Diabetes: Managing your emotions

Diabetes: Managing your emotions

Research has shown that individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of depression than the normal population. Comorbid diabetes and emotional issues are found to be simultaneously associated, with one condition exacerbated by the other and vice versa. Traditional management of diabetes aims at diet, medication, and exercise while the psychological aspect of this disease is often overlooked. Due to negative perceptions and stigma on emotional/mental issues, diabetes patients may even feel reluctant to seek counselling or treatment.

The emotional turmoil of diabetic patients

Studies indicate that individuals with diabetes were more likely to have a strong emotional response to negative experiences. Research also indicates that individuals with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes had more activity on the right side of their brains, which is associated with depression and negative emotions.

Those with prediabetes and diabetes also recorded lower cortisol levels which shows a lower resistance to stress. It was also found that the occurrence of anxiety in the diabetic patient has been reported as high as 40%.

People with diabetes normally go through several emotional stages as they come to grips with having a chronic disease.

Psychological support for diabetes

As diabetic patients become more fixated on negative thoughts, losing weight and managing other health issues can become more challenging. Negative emotions and anxiety affect diabetes self-care management, which is manifested through poorer diet and medication adherence, lesser physical activity, and ultimately higher health care costs.

For healthcare providers, giving the psychological support needed by their patients can make a huge difference in diabetes management. Recent research has shown that when support and care have been given by health care providers, it has resulted in higher perceived self-efficacy and lesser emotional issues with the diabetic patient. With the right support, positive emotional health will facilitate self-management and improved health outcomes. This can be done through:

  • Providing awareness and skills development to diabetic patient
  • Being more emphatic and improve communication skills
  • Personalisation of patients’ management and care according to their needs
  • Assess diabetes impact on patients daily routine and how to overcome it

Worries and concerns about diabetes management have caused several patients to impose various restrictions upon themselves. They may isolate themselves, which may precipitate or exacerbate negative emotions. By using an approach that promotes an open discussion about the difficulties in following a diabetes regimen, health care providers can help them gain a sense of freedom through safe self-management skills.

Managing your emotions in facing diabetes

 “if you don’t manage your emotions, then your emotions will manage you,” – Deborah Rozman.

Moreover, addressing your emotion should be your priority in diabetic management. Below are some of the steps you can take to manage your emotions:

  • Acceptance and acknowledgement

Acceptance and acknowledgement of your condition will help you to focus on strategies to manage this disease. You should also learn to accept and acknowledge the negative emotions that may be surfaced. Overcome them by reframing your thoughts by looking at the situation in a positive way.

For example, a person with diabetes may say to himself, “It’s a good thing I was diagnosed early because it’s not too late for me to start living healthier and to try to reduce my blood sugar levels till they become stable”

  • Forgive yourself and grow from this experience

It is easy for one to fall into a trap of guilt, regret and self-blame of their lifestyle consequence. But it is important for us to know that there is no one who is perfect and we should learn to forgive ourselves. Let go and move on to the next step and become healthier.

  • Have an action plan

After going through the initial phase of acceptance and awareness, it’s good to move on to the next phase of knowing how to manage diabetes. It would be helpful to go through an action plan involving food and fitness with a friend or a family member.

  • Stay connected

Being alone makes diabetes management worse as isolation can make you feel more anxious. Talk to your friends and family for support. Close family members who live with those suffering from diabetes can help by practising similar healthy eating patterns. This can be one of the most powerful ways to support your loved ones by making them feel like they’re not alone in their management plan.

  • Relaxation techniques

Try to make time for some peaceful ‘me time’ sessions where you connect with nature in a recluse setting to help you unwind and get away from it all.

Managing diabetes may seem difficult at first but if we stop for a moment and reframe our thoughts and realize that diabetes management actually involves healthy thoughts, healthy emotions and healthy behaviour patterns comprising healthy eating and healthy fitness activities in order to ultimately attain a healthy lifestyle. Shouldn’t everyone be doing the same too? You’re not alone on this journey to becoming a healthier you. We’re all in this together.

