Gout Attack! Western Medicine or Chinese Remedy?

Gout Attack! Western Medicine or Chinese Remedy?

GOUT ATTACK!
Western Medicine or Chinese Remedy?

Many people would be at a loss when the fearsome gout strikes them. Many would be puzzled over what to do next as the sheer physical and mental pain rages on. From folk remedy to traditional Chinese medicine, western medicine and self-medication, the alternatives are yours to choose but how to start with the best perceived remedy?

Ancient Egyptian Medicine

Gout is an ‘ancient’ disease and history shows that gout has been plaguing human beings since ancient Egyptian era some 7,000 years ago. Archaeological studies found that mummies excavated from the Egyptian pyramids contained urate crystals in their joints. The historical accounts by famous Greek physician, Hippocrates, one of the most notable medical figures in history, also stated the existence of gout.

For a few thousand years, many types of gout therapy have been practised throughout humankind history. They include heat therapy, cold therapy, herbal therapy and the application of pharmaceutical drugs. Renowned doctor of the Tang Dynasty, Chen Cangqi, introduced the ‘tea’ therapy, claiming that tea was the medicine for all diseases. He backed his claim by citing that tea not only could treat gout, but also boost the immune system and promote anti-aging for longevity.

In ancient times, people’s understanding of gout was virtually nil due to the lack of medical knowledge, not to mention treatment practices and medication. Therefore, when gout struck, they would resort to seeking divine help, hoping for a miracle. Psychologically, this might appear to be a little bit helpful but the actual problem was never solved.

Later, with the advancement of civilization, both Western and Chinese medical fields managed to develop some sorts of drugs to alleviate gout suffering. Furthermore, more and more non-medically substantiated folk remedies surfaced.

Folk Remedy

Folk remedy for gout may come in many forms, including coconut water, which was hailed as a savior for gout sufferers.

The ‘coconut’ remedy requires consumption of fresh coconut water from one to three coconuts each day, with intervals of one to two hours for two to three months consecutively. It is believed that such ‘coconut’ remedy could get rid of the gout symptoms ultimately.

If fresh coconuts are not available, peeled or canned coconut water is also acceptable. However, for best results, fresh coconut water is the first choice.

Moreover, cherries are also known as the savior of gout sufferers. This is because cherries contain natural anti-inflammatory properties, and it also can help reduce uric acid. Traditionally, ‘cherry’ remedy requires a consumption of 30 to 40 cherries once every 4 hours to produce the desired effects i.e to reduce uric acid levels.

In addition to fruits, folk remedy generally includes the clever use of herbs. Chinese plantain (scientifically known as Plantago asiatica) is one of those magical herbs used as a natural diuretic to discharge toxins and break down bodily stones. The preparation is simple. Just boil it and drink it, like a cup of tea. This herbal plant is believed to be able to cure certain illnesses and prevent their recurrence while promoting weight reduction for a healthy body mass index.

Apart from fruits and herbs, there is another intriguing folk remedy that involves soaking the feet in a tub of warm water infused with freshly chunked chillies. The preparation involves the heating of chilli chunks in a pot until it reaches certain ‘warm’ temperatures. Pour the chilli-infused heated water into a tub and soak your feet in it for about 40 to 60 minutes to relieve gout pain.

Undoubtedly, there are many strange folk remedies to experiment. Just no one knows for sure how effective they can be in the fight against gout. Some of them are not medically supported or affirmed. Under such circumstances, shall gout sufferers take the chances?

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Over time, medical advances have pushed our understanding of gout to a whole new level with better medical concepts. More and more medical research with a wider scope keeps surfacing for the good of gout sufferers.

In the theory of Chinese medicine, medicine heals the body from illness. When one is sick, medicine helps boost his or her immune system to overcome the illness. Medicine can also be used to inhibit the growth of bad things in our body. We feel comfortable as we heal during the treatment process.

Gout is also traditionally known as the Arthralgia syndrome (Bi Zheng), White Tiger disease (Bai Hu Bing) or acute arthritis (Li Jie Feng). It is caused by a disorder of purine metabolism that leads to the disease. Joint pain associated with gout usually begins in metatarsophalangeal joints, followed by other joints around the feet, ankles, hands, wrists, knees and elbows. Other complications may include hypertension and renal colic (a type of pain caused by kidney stones), followed by renal failure and heart failure at a later stage. If this is left untreated and once it gets really serious, it will likely result in death.

Chinese medicine looks at gout from two different perspectives – it’s either externally or internally inflicted. The external factors include the invasion of the wind, cold, wet and hot elements that obstruct the normal functionality of the meridian system. On the other hand, the internal factors derive from the lack of vital ‘chi’ (Zheng Qi) or fatigue.

