How Fat is Fat?

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Back in the days, people who were “hefty” or “plump” are said to have been blessed by graces and blessings from above.  They were widely accepted in society as those who are more than able to provide for their means.

Nowadays, being “heavy” carries an uncertainty with the way one’s health goes.  As more and more research is done, this has been associated with a number of medical illnesses.  A handful of experts even include this state as a medical illness itself.  Organizations like the World Health Organization have even labeled obesity as an epidemic.

The term obesity is referred to when one’s body mass index (BMI) is equal to or more than 30kg/m2.  Special considerations are given to elite resistance athletes and body builders.  In order to know one’s BMI, you just have to take your height in meters and  weight in kilograms.  Dividing the weight by the square of the height gives the BMI.  The normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25.

Some experts believe that the real measure of obesity lies in the amount of visceral fat mainly deposited in the abdomen.  Precise measurements of this would need specialized imaging such as computed tomography or magnetic imaging resonance scans which may be impractical in some parts of the world.  A practical way of estimating this is by measuring the abdominal circumference.  Abdominal obesity is present if the waist measurement is more than 102 cm (40 inches) in men, and 88 cm (35 inches) in women.  This is important because an increasing abdominal girth predisposes a person more to certain chronic illnesses and even mortality, despite a normal BMI.

Take charge of your health beginning today.  Take your body mass index and waist circumference regularly to monitor your progress to healthy living.

 

References:

Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation. World Health Organ Tech Rep Ser 2000; 894: pp. i-xii

National Institutes of Health : Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults—the evidence report. Obes Res 1998; 6: pp. 51S-209S

Massage and Health

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The art of massage is often associated with relaxation.  Most often, people who would come for massages as those with sore muscles, those who suffer from tiredness or exhaustion from physical activity, or those who are stressed out from the daily grind.

Massage is defined as the systematic manipulation of soft tissues in the body for therapeutic effect.  The techniques vary as to the origin but the most popular, the Swedish technique, mainly consists of stroking and gliding, kneading and percussion movements.

The relaxing effect of massage may be traced to its ability to decrease the hormone, cortisol (or the stress hormone) in the body, and upsurge neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for increased state of well-being in the brain.  However, some studies refute this mechanism as their results show that the changes in cortisol level is somewhat small to explain the benefits that are observed.

The frequency of how often massage is performed in order to appreciate clinical benefits is yet to be fully discussed by experts.  Some studies say that at least 20 minutes of massage at bedtime given by parents to their asthmatic children has led to appreciable benefits.  In another study, 30-minute therapies given twice weekly to breast cancer patients has shown appreciable decrease in cortisol levels.

No matter what the case maybe, massage offers a soothing alternative to one’s busy lifestyle and healthy respite to the chaos of everyday life.

Have your massage today!

 

Reference:

Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, and Kuhn C: Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci 2005; 115: pp. 1397-1413

Listing M, Krohn M, Liezmann C, et al: The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer. Arch Womens Ment Health 2010; 13: pp. 165-173

Crane JD, Ogborn DI, Cupido C, et al: Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Sci Transl Med 2012; 4: pp. 119ra13

Asthma 101: What might have triggered an attack?

Having asthma might be a burden for some because of its episodic nature.  Exposure to certain elements may exacerbate the condition.

Common triggers may include: the presence of cigarette smoke, too much anxiety and stress, an ongoing viral or bacterial infection, strong scents like perfumes and colognes, air pollution, changes in the weather or quality of air.

There may be other factors called as allergic triggers like: the presence of dust mites or pollen, hair from pets or vermin, and molds.

Asthma may be triggered in more ways than one and appears to be different from person-to-person.  Knowing what triggers your asthma may enable you to plan ahead to avoid it and keeping the symptoms from getting worse.

 

REFERENCE:

Armsby, C et. al. (2017). Patient Education: Avoiding Asthma Triggers. In K. Crowley (ed.) UptoDate Patient Education. Retrieved 16 July 2017, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/avoiding-asthma-triggers-the-basics?source=see_link

Recognizing Asthma in Childhood

Asthma is a respiratory condition that makes people hard to breathe air.  This happens because the airways become inflamed in response to an allergen — something that the body perceives as foreign.  And so, the body tries its best from preventing  that particular  foreign body from entering the system.

Around 350 million people have asthma world wide and is said to be the 14% most important disorder in the world in terms of extent and duration of disability.  The problem of asthma is most serious among children aged 10-14 and the elderly aged 75-79.

Around 14% of children experience the symptoms of asthma.  This can be recognized with the following signs: wheezing or noisy breathing, coughing more common at night or early in the morning; a feeling of tightness in the chest; and trouble breathing.

If you are not sure if your child has asthma, there is an available test breathing test which children aged 6 years old and above can do.  A child with asthma may test positive for the examination compared to the normal population.

For more information about asthma and its signs and symptoms, contact your family doctor.

 

References:

Crowley, K et. al. (2017). Asthma in Children: The Basics. UptoDate. Retrieved 23 July 2017, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/asthma-in-children-the-basics?source=see_link