Singapore has the world’s lowest health care costs and is ranked by the WHO as having the sixth best healthcare system in the world. Nevertheless, we all try to avoid a trip to the doctor wherever possible. In this modern world of smartphones, new solutions are proposed daily, designed to help you deal with your health needs. A number of apps have been developed, both by private companies and by the government of Singapore, to keep you healthy and deal with your problems if you fall sick.
As we all know, prevention is better than cure: one of the best things that a mobile phone health app can do is to help you stay fit. The Singapore Health Promotion Board has released a number of phone apps aimed at keeping you in shape. Healthy Chef contains over 70 nutritious recipes from Singapore's leading chefs. The HPB Diet Tracker allows you to keep track of what you're eating and compare it to the HPB food nutrition database, to give you an idea of whether you are in line with the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. The HPB Fitness Tracker tracks your aerobic fitness score and body mass index over time, suggesting activities if your score does not fall within the recommended zone.
At the moment these apps only work with phones and tablets operating on iOS. If you are fond of other operating systems and own non iOS gadgets, you will need to look somewhere else. For example, if you have a BlackBerry Bold or an Android smartphone you might consider downloading Health Meter Premium as an alternative. Using this tool you can calculate your body mass index, basal metabolic rate, body fat and waist-to-hip ratio. This type of information can alert you to potential health risks and make you set a recommend daily calorie intake plan.
No matter how fit you are there will always come a time when you need to see a doctor. The Ministry of Health’s answer to this is the app MOH iHealth SG that offers a comprehensive guide to the country’s healthcare establishments and healthcare professionals. If crisis strikes when you’re out but carrying your mobile phone in Singapore, you’ll still have direct access to information about the nearest medical facilities, be able to filter results by the service they provide, and get their addresses and phone numbers and even a map right away. The app is currently available for iOS only, but information apps on how to actually deal with a medical emergency are available on all platforms. Health Guide: FirstAid Pro, for example, encompasses a range of health tips: from day-to-day healthy living, to emergency information. It gives you immediate access to a database of emergency numbers, as well as online medical encyclopaedias that will help you understand what is wrong.
Here’s wishing the very best of health to you all!
Most glasses-wearers will be able to recall unpleasant childhood memories relating to their spectacles. Whether it is being called names like ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Bookworm’, or ‘Four-Eyes’, or simply because of the fact that prescription sunglasses never looked quite as cool as those worn by everyone else at school, needing glasses as a child is rarely fun.
More and more young children are wearing contact lenses – but is this the right option for your child? Professionals usually say that an appropriate age at which children can start wearing contact lenses varies from child to child. Here are a few of the pros and cons for contact lenses for children
As mentioned before, wearing glasses can play a huge part in the way a child is perceived by his or her peers, and, even more importantly, in the way a child perceives himself or herself. This, in turn, is reflected in a child’s social relationships and school performance. If wearing glasses is affecting your child’s confidence, it may well be worth considering the alternative.
General Comfort of Wear
Modern soft contact lenses are extremely comfortable to wear. They completely bypass many annoying problems created by glasses – they never steam up because of a change in temperature, and they never get smeared with rain or anything else. Long-time wearers of glasses will be amazed by the peripheral vision that contact lenses offer! Lenses are also known to have improved hay fever symptoms in some users – although they may also worsen symptoms.
Practicality for Sports
The argument here is much the same as the one above – contact lenses simplify everyday life, right down to sports-related activities. They allow children to pursue anything from gymnastics to baseball to swimming without fear of either injury or of loss or damage to glasses.
Good eyecare is very important for all ages, and hygiene must not be allowed to become a problem. A child may be hugely conscientious in other areas but still might prove to be less careful with contact lenses when he or she determined to avoid wearing glasses! Youthful contact lenses wearers have to be supervised to make sure hands and contact lenses are kept in hygienic condition.
Again, children who enjoy wearing their contact lenses (whether for reasons of confidence or convenience) tend to be reluctant to swap them for glasses as much as they should. Over-wear of contact lenses may cause disrupted oxygen supply to the eye, unpleasant dryness, and an increased risk of eye infections. Again, adult supervision is crucial.
Ruptured and ‘Lost’ Lenses
Many parents, and particularly those without personal experience of wearing lenses, fear that they may somehow rupture, and even be ‘lost’ within the eye. While the first is possible, it is extremely rare. In fact, a damaged contact lens will be highly uncomfortable to the wearer, which means it is unlikely to remain in the eye long enough to cause any damage. It is impossible for a contact lens to actually be ‘lost’ within the eye. Blinking and rinsing of the eye with lens-fluid will make any lens re-appear.
