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Headaches may originate from spinal problems?
2017-09-15
 

Headache is common for many of us leading a fast-pace life. People deal with it nonchalantly –  "I have a headache again today. I’ll pop a pain killer for that". Have we ever wondered, though, what actually causes the headache? Fatigue, flu or lack of sleep?

Did you know that headaches may be linked to the spine? There are different types of headaches, such as migraine, tension headache, cervicogenic headache or hypertension headache. 

Cervicogenic headache is caused by issues linked to the neck structures and/or soft tissues, most often related to the misalignment of top 3 cervical. 

The common symptoms of cervicogenic headaches are:

1. The pain intensity is mild to medium, which usually lasts a few hours 

2. Neck muscle spasm 

3. Neck movement affects the pain

4. Tension on both sides of the head

5. No symptoms of light sensitivity or nausea

Cervicogenic headache can be cured if the real causes are clearly identified. With chiropractic therapy, treatment starts with ensuring proper alignment of the cervical spine, relaxing neck muscles and freeing the associated nerves from compression. This type of headache can be cured with minimum efforts. 

The above information is provided by Dr Luk Ka Bo, Janis. 


Headaches may originate from spinal problems?
 

Headache is common for many of us leading a fast-pace life. People deal with it nonchalantly –  "I have a headache again today. I’ll pop a pain killer for that". Have we ever wondered, though, what actually causes the headache? Fatigue, flu or lack of sleep?

Did you know that headaches may be linked to the spine? There are different types of headaches, such as migraine, tension headache, cervicogenic headache or hypertension headache. 

Cervicogenic headache is caused by issues linked to the neck structures and/or soft tissues, most often related to the misalignment of top 3 cervical. 

The common symptoms of cervicogenic headaches are:

1. The pain intensity is mild to medium, which usually lasts a few hours 

2. Neck muscle spasm 

3. Neck movement affects the pain

4. Tension on both sides of the head

5. No symptoms of light sensitivity or nausea

Cervicogenic headache can be cured if the real causes are clearly identified. With chiropractic therapy, treatment starts with ensuring proper alignment of the cervical spine, relaxing neck muscles and freeing the associated nerves from compression. This type of headache can be cured with minimum efforts. 

The above information is provided by Dr Luk Ka Bo, Janis. 

Pesky Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complicated medical syndrome, which means much more than just cysts in the ovaries. It interferes with our hormones, which may lead to excessive body hair, acnes, irregular menstrual cycles and trouble with getting pregnant. It is also associated with an increased risk of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer of the womb. If you have irregular mense, acne prone skin or hair growing above the upper lip or below the naval, then you should be alerted and consult a doctor to see whether there is a hormone problem going on.

PCOS cannot be completely cured, but treatments are available to deal with the symptoms. For example, BPO or Adapalene acne cream may be prescribed for external application to alleviate acne problem. It is easy to apply and they have minimal side effects. However, as the hormonal level isn’t addressed through such treatment, recurrence is likely when medication is discontinued. Another option is taking oral contraceptive pills to balance your internal hormone level. This will improve the androgen-related symptoms such as acnes and excessive body hair growth.

For severe acne problem, doctors may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics, but the problem of antibiotic resistance should not be overlooked. If you wish to avoid antibiotics, LED phototherapy can be used to treat acnes by controlling sebum secretion and bacteria overgrowth, which are two key contributing factors of acne problem. It is an FDA approved, safe and effective treatment for acnes.

If you are trying to get pregnant, you should discuss with your doctor on ovulation induction. Clomid is a drug which can stimulate the ovary to release an egg regularly each month, so to increase the chance of conceiving. In terms of diet, PCOS ladies don’t respond as good to insulin. You should avoid food with high sugar content or refined carbohydrates which would stimulate insulin secretion and aggravate androgen-related symptoms (such as acne and body hair problems).

Our health is in our hands. Healthy lifestyle is very helpful for maintaining hormonal balance. Exercise more and maintain a healthy low-sugar high-fibre diet, and you will be healthier and more beautiful naturally.

The above information is provided by Dr Ting Sze Man

About Periodontitis

Do you suffer from Periodontitis?

Bad breath, inflamed and bleeding gums are often early signs of periodontitis. In the worst cases, toothache and receding gums will occur. If nothing is done, teeth will begin to loosen and fall out, hampering chewing and digestive functions and ultimately impairing overall health.

Early treatment is the best cure

Periodontitis sufferers usually don’t seek early treatment and miss treatment windows. Most seek help in the mid to late stages of the disease when symptoms such as sore gums, loose teeth or toothache affect sleep quality. Sufferers may think gum bleeding is a result of over-vigorous tooth brushing and hope for improvement by gentler brushing. Some may try mouthwash to improve the condition, or blame the symptoms on “heatiness” and take herbal tea for a cure. Others may go to a Physician instead of a dentist, thinking it’s a sign of something wrong with the body.

However none of these responses get to the root of the problem. They may help to suppress the symptoms but they don’t tackle periodontitis head on. Worse still, they delay effective treatment. It only becomes more complicated, and costlier, to treat in later stages when the gums are inflamed. Even if the stop-gap measures provide some relief, they will not prevent gum recession. So it’s paramount to seek treatment as soon as symptoms such as gum bleeding show up.

How can dentists help?

Early treatment is the key for tackling periodontitis. Dental specialists will examine a patient’s family health history as well as dental and lifestyle habits. They will look at whether there are signs of gum bleeding, whether the patient smokes, or if periodontitis, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases run in the family. They will also check if a patient uses interdental brushes or dental floss. After initial checks, dentists will make a detailed examination, using a probe to check the pocket around each tooth, or use X-ray to measure bone loss, in 2D in most cases or 3D in more complicated cases.