This article contributed by Hello Doktor and republished by Voiz Asia upon permission. This article was published in collaboration with Naluri.
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Anxiety Disorder: When it’s more than just in the mind

Anxiety Disorder: When it’s more than just in the mind

“What if I fall off the stages?”, “What if I say something stupid?”, “What if I failed the math test?”

The ‘what if’ questions that we may encounter on a day to day basis is the fuel to our anxiety. Anxiety is a normal human emotion in the anticipation of future threat. We may feel anxious before an examination, presentation or social events. It is a natural response that helps us stay alert, focused and ready to do our best. But anxiety can become overwhelming and can interfere with our lives when in excess.

Intensive, unreasonable anxiety is an indicator of anxiety disorder. People with anxiety disorder struggle with intense emotion identified by recurring intrusive thoughts and concern paired with physical changes like rapid heartbeat and increase blood pressure. Someone with an anxiety disorder may avoid being in certain situations out of intense concern or worry- which may not be real.

Types of anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorders can be classified into six main types. These include generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). GAD is the most common anxiety disorder in which the patient struggles with excessive, long-lasting anxiety and worries about nonspecific life events, objects, and situations.

Anxiety may intensify in the form of acute attack. Anxiety attack feels similar to a heart attack. It occurs suddenly with symptoms that usually lasted for few minutes, or rarely, up to several hours. It tends to peak for 10 minutes and will reduce steadily. One may feel tired, fatigue after an anxiety attack.

Having constant anxiety can also take a toll on our body which not many are aware of. This involves changes in digestive systems, a risk of infection, change in cardiovascular, urinary and even respiratory systems.

Treatment for anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorder, like any other disorder, is something that one may learn to manage and overcome with proper help and support.

“As how we always take care of other people that matter to us, our own self-has right over us.” clinical psychologist, Aina Nur Azmi points out. “Hence, give yourself the help that it needs, talk to someone about it and get professional help.”

“Life will never be free from challenges but we can always learn to manage, adapt and adopt a thinking pattern that is more helpful and positive,” she added.

Despite the gloomy outlook of life that the patients may feel, anxiety is manageable through all the treatment options available. One of the viable treatment of anxiety disorder is through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It helps patients reframe negative thoughts, challenging their core beliefs via individual therapy sessions. Support groups are also available as well as self-help reading materials like books. Although severe symptoms may require medication, meditation and deep breathing or relaxation exercises can also work wonders to help you cope with the symptoms.

This article contributed by Hello Doktor and republished by Voiz Asia upon permission. Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
By: Helma Hassan

This article was published in collaboration with Naluri.
*Aina Nur Azmi is a Health Coach at Naluri – Pioneering next generation digital therapeutics combining behavioural science, data science and digital design to build the mental resilience needed to achieve your goals and overcome life’s challenges that stand in your way.

5 unique facts about colour blindness

5 unique facts about colour blindness

You may not know everything about your body but you can gradually gain some basic knowledge about certain parts. In this topic, let’s discover 5 unique facts about colour blindness – a problem that affects the vision.

People do not see the same colour

To the question: what colour is a spinach leaf? Your answer must be ‘green’. However, what is green like? You and your friend, for example, do not see the same green. You can see the colour of an object because light rays come to that object, then these light rays reflect off the object, pass through your lens and cornea, focus at one point on the retina.

The color of light is defined by its wavelength. This means green has a wavelength you see as green. A spinach leaf is green because its surface reflects green wavelengths and absorbs all other wavelengths.

Each person sees the color of an object in a different way. This because eyes and brain work together to notice different shades of light. However, the difference is usually slight.

Color blindness can be a problem of the cells, eyes, brain, or a part of the aging process

Color blindness can be caused by the absence or improper function of cone cells. This may be because of defects in specific genes needed for the formation of these cells. Cone cells help you detect the colors. There are three types of cone cells that determine three main colors: green, red, and blue. If you have color blindness, you may not have one, two or all three types of this cell.

Sometimes, color blindness can be the result of a physical or chemical damage to the eye, nerve, or brain. This can affect the color information.

