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What Happens During an STD Screening?

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Cases of sexually-transmitted diseases or STD have been on the rise globally in recent years. Even Singapore is not spared from such cases, that is why there is a campaign to raise awareness of these diseases. Most of these infections can be treated at hospitals when detected early. One way to determine if you have sexually transmitted disease is to get an STD testing.

Do I Need STD Screening?

An STD screening is done to determine if you are infected with any of the common sexually-transmitted diseases. It’s important to get an STD test for the following reasons: you are sexually active; you have had more than one intimate partner; you and your partner are planning not to use contraceptives like condom; when you’re planning to have a baby; or if you see symptoms of STDs.

Testing Procedures

There is no one test for all STDs. Some of the infections need specific STD testing. To determine which STD tests you will need, you have to talk to your doctor or health care provider in Singapore about the options available. The doctor will interview you about the symptoms, your health history, your sexual practices and other information. STD screening is done using physical exams, blood sampling, urine sampling and tissue/cell/discharge/saliva sampling. For example, if you suspect that you have HIV-AIDS, blood testing and oral swab testing are recommended.

What is an STD?

Sexually-transmitted diseases are sometimes called sexually-transmitted infections or STIs. The word “infection” describes the very nature of STDS—they can be transmitted through sexual contact with another person. An STD that can be tested at http://www.kensingtonfamilyclinic.com/std-hiv/hiv-testing in Singapore is acquired through intimate contact or placing your hands, mouth or genitals on the sores or genitals of another person who has an infection. A lot of STDs don’t have symptoms until they affect other organs in the body. You will know if you need an STD testing if you have a lot of intimate contact with more than one person. Any sexually-transmitted disease should be given serious attention because you are placing your life and your partner’s life in danger.

What is HIV?

One of the most dreaded STDs is HIV-AIDs. HIV means human immunodeficiency virus. It’s a disease that targets your immune system, that is why patients with this condition are prone to other diseases. The virus attacks the T cells or CD4 cells which are supposed to help the body’s immune system. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS. AIDS is the final stage of HIV. HIV in time will destroy most of the T cells and in turn, your body will not be able to fight off diseases and infections effectively. While HIV is destroying the CD4 cells, it continuously makes copies of itself. Unfortunately, HIV cannot be cured but the symptoms can be treated. The only sure way to find out if you have HIV is to get an STD test.

What is AIDS?

AIDS means acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Not all HIV patients progress to AIDS, considered the final stage of HIV. By the time the person has AIDS, the body’s immune system has progressively weakened that you can no longer fight off infections and diseases. A person who undergoes STD screening and has a CD4 cell count of below 200 cells/mm3 has AIDS. It’s not HIV-AIDS that is going to endanger the life of the person, but an opportunistic illness that cannot be warded off by the body’s weak immune system. Unfortunately, the life expectancy for HIV-AIDS patients with an opportunistic illness such as pneumonia is short.

Common STDs

The following are the most common STD cases in Singapore within the last decade according to various studies.

1. Gonorrhea. This sexually transmitted disease can affect both men and women. It is acquired through genital contact with someone who is infected. A pregnant woman can also pass gonorrhea to the baby, so it’s important to get STD screening if you experience the following symptoms: pain when urinating, discharges, itching around the anal area, painful bowel movements, and swollen testicles in men.

2. Non-Gonococcal Urethritis. NGU is a sexually-transmitted disease that affects the urethra. It is caused by other STDs except gonorrhea. The symptoms are almost the same as gonorrhea, however. There is discharge, pain when urinating, itching or tenderness in men, pain and vaginal bleeding in women, and sore throat if it’s an oral infection.

3. Syphilis. This disease is spread when you become intimate and come into contact with your partner’s syphilis sores. Some people, however, don’t notice that they have sores and unwittingly pass the disease to their partners. Mothers can also pass this to their unborn child. There are no noticeable syphilis symptoms except for the sores which can occasionally be mistaken for other conditions like pimples or ingrown hair.

4. Chlamydia. Like syphilis, chlamydia doesn’t have noticeable symptoms, that is why it’s important to get tested. You might experience some of the following symptoms, however; discharges in men, pain when urinating, bleeding after an intimate contact, and pain in the testicles or pelvic area. Chlamydia can cause infertility and pelvic or testicle pain when left untreated.

