Health Articles

Find out more about your health here from our health professionals!

COVID19 – Masa Untuk Berhenti Merokok!


Pertubuhan Kesihatan Dunia (WHO) telah mewartakan bahawa merokok merupakan risiko yang spesifik bagi mendapatkan COVID19 (1,2). Hal ini adalah kerana, merokok merupakan penyebab kepada komplikasi sistem pernafasan dan organ badan yang lain. Justeru itu, jika virus korona ini menyerang tubuh badan individu yang merokok, peratus untuk individu tersebut pulih lebih rendah berbanding dengan individu yang tidak merokok manakala peratus untuk individu tersebut untuk mengalami kegagalan paru – paru yang serius pula adalah tinggi.


Umum mengetahui, COVID19 adalah virus yang menyerang sistem pernafasan, jadi, individu yang merokok atau yang mempunyai masalah pernafasan dan/atau sakit – sakit kronik yang lain seperti masalah jantung, buah pinggang, kencing manis dan lain -lain jika terdedah kepada virus ini, mempunyai sebanyak 80.7% lebih risiko untuk terdedah kepada kematian berbanding individu yang tidak menghidapi penyakit kronik (3).

 

Statistik juga menunjukkan bahawa, warga emas yang berusia 60 tahun ke atas mempunyai 62.6% risiko terdedah kepada kematian jika terdedah kepada virus ini berbanding individu yang di bawah usia 60 tahun (3). Lebih menakutkan lagi, jika individu yang berusia 60 tahun ke atas, dan mempunyai sejarah penyakit kronik terdedah kepada virus ini, risiko menghadapi kematian adalah sangat tinggi berbanding dengan individu yang yang berusia kurang dari 60 tahun dan tidak mempunyai sejarah  penyakit kronik.

 

Tabiat merokok itu sendiri yang menyebabkan individu  berisiko terdedah kepada pelbagai jenis komplikasi kesihatan, akan tetapi sebelum ini mungkin perokok menghadapi kesukaran untuk berhenti merokok disebabkan faktor rakan sekeliling, tekanan kerja dan sebagainya. Akan tetapi oleh keranan dunia diancam dengan wabak COVID19, individu yang merokok mempunyai lebih sebab untuk berhenti merokok kerana anda mempunya risiko yang lebih tinggi terdedah kematian jika terdedah kepada virus ini.


Antara cara untuk berhenti merokok, yang telah dikumpulkan oleh Pengkalan Data Cochchrane Edisi Istimewa, mengenai cara – cara berhenti merokok adalah dengan menggunakan terapi kombinasi, iaitu penggunaan ubat dan juga sokongan moral (4).

 

Penggunaan Ubat – Ubatan seperti Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) telah digunakan sebagai salah satu cara untuk berhenti merokok sekian lama. Terapi ini adalah bagi tujuan untuk menggantikan kebergantungan perokok kepada nikotin dan seterusnya menggurangkan motivasi perokok untuk terus merokok. Ia juga membantu mengawal kesan sampingan akibat berhenti rokok/ kurang merokok (4).

 

 

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) ini memberikan nikotin dalam dos yang rendah kepada perokok tanpa apa apa bahan merbahaya yang lain seperti yang terdapat di dalam rokok. Terdapat pelbagai jenis Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) dipasaran, iaitu sama ada dengan menggunakan  gula getah nikotin (nicotine gum), ‘nicotine inhaler’, ‘nicotine lozenge’, ‘nicotine patch’ atau ‘nicotine nasal spray’. Kesemua jenis produk ini mempunyai dos, cara, dan kekuatan yang berbeza (5).

 

Produk bagi terapi nikotin telah direka dengan pelbagai jenis mekanisma untuk penyerapan dan perembesan nikotin di dalam badan. Sebagai contoh bagi gula getah nikotin, inhaler nikotin, lozenge nikotin dan nasal spray nikotin, ia memberi kesan kepada otak dengan lebih cepat berbanding nicotine patch akan tetapi mempunyai  proses perembesan yang lebih lambat  berbanding merokok (5). Nicotine patch pula merembeskan nikotin dos secara perlahan – lahan dan secara pasif, oleh kerana itu terapi  nicotin patch biasanya digunakan bersama produk yang lain.




Kepelbagaian produk bagi membantu perokok berhenti merokok memberikan perokok beberapa pilihan untuk berhenti merokok dengan kaedah yang paling sesuai, berdasarkan kekerapan perokok merokok dan kebergantungan perokok kepada rokok tersebut (4,5). Kesemua produk ini berkesan jika digunakan mengikut kesesuaian terhadap tahap aktiviti merokok seseorang individu. (5).

