Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rules for Better Sleep - Part II

Image Credit
To those who are experiencing any kind of sleep disorder, the Rules for Better Sleep would be a big help. Here is the second part for your appreciation:
  • Time to wind down is conducive to sleep. Engage in relaxing activities like reading, watching TV or listening to music thirty minutes before bedtime (and outside the bedroom).
  • Avoid worrying in bed about not being able to sleep. If after ten to fifteen minutes you are still awake, get out of bed and go to another room. Do something relaxing. When you start getting tired or sleepy, go back to bed. Staying in bed and forcing yourself to fall asleep will only make you angry and frustrated, further aggravating a conditioned arousal (negative conditioning).
  • If you find yourself "clock watching", turn the clock around or cover it so you cannot see it.

Compiled by Manalastas, R. Rules for Better Sleep
Comprehensive Sleep Disorder Center,
St. Luke’s Medical Center
Image Credit: internetmedicine.com

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rules for Better Sleep

image credit

Mom has trouble sleeping occasionally. Her geriatric doctor has prescribed a sleep inducing medicine to relieve her of the distress it brings to her. It causes uneasiness, irritation and discomfort. Often, she would talk almost endlessly the whole night, recalling the memories of her younger days. Sometimes, it pains me to see her that way. 

Recently, I have read a short article about sleeping disorder and I’ve thought of sharing it hear. If there are people out there who are experiencing a sleeping disorder, these simple rules could be of good help.

  • Sleep only as much as needed to feel refreshed during the following day. Extended sleep will only lead to fragmented and shallow sleep. Restricting time in bed will lead to a consolidated sleep.
  • Get up the same time each morning, weekdays and weekends. Regular wake-up time will lead to regular sleep onset times.
  • Regular exercise in the morning deepens sleep. Exercising in the evening is stimulating and may lead to delay in sleep onset.
  • Proper sleep environment is conducive to sleep. Avoid extreme temperature, bright light and noise in the bedroom.
  • Late snack may promote sleep onset in some patients. Hunger or excessive fullness can disturb sleep. A cup of warm milk, a banana or a cookie is sufficient to quell hunger pains at night.
  • Avoid drinking excessive liquids at night to minimize the need to get up to go to the bathroom. Getting up (at most twice) in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom is not unusual as long as you are able to go back to sleep.
  • Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, colas) in the evening. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulating. Alcohol may initially promote sleep, however, it leads to a fragmented sleep.
  • Bed is only for sleep and sex (conducive to sleep). Remove from the bedroom all stimuli not associated with sleep. Activities like watching TV, eating and drinking, arguments, discussing and days problems and working may interfere with sleep onset.

to be continued...

Compiled by Manalastas, R. Rules for Better Sleep
Comprehensive Sleep Disorder Center,
St. Luke’s Medical Center

Image Credit: internetmedicine.com

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What Is Detoxification?


“99 ABC’s of Wellness” Article Credit: The original article 99 ABC’s of Wellness is by Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit, which has appeared on the Philippine Star on January 12, 1999.

Principle #24: Detoxification

“Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxins from our bodies. Therapies used for this purpose include diet, supplementation, exercise and spa treatments. Crucial is intake of enough clean drinking water.” (Excerpt from the original article)

Detoxification is an alternative therapeutic approach to free the body from harmful substances that cause ill effects.

Dieting is one approach to achieve this purpose. Often, toxic substances also come from the food we eat like food with too much cholesterol content or trans fat, artificial flavorings, preservatives, etc. The objective of dieting is to remove these harmful substances by not eating any more of those harmful toxins and let the body remove the remaining toxins naturally. Diet may consist of carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, natural juices and herbs and non-fat dairy products or oatmeal.

One example of a detox diet plan is the Gerson Therapy. German physician Max Gerson believes that disease is caused by the accumulation of unspecified toxins, and attempts to treat the disease by having patients consume a predominantly vegetarian diet including hourly glasses of organic juice and various dietary supplements (source: wikipedia).

Fasting is one approach that proponents of detoxification promote. However, while it can be effective to some people, it may not be good for all because it may cause harm instead when overdone.

Taking food supplements also help speed up the detoxification of the body. Spirulina for example, has been found to prevent damage caused by toxins affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, neurons, eyes, ovaries, DNA, and testicles (source: wikipedia).