For gout treatment, the practice of Chinese medicine adopts a variety of herbs such as licorice, husked round-grained non-glutinous uncooked rice or japonica rice, cinnamon sticks, Chinese pearl barley (coixseed), Stephania tetrandra, Phellodendron amurense (bark extracted from the Amur cork tree), Achyranthes bidentata (Ox Knee or Niu Xi), ginseng, Atractylodes macrocephala (Bai Zhu), Wolfiporia extensa (poria/ China Root/ Fu Ling), and dried tangerine/ orange peels. The preparation involves boiling prior to being served as herbal drink. The application varies according to symptoms being addressed with the purposes of dispersing the heat or purging the harmful or excessive wet elements in the body, relieving numbness and pain, easing blood stagnation and invigorating the meridian system, nourishing the liver and kidneys, expelling the harmful wind and cold, to relieve gouty pain.

Western medicine

The practice of Western medicine is primarily based on the synthetic drugs to reduce inflammation and lower the blood uric acid levels, which will generally burden our internal organs with harmful side effects. For those suffering from gout of the late stage where stubborn tophi have formed, a removal operation is usually recommended and this invites certain risks as well.

Western medication for gout is divided into four categories, including medication for acute and chronic gout. Drugs for the treatment of acute gout are specifically designed to rapidly reduce joint pain to normalize joint mobility and functionality. This category of drugs consists of Colchicine (a medication commonly used to treat and prevent gout attacks), and Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) and painkillers.

For chronic gout medication, it’s generally aimed at preventing gout attacks, which is categorized into two types of medicine. Both of them, nevertheless, help excrete harmful uric acid and regulate renal function. The common drugs are Probenecid and Allopurinol.

Western medication helps relieve pain for acute gout sufferers and prevent the recurrence of arthritis, damage caused by high uric acid levels and development of kidney stones, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Natural Gnaphalium (Cudweed Flower) as painkiller and uric acid reducer

SORNADO Tea Bag treatment for gout without burdening the body

The present medical studies suggest that gout cannot be cured completely, but it can be better managed through the right medications that control the uric acid levels to prevent joint inflammation. In other words, it’s a long-term process that keeps gout under control.

However, is western medication the best solution to gout treatment? How about the burden of such long-term medications to the body?

For gout victims, the medication must not create too much burden to the body while hoping for the best results. Therefore, one of the biggest concerns is the safety of those drug ingredients.

According to the “Bencao Shiyi” (Chinese Herbal Materia Medica) and “Tianbao Bencao” (Herbs of Nature’s Best) Chinese herbology literature, cudweed flower thrives on low-altitude dry or wet land and has long been known or its efficacy, historically. Cudweed flower is sweet and non-toxic. It contains pain-relieving and detoxification properties and helps restore renal function to ease joint swelling and pain.

Clinical studies conducted by the pharmacologists of DALTON, SORNADO Tea Bag’s manufacturer in Australia, show that drinking hot (cudweed flower) herbal drink would significantly help in uric acid reduction and joint pain relief. The manufacturer had even conducted a careful comparison between its very own Australian cudweed flower and others from other parts of the world. And it was concluded that the Australian cudweed flower of SORNADO Tea Bag contains richer anti-gout key ingredients to take on stubborn tophi (by breaking down and dissolving them) more convincingly. The 100% natural formula of SORNADO Tea Bag is a result of years of extensive studies that packs the natural goodness of Australia into the convenient tea-bag packaging for ease of preparation and consumption.

The 100% natural herbal and non-pharmaceutical formula of SORNADO Tea Bag packs a number of positive effects such as balancing uric acid levels, relieving pain, detoxification, repairing spleen and kidneys, promoting haematopoiesis and strengthening immune system. SORNADO Tea Bag is officially accorded with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) certification by the Department of Health, Australia for its efficacy in normalizing uric acid levels (Certification Number: AUST L203504).

The efficacy of SORNADO Tea Bag is derived primarily from remedying the root cause of purine metabolism disorder by controlling the production of uric acid while at the same time stimulating the decomposition of urates and discharge of uric acid. Overall. It helps restore uric acid to the normal levels to prevent acute gout attacks to fundamentally ease the pain.

%

It's proven that SORNADO Tea Bag is able to keep the gout recurrence rate down to below 40%

According to the 2006 Tangdu Hospital Clinical Report by the Fourth Military Medical University, the uric acid reducing efficacy of SORNADO Tea Bag is 17.7 times higher than that of colchicine, as the findings of the year-long study reveal. The clinical trial had also proved that SORNADO Tea Bag is able to keep the gout recurrence rate down to below 40% and more significantly, it does not cause any side effects!