In the event of tooth loss, rehabilitative treatments such as crowns, bridges and implants will be adopted. Implants involve inserting a titanium screw into jaw bone. Within six to eight weeks, the screw fixture will be integrated with the surrounding bone.  Patients should maintain good oral hygiene not only for natural teeth but also around dental implant to prevent infection of the supporting bone and gum.

Are implants the ultimate solution?

Some people think that their dental problems are solved by having an implant and they continue with bad habits such as smoking, drinking or not brushing teeth. Within a few years, there will be bone loss. The prosthesis will appear to be firmly in place in the early stages of gum and bone deterioration as the screw implant is fixed into the bone socket. However, by the time the prosthesis is loose, deterioration will be at an advanced stage.

To avoid this, patients must cut off the bad habits that led to periodontal disease and return to the dentist for regular check-ups after an implant to detect bone loss problems as soon as they happen.

Annual check and scaling is a must

Prevention is better than cure. This applies to periodontal disease as much as any other ailment. A visit to the dentist every six months to a year is advisable, including a scaling to remove plague and tartar when needed.

Dental care is in our own interest. No one cares about our own teeth more than ourselves. So we must be judicious with oral hygiene and maintain good habits to keep our teeth in good condition.

Information from Dr Clive Fung Kin Yue, Specialist in Periodontology 

Cholesterol level has nothing to do with physique

It is commonly thought that high cholesterol only occurs to overweight people, or it is purely linked to dietary habits. Let’s find out more about cholesterol in order to keep it at a healthy level.

Cholesterol is an essential building block for the human body. It is involved in the production of some hormones, vitamins and heat, and helps to maintain body temperature. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is generally described as “bad cholesterol”, whereas HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol is “good cholesterol” that helps the body recycle bad cholesterol. Excessive bad cholesterol in the body may cause fat deposits to form in different parts of the blood vessels and form blockages. This elevates the risks of triggering severe ischemic cardio-vascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral arterial occlusive disease. As well, high levels of triglyceride is also linked to atherosclerosis.

A high number of high cholesterol cases are caused by unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits (for example, long-term high-fat diet, sedentary lifestyle and abdominal obesity). But there are also skinny people having high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol comes from what we eat. However, the liver also produces bad cholesterol if it has processed high fat intake and hear (high carbohydrate), which explains why some people still suffer from high cholesterol despite maintaining a simple diet, and genetics is also an important cause too. If a patient cannot seem to lower the cholesterol level even with good dietary habits, adequate exercise and a healthy lifestyle, the doctor will prescribe different cholesterol control medications such as statin. People with high cholesterol should closely monitor their blood pressure and blood sugar level to avoid having all three indicators at high-risk levels.

Information provided by Dr Bernard Wong Bun Lap, Cardiologist
Handy tips for weight control

Q: Is it advisable to get prescription weight control medications from doctors to lose weight?
A: Doctors in general don’t casually prescribe weight control medications. Doctors will first get a full picture of a patient’s health, to see if pre-existing medical conditions lead to obesity – for example, hypothyroidism, excessive production of adrenocorticotropic hormone or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can lead to weight gain, and certain psychotic conditions and psychotropic drugs could also cause weight gain. If obesity is not linked to medical conditions, doctors will advise patients to first try maintain a balanced diet and exercise regime for weight control.

Q: How do we define obesity?
A: There are different standards and indicators for obesity internationally. The most common indicator is Body Mass Index (BMI). For Asians, a BMI higher than 23 is considered overweight, whereas BMI above 25 is considered obese. Men with a waistline exceeding 90 cm, or women with waistline exceeding 80 cm, are also considered obese.

Q: What are the recommended dietary rules for weight control?
A: There are many dietary tips around the world. The simplest one is calorie counting. Simply put, when the energy intake from food is higher than the energy expended, the residual energy will be stored as fat in the body. By the same token, if the energy output is greater than the energy intake, then body fat will be burnt to supply what the body needs.

Q: Is strict dieting an effective means for losing weight?
A: Eating less will of course reduce weight gain, but when dieting is discontinued, body weight could easily rebound, and the body is more prone to weight gain from then on. That’s because dieting reduces not only body fat but also muscle mass. Even when the body is still, energy is spent at Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). The greater the muscle mass, the higher the RMR. When muscle mass is lessened, RMR slows down and the body burns less energy, so it’s much easier to gain weight. So it’s necessary to take resistance training to maintain body mass when trying to lose weight.

Q: Are aerobic exercises such as jogging the best form of exercise for losing weight?
A: The best weight loss exercise is a combination of aerobic and resistance training. Aerobic exercises can burn fat and enhance cardiovascular functions while resistance training can maintain muscle mass and raise RMR. Resistance training is safer than aerobic exercise, as data show the number of incidences of death or injuries resulting from resistance training is lower than that of aerobic exercises. Some aerobic exercises such as jogging could lead to joint straining, and there are greater risks of dehydration and fall too.  

Q: High intensity interval training (HIIT) is all the rage now. Is it effective for weight loss?
A: HIIT is a form of interval resistance training, with aerobic exercise elements included. The advantage of HIIT is that it can be done in shorter duration and has higher intensity. It’s not only effective for losing weight, but also helps to enhance cardiovascular strength. Compared to pure aerobic exercise, HIIT is more effective for losing weight.

Information provided by Dr Samuel Chan Hoi Chung