn.

If it turns out that what’s causing it is Helicobacter pylori bacteria, your doctor would then take steps to help to put an end to the bacteria, and along with it, your heartburn woes.

Functional medicine also does not assume that a set of symptoms will always point towards the same common ailments.

Patients may display similar symptoms, but the individual diagnosis may turn out to be vastly different, due to individual medical history, physiological makeup and more.

Functional medicine makes going to the doctor a worthwhile endeavour, because when you are receiving treatment based on the root cause of your symptoms, you lessen the stress of taking short-term medication and increase your chances of getting better.

Although contemporary conventional medicine is very advanced, especially when treating acute diseases, emergency trauma or infections, and will continue to serve society, it is time to start using functional medicine in our treatment rooms more frequently.

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New UK research has found that exposure to air pollution is significantly affecting our memory, causing a loss in memory which could be equivalent to up to ten years of ageing.

Carried out by researchers from the University of Warwick, the new study looked at a nationally-representative sample of 34,000 individuals across 318 geographical areas in England.

The researchers collected information on air quality for each district, including levels of both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10), which are particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or smaller. Both are produced by burning fossil fuels from car and other vehicle exhausts, power plants and industrial emissions.

The participants were asked to remember 10 words in a standardised word-recall test and were given a score from zero to 10 based on their answers.

The researchers also took into account participants’ age, health, level of education, ethnicity, and family and employment status, which are factors that can impact memory.

The findings, set to be published in the journal Ecological Economics, showed that memory scores were significantly worse for participants living parts of England with high levels of NO2 and PM10.

In fact, the researchers estimated that the difference in memory between England’s cleanest areas, found on the west coastline in districts such as Devon and West Somerset, and most-polluted areas, places like Kensington and Islington in London, is equivalent to the loss of memory from 10 extra years of ageing.

“When it comes to remembering a string of words, a 50-year old in polluted Chelsea performs like a 60-year old in Plymouth. We are still not exactly sure how nitrogen dioxide and air particulates act to do this,” commented co-author Professor Andrew Oswald.

The researchers say that although caution is always needed when interpreting a causal relationship, they describe the results as “concerning,” and add that they are consistent with those produced by animal studies, although this is one of the first studies to confirm the results in humans.

“There is a little prior evidence of a negative association between levels of traffic pollution and memory using data on elderly individuals and in children,” said co-author Professor Nattavudh Powdthavee, “but almost all research in human studies on this topic has been based on elementary correlations and not on nationally representative samples of individuals in a country. We have tried to solve these two problems in our study.” 

-malaymail

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Malaysia is planning to introduce strict regulations on the sale and use of electronic cigarettes and vaporisers, health officials said on Tuesday (Oct 1), as countries around the world move to ban devices that have been linked to deaths and youth addiction.

India, which has the second-largest population of adult smokers in the world, banned the sale of e-cigarettes last month as it warned of a vaping “epidemic” among young people.

Public health officials in the United States recommended against using e-cigarettes after 12 deaths and 805 cases of illnesses linked to e-cigarette use were reported.

The global market for e-cigarettes was worth US$15.7 billion (S$21.74 billion) in 2018, according to data from Euromonitor International, and is projected to more than double to US$40 billion in 2023.

Malaysia wants to club e-cigarettes and vaporisers together with tobacco products under a single law that would prohibit promotions and advertising, usage in public areas and use by minors, the Health Mnistry said.

“Increasingly more studies have shown vape/electronic cigarettes… are still harmful to human health. Furthermore, vapes/e-cigarettes are still not proven to be an effective modality to quit smoking,” it said in an e-mail.

The ministry said the recent spate of deaths and illnesses linked to e-cigarette use in the United States added urgency to Malaysia’s review of its policies.

An estimated five million Malaysians aged 15 and older are smokers out of a total population of about 32 million, according to the most recent national health and morbidity survey by the Health Ministry in 2015.

The final draft of the new Tobacco Control and Smoking Act has been completed and submitted to the attorney-general for a final review, the ministry said.

“We really hope that the new Act can be tabled in Parliament next year,” the ministry’s e-mail said.