SORNADO Tea Bag is ideal for people with high uric acid levels and gout sufferers. It is also suitable for daily consumption by people who are concerned about their uric acid levels and daily health maintenance. Be it for treatment or healthcare, SORNADO Tea Bag is always one of your best companions!

The old cliché “prevention is the best cure” remains a golden piece of advice after all. You may not be troubled by gout for now, but your big appetite for a high-purine diet plus unhealthy lifestyle are the two risk factors that invite a gout attack. Put your health above everything else. Go for regular medical check-ups to make sure your uric acid levels are normal. More importantly, keep fit by exercising regularly to keep gout at bay.

Don’t get overwhelmed by gout. The choice is yours!

Health Tips

  • The main culprit behind hyperuricemia is the presence of high blood uric acid levels.
  • For adult male, uric acid levels exceeding 7.0 mg/ dL (milligrams per decilitre) means hyperuricemia.
  • For adult female (before menopause), the normal uric acid levels are below 6.0 mg/ dL.
Gout and uric acid blood analysis
Serum Uric Acid (SUA) levels (mg/ dL) Probability of first gout incident Probability of gout recurrence
< 6 0.5 0.8
6 -6.9 0.6 0.9
7 - 7.9 2.0 4.1
8 - 8.9 4.1 8.4
9 - 9.9 9.8 43.2
> 10 30.5 70.2

Doctor's advice

Reducing uric acid is key to gout treatment

  • Embrace a healthy diet and avoid organ meats.
  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Limit alcohol and fat intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Self Test

Do you belong to the high-risk group of hyperuricemia?

Enquiry

Let us know if you have any questions

No one is man enough to take on gout!

No one is man enough to take on gout!

Troubled by joint swelling and joint pain?

If so, you are most probably developing the gout syndrome. The number of gout sufferers is steadily on the rise especially among the middle aged men. The regions prone to gout attacks are usually concentrated on the lower limb joints (especially the big toes and knees) with symptoms like swelling, redness, heat and of course pain. What tortures gout sufferers most is the chronic and recurrent intense pain around the affected regions.

Gouty arthritis is also known as metabolic arthritis. The name suggests that when the metabolic function is weak, excess uric acid cannot be eliminated normally or efficiently, leading to harmful waste build-up in the joints. Over time, this harmful uric acid crystallizes and forms crystal deposits (uric acid crystals) in the joints, which causes a gout flare-up. What is really worrying is that this disease tends to occur in the middle-aged men. When it first flares up, the pain may not last long, usually within a few days. The pain is likened to a wind-blow that comes and goes quickly. But, just when you thought it went all right, this is only the beginning of the nightmare.

When purine metabolism disorder happens, it makes uric acid excreted improperly, this leads to high levels of uric acid in the body. As mentioned earlier, the build-up of uric acid will eventually form crystal deposits in the affected regions (especially the big toes and joints), which causes gout. Under normal circumstances, two-thirds of the uric acid is excreted by the kidneys while remaining one-third is discharged through bowel movement. Uric acid is generated and excreted, in and out of the body, in an ongoing manner. As such, uric acid maintains a certain concentration in the blood in any situation.

With the presence of high levels of uric acid in the blood, it results in the formation of monosodium urate crystals in the joints, soft tissues, cartilage and kidneys. Such harmful deposits will then lead to tissue inflammation and hence opening up the doors to gout attacks. If you don’t treat it completely at this stage, things will be getting worse with joint swelling, deformity, stiffness and nodules. By then, the gout-inflicted complications might include kidney stones, renal failure, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, urinary tract stones and other types of organ dysfunction. It can be life threatening in serious cases.

The four stages of gout

1.

Asymptomatic gout

Gout can progress through four stages with the presence of high uric acid levels constituting the first stage (asymptomatic gout). At this stage, apart from developing high levels of uric acid, there are no clinical symptoms of gout, hence making the initial sufferers ignorant about its lurking risk factors.

2.

Acute gout

The second stage refers to the early gout stage (acute gout). At this stage, joint pain begins to surface. Aggravated by the uncontrolled high uric acid levels at the first stage, uric acid will just keep building up and this results in acute inflammatory gouty arthritis. It usually starts in the big toes with symptoms like joint swelling, redness, warmth and tenderness. The affected big toes appear to be very tender and inviting terrible pain when they come into contact with anything. The piercing knife-like pain is the major culprit of the many sleepless nights. The pain would usually go away between a few days and a few weeks.

3.

Interval or inter-critical gout

The third stage is called the interval or inter-critical gout. The gout attack is now striking beyond the first problematic big toe. Gradually, it is hitting the other toes, fingers, wrists, ankles and knees. Soon, the soft tissues and bones of the affected joints will suffer varying degrees of damage and dysfunction. Uric acid crystals keep building up, which will lead to the formation of gouty stones. At this point, the normal renal function or performance begins to deteriorate.