 

Selain daripada penggunaan ubat – ubatan, terdapat beberapa langkah yang biasanya disyorkan oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), iaitu yang pertama ialah dengan membaca atau mendapatkan informasi mengenai bahaya rokok dari sumber yang sahih, berkenaan bahaya merokok dan kelebihan berhenti merokok.

 

Terdapat banyak kelebihan berhenti merokok kerana merokok memberi banyak keburukan kepada diri sendiri dan orang sekeliling terutama ahli keluarga, sebagai contoh kanak – kanak yang selalu terdedah kepada asap rokok atau asap rokok basi akan lebih sering sakit seperti batuk – batuk, selsema serta jangkitan telinga, hidung dan tekak. Merokok juga boleh membuatkan paru – paru lemah dan penyakit seperti asma (6).

 

Selain daripada aspek kesihatan bagi orang yang tersayang, merokok juga boleh menyebabkan anda mendapat pelbagai jenis penyakit seperti, kanser paru – paru,  penyakit paru – paru yang kronik, strok dan ulser di bahagian bawah lapisan kulit perut. Individu yang merokok juga mengikut statistik mati lebih awal, kerana statistik menunjukan satu dari dua orang perokok mati disebabkan penyakit berkaitan merokok (6).

 

Tabiat berhenti merokok juga dapat menjimatkan wang, labur wang anda berbanding membeli rokok sebagai contoh

Wang untuk membeli rokok = RM5.00/sehari

Sebulan = RM 150.00

Setahun = RM 1800.00

 

Jika anda melabur untuk 10 tahun, anda sudah mempunyai RM18,000.00 dalam akaun simpanan anda) (6).

 

 

Selain, Ia juga dapat melindungi alam sekitar – Puntung rokok dibuang oleh perokok boleh menyebabkan kebakaran (6).

 

Terdapat pelbagai kaedah untuk berhenti merokok. Faktor yang paling penting adalah keinginan anda untuk menjadikannya satu kenyataan. Mula dengan menetapkan tarikh untuk berhenti merokok dan pastikan tarikh tersebut boleh dicapai. Dalam pada masa yang sama, anda mesti yakin dengan keupayaan diri untuk berhenti merokok. Katakan pada diri anda “saya bukan perokok” Ulang beberapa kali sehingga menjadi semangat untuk berhenti merokok. Sentiasa berfikiran positif dan dapatkan sokongan daripada orang sekeliling.

 

Teknik berhenti merokok yang paling selalu digunakan dan disyorkan oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) ialah dengan mengamalkan Teknik 12M (6).

 

1. Melengah – lengahkan

Sebagai contoh jika anda terasa seperti mahu merokok, lengah – lengahkan tabiat tersebut seperti  tunggu 5 minit atau katakan kepada diri sendiri sebentar lagi “saya akan merokok”.

 

2. Menarik Nafas Panjang

Tarik nafas 3 kali secara perlahan-lahan. Ulangi perkara yang sama sehingga hilang rasa untuk merokok.

 

3. Minum air

Anda juga boleh mencuba untuk minum air masak bagi mengalihkan perhatian anda dari tertumpu kepada ketagihan rokok.

 

4. Menyibukan diri

Buat sesuatu bagi mengalih fikiran untuk melupakan rokok. Buat perkara yang dapat mengalihkan tumpuan anda seperti bersenam atau bermain permainan video.

 

5. Menjauhkan diri daripada individu yang merokok

Oleh kerana  musim PKP ini adalah masa yang terbaik untuk berhenti merokok. Anda boleh menjauhkan diri anda dari rakan – rakan dan ahli keluarga yang merokok, gunakan masa yang ada untuk bersama keluarga tersayang.

 

6. Mengelakkan diri daripada suasana atau situasi yang mendorong kepada merokok

Seperti keadaan berseorangan tanpa berbuat apa – apa (keadaan bosan) atau keadaan tertekan.

 

7. Mengunyah sesuatu seperti gula getah atau buah-buahan.

Mengunyah dapat membuatkan rongga mulut sibuk dan mengalihkan perhatian dari ketagihan rokok. Elakkan makanan yang manis kerana ia memberi risiko kepada penyakit – penyakit kronik yang lain pula.

 

8. Membasuh tangan selalu

Membasuh tangan dengan kerap juga dapat menghilangkan ketagihan kerana kita telah mengalihkan perhatian kita daripada keinginan untuk merokok.