5. Genital Warts. The flesh-colored warts are usually found in the genital area or around the mouth. Some might be too small to be visible. These warts appear because of the human papillomavirus or HPV which has more than 40 different strains. When HPV is untreated in some cases, it might develop into cervical cancer and can cause problems during pregnancy.

6. Genital Herpes. This disease is caused by one of either two viruses called the herpes simplex viruses type 1 and type 2. Infected persons develop blisters. Some of these can disappear after time but that doesn’t mean you’re no longer infected.

The 5 Most Common Fatal Diseases in Singapore

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Although Singapore’s health and mortality rate is considered good, according to several health-related studies, the most common causes of death are related to lifestyle practices. These are diseases that are non-communicable and may be acquired by people through heredity or bad eating and drinking habits.

In a 2015 survey, external causes like accident came in only at 5th among the causes of death. The following diseases are the common culprits.

1. Cancer

The common types of cancer in the country that affect the women are breast, colo-rectum, lung and corpus uteri cancer. For the men colo-rectum, lung, prostate, liver and lymphoma cancer are prevalent. This is regardless of ethnic and economic background. There are types of cancer that can be cured, but statistics in different studies are conflicting.

2. Pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia resemble common colds so most people overlook the condition until the damage becomes too obvious to ignore. Pneumonia is a viral or bacterial infection of the lungs that causes inflammation from mucus and pus. The person will experience difficulty breathing, high fever and shoulder and chest pain.

3. Ischaemic Heart Diseases

This is also known by the name coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease. The blood flow and circulation of oxygen in other parts of the body is constricted. The arteries become narrower and affect the heart in the long run. The problem with this condition is that a lot of people aren’t aware that they have this until they experience a heart attack.

4. Cerebrovascular Diseases

When the blood supply to the brain is limited or restricted, the brain becomes inflamed. This could lead to a stroke or impairment and dementia. The person will experience an intense headache at first. Cerebrovascular diseases include thrombosis, hemorrhage, embolism, atherosclerosis, and aneurysm.

5. Hypertensive Diseases

These are conditions caused by high blood pressure. If hypertension isn’t managed, it could result to the thickening or enlargement of the heart, narrowing of the arteries, arrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, stroke and cardiac arrest. People with this condition are advised to lose or maintain the right weight, exercise, and minimize intake of cholesterol, fat and sugar.

Other diseases to watch out for:

Diabetes Mellitus

When the body has high sugar levels for an extended time, the person has diabetes. Hyperglycemia is the result of lack of or the failure to use the insulin hormone produced by the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is common among young people. The immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells. Type 2 diabetes manifests among older people and is characterized by the body’s inability to properly use insulin.

Kidney and Liver Diseases

When the kidney can no longer function properly, the body cannot clean the blood, filter extra water and control blood pressure. Kidney diseases are usually complications of diabetes, high blood pressure, and viral diseases. Liver disease on the other hand can cause vomiting and nausea, abdominal pain, jaundice, fatigue and weight loss. It is caused by alcohol abuse, different types of hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Napping

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Napping has long been seen as a sign of both luxury and slackery, but taking naps shouldn’t have this stigma anymore. From lowering your blood pressure to boosting your memory, getting some midday shut-eye can actually be beneficial for your health and productivity at work.

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  1. Boosts Alertness. Among the known benefits taking power naps is an added boost in one’s alertness. A NASA study even found that pilots who snoozed for 40 minutes showed higher levels of alertness compared to those who didn’t rest. In fact, even a 10 to 20-minute shut-eye is already enough to make you feel more alert throughout the day.

 

  1. Enhances Creativity. Our mind love naps, and there’s no denying it. Spending a couple of hours for some daytime sleep actually aids in boosting your cognitive processing, improving memory recall and enhancing your creativity. This happens because taking longer naps allows sleepers to enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase, leading to a better performance on coming up of creative solutions on most word problems.

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  1. Increases Productivity. Experts agree that taking an afternoon nap is in fact the opposite of being lazy in the workplace, because having a siesta break actually helps in improving one’s work output. In fact, taking a short power nap is already enough for a worn-out, sleep deprived employee to be more productive at work.