4.

Chronic tophaceous gout

The fourth stage is the late stage of gout (chronic tophaceous gout). At this stage, expect worsening joint deformity and dysfunction as the build-up of uric acid crystals rises continuously to expand the affected areas. Then come the nodules of uric acid (known as tophi) in the soft tissues around the affected joints. Given the fact that the permanent joint deformity will badly affect the daily life of the sufferers, this brings about great physical and mental suffering as well. As more and more monosodium urate crystals trapped in the kidneys, this will accelerate the formation of kidney stones. The clinical characteristics or symptoms that follow include swelling, oliguria (the production of abnormally small amounts of urine), proteinuria (the presence of abnormal quantities of protein in the urine), nocturia (the need to get up during the night to urinate), hypertension and anemia. At this point, the normal renal function has been compromised and begins to deteriorate, leading to renal failure and other life-threatening complications.

Celebrities Tormented by Gout

Renowned Hong Kong entertainer Eric Tsang was recently exposed by the media to have been in a state of immobilisation, relying on a wheelchair to get around.

It was later confirmed that he was paying the price for excessive consumption of alcohol. Eric Tsang was suffering from severe gout attacks that immobilised him.

His good friend, Alan Tam, revealed that the seriousness of such disease had even deterred Eric Tsang from taking care of himself personally.

Paul, the renowned lifestyle guru from Taiwan, was first struck by gout ten years ago. Recalling his ordeal, he said that the presence of gouty stones (uric acid crystals) in his thumbs was among the most miserable experiences he ever had. Paul had even compiled his stories, sharing a series of his fights against gout with the netizens so that they could learn a lesson from his ignorance – never getting yourself entangled in gout attacks!

Paul shared that the worst happened some two years ago since he first had gout. The excruciating pain lasted for one whole month, forcing him to confine himself at home. The pain had even forced him to crawl up the toilet. And once he finally managed to sit on the toilet, the pain didn’t seem to go away at all. He had to sit on the toilet for up to an hour or longer or until the movie on TV was over. It sounded unreal but the torture of gout was true beyond words.

Apart from the foreign cases, Malaysia’s very own celebrity chef, Ismail Ahmad, had also suffered from gout attacks. Being a victim of the torturous disease himself, however, inspired chef Ismail to make drastic changes to the menu of his restaurant. He decided to cut down on the portion of meat while increasing of serving of vegetables. This is to encourage his customers to fall in love with the concept of a healthy diet.

According to chef Ismail, prior to developing gout, his buffet menu was characterised by at least 70% meat-based selections. But after suffering from gout, his menu is now very health-oriented, featuring fresh vegetables as the key ingredients. He places great emphasis on low-sugar food and cuts down on rice consumption in his personal diet to prevent another round of gout attacks.

Frankly speaking, gout cases are so common around us. Unfortunately, the media report on gout is very limited and making it worse, the general public tends to ignore it simply because they have very little knowledge about it, which leads to the prevalence and incidence of gout.

Health Tips

  • The main culprit behind hyperuricemia is the presence of high blood uric acid levels.
  • For adult male, uric acid levels exceeding 7.0 mg/ dL (milligrams per decilitre) means hyperuricemia.
  • For adult female (before menopause), the normal uric acid levels are below 6.0 mg/ dL.
Gout and uric acid blood analysis
Serum Uric Acid (SUA) levels (mg/ dL) Probability of first gout incident Probability of gout recurrence
< 6 0.5 0.8
6 -6.9 0.6 0.9
7 - 7.9 2.0 4.1
8 - 8.9 4.1 8.4
9 - 9.9 9.8 43.2
> 10 30.5 70.2

Doctor's advice

Reducing uric acid is key to gout treatment

  • Embrace a healthy diet and avoid organ meats.
  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Limit alcohol and fat intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Self Test

Do you belong to the high-risk group of hyperuricemia?

Enquiry

Let us know if you have any questions

No haze, no problem? Think again.

No haze, no problem? Think again.

In recent years Malaysia has been hit by bad levels of air pollution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels which exceed WHO’s air quality health limit.

As a result of the increasing levels of impurities in outdoor air coupled by bouts of haze that Malaysia is prone to, many of us seek shelter indoors thinking that it would be safer. However, if you think the air indoors is clean, think again.

%

Urbanites living with air quality exceeding health limit

Death indoor air pollution

Death outdoor air pollution

Based on a WHO report, South East Asia and Western Pacific Regions faced the largest air pollution related issues. Whilst 2.6 million deaths were related to outdoor air pollution, 3.3 million deaths were related to indoor air pollution. Have you ever stopped to think about what it is that you’re breathing in on a daily basis at home?

