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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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Newborns, especially those who are not breastfed and are particularly vulnerable to developing allergies, are often prescribed hypoallergenic milk formulas.

However, according to a French study published in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, the effectiveness of these formulas is yet to be proven.

The study by the French Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (National Institute of Agricultural Research) and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (National Institute of Health and Medical Research), drew upon data from the nation-wide ELFE epidemiology study, the first in France to study children from birth to adulthood.

Hypoallergenic formula is commonly recommended on a prophylactic basis to newborns with at least one parent or sibling with a history of allergies.

These products are based on cow milk and hydrolysed into small parts to counter the potentially allergenic effects of dairy.

The researchers noted in a press release (in French) that very little data is available on the influence of these formulas on the prevention of allergies in practical conditions and paediatric associations in some countries have recently withdrawn their recommendations with regards to the formulas.

To determine in what measure the formulas are able to protect an infant, the teams of scientists studied 15,000 children from the ELFE study over the course of two years following their birth, to investigate possible links with the most common allergic afflictions such as eczema, wheezing, asthma and food allergies.

According to the researchers, these products did not demonstrate a greater efficacy in the reduction of allergies, in comparison to traditional formula.

In fact, the use of hypoallergenic formula in two-month-old children showing no signs of allergies at the time was associated, in the following years, with a higher risk of wheezing and food allergies.

The study’s authors underscore the need for further research.

These efforts should be supported by a new European regulation, to come into effect in 2021, which will require manufacturers to carry out clinical studies before being allowed to promote the allergy prevention effects of their products.

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Some people may live in denial but the fact is that we are all ageing at different paces everyday.

Since Malaysia will reach ageing nation status in 2030 when 15% of its population will be 60 years or older, why not prepare yourself by learning how to deal with some of the issues that might crop up?

The 9th Malaysian Conference on Healthy Ageing (9th MCHA) is set to take place at the PAUM Clubhouse, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, from July 24-26 and will feature a plethora of talks and workshops.

Organised by Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS), the biennial conference is aimed at promoting healthy ageing by educating healthcare professionals and the public on ageing-related issues.

“The state of a person’s physical (body), mental (mind) and emotional (spiritual) health are what determines a person’s overall health and well-being,” says MHAS president Dr Wong Teck Wee.

“But there are many areas that contribute to overall health and well-being such as a person’s relationship with others, ability to manage stress, financial health, living environment and other areas in a person’s daily life. Our conference programme covers a wide scope of topics – key areas that have an impact on ageing.

“While many healthcare and allied health professionals will be attending the conference, the programme will also be of interest to the insurance, finance and housing sectors as well as caregivers of older persons, care providers, government, municipal authorities and many other stakeholders.”

Among the highlights at the three-day conference are plenary sessions on What About Transition Adaptation and Well Being – The Live Experience by the Older Person by Kim Walder, Cancer: Prevention Is Better than Cure by Assoc Prof Ravindran Kanesvaran, Lessons Learnt: What Would You Do Differently If You Were Given A Second Chance by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, Interventions To Reduce Sarcopenia by Dr IGP Suka Aryana, Medicinal Plants In Strategy For Disease Prevention by Gerard Bodeker and Does An Older Person Need Vaccination by Prof Dr Tan Maw Pin.

The programme will also include special lectures on Cancer In Older Persons, Nutraceutical Modulation Of The Ageing Process And Age-Related Diseases, Isolation Of The Baby Boomers In Japan, Clinical Application Of Yoga In Oncology And Palliative Care, The Many Faces of Dementia, Silent Mentor, Blue Zones, The Role Of Positive Psychology In Ageing, The Ketogenic Diet, Gut and Microbiome, Helicobacter Pylori: All You Need To Know and a session on Intermittent Fasting.

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The act of sitting seems entirely innocent. It might even be odd to think of it as an act; after all, your body isn’t doing anything while you sit. It is as natural as breathing, standing or blinking, something hardly anyone would think about when it comes to their health.

But recent studies have shown that a lot of time spent sitting may be a health risk, especially for your heart.