Tobacco products in Malaysia are currently regulated under the Food Act but there are no specific regulations governing the sale and use of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.

However, a ban on vaporiser liquids containing nicotine has been in place since November 2015.

The world’s vaping industry, which has seen rapid growth, has faced growing public backlash over concerns of increased use by young people.

In a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month, a bipartisan group of US senators urged an immediate ban on pod and cartridge-based e-cigarettes, which they say are favoured by youths, until it can be proven the products are safe.

India’s nationwide prohibition, the world’s first, would cut off a huge future market from e-cigarette makers such as Juul Labs and Philip Morris International, which have plans to expand their operations in the country.

-straitstimes

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TIDAK boleh mengandung menjadi lesen kepada lelaki miang mendekati wanita tanpa rahim atau penghidap Sindrom Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser (MRKH), semata-mata untuk melampiaskan nafsu.

Lelaki gila seks ini juga tanpa segan silu sanggup mendekati kumpulan sokongan pesakit ini, MRKH Malaysia bagi mencari ‘isteri’ untuk bermalam.

Situasi ini kedengaran keterlaluan namun itulah yang dialami wanita istimewa ini kerana dianggap pilihan terbaik untuk aktiviti seks tanpa perlindungan.

Atas dasar itu, pengasas MRKH Malaysia, Nur Syazwani Abdul Rahim atau lebih dikenali sebagai Wani Ardy, 35, bertanggungjawab melindungi ahli daripada lelaki ini.

Wani berkata, dia hanya menyedari perkara itu selepas beberapa kali didekati dan mengambil langkah berjaga-jaga.

“Mereka kononnya nak cari isteri kedua atau ketiga, ada juga yang nak cari isteri wanita MRKH supaya dia ada sebab untuk berkahwin lebih daripada satu.

“Mungkin mereka ingat kami boleh dipermainkan. Jadi, saya rasa ada keperluan untuk melindungi wanita ini supaya tidak terjerat,” katanya ketika ditemui di sini.

Menjelaskan lanjut, Wani berkata, sindrom MRKH adalah keadaan seorang wanita dilahir tanpa rahim dan saluran vagina, serta tidak boleh hamil.

“Simptom utama adalah tidak datang haid. Saya mengetahui menghidap sindrom ini ketika berusia 17 tahun selepas ibu membawa membuat pemeriksaan kerana tidak datang haid.

“Doktor yang memeriksa tidak menemui rahim dalam badan saya, malah saya juga tidak mempunyai saluran vagina,” katanya.

Anak kedua daripada empat adik-beradik itu berkata, ketika dimaklumkan mengenai penyakit itu dia sangat naif hanya menganggap ia tidak serius.

“Sebenarnya perkara itu memberi kesan kepada ibu saya sebagai wanita yang matang dia lebih tahu apa kesannya jika wanita tidak boleh mengandung.

“Sehinggakan ibu minta saya tidak berkahwin dan tinggal bersamanya hingga tua,” katanya yang pernah berkahwin selama lapan tahun dan mempunyai seorang anak berusia tujuh tahun dinamakan Ikhlas.

Wani berkata, pada 1970-an dan 1980-an, kebanyakan pakar perubatan tidak mempunyai banyak maklumat mengenai penyakit ini dan ia dianggap pelik.

Disebabkan itu, katanya, hampir semua pesakit MRKH diberi salah diagnosis.

“Bila ke klinik memaklumkan tidak datang haid, doktor akan memberi pil hormon.

“Kebanyakan kami pernah makan pil hormon untuk tempoh masa lama, tapi memang tak jadi apa-apa sebab tiada rahim untuk proses itu,” katanya.

Katanya, perkara paling memeritkan mereka turut dipandang negatif oleh keluarga sendiri.

“Mereka tidak dibenarkan berkahwin, jika sudah bertunang pun diminta putus. Semua orang cakap jangan kahwin sebab nanti menyusahkan orang lain,” katanya.

Wani yang sudah berkahwin baharu beberapa bulan lalu berkata, fasa kehidupan wanita MRKH agak celaru pada peringkat usia remaja.