WHAT’S CAUSING INDOOR POLLUTION?

Scented Candles

For most households, scented candles are perceived to be beneficial with the rising trend of scent and aroma therapy. However scented candles are made using paraffin which is a petroleum waste product. The toxins released are similar to the ones found in diesel fuel fumes.

Aerosol Sprays

Aerosol sprays, air fresheners and house cleaning products unfortunately contain harmful elements such as lead, chlorofluorocarbons, volatile organic compounds and more which cause respiratory problems.

Aerosol Sprays

Aerosol sprays, air fresheners and house cleaning products unfortunately contain harmful elements such as lead, chlorofluorocarbons, volatile organic compounds and more which cause respiratory problems.

Cooking Fumes

Can you believe that even cooking causes indoor pollution? Frying, boiling and sauteing at high temperatures can create hazardous pollutants. Even toasters, refrigerators, ovens and other household appliance are known to release ultrafine particles.

Pollens & Pet Dander

Pollen from plants at home and pets, although loved by most, may cause allergies and respiratory related problems.

Pollens & Pet Dander

Pollen from plants at home and pets, although loved by most, may cause allergies and respiratory related problems.

The air pollution inside your home can be up to five times worse than it is outside, and we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors. Toxic fumes released from cleaning solvents, deodorants and scented candles are some of the most common indoor air pollutants, a study carried out by the US Environmental Protection Agency suggests.

Other major indoor air pollutants include gases from cooking and central heating, mould, pet hair, pollen and allergens. Invisible to the naked eye, it is these ultrafine and potentially harmful particles that are able to travel easily through the air at home and can contain a mixture of the following gases and particles:

0.1 microns 1 micron 2 microns 5 microns 10 microns
Ultrafine particles Odours Industrial emissions Bacteria Pollen
Carbon dust Toxic fumes Insecticide dust Mould Allergens
Coal fuel gases Cooking oil
smoke
Liquid bacteria Cement dust Fertiliser
Tobacco smoke Asbestos Paint pigments Coal dust Spores
Radon gas Insulation
fibreglass
Antiperspirant Textile fibres

Pollutants are made up of ultrafine particles as tiny as 0.1 microns (that’s 1000 times smaller than the human hair!). Because children tend to breathe faster than the average adult this means that they’re inhaling more pollutants than we do.

Prolonged inhalation of pollutants can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation as well as skin aging, stroke, and heart attacks. This is a result of ultrafine particles sticking onto the linings of our lungs or penetrating our bloodstream.

The Solution

As Dyson is in the business of clean, they have developed a smart purifier solution to help households in Malaysia take charge of their respiratory health. From mould to ultrafine allergens, odours and pollutants, the Dyson Pure Cool Link has you covered. With a 360° Glass HEPA filter, it captures 99.95% of particles down to the size of 0.1microns*, more than other purifiers.

Intelligent Purification, with real-time data

The Dyson Pure Cool Link has been engineered with intelligent purification. Equipped with smart sensors, it automatically monitors the environment for pollutants, and presents the information to you live via the Dyson Link app (compatible with both iOS and Android). When harmful pollutants are detected, it automatically purifies the air, and reports the results live to the application.

Now you can track and monitor the indoor air quality levels at all times – even when you’re not at home.

As a 2-in-1 machine, the Dyson Pure Cool Link purifying fan uses the Air Multiplier™ technology to circulate purified air across the room, cooling you down on warmer days if required.

So if you’re ready to get a good dose of fresh, clean air,

5 common mistakes to avoid for cleaner air at home

5 common mistakes to avoid for cleaner air at home

The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) projects that Malaysia will experience trans-boundary haze from June until October. As we brace ourselves for this recurring health hazard, it is also a timely reminder for us to re-examine the air quality of our homes.

Do you know that the air we breathe indoors may be two to five times, and occasionally, over 100 times more polluted than the air outside? [source: United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)]. Poor indoor air quality has an impact on many areas of health, including lung and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, dementia, asthma, and cancer, as well as adverse effects on developing foetuses. It kills, silently.

s

JUNE - OCTOBER

Trans-boundary haze in Malaysia projected

Indoor Pollution Death

Outside Pollution Death

Household air pollution is 9th in the rank of Global Burden of Disease Risk. Nearly 4.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012 were associated with indoor pollution, much higher than the 3.7 million deaths linked with outside pollution. A recent UK report linked indoor air pollution to 99,000 deaths annually in Europe.

A clean-looking home does not equate healthy air within. Ironically, the seemingly cleanest home may actually have the worst air quality.

Want cleaner air indoors?