The rare problem of lenses that fall out of the eye is easily remedied by carrying a spare pair of disposable lenses. A contact lens that has fallen out should, under no circumstances, be re-inserted into the eye without having been rinsed with specialist lens-fluid (which is also available in pocket-sized bottles). Lenses are most likely to ‘fall out’ either because of the dusty and dry surroundings or because your eyes are dry and tired; the latter can be avoided by responsible use of lenses.
Contact lenses should never replace glasses, and therefore naturally constitute an additional cost. Disposable or ‘daily’ contact lenses are the most expensive option – however, as they are the most hygienic contact lens option they tend to be the best option for childres.
This is by no means a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons of contact lenses for children, but it may give a useful starting point for parental considerations. It is important to note that contact lenses should never replace glasses (particularly as there is now a much larger selection of funky children’s glasses out there than there was about fifteen to twenty years ago!), but rather should be treated as complimentary to them.
In fact, the author herself is a contact lenses wearer, who started using them as an alternative to glasses at the age of fourteen.
In 2011, accidents (unintentional injuries) were the fifth most likely cause of death for US citizens, being noted as having been the cause of death for 122,777 people. A study from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that accidents and injuries are most likely to occur in the home, with 30 percent of all injuries occurring within the injured individual’s own property. An OECD report, Occupational Accidents in OECD countries, found that international variations in numbers of accidents occurring in the workplace were fairly minimal, and Australia is on a par with the US. This article will proceed on that premise.
The same study found that only 16 percent of people then went to a doctor, a figure that was higher for those in possession of private health care insurance. Though only 5 percent of injured individuals – around a third of those who visited a doctor – required attention in hospital, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Injury in the United States: 2007 Chartbook found that a third of all visits to emergency departments were due to injuries. It is therefore worth considering hospital cover if for no other reason than this.
Falls were by far and away the most likely cause of injury in the home, accounting for the vast majority of accidents. In the UK records of Deaths registered to Government in England and Wales, 2010, around 20 percent of all falls were from steps or stairs, although the vast majority of falls were ‘unspecified’ (some 78 percent). Participants in the 2005 meeting of the International Collaborative Effort on Injury Statistics found that Australian over-65s were around half as likely to injure themselves by falling than American over-65s.
A surprisingly small number of deaths in that same study were attributed to ‘exposure to smoke, fire and flames’. The cause of death – whose official label is ‘X00-X09’ – counted for a relatively low 237 deaths in the UK in 2011. This is in comparison to over 1,500 deaths as a result of poisoning and exposure to noxious substances. Similarly small was the number of deaths in the UK attributed to ‘lack of food’, with only 6 recorded incidents of starvation.
The US study demonstrated that between the ages of 70 and 85, deaths due to unintentional accidents rise by 600 percent to seven times the figure of 40 deaths per 100,000 population for 69-year-olds. Poisoning is also up from the 1985 genesis of the US study, having doubled as a cause of death among US citizens over 25 years. Falls have also steadily increased, although incidents involving firearms are down from a high of 15 deaths per 100,000 in 1995 to 10 deaths per 100,000 in 2006.
In the Australian workplace, things are quite different. Almost three quarters of accident and injury claimants are male, with manufacturing and construction taking most of the hit. Women were more likely to injure themselves working in the retail or communication sectors.#
All studies conclude that accidents are an expected part of daily life – but are almost entirely preventable. Despite this, they continue to account for around 8 percent of total healthcare spending worldwide.
|Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)|
Though most recognized and lauded medical innovations are focused on prolonging life and finding cure to fatal diseases, it is reassuring to know that there are still some that pursue improvement in a person’s quality of life. And no innovation can benefit more people than one that addresses eyecare. According to a study from Tulane University School of Medicine, approximately 135 million people worldwide suffer from low vision alone – a serious visual impairment – and this number is expected to double by 2030. This figure doesn’t even include those with more serious visual impairments caused by aging or other factors, and doesn’t include the millions of people across the world who need to wear glasses or contact lenses in everyday life because of myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).
One of the most debilitating disorders suffered by millions of people worldwide is arthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but the most common diagnoses are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by inflammation of one or more joints and comes with pain and stiffness. Though it is an affliction known to affect the elderly most frequently, there are some instances when it does affect younger people. It minimizes physical ability and can thus lead to other diseases like obesity and heart disease.