Katanya, ada antara gadis MRKH berpura-pura membawa tuala wanita ke sekolah semata-mata untuk menunjukkan mereka datang bulan, tidak kurang juga yang ‘menipu’ ustazah kononnya uzur ketika diminta solat di sekolah.

“Niat mereka bukan menipu, tetapi untuk menunjukkan mereka juga normal. Itu cara mereka deal supaya tidak rasa kekurangan pada diri masing-masing,” katanya.

Katanya, pada usia 20-an pula, kebanyakan mereka takut untuk mempunyai hubungan serius dan ada yang berpendapat tidak berkahwin lagi senang.

Namun, di sebalik kekurangan ini, Wani menjelaskan wanita MRKH mempunyai semangat kuat untuk menepis persepsi negatif terutama pada usia 30 hingga 40-an.

Katanya, ramai dalam kalangan ahli mereka menjalani hidup bahagia bersama suami, anak dan ada karier sendiri.

“Memang ambil masa bertahun-tahun untuk mencapai tahap ini kerana bukan mudah membina keyakinan diri dan mendapat sistem sokongan kuat daripada orang sekeliling.

“Itulah pentingnya diagnosis awal. Kalau umur sudah lebih 17 tahun, tak datang haid, mesti jumpa pakar sakit puan,” katanya.

Menurutnya, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM) UKM, adalah satu-satunya hospital yang mempunyai pakar dan membuat kajian mengenai MRKH di negara ini.

Wani berkata, selain rawatan di hospital, individu disahkan menghidap sindrom ini boleh dirujuk ke MRKH Malaysia untuk dibantu.

“Peranan kami adalah memberi sokongan mental, emosi serta panduan bagaimana menjalani kehidupan sebagai wanita atau gadis MRKH.

“Doktor hanya boleh beri maklumat mengenai penyakit dan rawatan, kalau datang kepada kami, mereka akan dibantu menerusi sesi perbincangan hati ke hati,” katanya.

Harian Metro

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Seorang ayah dari Erie, Pennsylvania, berkongsi paparan X-ray paru-paru anaknya, Anthony, 19, yang dipenuhi minyak vape yang telah tepu.

Anthony, antara salah seorang pesakit yang menghidap masalah paru-paru berkaitan vape dimasukkan ke hospital minggu lepas selepas mengalami kesukaran untuk bernafas.

Ayah Anthony, Keith Mayo, berkata kepada media yang anaknya diberitahu doktor bahawa paru-parunya seperti paru-paru orang berusia 60 tahun yang menghisap rokok dua kotak sehari.

Anthony, 19

Keith berkata lagi yang anaknya telah menghisap vape selama dua tahun sebelum menghidapi penyakit paru-paru itu. Anthony juga dikatakan menggunakan cecair vape berperisa seperti gula-gula kapas, rasberi dan juga THC, sejenis perisa berasaskan ganja.

Keith berkata, “Ianya tepu. Segala yang ada dalam paru-parunya tepu.”

Dia juga berkata yang doktor membayangkan minyak yang tepu itu umpama minyak masak yang telah sejuk selepas digunakan.

Anthony kini masih menjalani rawatan selain diberi oksigen 100 peratus untuk membantunya bernafas selain memudahkan dia mengeluarkan minyak yang tepu itu melalui batuk.

Paparan X-ray paru-paru Anthony yang dipenuhi minyak cecair vape yang telah tepu

Keith berharap anaknya mampu dan cepat sembuh disebabkan usianya yang masih muda.

Penyakit paru-paru berkaitan vape semakin parah di U.S dengan 7 kematian dan 530 orang yang telah didiagnos menghidapi penyakit itu. Malah kerajaan U.S turut menyaran orang ramai untuk menghentikan aktiviti vaping sementara siasatan dan kajian masih dijalankan berkaitan epidemik ini.

Ladbible

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Kebaikan dan keburukan bersenam waktu malam

August 27, 2019 | Health | No Comments

Menjadi trending ketika ini semua aktiviti bersukan dilakukan pada waktu malam.