Trace minerals also supports a healthy, energetic body and wards off diseases. It is good for bones, teeth, soft tissue, muscle, blood & nerve cells, & stimulates muscle response, nerve impulse transmission, digestion, metabolism and hormone production. It also functions as co-enzyme and influences all metabolic processes.

Detox therapy also uses water cure. Detox proponents argue that drinking stomach-full of water can clean the bowel. They say that it has various health benefits although initially, it can cause loose bowel movement due to the increase of water intake. However, intake of water in large amount can lead to a rare but harmful case of water intoxication or water poisoning, which is fatal.

We need to be conscious of our health all the time. We need to watch our diet and keep a healthy lifestyle.

Image credit:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cooking Method Affects Diet

Breaded Fish Fillet c/o Dreamstime.Com
“99 ABC’s of Wellness” Article Credit: The original article 99 ABC’s of Wellness is by Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit, which has appeared on the Philippine Star on January 12, 1999.

Principle #23: The Cooking Method

“The cooking method you use determines your food’s fat content...” (excerpt from the original article)

Many people say that frying is not a very healthy cooking method. It would still be best to boil steam or grill meat instead of frying it in oil.

According to wiki, frying is a method of cooking that dates back to ancient Egypt, which 2,500 years ago. Up to now, fried food is still the most popular method of cooking. Perhaps, people like frying because it is the easiest method of cooking and admittedly, the most delicious to the taste. Who would resist fried chicken?

In an article I have read, it says that - "New York Times" explains that using clean oil at the right temperature and removing the food at the right time before the hissing and sizzling ceases will prevent excess fat -- and calories -- from adhering to your chicken, fish or even Twinkie. The oil you choose can make a big difference as well. Olive oil does not get as hot as other cooking oils, which means you have to leave the food in longer and will up your fat and calorie count. Peanut oil has the highest flash point of comparable cooking oils and will require the least amount of cooking time. One cup of peanut oil has 1,910 calories. Corn and canola oils, both of which have high flash points as well, have 1,980 calories per cup. A cup of lard has 1,849 calories (http://www.livestrong.com/article/504208-how-many-calories-does-frying-add) 

Diet conscious individuals avoid fried dishes. They would opt for steamed fish or grilled meat. However, steamed dishes are bland so people add mayonnaise usually. So, if one fillet of steamed fish has 157 calories and a tablespoon of mayo has 57 calories, you will consume 214 calories already.

One fillet of grilled fish has 123 calories. Well, that’s 34 calories less than a steamed fish. While a fried battered fish has 267 calories. Consuming one fillet of fried battered fish is like eating two fillets of grilled fish! It could be more ‘cause most often, we would add some gravy to it so if you will consume 3 tablespoons of brown gravy, that would add up to 291 calories.

It seems healthier to prepare grilled food than fried but I guess, if you can balance your diet with an active lifestyle, you need not worry about some excess calorie intake. Just burn them and you will still be fat free.

Image above courtesy of:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Coloring Agents Can Be Hazardous to Health

“99 ABC’s of Wellness” Article Credit: The original article 99 ABC’s of Wellness is by Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit, which has appeared on the Philippine Star on January 12, 1999.

Principle #22: Coloring Agents

“Coloring agents can make some innocent grocery and toiletry item cancer-causing. It is better to choose cosmetics and preparations which use natural colors”.

According to US-FDA, “A color additive, as defined by regulation, is any dye, pigment, or other substance that can impart color to a food, drug, or cosmetic or to the human body. Color additives are important components of many products, making them attractive, appealing, appetizing, and informative. Added color serves as a kind of code that allows us to identify products on sight, like candy flavors, medicine dosages, and left or right contact lenses. One of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) roles is to assure that color additives are safely and appropriately used.”

The skin is a very sensitive part of the human body. It flaunts the natural physical beauty of an individual. Once our skin gets damaged, our natural beauty goes with it.

Healthy skin is not just about being beautiful, though. It is part of the total wellness of a person. Fatal infections can enter through the skin and cause even more serious harm inside the body. It is very important that we care for our skin and choose cosmetics that use chemical ingredients like color additives properly.

Image above courtesy of:

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Sting of Pneumonia

WPA poster, 1936/1937 (c/o Wikipedia)
Last February I had a very bad flu with temperature reaching 39 to 40 degrees Celsius. I thought that it was just a common cold and cough so I just took simple over the counter medicines we see on TV commercials. However, to my dismay, they did not give relief.