Avoid these five common mistakes.

Masking odours with synthetic air fresheners

Thanks to modern air fresheners, we can rapidly get rid of any offending odour, failing which we can mask it with a more pleasant smell.

But do you know that synthetic air fresheners are among the main culprits of indoor air pollution? Synthetic fragrances, whether in solid, spray or oil form, may all emit harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which start off as solids or liquids but readily evaporate into the air.

Recent research in the UK found raised levels of a VOC called limonene, used heavily in air fresheners and scented candles to give a lemony citrus smell. Limonene is dangerous to inhale on its own and can become formaldehyde – a carcinogen that burns the eyes, irritates the skin, and incites coughing fits, nausea, as well as nose and throat cancer – when it mixes with other airborne elements.

Using too many chemical products like synthetic cleaning products

VOCs are present not just in air fresheners, but in all synthetic fragrances.

Research by a team from the University of Washington on 25 common fragranced consumer products —laundry products, personal care products, cleaning supplies and air fresheners, many of them top sellers in their categories— found 133 different VOCs emitted from the products, with an average of 17 VOCs per product. Of these 133 VOCs, 24 are classified as toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these compounds. Among them are probable carcinogens (cancer causing) acetaldehydea, formaldehyde and methylene chloride.

More alarmingly, emissions of these compounds were not significantly different between “green” products and the other products. Of all VOCs identified across the products, only one was listed on any product label, and only two were listed on any material safety data sheet.

Being unaware that dust mites thrive in high humidity

Every home has dust mites, tiny bugs that feed on human skin flakes; they can be found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys, and fabric and fabric-covered items.

Sensitivity to dust mites is often overlooked. Diagnostic tests and clinical studies by allergists have shown house dust mite to be the most common allergy among asthmatics, and an important “root cause” for the development of asthma in young children. Recent studies suggest that at least 45% of young people with asthma are allergic to house dust mites. Unlike “seasonal” allergies caused by moulds and pollen, people who are allergic to dust mites often will have symptoms year round.

As dust mites love moisture, we need to keep our homes’ relative humidity below 50% to minimise their growth. This would be rather challenging in Malaysia where the average relative humidity is way above 80%.

How can dust mites be eliminated then? Air conditioning and dehumidifiers can help reduce indoor humidity and slow their growth. Reduce the places where dust mites can grow. Clean surfaces and wash fabrics regularly.

Not servicing your air conditioning units regularly

The air conditioner (AC) does help improve indoor air quality as it circulates and filters indoor air. But beware; it can also become the main cause of indoor air pollution!

The substances that the AC removes from the air can build up inside the unit and re-circulate throughout the room. It can also become a fertile breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. Refrigerants and other chemicals can leak from your AC as well, creating toxic vapours that are harmful to breathe.

Air conditioning pollution can cause dozens of diseases harmful to human health, mainly respiratory tract infections and allergic diseases.

Fortunately, all these can be avoided. Keeping your unit clean is something that can never be stressed too much. Make sure that you clean its filter regularly as dust can accumulate rather quickly. The condenser unit should be serviced at least once a year. Do have a professional carry out regular check-ups on your AC.

Forgetting to change air filters

Most AC professionals advise changing your AC filter every three months. This is generally a good rule of thumb to follow. If you have not done so in a while, now is as good a time as any to replace the filter!

Given the dangers of indoor air pollution, we should adopt preventive measures to ensure that the air we breathe in our homes is safe. We have already adopted a healthy lifestyle by eating right, exercising regularly and drinking filtered water, so why disregard the air we breathe? The correlation between breathing in clean unpolluted air and longevity is undeniable. A high-quality air cleaner or purifier removes airborne particles such as dust, pollen and VOCs.

Be Aware Indoors

The new Blueair Aware™ is an air monitoring device designed to quickly detect hundreds of different types of airborne particles, including everything from fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to VOCs such as formaldehyde and benzene in your indoor environment. Place your Blueair Aware in your home or workplace to start collecting your unique air quality data. You can monitor your indoor air quality in real-time, track the data, and get alerts on your smartphone with the Blueair Friend App. The Blueair Aware also monitors room humidity and temperature.

This article is brought to you by

Want to watch Euro 2016 France all Night long? Here’s the tips

Want to watch Euro 2016 France all Night long? Here’s the tips

Malaysian football fans have waited long for Euro 2016, and it’s coming soon. However, the time zone difference between Malaysia and France requires fans to stay up all night to watch matches, causing them feel tired during work. Prolonging this routine will cause severe physical fatigue.

What can we do to enjoy matches without compromising our daily activities the next day?
These are 5 simple tips to increase your energy level and maintain mental performance that enables you to handle both the game and work triumphantly.