Malah banyak pihak menganjurkan aktiviti dan pertandingan sukan pada waktu malam seperti “night run” atau berlari sejauh 5km dengan pelbagai halangan.

Ini kerana pada waktu siang telah dihabiskan dengan bekerja dan bagi mereka waktu malam ialah alternatif untuk mereka bersukan supaya dapat mengekalkan tubuh badan yang sihat.

Namun ada dakwaan yang menyatakan bersukan pada waktu malam sebenarnya tidak sihat. Mengapa?

Alasannya, apabila kita menghabiskan masa di pejabat pada waktu siang, maka badan memerlukan rehat yang cukup untuk menyiapkan tugas pada keesokan harinya.

Jadi bagaimana otak dan tubuh badan ingin berfungsi jika tidak mendapat rehat yang secukupnya?

Malah ada juga yang mengatakan bersukan pada waktu malam akan menyebabkan seseorang menghidap penyakit jantung.

Sejauh mana kebenaran tentang fakta itu?

Ini faktanya :

Suhu badan kita, bermula dengan kadar yang rendah pada waktu pagi kemudian akan naik pada waktu siang dan akan menurun kembali pada waktu malam.

Suhu badan yang menurun dan rendah ini, memberi signal kepada badan kita untuk tidur.

Apabila kita bersenam dengan lasak melebihi 30 minit, suhu badan kita akan naik.

Ini akan menyebabkan kita terpaksa menunggu suhu badan turun kembali ke paras yang rendah untuk membolehkan kita tidur, kebisaannya proses penurunan suhu ini akan mengambil masa 5 ke 6 jam.

Satu kajian yang dibuat oleh Dr. Anne McTiernan daripada Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center di Seattle mendapati wanita yang bersenam pada waktu pagi lebih mudah untuk mendapatkan tidur yang cukup dan berkualiti berbanding wanita yang bersenam pada waktu malam.

Bagi mereka yang mengalami masalah insomnia, pakar perubatan mencadangkan mereka untuk mengelak dari melakukan senaman beberapa jam sebelum tidur.

Sama seperti kita mengambil makanan yang berat sebelum tidur, senaman malam juga akan memberi kesan yang tidak baik untuk badan anda.

Kesan positif kepada badan

Tetapi jangan susah hati, ada pendapat berbeza pula dengan Shawn Youngstedt, yang merupakan pembantu Professor Sains Senaman di University of South Carolina di Columbia yang mengkaji berkenaan tidur dan senaman.

Katanya tiada bukti saintifik yang kukuh yang menyatakan senaman pada sebelah malam menjejaskan waktu tidur dan terdapat kajian yang menunjukkan mereka yang bersenam secara lasak sebelum tidur dapat tidur dengan baik.

Senaman Siang vs Senaman Malam

Waktu senaman yang paling sesuai bergantung pada cara hidup individu, bagi kesan yang terbaik – cuba melakukan senaman pada waktu pagi tetapi jika tiada kelapangan, senaman waktu malam tidak akan menjejaskan kesihatan dan yang paling penting lakukannya secara konsisten.

Apa yang betul-betul terbukti bahaya untuk kesihatan badan anda ialah dengan langsung tidak bersenam.

FMT

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It’s extremely rare nowadays to see someone spending their day without using their smartphone. Can you guess the total hours we spend looking at our smartphone in a year?

According to a survey done by the American Occupational Therapy Association, in a year, the teen population spends up to 5,000 hours hunching over a smartphone while adults spend up to 1,400 hours.

It makes sense as all information is readily accessible by clicking on the smartphone.

If you want to find a taxi, just click on the Grab application, if you feel hungry, just click on Food Panda, if you want to keep in touch with your friends, use social media applications such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and many more. It’s so simple, right?

There are thousands of applications offered in the smartphone that make our life easy, thanks to Sir Martin Cooper who invented the first cell phone in 1973, which has now evolved into a smartphone.

Despite the advancement of smartphone technology that gives huge benefits, users silently suffer from health issues due to prolonged usage, poor posture and poor ergonomics awareness when using this device.

