Monday, January 27, 2014


You probably have read news about the “Global Cooling” that has been affecting many parts of the globe. One should therefore be cautious about this and always keep warm as much as possible. One of the risks of being exposed to the cold is Hypothermia.

Hypothermia, according to medical dictionaries, occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 35 deg. C (95 deg. F). Hypothermia is the opposite of hyperthermia which occurs during heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

There are many types of hypothermia. Doctors describe them as:

Acute hypothermia. This happens when the body temperature drops rapidly, like when a person falls into cold water.

Chronic Hypothermia. This occurs when body heat is lost slowly over time, for example, prolonged exposure to indoor temperature of 10-18 deg. C (50-60 deg. F).

People at risk of getting hypothermia:
Older people. Their bodies have less ability to regulate temperature, especially if they are not active and have other illnesses.
Infants. They can't regulate their body temperature as well as older children and adults.
Heavy drug and/or alcohol users. These substances affect the body's ability to retain heat. The blood vessels stay widened (dilated), allowing heat to escape.
People with certain health conditions, such as heart problems or head injuries. These conditions can change the body's ability to respond to temperature changes.
Someone who has fallen into cold water, which can cause the body's core temperature to drop rapidly.
People who spend long periods in cold weather conditions, such as climbers and skiers.

The signs and symptoms of hypothermia: Intense shivering; stiffness and numbness in the arms and legs; stumbling and clumsiness; drowsiness, disorientation, nausea and irrational behavior; and difficulty speaking.

First-Aid: Until emergency help arrives, a victim of hypothermia should be warmed by removing wet clothing and footwear, drying the skin, and wrapping him or her in warm blankets or a sleeping bag. Rubbing the skin can be harmful, as the muscular activity will pump cold blood and cause their core temperature to drop even more. Don’t give alcohol as it lowers the body’s ability to retain heat. Warm drinks such as clear soup and tea are recommended for those who can swallow.  

Hypothermia is definitely not a joke as it can be fatal if not addressed at its early stages. So, best to stay warm as toast inside your homes. Or if ever you go out, wear appropriate clothing.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland, or the thyroid, is a gland found just in front of the windpipe (trachea) in your throat. It produces thyroid hormones which regulate the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body.  Two of the most common thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

According to Dr. Don Powell's "365 Health Hints," both of these disorders could be life threatening, so if you suspect you have a problem, consult your doctor right away.

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone.  Some signs and symptoms are:

  • Tremors
  • Mood swings
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heat intolerance
  • shortened menstrual periods
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fine hair (or hair loss)
  • Rapid pulse
  • Nervousness
  • Enlarged thyroid gland

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone to meet the body's requirements. Some signs and symptoms are:

  • Fatigue and excessive sleeping
  • Dry, pale skin
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Weight gain
  • Dry hair that tends to fall out
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Frequently feeling cold
  • Puffy face (especially around the eyes)
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Poor memory   

Treatment for hyperthyroidism includes taking radioactive iodine or having surgery to suppress the thyroid's activity.  Treatment for hypothyroidism will include supplements of synthetic L-thyroxine to replace what's lacking.

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.

Monday, January 13, 2014


You've probably heard of funny stories about people who snore. On camping trips, they are forced to sleep in their own tents.  At home, neighbours make them close their windows.  Spouses sleep in separate beds or even separate bedrooms.

Well, snoring isn't so funny if you're the one who's ostracised - or if you have to put up with someone who snores. (Nine out of ten snorers are men, and most of them are age 40 or over.)

Here are some tips to help you stop snoring - and help others get a good night's sleep again.
  • Sleep on your side.  Prop an extra pillow behind your back so you won't roll over.  Try sleeping on a narrow sofa for a few nights to get accustomed to staying on your side.
  • Sew a marble or tennis ball into a pocket on the back of your pyjamas.  The discomfort it causes will remind you to sleep on your side.
  • If you must sleep on your back, raise the head of the bed with bricks or blocks. Elevating the head in this way can prevent the tongue from falling against the back of the throat, which can cause snoring.
  • If you are heavy, lose weight.  Excess fatty tissue in the throat can cause snoring.
  • Don't drink alcohol or eat a heavy meal within 3 hours before bedtime.  (For some reason, both seem to foster snoring).
If the problem persists - or if your bed partner notices that you stop breathing for several seconds in the midst of snoring - see an ear, nose, and throat specialist or a physician who specialises in sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea. You may have a medical problem that needs attention.

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Hiccups are simple to explain: Your diaphragm (the major muscle involved in breathing) goes into spasm. The exact cause of hiccups is still unknown, though here are some folk remedies worth trying:

  • Hold your tongue with your thumb and index finger and gently pull it forward.
  • With your neck bent backward, hold your breath for a count of ten. Exhale immediately and drink a glass of water.
  • Breathe into and out of a paper (not plastic) bag.
  • Swallow a small amount of finely cracked ice.
  • Massage the back of the roof of your mouth with a cotton swab.
  • Eat dry bread slowly.
  • Drink a glass of water rapidly.
Frequently occurring or prolonged hiccups may indicate other health problems, like stomach distension or a heart attack, both of which call for immediate medical care.

Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010.