When my fever died down, I thought I was getting well although the cough persisted and the phlegm seemed to accumulate more and deeper inside my chest. I just thought that it would go away soon.

February 18 was an important day because we would be having a musical play in church, which I wrote. Some of the songs were my composition too and our band would be doing the songs live so I could never skip that event!

The event was a success. However, right after the event, perhaps my adrenalin had somehow died down, I began to feel sick. The cough worsen and I began to have difficulty in breathing. Our pastor and some of the church elders who were still there that night decided to rush me to the nearest hospital. While in the emergency room, I learned from the doctor that I was showing signs of pneumonia infection.

I was confined for 2 days in the hospital and they gave me intravenous antibiotic to fight the infection. Medications continued at home with oral antibiotics, nebulizer and oral expectorant. The cough was so hard that I could not sleep. It seemed to worsen whenever I lie flat on my back.

A few weeks after, I recovered from the illness and in a matter of days, I went back to my usual routine. Again to my shock, after a two to three weeks, I was down with fever again. When I went to my doctor for check up, he said that I had pneumonitis again. It was twice in just two months time! My doctor gave me oral antibiotic, which is stronger than the previous one, antihistamine, liquid expectorant and nebulizer.

The saddest part, my Mom also had pneumonia at the same time and she was hospitalized. I might have transmitted it to her so we had to take medication together. She was confined for two days and received intravenous antibiotic. Thank God she recovered fast.

I realized that pneumonia is vicious and must not be undermined.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Can We Prevent Birth Defects?

This handout photograph released by the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) on April 16, 2012, shows a newly-born child with six legs as he lies in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward at a hospital in Karachi. Doctors in Pakistan are fighting to save the life of a baby boy born with six legs because of a rare genetic condition, hospital officials said.AFP PHOTO/NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH (c/o Yahoo!News)

There are bizarre circumstances in life that are hard to explain and understand like birth defects.

When I have seen in Yahoo News this photo of an infant in Pakistan who has been born with six legs, I have felt a sense of sorrow for his condition. Doctors are currently working to find a way to resolve the infant’s physical abnormality through surgery. I do pray that the doctors succeed with the operation so that the baby may have a chance to lead a normal life.

Well, science explains birth defects as structural or developmental abnormalities that are present at childbirth, which cause certain disability. Genetic disorder, chromosomal imbalance or infections during pregnancy are the possible causes of birth defects.

I’m wondering, is there a way of preventing birth defects?

Birth defect prevention is not an easy process as I have learned from some reading around the internet. Health professionals are still in the process of collecting valuable data to come up with a definite and precise answer to this issue.

However, in the website that I have visited, they have found out some vital information that leads to the prevention of birth defects. Allow me to share it here:

  • Folic acid is a B vitamin. Taking folic acid supplements before getting pregnant and in early pregnancy lowers the risk of having a baby with serious birth defects of the brain and spine (neural tube defects). For this reason, all women who can become pregnant should take supplements containing 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause the baby to be born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Pregnant women should not drink alcohol any time during pregnancy.
  • Smoking in the month before getting pregnant and throughout pregnancy increases the chance of premature birth, certain birth defects (such as cleft lip, cleft palate, or both), and infant death. Quitting smoking before getting pregnant is best. However, for women who are already pregnant, quitting as early as possible can still help protect against some health problems.
  • Women who are obese when they get pregnant have a higher risk of having a baby with serious birth defects of the brain and spine (neural tube defects) and some heart defects. Helping women to reach a healthy weight before they get pregnant could prevent birth defects.
  • Poor control of diabetes in pregnant women increases the chance for birth defects, and might cause serious complications for the mother, too. If a woman with diabetes keeps her blood sugar well-controlled before and during pregnancy, she can reduce the chance of having a baby with birth defects.
  • Taking certain medications just before or during pregnancy might cause serious birth defects, but the safety of many medications taken by pregnant women has been difficult to determine. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should not stop taking medications you need or begin taking new medications without first talking with your doctor. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal products (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/research.html)

I feel that this information is important for everyone to know so I am giving this valuable space here on my blog. Together, with proper knowledge, we can all contribute to the process of preventing birth defects by avoiding dangerous factors that may adversely affect pregnancy.
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