For both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, there is no known cure, and treatment involves a combination of different drugs that usually includes painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine. Since it usually involves taking medication continuously, the worst side effects are liver and kidney problems. As such, more and more people are looking for natural remedies that will have less harmful effects on the body than the usual medication prescribed by doctors.
A natural remedy that has been shown to provide relief to arthritis is evening primrose oil. It is derived from the seed of the evening primrose plant, which is rich in omega 6 fatty acids. The effective ingredient in evening primrose oil that helps with arthritis is gamma linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is essential in the production of prostaglandins, which are used by the body to regulate pain and inflammation. Since it only provides relief from pain and inflammation, it may still be necessary to continue with other medicines while using evening primrose oil. It has no known major side effects except for people with seizure disorders; people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders should avoid primrose oil because it is known to trigger seizure attacks. Test results cited by Michael Castleman in his book The New Healing Herbs about the use of evening primrose oil among those with arthritis show that most subjects taking evening primrose oil for 6 months showed significant improvement in their symptoms, specifically in pain and morning stiffness.
Another natural remedy known alleviate arthritis symptoms is krill oil. Krill oil comes from small crustaceans called Antarctic krill that are high in omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9 fatty acids. The oil is also a rich resource of phospholipids, vitamin A, vitamin E, and astaxanthin. The vitamins and astaxanthin in krill oil give it an edge over other fish oils by providing antioxidant properties. Krill oil’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities make it a good remedy, not only for arthritis, but also for cardiovascular disease. However, it is important to note that krill oil is not recommended for those suffering allergies to shellfish.
Despite the relief that both primrose oil and krill oil offer to those with arthritis, it is important to understand that these natural remedies are only intended to reduce dependence on conventional drugs. It is also necessary to consult a doctor before taking these natural supplements to find the right dosage and to ensure that any alternative remedies do not have adverse effects if taken with other medications. For those given the thumbs up by their physicians to take evening primrose oil or krill oil as supplements, the advantage would be the minimized harsh side effects of chemicals such as steroids from traditional arthritis medicine. Though traditional medicine may provide relief from symptoms, prolonged use leads to more serious diseases because of the harm done on the liver and kidneys. Primrose oil and krill oil together with the right exercise could mean a better quality of life for those with arthritis.
Health care is probably one of the more critical issues affecting the way of life of people worldwide. As the cost of health care continues to increase, people without health insurance forego the services of medical professionals for themselves and their family simply because they can not afford the cost of these services, let alone the required medicine to alleviate the possible ailments.
Though the government does provide supplemental health care assistance to citizens, it is sometimes insufficient, especially if there are complicated illnesses and considerable costs involved. For most people, having the best health care means finding the right private health care coverage for their needs and those of their family. However, finding the ideal health care plan is not as simple as it looks. The market offers various coverage combinations that may appear to be confusing if not evaluated properly. It is important to consider the different factors when choosing a health care plan for the family.
Before choosing a private health care plan for yourself or the family, remember that the best plan is one that fits the budget but likewise fits all the needs of your family. Weigh in the risks and consider the current health situation that has to be dealt with. Does anyone have a pre-existing condition? Is there an illness in the family that requires monthly consultation or regular prescription medication? Are dental and optometric consultations necessary? In case of an accident, how would you like to be cared for? How much preventive care do you prefer?
With the answer to these questions, a shortlist of health plan providers together with the cost can help in deciding the right one for the family. But before finalizing any health coverage, make sure that the terms of the plan are clear and understood. Assuming some conditions and discovering later on when you need it that it was not what it was could be frustrating and disastrous.
Once we have a health care plan in place, it is also important to remember that it will not likely be applicable if the unfortunate incident or illness happens when you are out of the country. When working abroad, make sure you’re covered by a health care plan! If you’re traveling to Australia on a working visa, whether on a working holiday or for something a bit more long-term, you should look into getting Overseas Health Cover so that you are protected. The risk of getting ill in another country while away from friends and family is something most people would not like to gamble with – especially when thinking about the likely expense!
Health insurance not only provides health care but also peace of mind, as you know that there is a safety net for you and your family.
Reading glasses are a special pair of glasses for people who spend a lot of time reading, or performing tasks that require them to focus on smaller objects within a close distance. It’s different from the traditional glasses people with poor vision use to be able to drive or perform other tasks that require sight. A person can get prescription reading glasses from eye care professionals and they can also get them “off the rack” in drugstores and several shops that sell fashion eyewear. While the ready-made glasses are much cheaper and come in a wide variety of styles to suit one’s personality, most eye care professionals advise against them. They recommend that people treat reading glasses as an investment rather than just a temporary reading tool for the following reasons.