Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Doctor Is In!

From eye care for frequent computer users to the right kind of vitamins to take, the Pearl team sits down to a question and answer session with a general practitioner.

We tend to concentrate on the matter at hand when we pay a visit to our friendly GPs. However, we all have questions we would ply a doctor with if we had one handy. Even with the information available on the internet, there's nothing as solid (or as safe) as getting advice from a true blue professional. The following are some of your questions which have been answered by Dr Maya from Poliklinik Ludher Bhullar.

How can I know my children are eating right? Is a fat child healthier than a skinny child? My daughter eats a lot of vegetables, fruits, meat, rice, ice cream and fast food, and drinks plenty of milk, but she doesn’t grow fat. (Mohd Faisal. Damansara Jaya)
Perhaps your daughter is one of those fortunate ones who can afford to eat without gaining weight, which could be due to genetics. However, children and young people are naturally active and this helps burn a lot of calories. This could well change later on in life when calorie intake exceeds activity. That is when people begin to put on weight.

Can you lose weight without sweating and feeling tired (apart from swimming)? (Khoo Thiam Hock, Ampang)
The simple answer is no. A balanced and not too excessive diet would probably be the best solution. Swimming is a very good exercise in that it exercises the entire body and yet proves to be relaxing as well. Running would exercise the lungs but is certainly not the most enjoyable of activities for many people.

My mother has been suffering from diabetes for about 10 years. How do I avoid diabetes despite the fact that I may have a predisposition to it? Is there some specific lifestyle or routine that I should follow? Please suggest the best diet. (Dr Noormah Said, Taman Universiti)
It is true that you may also be prone to diabetes, but even people without a family history of diabetes can succumb to it. One precaution is to regularly check your blood sugar level. Also, do abstain from excessive oil and sugar intake, especially as age catches up. It would also be helpful to discuss diabetes with your mother and perhaps learn from her experience, which could be beneficial both physically and psychologically.

My daughter is eight years plus. She always wets her bed at night especially when she has had soup or cold drinks during dinner. Sometimes she still wets her bed even if she doesn’t have any soup or cold drink. Please advise me on how to help her. (Leow Pek Hong, Kepong)
A preliminary suspicion of mine is worms. Perhaps she may need to be treated for it. It may also be due to her bedroom being too cold, presumably caused by air-conditioning. Check to see if that could be a cause. Do so by increasing the temperature and monitoring if she continues to wet her bed.

I’m a computer user. I would like to know what vitamins or supplements I should take to maintain good eyesight, as my eye tired easily when using the computer. (Lee Lai Lai, Ipoh)
Experts generally recommend that regular computer users take a 10-minute break for every hour that they are using the computer. The eyes become tired mainly due to focusing on a fixed area for pro-longed periods and so eye exercises, such as looking around, would be beneficial.

I work in the office and sometimes feel pressured at my job. This gives me stress and I get tired. Sometimes I don’t eat enough fruit or drink enough water. Can you recommend a healthy diet and the right vitamins to make me feel more energetic and to beat the strees? (Tiffany Ang, Ampang)
Various multi-vitamins can be purchased from pharmacies, and vitamin B-complex in particular is believed to be helpful for stress. However, a balanced diet and other forms of reducing stress at work are always the more preferable solution. It is certainly not recommended for you to supplement your diet solely with pills.

My mom is 53 years old and she has joint paints. She suffers from body aches and emotionally she is not stable. Should she have more calcium? What should I do when she has joint paint?
There are many causes for aches and pains, especially when one gets older. Thus, it is very much recommended that a doctor's advice be sought.

I do not have skin problem. However, a year ago, I found a few red sports on my thighs and legs. These have since spread. I’ve seen a skin specialist and the doctor said that I’m allergic to alcohol. But even when I do not consume alcohol the problem arises. (Oh Teen Teen, Wangsa Maju)
You probably have a skin allergy, which might not necessarily be to alcohol. You should consult a doctor so that tests can be done to determine the particular cause of the allergy. A visit to a dermatologist would probably be appropriate.

My cholesterol is on the high side. For the past 12 months I have spent 45 minutes a day from Mondays to Saturdays and an hour on Sundays jogging. However, my cholesterol has not gone down. I have a BMI of 21.1 consume a lot of fruit juice and vegetables, and have Omega Fish Oil everyday. Please advise. (Lee Woon Fong)
Cholesterol levels are not only determined by one's diet, but also by genetics, and so there is only a limited amount that one can do to reduce it. While there is no cure, you have done well to control it. Regular exercise would definitely pay off in the long run. Another tip is to consume less beef and mutton.

My eyes always feel sticky and uncomfortable. My eyesight is blurry, and there is stickiness in the eyeball area. What am I suffering from? (Siti Hajar Bt Mohd Yusof, Johor)
For ailments relating specifically to the eye, an ophthalmologist would be the best person to advise you.

Since giving birth, I’ve been suffering from back pain and body aches. My mother said this is because I didn't take proper care of myself during confinement. Is there any way to reduce the pain without taking painkillers?
You could perhaps review your daily routine, and reduce certain manual activities (such as the more taxing household chores) that might have caused or even worsened your aches and pain. Apart from that, painkillers are probably the most effective method.

My one years old daughter is a reluctant eater. She is quite skinny. How can I help her? (Cherrie Cheah, Pandan Perdana)
Multi-vitamins, and in particular iron, could help boost appetite. Even so, it is probably not recommended for toddlers and young children to consume too much vitamins or medication - especially if she has a balanced diet for her age, as advised by a paediatrician or your GR Toddlers often out-grow this phase in time.

Should taking supplements be compulsory? Are they worth buying? (Murniza Bt Jaafar, Pandan Jaya)
In principle, a balanced diet along with sufficient exercise is always the best way to lead a healthy life. While it is acceptable to supplement one's diet with vitamins every now and then, it should not be seen as a method of dietary replacement. Indeed, one should also exercise caution when purchasing vitamins. Buy preferably from the more respectable pharmaceutical companies. And remember, excessive intake is potentially counter-productive!

"A balanced diet along with sufficient exercise is always the best way to lead a healthy life."