As you age, cataracts may appear and the lenses may become yellow. This can also lead to color blindness.

Color blindness is more common in men than in women

Studies have shown that men are more likely to have color blindness than women. This is because the genes responsible for this condition are located on the X chromosome. Men have only one X chromosome while women have two X chromosome. In women, once the X chromosome is affected, the other can compensate.

Red-green color blindness is a combination of conditions

Red-green color blindness is the most common type of color blindness. It occurs when you lack of green cone and red cone photo-pigments. Red-green color blindness is a combination of red color blindness and green color blindness.

Special lenses can help people with color blindness

Color blindness can present at birth, appear in childhood, or start when you are an adult. Although it can be annoying when you experience difficulty reading, learning, or driving, color blindness is not a serious condition. Although color blindness cannot be cured, you can live normally with it.

There are ways to help if you have this condition. You can ask your doctor about lenses for people with color blindness. These lenses help you see more colors. You can use them outdoors. There are also apps on smartphones that help you recognize colours of objects.

This article contributed by Hello Doktor and republished by Voiz Asia upon permission.
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Saving Asia’s Mothers

Saving Asia’s Mothers

by Anderson E. Stanciole,Federica Maurizio

BANGKOK – With all the talk about the impending “Asian century,” one might imagine that the region had moved beyond what are often viewed as poor-country health challenges, like high rates of maternal mortality. The reality is very different.

In 2015, an estimated 85,000 women died of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth across the Asia-Pacific region – 28% of the global total. Up to 90% of those deaths, which were concentrated in just 12 countries, could have been prevented through quality antenatal, obstetric, and perinatal care.

In the absence of such care, the average maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the Asia-Pacific region is extremely high: 127 per 100,000 live births, compared to the developed-country average of 12 per 100,000. The 12 countries with the highest MMRs, exceeding 100 deaths per 100,000 live births, are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste.

These countries, together, accounted for about 78,000 known maternal deaths in 2015. The actual figure is probably higher. In fact, MMRs are notoriously difficult to estimate, with conflict, poverty, poor infrastructure, weak health systems, and inadequate resources causing many deaths to go unreported.

MMR data do, however, provide an indication of general trends, which are not promising. Indeed, if they persist, hundreds of thousands of mothers in those 12 high-MMR Asia-Pacific countries alone could lose their lives by 2030.

To be sure, substantial progress has been made in the last 15 years, and efforts are being made to sustain it. The United Nations development agenda, underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to reduce the MMR to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. If that target is met, up to 100,000 lives could be saved across the Asia-Pacific region.

Achieving the goal presupposed faster progress, with annual rates of MMR reduction particularly low (2%) in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. On current trends, only four of the Asia-Pacific region’s 12 high-MMR countries will be able to meet the SDG target for maternal mortality. The remaining eight will require an average of 26 years.

maternal mortality rate

At a time when family-planning policies are becoming increasingly restrictive, accelerating the pace of progress could prove difficult. Indeed, for some countries, progress is at risk of slowing.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is working hard to counter this trend. We are committed to ensuring that all pregnancies are safe and wanted, and that all women and girls are empowered not just to make their own choices about their own families and bodies, but also to contribute more to poverty reduction and economic development.

In the 12 high-MMR Asia-Pacific countries, the UNFPA advocates the development of responsive and inclusive health systems with sufficient numbers of trained personnel, from midwives to community-health workers. And we are already working to advance that objective.

In Afghanistan, the UNFPA and its partners have supported the expansion of community health services, including the creation of 80 family health houses and nine mobile support teams. Those initiatives had reached more than 420,000 people by 2015.

In Lao PDR, the UNFPA has helped the Ministry of Health train midwives and village health volunteers to provide basic sexual and reproductive care, providing the information that women need to avoid unwanted pregnancies. This contributed in a steep drop in the MMR, from 450 to 220 per 100,000 live births, between 2005 and 2015.

In Fiji, the UNFPA, with the support of the Australian government, pre-positioned thousands of dignity and reproductive-health kits. Following the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston in February 2016, these strategically placed supplies help to address women and girls’ immediate reproductive-health needs, saving the lives of mothers and children.