 

9. Mandi dengan kerap

Mandi dengan kerap menyebabkan badan menjadi segar dan dapat melupakan ketagihan yang di alami, seketika.

 

10. Meregangkan otot

Senaman yang atau regangan otot apabila ketagihan untuk merokok datang dapat menghindarkan diri dari merokok.

 

11. Meditasi

Meditasi menyebabkan kita ingat kembali sebab – sebab untuk kita berhenti merokok dan boleh membangkitkan kembali semangat kita untuk berhenti merokok.

 

12. Memohon doa

 

Memohon doa agar rasa ketagihan dihilangkan dan dipermudahkan urusan untuk berhenti merokok seperti dihindarkan dari perkara – perkara yang boleh menyebabkan keinginan untuk merokok untuk kembali.

 

Selain daripada Langkah – Langkah yang telah disyorkan anda juga boleh mendapatkan maklumat yang lebih lanjut di laman sesawang KKM. Terdapat banyak bahan – bahan rujukan cara untuk berhenti merokok yang boleh di muat turun di laman sesawang yang sahih seperti di Portal MyHealth Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM)(5). Selain dari bahan – bahan sokongan yang boleh di muat turun, terdapat juga nombor QuitLine yang boleh dihubungi di nombor 03-88834400 bagi keterangan lanjut mengenai cara berhenti merokok dari kaunselor berhenti merokok atau layari laman web jomquit.moh.gov.my (4,5).

 

Rujukan

  1. The Star. Stub It Out Now, Smoking and Added Health Risk for COVID19. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/04/13/effective-ways-exist-to-quit-smoking-while-under-mco (Diakses 17 April 2020).
  2. The Star. Smokers face high infection rate. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/04/13/smokers-face-higher-infection-risk (Diakses 17 April 2020).
  3. Ketua Pengarah Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). From the desk of the Director General of Health Malaysia. https://kpkesihatan.com/2020/04/16/kenyataan-akhbar-16-april-2020-situasi-semasa-jangkitan-penyakit-coronavirus-2019-covid-19-di-malaysia/ (Diakses 17 April 2020)
  4. Cochrane. COVID-19 Resources. https://www.cochrane.org/news/special-collection-effective-options-quitting-smoking-during-covid-19 (Diakses 17 April 2020)
  5. Portal Rasmi My Health Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/nicotine-replacement-therapy-nrt/ (Diakses 17 April 2020)
  6. Info Sihat. Bahagian Pendidikan Kesihatan. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). https://www.infosihat.gov.my/index.php/isu-semasa/42-tips-berhenti-merokok (Diakses 17 April 2020)

Breathing Life into Lung!

Often, we find people is trying to be healthy in general, seldomly people took really care of their specific organ unless if deformity is detected. With regards to lung, it is the very important organ in our body, yet we very minimally take care of our lung, we take it for granted most of the times. Partly because breathing is something that we do without we even realized it. Here are some fun facts about lung that perhaps will makes you feel WOWW and start to take care of your lung even better!

 

 

We breathe in and out about 22,000 times a day. When resting average adult, breathe about 12 -20 times per minute. Though it looks small inside our body, but when lung is spread out, the size is actually about the half of the size of a tennis court. It has 2400 km of airways and up to 500 million of alveoli (place where oxygen exchange occur in lung).  Our lung is very unique in such a way that though it has left and right side but both of these are not entirely identical, with left lung is smaller than the right lung and left lung has only two lobes while the right lung has three (1).

 

Amazing isn’t it? Starting from today lets not take lung for granted. Now, it is time to find out how to breathe life into lung.

 

Smoking and your lung health (2,3)

 

Among things that you can start to cultivate in order to take care of your lung is to stop smoking if you are a smoker. Though it is easier said than done, there are thousands of people who have successfully quit smoking with the correct guidance, motivation, and support. Above all, you first must recognize the factor that influence you for smoking and start to tackle those. As for addiction it is something that can be work out with patch, medication, and support from your loved ones and with conducive environment. If you are passive smoker, it is time for you to take charge of your life, it is time to be stern if the smoker is your loved ones, provide them with some rules and regulation for smoking and if it in public avoid the places where you know smokers will be there. Remember, you’re saving your lung while doing so!

 

If you are passive smoker or you are currently smoking and have yet to quit, you may consider supplements to take care of your lung health while trying to quit smoking. Herbal supplement such as tiger milk mushroom is suitable for smokers, people with breathing problem like cough and cold, senior citizen with weak heart and to those who is always exposed to harmful smoke like passive smokers.