So what does this mean for nearly all office workers, who spent most of the day sitting in their cubicles?

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, sitting at work may not be as bad for your health and longevity as sitting and watching television in your free time.

As reported by Time, the study, which involved around 3,600 African-American adults, revealed the quantity of time they spent sitting at work, watching television and exercising during the past year. They also supplied data on demographics, lifestyle and medical history. Over eight years, the scientists supervised the health of the respondents, during which 129 had a cardiovascular problem and 205 died.

The scientists discovered that an enhanced risk of death and heart disease was unrelated to “often or always” sitting at the job after accounting for pre-existing health and lifestyle variables. But for those who sat during more of their leisure time, such as watching four or more hours of television a day, there was a 50 per cent greater risk of heart problems and death than for those who watched only two hours or less.

The study’s lead author, Jeanette Garcia, an assistant professor of sports and exercise science at the University of Central Florida, said the results were likely to apply to other populations, even though the study only involved African-American adults, who report disproportionately high rates of cardiovascular issues.

Nevertheless, another important factor was the type of person who has a desk job versus a more physically demanding job.

Interestingly, the study found that people with more active jobs may have a higher chance of heart problems, because they were less likely to exercise outside the office regularly and more likely to eat an unhealthy diet. They also typically were less educated and made less money, and they were more likely to drink heavily and smoke, all contributing to risk of illness. Previous studies have also suggested that the physical strain associated with active jobs may shorten workers’ lifespans.

Activity and exercise outside of work, on the other hand, is obviously good for health. People who spend most of their leisure time watching television and sitting, Garcia notes, likely do much less exercise, which research has shown can make up for some of the harmful effects of sitting most of the day at your job.

For instance, in Garcia’s study, those with a lower risk of health issues participated in at least 150 minutes of moderate or tiring physical activity per week. Another recent study also discovered that substituting just 30 minutes of daily sitting with any other activity lowered mortality risk by 17 per cent.

While most people might associate unhealthiness with simple laziness, the research seems to show that the act of sitting itself is what promotes the behaviour we commonly associate with lethargy and unhealthiness.

The way people sit when they’re at home watching TV compared to at work also factors into their health, Garcia said, as people were often glued to the sofa in the former, while they would usually take a break once in a while at work.

The study results show that more exercise and less sitting is always beneficial when away from work, but Garcia says the study should offer some relief to desk workers if they can move around the office and get enough physical activity outside their job.

-asiaone

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Eileen Wee found herself short-staffed and ended up having to cover for a few employees across multiple projects for about eight months.

The founder and managing director of a public relations and events agency in Singapore, she would work tirelessly right up until bedtime, and repeat that routine the next day.

She realized her non-stop schedule was affecting her health when she began experiencing heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

She also had trouble sleeping. Later that year, Wee went for a routine medical check-up and was told she needed to take better care of herself.

“I had gone into overdrive and the check-up was a wake-up call for me to slow down and be more mindful of my health,” she shares. “I have a high stress threshold and I love what I do, so when I was pushing myself all those months I really didn’t think it was a problem.”

Wee is a good example of someone who has experienced burnout, and she is not alone. The syndrome is so prevalent that in May this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially recognized it as an occupational phenomenon – “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

The WHO says it leads to exhaustion; negativity or cynicism towards one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.

According to Dr Adrian Low Eng-ken, a Hong Kong-based psychologist who has done substantial research on workplace stress, burnout is a kind of energy disorder, the result of having to deal with causes of stress at work and not giving oneself the chance to rest or recharge.

Low’s research identified eight categories of workplace stress: physical stress, task-related stress, role stress, social stress, schedule-related stress, career-related stress, trauma-related stress, and environmental stress.

So, if you wear many hats at your company (your role causes you stress), struggle with meeting deadlines (schedule-related stress) and do not think that your job is an ideal one (career-related stress), then you are at risk of burning out.

If not addressed, Low says that burnout may lead to depression, which is a serious mental health condition.

Joanne Wong Chung-yan, a holistic kinesiologist and mind-body-medicine practitioner at Zhi Holistic Kinesiology in Sydney, Australia, has worked with clients who are extremely stressed at work.