But, while such initiatives are already having a powerful impact, more investment must be channeled toward ensuring that comprehensive health services are available and accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable groups. In particular, additional resources must be allocated to sexual- and reproductive-health services – and to ensuring access to them. Strengthening the provision of antenatal care, ensuring safe delivery through skilled birth attendance, and expanding emergency obstetric care are all key interventions that can reduce MMRs across the region.

Of course, women also need access to family-planning services, to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of unsafe abortions. The rights of all women and their partners to choose the family-planning method that is appropriate for them must be respected, and a full range of quality contraceptives must be readily available to all.

When women have full control over their sexual and reproductive health, society as a whole reaps enormous benefits. In fact, every $1 invested in modern contraceptive services can yield as much as $120 in social, economic, and environmental returns. Such investment should come partly from international development assistance, which must place a higher priority on sexual- and reproductive-health services, and partly from national governments.

But money is not all governments can offer. They can and must develop inclusive policies that address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups, including in ways that go beyond the health sector. This includes fighting harmful practices such as child marriage and gender-based violence; removing legal barriers to contraception; and working with communities to address misconceptions around sexual and reproductive health.

Safe pregnancy and childbirth should be a top priority for all societies, as it is for the UNFPA. If we are to meet the SDG target for maternal mortality, we must work together to advance targeted, tailored interventions that respect the rights of women and girls to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2016.
www.project-syndicate.org

Love . Hope . Health Campaign

Love . Hope . Health Campaign

Founded in July 2017, Compassionate Care Foundation is a non-governmental and charitable organization that promotes the health and well-being of individuals with limited financial resources through innovative green solutions.

Compassionate Care Berhad, through the support of its core partner, IRCare Sdn Bhd, brings the benefits of Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy (a natural, non-invasive and safe alternative therapy), to those who are in need of a solution to their pain and health problems but are unable to afford payment for these services.

The Compassionate Care Foundation aims to be the first not-for-profit organization in Malaysia that provides Molecular Hydrogen Treatment/Therapy for the under-privileged individuals suffering from chronic pain and various health problems, mainly diseases such as Kidney failure, Liver Failure, Diabetes, Side effects of Radiotherapy) and as well as those suffering from Skin Diseases and Wounds, thus enabling under-privileged individuals to regain a healthy and active life.

Our Advisor ~ YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Lee Lam Thye

Since young, Tan Sri was profoundly interested to serve the country and fellow Malaysians in ways he could contribute towards the betterment of the nation. As such throughout the years, Tan Sri had always focused on the basic principles of welfare and safety of the rakyat. After his retirement from politics, Tan Sri continued to serve the nation in several capacities such as – Chairman of the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health under the Ministry of Human Resources, Chairman of Eco World Foundation and Vice-Chairman of the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation, to name a few.

“As a community activist myself, I have always supported efforts to help the people, regardless of their backgrounds. I will give my best to help the foundation fulfils its mission to restore good health to the underprivileged Malaysians who are suffering from pain and poor health”.

The aim of the ‘Love.Hope.Health’ Campaign is to reach out and help the under-privileged individuals suffering from these conditions to recover and to lead a healthier life, through Hi-Bliss Hydrogen Therapy.

 

  • Chronic Pain: To help relieve their chronic pain, enabling them to lead a normal pain free life
  • Skin Allergy and Open Wounds: To help resolve their skin allergies and open wound conditions
  • Diseases: To rebuild their body systems to fight diseases and restore their organ functions

Target Beneficiaries

This campaign is open to under-privileged individuals who fall under the following criteria:

  • Household or personal Income which is less than RM2,500 per month (or RM30,000.00 a year)
  • Unemployed due to illness or disabilities
  • Abandoned old aged individuals or others reasons as approved by the Board Members

Treatment sessions will be conducted at our Core Partner (Hi-Bliss) Centres at Menara Mudajaya and Damen Mall, Subang Jaya.