 

 

Exercise or simply move (4)

 

Exercise also can help in making sure your lung health is tip top! Exercise can be considered as any kind of physical activity. It can be structured or planned exercise or simply your daily chores which require you to move your body and sweat out. With the correct exercise that require your cardiovascular conditioning or simply put exercise that involve your heart and lung to pump the blood even quicker and to breath in and out at much quicker phase, it is consider as aerobic exercise or moderate exercise. This includes activities like brisk walking, swimming, running, and cycling. All these activities if do it correctly will improve your lung capacity which is good for your lung health as well.

 

 

Stay indoors, avoid harmful pollution (3)

 

Nowadays with our current transportation system in Malaysia, it is very likely for us to inhale bad air to our lung. What you can do with regards to this is that you can avoid heavy traffic, clean your house regularly to avoid buildup of mold, dust, and allergen.  You may ventilate your house and workplace frequently as well, so it has good airing system inside. One of the smart ways that you can do before you plan your journey is you can as well check the air quality of the place that you plan to go.

 

 

Prevent infection (3,5)

 

As for infection with related to lung, it can be due to various reasons, but among way you can cultivate in order to decrease risk of getting infected is by frequently washing your hands, do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Some people even consider getting flu vaccination. Talk to your doctor to know whether you should get flu vaccination.

 

In conclusion,

 

It is easy to actually value your lung worth and taking care of it if you are living a mindful life, simple activity like opt to use stairs instead of elevator or lift can as well benefit your lung. Avoid places with heavy traffic and wear proper personal protective equipment when handling hazardous or harmful chemical also helps. Making sure your house is properly ventilated can improve your indoors air quality. Starts now to take care of your lung of you will regret it!

 

References

 

  1. The Lung Association. Breathing and Fun Facts about Lung (2016). https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-info/breathing (Accessed on September 30, 2020)
  2. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). My Health Portal. Quit Smoking (2012). http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/quit-smoking-prime-years-2/(Accessed on September 30, 2020)
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH). Nationa Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Keeping your lung healthy (2019). https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/how-lungs-work (Accessed on September 30, 2020)
  4. European Lung Foundation (ELF). Your lung and exercise. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818249/pdf/EDU-ELF121.pdf (Accessed on September 30, 2020).
  5. Five ways to Keep your lung healthy and whole. https://www.healthline.com/health/understanding-idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis/ways-to-keep-your-lungs-healthy-and-whole#5.-Breathe-deeply (Accessed on September 30, 2020).

Tiger Milk Mushroom, what you need to know?

Lignosus rhinoceros or its common name is Tiger Milk Mushroom has been used from ancient time. It is very precious due to its rarity, since it grows in isolation.  Within the same 5km radius you will not find another stalk of Tiger Milk Mushroom. Another reason is because the medicinal properties of Tiger Milk Mushroom are only found in the underground tuber, thus if you found it at the stage where it has already sprouted out from the ground with a stem and cap, the active compound inside it may has already be diminished.  Tiger Milk Mushroom also known as ‘Cendawan Susu Harimau’ gets famous after the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr.  Mahathir Mohamad said his chronic cough stopped after he consumed Chinese medicine derived from Tiger’s Milk Mushroom at the opening of the International Convention on Biotechnology in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur (1,2).

Just as its name, folklore tales and Indigenous people believe that, the mushroom grows, whenever drops of tiger’s milk fall into the ground. The mushroom grows on soil deep in the tropical jungles, they thrive in areas with humidity levels over 80% and grow mainly in Genting Highland and Kuala Lipis in Pahang, and in Perak (3).

 

Tiger Milk Mushroom and its benefits?  

 

Tiger Milk Mushroom consists of three parts: its cap (pileus), stem (stipe), and tuber (sclerotium). The sclerotium is a compacted mass of fungal mycelium containing food reserves while the cap and stem are woody. The sclerotium or tuber is the part where most of its medicinal properties is stored. The sclerotium is white and yield a milk – like solution that taste like milk (3).

 

 

From the traditional ancient times, tiger milk mushroom has been used by the indigenous community in Malaysia to treat common cold, cough, flu, and asthma.  Study on rats with asthmatic symptoms found out that, the usage of tiger milk mushroom extract can improve asthmatic rat’s TH 2 cells, TH 2 cells, is important in producing Immunoglobulin E (Ig E). Ig E is the antibody that will help to recognize foreign body or allergen that will cause reaction in the body and chase it away (3).