The most common symptoms she sees include anxiety, creative blocks, menstrual and gynaecological disorders, headaches and migraines, high blood pressure, eczema and skin dryness, chronic neck and shoulder pain, digestive issues, and lower back pain.

Eczema or chronic neck and shoulder pain are not normally associated with work stress. Wong’s job, though, is to consider each client’s “body, mind and soul” when helping to resolve their chief complaint.

When she applies the Chinese “five elements” theory – wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are believed to be the fundamental elements of everything in the universe between which interactions occur – to their conditions, she often finds psychological stress is at their root.

“For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, conditions of the skin and areas of the lateral aspects of the neck and shoulders are governed by the metal element (lung and large intestinal meridians),” says Wong, who was born in Hong Kong but has lived in Australia for most of her life.

“The core emotional states observed when this element is in disharmony are a lack of self-worth, a lack of respect and honour, excessive focus on material possessions, and a constant need for validation,” Wong says.

“The solution is to start seeing value within that deeper part of yourself that does not identify with the modern-day trappings of success.”

Of course, not everyone who experiences work-related stress also experiences burnout.

This is because we all have different ways of coping with stress. For instance, some people are able to convert “distress” into “eustress”, or positive stress.

“These people tend to have better time management, have good relationships with all their colleagues, and find their work meaningful and purposeful,” Low says.

Much has been said about creating a better work-life balance to help manage stress, but Low says that simply distributing time equally between these domains is not enough. “It’s more about having a sense of belonging at work, finding meaning and purpose in what you do, and working towards a noble vision.”

Low, who takes a holistic view of health, says that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to minimising your risk of burnout.

On top of taking care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, he believes that you should assess the eight types of stress that may be having an impact on you in the workplace.

To assess this, he suggests you ask yourself questions such as, “Am I taking on more tasks than I can handle?”, “Are my personal values aligned with my company values?” and “Does my company emphasise the use of technology more than it does relationships?”.

To get her health back on track, Wee took a nine-month sabbatical – her first extended break in her 10 years of managing the business.

During this time, she got the rest that she needed. Her team took over her operational duties while she adopted a flexi-work arrangement that saw her do only consulting work.

Now that she is back at work – and feeling better than ever – Wee is more mindful of how she treats herself. Every morning, she takes walks with her husband to give her energy for the day ahead.

She also meditates, reads books that develop her spiritually, and is learning how to play the guitar.

She recently moved to a new office, which she says benefits everyone who works there.

Not only does it have a gym and a pool, it also features relaxing bay-window areas for anyone looking for a quiet, peaceful spot.

“We also have a community wall, on which everyone is welcome to post ideas on how to make the company a great place to work,” Wee adds. “Plus, we offer flexi-work hours and encourage our staff to leave work early on Friday evenings. During peak periods, we have regular check-ins to make sure that everyone feels supported in their respective roles.”

It is one thing to take your job seriously and another to have your job define your life, Wee has learned.

“Working hard is certainly important to doing well in life, but prolonged stress won’t do your health any favours. Finding meaning in what you do, being passionate about your job, enjoying regular breaks, and having things to do outside of the office are just as essential if you want to enjoy the journey.”

EASY WAYS TO MINIMISE BURNOUT RISK: WONG’S FIVE TOP TIPS

1. Start the morning with a short meditation or visualisation session. Connect deeply with the emotional states you want to experience that day. For example, do you want to feel productive and have a sense of achievement? Find meaning and joy in your tasks? Form harmonious connections with your colleagues?

2. Your lunch break is for lunch, so do not schedule or accept meetings during this time, and eat away from your desk.

3. Had a stressful interaction? Walk around the block. Allow your body to feel all the emotions you are experiencing rather than suppress them.

4. Do you need to resolve a conflict with someone? Do not enter the discussion assuming that they “have it in” for you. Always show empathy, avoid getting defensive, listen to what they have to say and give them the benefit of the doubt.

5. Take deep, conscious breaths regularly. This practice settles your nervous system.

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