Numbness, stiffness, pain at your thumb, wrist, neck and back are several common symptoms. The consequences are usually related to the musculoskeletal system, for example joints, muscles, nerves, and ligaments. Some of the most common injuries related include:

  • Cervical Postural Syndrome (neck)
  • Thoracic Postural Syndrome (mid back)
  • Lumbar Postural Syndrome (lower back)
  • Cervical Disc Bulge (neck)
  • Thoracic Disc Bulge (midback)
  • Lumbar Disc Bulge (lower back)
  • Cervicogenic headache
  • Thumb tendonitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Wrist Tendonitis

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is one of the non-pharmacological solutions to reduce the symptoms of injuries. The word ergonomics is quite commonly used as a selling point to market a product.

Buyers are more attracted to the word ergonomics as they have the impression that it leads to a healthy lifestyle. The fact is, not all ergonomics implementation have to be purchased in terms of a product. It depends on the techniques you use to implement it.

Here are five simple ergonomics techniques that you can use when using a smartphone.

Find a suitable smartphone

When you want to buy a smartphone, make sure you can fit your hand around it. You should be able to touch your thumb and fore finger around your smartphone. Just because a phone has the biggest screen, it doesn’t mean it is suitable for you.

Correct way of typing on a smartphone

It is recommended to switch between using your thumbs and fingers to type as it will reduce thumb pain.

Whenever possible, try to use your fore fingers to type instead of your thumbs. This can be achieved by placing your smartphone down on a hard surface if you’re texting, or holding the phone in one hand and texting with the other. Try not to type using only one hand as it can lead to pain at your thumb and wrist.

If you are using your thumbs to type, try to use the pad of your thumb as opposed to the tip of the thumb as this can cause an awkward bent position for your thumb, which may lead to pain.

Make sure your wrists are straight while you’re texting and swiping. This is the best method to minimise strain at your wrist.

If your wrists are awkwardly bent, it forces your fingers to work harder than is necessary.

Correct posture while holding your smartphone

Do maintain a good posture while using your smartphone. You may have a tendency to slouch and it could lead to back pain. Keep your back and shoulder straight to reduce pain in your neck, shoulders and back.

Avoid looking down at your smartphone screen as this bends the neck and tends to round the shoulders. This can ultimately lead to neck, shoulder or upper back pain.

Avoid holding the phone in your lap or below your chest. Try to maintain the phone at your chest, chin or eye level to minimise the bend in your neck and to maintain optimal posture. If your phone is below eye level, try to look down with your eyes rather than your neck.

Don’t hold your smartphone too tightly as it will puts stress on your fingers, thumbs and wrist.

Modification of your smart phone

Set your smartphone to easy access buttons. Put your frequently used controls and apps within easy reach of your thumbs.

Try to maximise usage of voice command to access the smartphone button. For example, IOS users can try SIRI voice commands.

You might have long phone conversations and sometimes, during the call, you might need to do some other tasks. Cradling your smartphone between your ear and shoulder isn’t just uncomfortable but it may also lead to injuries. It will pinch your spinal discs and can cause nerve compression.

Therefore, it is worth investing in a Bluetooth ear phone. Try to make minimum interactions with your smartphone as it will reduce the number of hours you are exposed to pain.

Take a break and stretch

Take frequent breaks and rest if you feel pain. Respect pain. Take a minute to stretch. It’s recommended that you spend one to two minutes on stretching for every 30 minutes you spend on your smartphone.

Try applying the following stretching exercises.

Wrist Extensor/Flexor Stretch: Keep elbow straight. Grasp one hand and slowly bend wrist forward until stretch is felt. Hold for 30 seconds. Then face the palms up. Grasp fingers with other hand and slowly bend wrist backward until stretch is felt. Hold for 30 seconds.

Finger Opposition: Starting with the index finger and proceeding towards the little finger, actively touch thumb to each fingertip. Move slowly at first, then more rapidly as motion and coordination improve.

Flexor Tendon Gliding: Straighten all fingers, then make a fist, bending all joints.

Lateral Neck Flexion: Slowly tilt head towards one shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds and switch sides.