 

Tiger milk mushroom is also found can have some natural anti-coagulant properties. Anti-coagulant property is important during thrombolysis treatment. Thrombolysis is the treatment that is used to dissolve blood clot either in brain or artery.  Some of the natural anti-coagulant and fibrinolytic agents also is used to treat thrombolytic condition. Certain study also found out that ‘wood ear fungus’ (a type of mushroom) is able to produce protease-like fibrinolytic enzyme, which could serve as thrombolytic agent to dissolve blood clot. Since study found out that tiger milk mushroom also has the same protease enzyme thus with this property demonstrated by tiger milk mushroom, study presume that it is able to be used for cardiovascular diseases (3).

 

There are also studies, showing the comparison between the wild tiger milk mushroom and cultivated tiger milk mushroom for its antioxidant properties. The study found out that both wild and cultivated tiger milk mushroom extract are able scavenge free radicals hence concluded that it has anti – cancer property  though the nutritional content of wild and cultivated tiger milk mushroom is differ (4). Wild tiger milk mushroom contain more insoluble fiber and soluble fiber as compared to the cultivated tiger milk mushroom, cultivated tiger milk mushroom also has more carbohydrate as compared to wild tiger milk mushroom (4).

 

In conclusion…

 

There are many other studies on tiger milk mushroom, and it is found that it can gives various health benefits to human body, however, as tiger milk mushroom is a herb based ingredients, thus it differ from individual to individual, some individuals may have different experience towards it. The take away message with regards to tiger milk mushroom supplement taking is that it has to be hand in hand with healthy lifestyle such as exercise, since the symptoms you are experiencing need to be alleviated with lifestyle modification such as exercise and stop smoking as well.

 

References


  1. The Star. Health benefits of Tiger Milk Mushroom (2011). Wong Li Za. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/features/2011/03/15/health-benefits-of-wild-tigers-milk-mushroom (Accessed on September 8, 2020).
  2. Nutraceutical Business Review. Tiger Milk Mushroom: Malaysia Lost Its National Treasure (2015). https://www.nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com/news/article_page/Tiger_milk_mushroom_Malaysias_lost_national_treasure/104531 (Accessed on September 8, 2020).
  3. Nallathamby N, Phan CW, Seow SL, Baskaran A, Lakshmanan H, Abd Malek SN, Sabaratnam V. A status review of the bioactive activities of tiger milk mushroom Lignosus rhinocerotis (Cooke) Ryvarden. Frontiers in pharmacology. 2018 Jan 15;8:998.
  4. Yap HY, Aziz AA, Fung SY, Ng ST, Tan CS, Tan NH. Energy and nutritional composition of Tiger Milk Mushroom (Lignosus tigris Chon S. Tan) sclerotia and the antioxidant activity of its extracts. International journal of medical sciences. 2014;11(6):602.

 

Breathing Technique and Its importance

Often, we breathe in and out thousands of times daily, without even once thinking that this is something vital and beneficial to our body. Comparing to how essential breathing is to our body, studies done on breathing technique to the contrast are not much established. However, there are certain breathing technique that is recommended to improve various kind of health conditions.

Stress and belly breathing

 

The most common one is breathing exercise and stress. Numerous studies have proven that breathing exercise can help with anxiety disorder, panic attack, and stress in general. United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS, UK) suggests belly breathing technique to individuals experiencing stress, anxiety, and panic as well (1). Since the mental health issues is at alarming rate nowadays even in Malaysia with the pandemic of COVID19 and even without COVID19, our mental health issue currently is at stake. Study has reported that in Malaysia children as young as primary school children are stress, thus it is important to educate ourselves and our loved ones on measures to take whenever you face the situation that triggers panic, anxiety or stress (2).

 

 

Most of the breathing exercise will be more likely to show its benefit whenever you do it regularly. Breathing exercise can be done while standing up, sitting in the chair that supports your back, or while lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor or simply on the floor without mat. Make yourself as comfortable as you can, if there is anything that restrict your breathing, you may loosen it up. If you are lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. If you are sitting, place your arms on the chair arms. If you are sitting or standing, place both of your feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you are in, place your feet roughly hip width apart. Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first, but that’s ok. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your breathe flow as deep down your belly as you are comfortable, do not force it. Feel your chest is expanding as you breathe in and feel your belly is moving up as you breathe out. Keep doing this for 3 – 5 minutes (1,3).