1. Eating A Healthy Breakfast

Watching games all night and the lack of sleep will put the body in a tired state. The first thing to do is to supply body with nutritional nourishments. A good breakfast is not about the quantity, but quality.

A healthy breakfast should consist Vitamin B, Vitamin E, calcium, iron and protein. BRAND’S Chicken Essence is recommended to include in your daily breakfast as it contains protein that is needed in the morning.

Having a bottle of BRAND’S Chicken Essence after breakfast not only provides you with protein that needed but also the energy and concentration to accomplish any given task. This is because BRAND’S Chicken Essence is using advanced technology to extract the essence that enables the body to absorb all the nutrients easily.

It’s not only free of fats and cholesterol, but also proven with over 40 scientific papers that BRAND’S Chicken Essence is able to enhance concentration and energy.

2. Self-Acupressure for Relieving Stress

Not only sufficient of nutrients, our muscle needs relaxation as well. Massage is a great way for muscle relaxation. But in our hectic life, it’s hard to find time to visit a masseuse. So why don’t just do it yourself?

“Tian Zhu Point” is an acu-point that can help our body to relax . It is situated at the back of the neck, by following the two crude muscles until slightly below the hairline, the most hollow area. Use your thumb and press slightly harder on this “Tian Zhu Point”. It is able to help freshen up the mind, reduce hypertension, relieve eyes fatigue and so on.

3. Having a light lunch

Staying up late at night will increase our body temperature. It is not only essential to consume more water but also to avoid oily food during lunch. Having a strong flavour and oily food will lead to increase in fats which cause the mind to feel tired.

Therefore, it’s highly encouraged to have a light lunch in order to prevent overloading our digestive system. Never forget to partake adequate fruits and vegetables to provide the vitamins and minerals needed by the body.

4. Afternoon Nap to Recuperate

Afternoon nap is one of the way to recuperate energy. Many people have a wrong assumption that a long sleep during the day is good to replace sleepless nights. It is harmful to our internal biological clock. A 15-30 minutes nap is good enough to replenish your sleep. With this, it improves our concentration, and energy.

5. Leave the Afternoon for Light Exercise

Our body energy level will reach its lowest point in the afternoon after staying up late. Most people will search around for something sweet to bite, however, the result is often disappointing. It is best just to do some light activities such as walking around for 10 minutes with deep breathing. This will help to increase our vitality that can last for another 2 hours, and also to alleviate stress.

“Emperor Disease” may claim your life anytime!

“Emperor Disease” may claim your life anytime!

In the ancient times, westerners regarded gout as an ordeal similar to “the devil is biting my feet”. And throughout history, many renowned emperors had suffered from gout, hence the “Emperor Disease” or “Noble Disease” nickname.

Improved living standards bring along increased risks of falling ill! The menacing “Emperor Disease” is invading the world on a rising trend. According to statistics published by the Right Diagnosis from Healthgrades website, about 909,000 out of 30.3 million Malaysians suffered from hyperuricemia (excess of uric acid in the blood) in 2015. What is getting alarming is that if this group of people is ignorant about the lurking danger of hyperuricemia, they would become a likely target for the stealthily yet deadly killer – gout!

1 in 363 suffers from Gout

(Source: NIAMS)

Increase to 17,700,000 people

(2021 Prediction)

Based on statistics surveyed, the number of gout sufferers has been on the rise between 15-30 times for the past 15 years. In the United Kingdom alone, the number of gout sufferers in 2012 soared by 60% in comparison with the statistics for 1997.

In the United States, 1 in every 363 people suffers from gout.

According to statistics released by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), 275 in every 100,000 people suffer from gout. It is estimated that by year 2021, there would be some 17.7 million people suffer from gout. The alarming figure truly warrants the call for increased health awareness!

In Hong Kong, about 213,000 out of its dense population of 7.1 million suffer from gout. Apparently, the global invasion of gout is creeping up stealthily and deadly at the same time. The lurking danger must not be overlooked!

Population: 7,100,000

(Hong Kong)

Gout: 213,000 people

(Hong Kong)

In the past, gout was relatively rare in Asia among Asians. But, since the turn of the 20th century after the 1990s, many nations like Japan, Taiwan, China and even Malaysia were going through rapid economic development that resulted in significantly improved living standards closely associated with the excessive-meat-consumption-induced hyperuricemia. Given the absence of symptoms in hyperuricemia, a misdiagnosis is usually the case. When gout-induced attacks on the joints surface a few years later, the organ damage has been done.