Target Date: This campaign will be on-going from May to December 2018.

Contact us now at 03-7727 8679 or 017-847 5496 or via email at [email protected] to enquire on your eligibility for participation in this campaign or if you know of any individuals who may benefit from this campaign.

My Tips on Managing Cravings (plus easy recipes)

My Tips on Managing Cravings (plus easy recipes)

All of us have those days…. The craving days.

I believe everyone has their unique “craving patterns”. For me, I can be quite a habitual person, even when cravings are concerned. I go through a period of time (days or weeks) where I crave for the exact same thing at a particular hour of the day.

There are plenty of researches out there about the meaning behind every craving. I’ve yet to test those out but I did find a way to satisfy my different cravings the healthiest way possible, without compromising on flavours or satisfaction.

I hope my tips will help you to satisfy your cravings, guilt-free without depriving yourself of anything.

#1 Sweet Cravings

I went through a period where I just can’t help but to end my dinners with a lil something sweet. And fruits won’t suffice in this case (besides eating fruits right after meals have always caused me bloatedness). Sure, I could have shrugged it off and practice “mind over matter”, but doing that every night could be a tad bit stressful for me and not to mention restrictive. I’m all for discipline, but deprivation on the other hand………..

I found a happy medium which allows me to indulge, yet not stressing my body with processed sugar. If my craving is just for a day, I’ll say “heck i’ll just waltz into “Rekindle” (a popular cake joint in my area) and enjoy a slice” but I’m not about to do that every day.

I resorted to 2 alternatives;

A spoonful of The Pantry’s Chocolate Hazelnut or a couple of frozen choc hazelnut squares always never fail.

 

And, what more it’s nourishing; made with only 3 basic wholesome ingredients: 93% dry roasted hazelnuts, 5% raw honey and 2% unsweetened cocoa.

#2 Cold Cravings

This “cold cravings” streak just ended for me not too long ago. Days where all I wanted to do is to curl up in bed with my Netflix on and a bowl of ice cream in hand. Thankfully, I’m no stranger to homemade ice cream so I got that craving handled pretty easily. This recipe was my go-to for those few weeks. It takes only a few minutes to whip this up.

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Recipe: Chocolate-Banana Nice Cream

Ingredients:
2 Large Frozen Bananas | 2 Tbsp of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread | Toppings: chopped nuts

Direction:
Add all ingredients into food processor and blitz till it’s smooth.

#3 Crispy Cravings

Who doesn’t love a good bag of crisps? I know I do. My all-time fave has got to be Kettle’s Jalapeno Chips. Just like everything, moderation is key. No way can I be bagging one pack of those everyday. But, kale chips on the other hand……….

This became my favourite movie snack for a period of time… 😁

Flavour ✔️
Crunch ✔️
Nourishing ✔️

Enough said.

Recipe for Kale Chips

Ingredients:
A bunch of kale | Drizzle of Olive Oil | Dash of pink Himalayan salt & cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven at 180C
  2. Massage oil into kale
  3. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper before serving.

#4 Late Night Cravings

As much as we want to satisfy our cravings instead of ignoring it, there are times where we can exercise control and discipline as well. And, I’ve got just the tip for you to help ease your cravings. Hot tea. Ginger Tea in particular. It’s my ultimate favourite and it always works like a charm.

Recipe for Ginger Tea

Ingredients:
1 tea bag | Thumb size Ginger | Hot Water

Directions:

  1. Grate ginger and strain.
  2. Add ginger juice in a cup of hot tea.
  3. Sip and enjoy!

 

There you go guys, the 4 different ways I typically use to manage my cravings. The key is not to feel guilty for satisfying your cravings, but at the same time practice moderation. Find alternatives that would work for you, and these alternatives need not be “second best” or the consolation prize. Eating healthy is not boring, bland or difficult. You just gotta find what works for you. I hope some of these recipes and ideas have inspired you to eat well and stress less about your cravings.  

As always, remember to show some love today, encourage someone with a compliment, lend a ear to a friend who needs it, give a smile (it goes a long way) and share good vibes.✌️