Ergonomics is more important in this era rather than when it was first introduced in the 19th century. Advancements in technology come with a price. The small smartphone can contribute to big effects to our health. As long as we know how to use it with correct ergonomics, we will be able to minimise injuries.

Even though there is no treatment for all these injuries, it will be beneficial if we take precautionary steps in advance before it becomes worse.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), the prevalence of stunting in children under five years of age in Malaysia has increased from 17.2% (2006) to 20.7% (2016).

These numbers show that stunting remains a public health concern, with one in five children under the age of five suffering from this condition in Malaysia.

Stunting is defined as lower-than-average height for a child’s age, which is more than two stan-dard deviations below the World Health Organization (WHO) Growth Standard median.

Stunting is a form of chronic malnutrition that is largely irreversible and can lead to more serious problems if no measures are taken to prevent it.

Could your child be a part of this group?

Malnourished… one of the brother who referred to the Malacca Hospital.

Poor nutrition, poor growth

The key to tackling the issue of stunting is to know its many causes.

All the factors below can interact to hamper a child’s growth and development, leading to stunting.

• Poor maternal health and nutrition before, during and after pregnancy can hinder a child’s early growth starting from conception.

• Other maternal factors, like adolescent pregnancy and short birth spacing (having children too closely to one another), can interfere with the nutrients available to the foetus.

• Poor feeding practices, including non-exclusive breastfeeding by introducing food or water too early, as well as complementary feeding that is inadequate, inappropriate for age or untimely.

• Recurrent infections and illnesses, e.g. diarrhoea, due to poor hygiene and sanitation.

• Other factors include household poverty, food insecurity, neglect and lack of stimulation from parents or caregivers, poor access to healthcare facilities, and non-responsive feeding.

Stunting is not just about being short for age.

It is also a risk factor for poor child development and can have long-term effects on individuals.

It can lead to a lag in cognitive and physical development, diminished mental ability and learning capacity, poor performance at school, and reduced productivity due to poor health in adult life.

It can also increase the stunted child’s risk of becoming overweight and obese, and lead to nutrition-related chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease when they are older.

Stunting also results in a weakened immune system and increases the risk of infectious diseases.

Good feeding practices

The effect of stunting is largely irreversible after the age of two years.

Choices made by parents will influence a child’s growth and developmental potential.

Thus, parents have to ensure that their children receive healthy and sufficient nutrition to prevent stunting through the following practices:

• Focus on the first 1,000 days

The 1,000-day window, starting from conception until the child’s second birthday, is a critical period of growth and development.

Focusing on this period is important as growth failure often begins here.

Ensure that both mother and baby are healthy and receive sufficient nutrition during and after pregnancy.

• Exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age

Optimal breastfeeding practices are the basis to a child’s healthy growth and development.

These include early initiation and frequent, on-demand, exclusive breastfeeding for six months after birth, as well as continued breastfeeding until two years of age.

Breast milk provides a complete source of nutrients and natural growth stimulators for infants, and contributes to the development of their immune systems.

• Timely introduction of complementary foods

By six months of age, most infants are developmentally ready for complementary foods as breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet the child’s needs of energy and nutrients.

This is the right time to introduce complementary food, which has to be adequate and safe, with age-appropriate texture and preparation.

• Healthy feeding practices

Introduce a variety of foods from all food groups, including plant-sourced foods (vegetables, fruits, fortified cereals) and animal-sourced foods (dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs) during complementary feeding.

Ensure that your child is given meals four to five times a day, and gradually increase the quantity.

Nutrient-dense foods such as milk, which is high in important nutrients that support growth, are vital to support a child’s rapid rate of growth.

• Keeping track of growth

A child’s growth can be monitored by tracking their developmental milestones.

Identifying stunting visually can be difficult. Therefore, it is important to measure a child’s height and weight regularly, and compare them to the WHO growth standards.

Voice any concerns regarding your child’s growth to his or her paediatrician or family doctor.

Stunting is the most prevalent form of child undernutrition that is also preventable.

Stunting has early beginnings, but long-lasting and largely irreversible effects on the physical and cognitive development of children.

Providing children with adequate and healthy nutrition is crucial to ensure their optimal growth and development.

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