The %22culprits%22 behind gout attacks

“You are what you eat!” – a saying that rings true with gout sufferers. One of the main culprits is excessive eating and drinking. Excessive consumption of foods high in purines such as seafood, meat, alcohol and beans bears bad consequences. This is simply because the excessive presence of purines will significantly increase the density of uric acid in the body. Making it worse, the lack of exercise hampers the discharge of the excessive uric acid build-up and over time, uric acid crystal deposits are formed, which triggers gout attacks. About 20%-30% of the uric acid in the body is ingested from the food we eat while the remaining 80% of it is produced by the waste of our body. Therefore, unrestrained eating or drinking (binge eating or drinking) is one of the most devastating habits that stimulates and accelerates the harmful accumulation of uric acid.

Gout and the %223 Highs%22 are closely related

You may not be aware that gout and obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), coronary heart disease and diabetes are all closely related. For instance, patients with hypertension often use diuretics to control their blood pressure levels, but this will lead to extracellular fluid loss, which in turn increases the re-absorption of urates by kidney tubules. Chronic hypertension triggers atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which will result in renal function deterioration (kidney failure) and the decrease of uric acid excretion. This simply translates into the increase of uric acid density, hence leading to gout attacks.

For overweight people, the major culprit is overeating, which leads to the accumulation of excess subcutaneous, abdominal and visceral fat. When the body is tired or hungry, it burns the stored fat to release energy (calories) to support body movement. The irony is that ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy, which hinders the excretion of uric acid. Instead, this will increase the hyperuricemia levels that triggers gout attacks.

More alarmingly, Malaysia tops the list as the most overweight nation in Southeast Asia, with approximately 12 out of 30 million Malaysians (about 40%) being overweight. And out of this, 5.1 million of them (about 17%-18%) are obese. This obviously makes Malaysia the fattest country in Southeast Asia.

fat

More alarmingly, Malaysia tops the list as the most overweight nation in Southeast Asia, with approximately 12 out of 30 million Malaysians (about 40%) being overweight. And out of this, 5.1 million of them (about 17%-18%) are obese. This obviously makes Malaysia the fattest country in Southeast Asia.

Now, what can we derive from these ever increasing year-by-year figures? And given the fact that those diseases or risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure trigger gout attacks easily, does this mean the number of gout sufferers is significantly on the rise as well?

The Excruciating Pain

Gout is the kind of arthritis that strikes with the most severe or intense pain. It usually flares up for the first time on the big toe joint, driven by the sharp uric acid crystals deposited there. A gout attack comes in the form of a sharp, stabbing or tingling pain, with redness, fever and swelling symptoms. Acute gout attacks often occur at night when the immune system is going through the detoxification process. The gout pain keeps you awake and sleeplessness makes pain worse.

In addition to the big toes, gout may also attack the insteps, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, elbows, etc. If left untreated, acute gout attacks would recur repeatedly. More than 60% of the gout sufferers would experience a second attack within a year.

%

Chances of gout recurrence

More common in men than in women?

Gout patients are mostly men over the age of 30, but due to the bad dieting and sleep habits of the modern people, gout victims are getting younger apparently. Clinical treatment has even involved patients as young as 20 years old, which is a very worrying health risk.

Although both the incidence and prevalence of gout are significantly higher among men than women, the latter also risk developing gout especially after menopause. Therefore, regardless of gender, the probability of developing gout increases along with the rise of the uric acid density.

Hyperuricemia is a health killer!

Gout brings along tremendous suffering that adversely affects our life. In severe or worst cases, it’s likely to result in death. Therefore, gout symptoms must not be ignored. For the sake of your health, please practise healthy eating habits while cutting down on alcohol, and drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. If you are diagnosed with hyperuricemia, gout is already creeping up on you stealthily! Gout may be coined the “Emperor Disease”, it can only connote worsening scenarios. It’s hyperuricemia that you must avoid in the first place.

Health Tips

  • The main culprit behind hyperuricemia is the presence of high blood uric acid levels.
  • For adult male, uric acid levels exceeding 7.0 mg/ dL (milligrams per decilitre) means hyperuricemia.
  • For adult female (before menopause), the normal uric acid levels are below 6.0 mg/ dL.
Gout and uric acid blood analysis
Serum Uric Acid (SUA) levels (mg/ dL) Probability of first gout incident Probability of gout recurrence
< 6 0.5 0.8
6 -6.9 0.6 0.9
7 - 7.9 2.0 4.1
8 - 8.9 4.1 8.4
9 - 9.9 9.8 43.2
> 10 30.5 70.2

Doctor's advice

Reducing uric acid is key to gout treatment

  • Embrace a healthy diet and avoid organ meats.
  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Limit alcohol and fat intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Self Test

Do you belong to the high-risk group of hyperuricemia?

Enquiry

Let us know if you have any questions

Page 4 of 6« First...23456