 

  1. Lifts Willpower. Boosting your willpower can be tough when you’re sleep deprived and tired. A good way to lift your willpower? Having a midday power nap. Being able to rest midday can aid in reversing your usual willpower drain from day- to night-time. Aside from that, a siesta break also reduces stress, improves mood, and restores your focus at work.

 

  1. Zaps Stress. Part of the reason why you’re smiling after taking a nap might be related to relaxation. Just the luxury of escaping from all your present problems can already be great stress-reliever, even if you don’t nap for too long. Experts even recommend that you consider it as a ‘mini-vacation’ from all the stress at work.

You might think of napping as an act of slacking at work, but taking a few minutes to snooze actually does the opposite. So consider taking a good power nap now, and reap its amazing health and productivity benefits.

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Nutritional Requirements for Sarcopenia

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You see your elderly parents or grandparents struggle every day in performing basic tasks. This is because they are slowly losing their vigour, strength and muscle mass. This condition is called sarcopenia and it is natural as you grow old. If you are the primary care provider of your elderly, you should know everything about sarcopenia so you can help your elderly effectively. 

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Preventing and treating this condition necessitates a holistic approach. Holistic approach refers to the complete strategies to improve their lives. It will include nutritional approach, HRT (Human Replacement Therapy) approach, physical exercise approach and many more. If in this case you are looking into the nutritional approach to enhance muscle mass, you should consider the following nutrients and make sure that you include it in their diet:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is famous for its crucial part in bone health. Recent research proved that Vitamin D is more than bone health. It can help maintain and support muscle mass especially for the elderly. Research found out that low Vitamin D is associated with reduced muscle function and bone formation. Knowing this, you should give your elders food and supplements rich in Vitamin D.

Whey protein

Elder people are finding it hard to gain high quality proteins. Whey proteins come from dairy products. Research found out that increasing whey protein intake can protect elders from muscle loss. In other words, whey protein is effective when it comes to preservation of lean body mass for older people. You should add this to your elder’s diet right away.

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Other nutrients

Apart from vitamin D and whey protein, you can also include other nutrients in the diet of your elder. You can consider the famous omega-3 fatty acids, amino acid and carnitine. Scientists have yet to prove that these nutrients are beneficial for sarcopenia patients however these nutrients have mechanisms that can stimulate healthy muscle mass.

Everyone will end up like this but the good thing is that you can do something to reduce its risk. You can consider a regimen that can help you deal with sarcopenia when it is time. You should take charge of your diet while it is early. You can also consider HRT as recommended by your doctors, you can take supplements and more importantly, you should exercise regularly. These things can increase your lean muscle mass. If you increase your muscle mass, you will become stronger and healthier.

Exercise should be considered when you are looking into managing and preventing sarcopenia in the future. Your actions will surely shape your future. If you want to grow old happy, healthy and independent, you should consider the things mentioned above. It can do you good.

Understanding and Helping People with Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is difficult condition to live with. It can also be very dangerous, as was proven by the case of a recent incident where a paranoid schizophrenic man fatally attacked another man. (The attacker has been sentenced to incarceration for life.)

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However, not all paranoid schizophrenias are that destructive. You should know that there are others who are harmless. It is important that you remove your stigma about the mental condition because it will only cloud your judgment. If your love one has this kind of mental condition, it will not be easy but you have to be strong because it is not the end of the world. The first thing that you should do is learn about the illness and the difficulties that come with it. Here are some tips that you can consider to help your love one who has schizophrenia:

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1. Educate yourself and the people around you

Not all people have a firm knowledge when it comes to mental disorders such as schizophrenia. It is therefore that you learn more about this mental condition and the treatments it requires so that you will know what to do and what to expect.

2. Empower your patients

You have to empower your loved ones but not to the point of spoiling them or overdoing it. As much as you can, encourage independence so that your loved ones knows that you trust them. Your love and support will remind the person that his or her situation is not beyond hope.

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3. Lessen stress

Stress can stir schizophrenia symptoms and episodes. You need to lessen the stress in your house by creating a structured system. Never pressure underestimate or criticize your love ones with schizophrenia.

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