Burning Chest and Bloated Stomach

This is what I earnt about GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease or simply that feeling of burning chest and bloated tummy. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is the frequent back-up of stomach digestive juices from the stomach into the esophagus. The esophagus is the duct linking the mouth to the stomach. GERD occurs when the lower portion of the esophageal sphincter muscle is weakened or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the backflow of digestive juices.

If left untreated, GERD can lead to more serious complications such as esophagitis, stricture and Barrett's Esophagus.

Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation the esophagus caused by the persistent presence of stomach acid. It can lead to esophageal bleeding and ulcers.

A stricture is the abnormal narrowing of the esophagus.

Barrett's Esophagus is a change in the esophagus cell lining that can predispose a person to cancer.

The Symptoms of GERD

The symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease are quite obvious. One would get the feeling of burning pain between the breastbone or chest pains. This burning pain is often worsened when one bend over or lie down. Other symptoms include a sore throat, hoarseness or a lumpy feeling in the throat.

Treatments for GERD

Antiacids are normally used for mild GERD. It neutralizes the acid and provides symptomatic relief. However, it does not treat the underlying causes and may have the side effects of diarrhea or constipation. To treat GERD properly, it is best to consult a doctor. He or she may prescribe medication such as H2-antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, and prokinetics.

H2-antagonists (H2 blockers) and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) decrease acid production. Prokinetics helps to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. However, the side effects include fatigue, depression, and anxiety.

In severe cases where medication is not effective, surgery may be recommended. Funcoplication is a surgical procedure that reduces the acid regurgitation.

People with GERD should avoid spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, carbonated beverages, fried food, fatty food, and tomatoes.

To prevent the symptoms, eat smaller meal portion. Avoid lying down within 2 - 3 hours of a meal. Elevate the head when lying down. 


Growing Avocado At Home

Avocados are suddenly popping everywhere in restaurant meals, home food recipe and even fast food menu. This trend is not so bad considering that the fruit is packed with essential minerals and vitamins. Avocadoes contain vitamin C, E, K, B5, B6, as well as potassium and fiber.

If you are looking to add avocados to your home cooked meals, there are many recipes available online.  the goods news is growing your own avocado tree is easy. In addition to saving yourself some grocery money, the bonus is that you get fresh and organic (if you so choose) avocados.

Although it is called an avocado tree, it is actually a small-sized and easy maintenance plant. You do not need a large space.

To start, prepare your selected avocado seed for sprouting. Clean the seed to remove any pest and chemical. Stick four toothpicks into the seed at equal distances apart around the middle.  Make sure you can tell the top from the bottom. Place the seed in a container of water. The toothpicks are meant to keep the seed upright while soaking in an inch of water. A glass will do fine as a container and it is also easy to see when the roots are grown. Place the container in a warm place but out of direct sunlight.  The seed will sprout leaves and roots in about two to six weeks. When the stem has grown about six inches/ 15 centimeters, cut it back to three inches / 7.5 centimeters. Wait for more leaves to grow and for the stem to reach six inches again before planting into the soil.

Get a large planting pot. It should be at least ten inches/ 25 centimeters in diameter. Make sure that the pot has proper drainage holes at the bottom. Cover the drainage holes with big stones that will allow water to flow through while holding back the soil. Fill the pot with soil and leave a small hole in the top to plant the seed.  The hole should not be too deep. The top half of the seed would be exposed to the air.

Move the potted plant to a sunny area. Water the plant liberally and regularly. The soil should be constantly moist but not saturated with water. This is why proper drainage is important.

The avocado fruits are mature before picking, but they are not ready to be eaten. They must be softened after picking. The longer the fruit is left on the tree, the higher the oil content and richer the flavor it will develop. However, pluck the fruit too late the oil inside will turn rancid. ANy fruit that drops off naturally is already rancid.

The best way to tell whether the fruit is ready to be harvested is to pick one and then leave it to air at room temperature. The fruit will be rock hard. If the fruit softens evenly within a week or two, then the rest of your avocados are ready to be harvested. If the fruit turns rubbery or shrivels up, repeat the checking process with another fruit.

After picking, storage the fruits in a dry and cool place. The softening process takes between a few days to a week. 


Eye Squints in Children

Eye squint is a medical condition where the eyes are not looking in the same direction. It is also called stabismus. A common condition is where the squint eye is looking inwards out outwards when the normal eye is looking straight ahead. This is known as convergent squint and divergent squint respectively. A squint eye can also be looking upwards or downwards. The squint can present all the time or only manifest in certain situations, such as being tired, looking at close or far objects.

Causes of Squint in Children

There are many causes of squint in children. Squint is commonly caused by poor control of the eyes by the brain. It can also be caused by improperly fitted spectacle (abnormally high spectacle power). Obstruction of the vision in one eye due to childhood cataract is another cause of squint in children. Sometimes, there is an abnormality in the eye muscle, the tissue within the eye socket or the nerves supporting the eye muscles.

Early Signs of Squint

Parents can look out for signs that their child's eyes may be poorly coordinated or not aligned. The child may like to tilt his or her head to get a clear view of an object. Or the child may cover one eye to view something. It is a sign that the child is trying to remove a double vision.

Treatments for Squints in Children

If the squint is suspected to be due to underlying brain or eye problem, the ophthalmologist would need to perform a thorough eye examination. Sometimes, a convergent squint is no more than the result of the skin fold around the inner part of the eye that makes it look like a squint. This is called a pseudo squint and no treatment is necessary.

Depending on the cause of the squint, a doctor or ophthalmologist use non-medical treatment such as spectacles, eye patching and eye exercises. There are mobile App to facilitate eye exercises for certain type of squint. An example is MyEyeGym (available for both Android and iPhone).

In extreme cases, eye muscle surgery is necessary.

If you suspect that your child has eye squints, consult your pediatrician or family doctor for advice.

A Good Start For A Healthy Child

Children see, children do. A healthy lifestyle starts with the parents who should set a good example for their children.

Here are some tips for healthy living that you can give your child.

Eat Well

Be the role model for a balanced diet. You want the best for your kid including the best nutrients. What better way than to incorporate these into the daily diet? Moderate your own consumption of snacks and fast food.

Make time for a family meal and stick to a regular meal time.

Teach healthy eating habits to your kid. For example, educate on the food pyramid and monitor that kids do not over eat. Use grocery shopping time together to talk about the different food groups - rice and bread; vegetables; fruits and meat. Point out that processed food tend to have more sugar, oil and salt.

Stay Active

Make the effort to exercise regularly. Exercise and sports are also a great time for family bonding. Plan for outdoor time. That means, parents, you need to tear yourself away from the TV and computers. Hand off the mobile devices too.

Stay Away from Harmful Substances

Do not smoke in the presence of children. It is proven that nicotine and other harmful substances from cigarette smoke will linger on the surfaces of surrounding objects for days. So once you lit up, your child will be exposed to all the adverse effects of second hand smoke even when you are not smoking.

Children of smokers are more likely to take up smoking as teens and adults.  A 2009 survey of youth smokers showed that 50 percent of them had at least one parent who smoked. Moderate your intake of alcohol as well. Your child is watching. If you choose to drink, avoid doing so in front of your kid. If you persists in your smoking and drinking habits, what message are you sending to your child?

Manage Your Stress Properly

Some people use smoking and drinking as a mean to relieve stress. There are many positive ways of relieving stress. Exercise and mediation have been shown to be effective. So are creative activities like writing and baking. Find a good outlet for your stress.


Your ECG is Normal, Should You Worry About Heart Attack?

ECG (Electrocardiogram) is a medical test which measures the electrical activity of a heart. It detects and records the heart's rhythm and activity, showing the changes over a period of time. ECG is part of a health screening regime.

Now, if you have an ECG done and you are told that it is normal, should you worry about a heart attack?  The short answer is that you should still watch out for the signs of a heart attack. Your normal ECG merely shows that your risk of a heart attack is less than somebody with an abnormal ECG. It is also a snapshot of your heart's condition at that particular point in time. Your heart's condition may change over time especially if you have the risk factors for heart disease.

ECG can tell whether there is enlargement of the heart due to hypertension (high blood pressure). It can also detect evidence of a heart attack that had occurred. However, ECG cannot predict the risk of a future heart attack or shows if there is asymptomatic (not showing any symptom) blockage in the heart arteries.

So if you have the risk factors for heart disease, you should continue to be watchful for the signs of heart attack, even if you have a normal ECG.

Here are some of the risk factors of heart disease :

  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • High blood cholesterol level.
  • Obesity 
  • Diabetes.
  • Stress

What Women Should Know About Ovarian Cancer

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovaries are the female reproductive organs. A woman has two, located on each side of the uterus. Ovarian cancer occurs when the ovary cells begin to grow out of control, resulting in a tumour.  A tumour is the abnormal growth of cells. A tumour can either be harmless (benign) or cancerous. There are three main ways that a cancerous tumour can develop. Germ cell tumours develop from the cells that produces the eggs. Stromal tumours start from the cells that hold the ovary together. Epithelial tumours start from cells on the outer surface of the ovary. Most ovarian cancers are epithelial tumours and they usually affect older women.

Risk Factors For Ovarian Cancer

Age is a significant risk factor with a higher risk for older women. Ovarian cancer is rare in women below the age of 40. The risk is higher for women who have their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 35. Likewise for women who have never give birth. The risk is lower for women who have borne a child before the age of 26. This is something to note for older women who have yet to carry a pregnancy to term. Especially, if they are obese and have a family history.

Obesity is linked to many health problems. Some researchers highlighted that obese women with body mass index of more than 30, are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. For family history, the risk is twenty times more if a woman has immediate relative (mother or sister) who has cancer.


Ovarian cancer is fairly common. If it is diagnosed in the early stage, it can potentially be cured. The five-year relative survival rate is 92% if the cancer is detected before it can spread outside the ovary (Stage 1A and 1 B). However, only 15% of all ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at this early stage.

Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

The problem with ovarian cancer, especially epithelial ovarian cancer is that they seldom have early warning signs and symptoms. In the later stages, abdominal discomfort and swelling, pain, bloatedness or wind are common symptoms. Some people may also experience a change in bowel habits.

Women should be aware of the risk factors of ovarian cancer as well as the warning signs. Hence, this post is for information. 


Tips for Growing Healthy Together as a Family

As parents, we have to model the healthy behaviour we want our children to follow. And we have to start early.

Eat Well

As soon as a child can take solid food, introduce a variety of nutritious food including fruits and vegetables. If your child reject the taste, you will have to persist. Reduce the quantity and use positive reinforcement to get your child to gradually accept the food.

Stick to a routine for meals. Eat at the same time each day and avoid eating in front of the TV. Eat together as a family and enjoy the company of one another.

Restrict TV Time

TV is responsible for many bad habits including sedentary lifestyle, snacking and staying up late. Do control the TV watching time for your children. Set a limit of no more than 1 - 2 hours each day.

Exercise Regularly

Encourage children to spend at least an hour a day outside the house. It will help to prevent myopia while encouraging physical activities. Play catch or hide-and-seek or ball games. Make it fun and do not focus on exercising. Let children be children and play. Play along with them.

Sleep Well

Get enough sleep. That includes the parents. Enough said. Many parents will feel that they do not have enough time in a day. After spending time taking care of the family, they still want their TV time. Think about it. Is it a good trade-off? Stay real. TV is only TV. It is not an essential part of your life.