 

 

 

Asthma and Buteyko breathing

 

Asthma is a debilitating, chronic disease characterized by airway hyper‐responsiveness and associated with respiratory symptoms.   Asthma is extremely common and is one of the leading presenting complaints for patients in general practice, meaning in most common health clinic even in Malaysia (3,4).

 

There are not many studies conducted to see the efficacy of Buteyko breathing exercise in treating asthma, the recent review study in 2018 with regards to asthma and Buteyko breathing concluded that the researcher withdraw this study, since the collection of studies that need to be examined in concluding whether Buteyko breathing technique is efficient for asthmatic patients are not up to par with the standard of current scientific methodology (3,4).

 

However, it is worth to note that, the researchers also concluded that even with no reliable conclusion can be drawn concerning the use of breathing exercise for asthma in clinical practice, however, notably the trends of improvement in quality of life measurement is encouraging. Meaning to say that, asthmatic individuals that practice Buteyko breathing in their daily life, reported that their quality of life is improve, perhaps with lesser frequency of asthma attack or less severe asthma attack (3,4).

 

Thus, individual with asthma may try this Buteyko breathing technique as well in their daily routine, to improve their quality of life. Buteyko breathing exercise is as per shown below:

 

 

Lung health and diaphragmatic breathing

 

Many people unknowingly developed a habit of using muscles in the neck, shoulders and back, which greatly limits the amount of air that enters and leaves the lungs. A 2016 research study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science observe the effects of diaphragmatic breathing on respiratory function. Using two groups of subjects, one group engaged in feedback breathing exercises while the other practiced diaphragmatic breathing. The results of the study showed improvement in the lung capacity for the group that practiced diaphragmatic breathing (6).

 

In effect, diaphragmatic breathing strengthens the diaphragm muscle and, in turn, helps the lungs work more efficiently. To do this exercise, you want to breathe from your belly. It helps to place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest as you inhale and exhale. Breathe in through the nose for two seconds and then out through pursed lips for two seconds. As you exhale, press down on your abdomen to make sure you’re engaging your diaphragm muscle (6).

 

In conclusion,

 

There are various methods of breathing exercise on the net. However, to find the one that is suitable to your condition and improve your overall state is your task. Once you found your ideal exercise technique, frequent practice will give impact to your overall health in the long run. Just like how physical activities benefits your lung health, breathing exercise will as well help your lung health.

 

Interestingly, laughing and singing also can improve your lung health, because, certain movement that you make in your lips and your overall system, forces stale air in your lung to go out and replace it with breeze of new fresh air, thus increasing your lung capacity which will benefits your lung health (6).

 

 

So, the next time you hear someone singing do not stop them even if their voice is terrible instead bear with it or congratulate them for doing good to their lung health!

 

References

 

  1. Breathing exercise for stress (2018). National Health Service (NHS). United Kingdom. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/ (Accessed on October 14, 2020).
  2. Resolving mental illness issue in Malaysia (n.d). University Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC). https://umsc.my/umsc_news/resolving-mental-illness-issues-in-malaysia/ (Accessed on October 14, 2020).
  3. Breathing technique for stress relief (1, 2020). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-relief-breathing-techniques#2 (Accessed on October 14, 2020).
  4. Bruton A, Lewith GT. The Buteyko breathing technique for asthma: a review. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2005 Mar 1;13(1):41-6.
  5. Campbell TG, Hoffmann TC, Glasziou PP. Buteyko breathing for asthma. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018 Aug;2018(8).
  6. Patient Empower Network (PEN). 5 Easy Ways to Improve you Lung Health (2019). https://powerfulpatients.org/2019/09/27/5-easy-ways-to-improve-your-lung-health/#:~:text=Pursed%2Dlip%20breathing%20lung%20exercises,to%20exhale%20for%2010%20seconds.

Passive Smoking and Its Effect to Lung Health

“What smoker does to himself/ herself maybe his business, but what they do to the non-smoker is quite a different matter.” – Roper Organization, 1978 (1).

With the advancement of technology scientist started to discover the harmful of tobacco smoking that is not only limited to the smoker itself but also to those who inhale the cigarette smoke, or nowadays better known as passive smoker.

 

What is passive smoker?

 

Passive smokers are those who breathe in other people’s tobacco smoke. It can increase the non-smoker’s risk of getting lung cancer and may also increase the risk of other cancers including larynx (voice box) and pharynx (upper throat) (2).

 

Apart from cancer, the evidence is clear that second-hand smoke or passive smoking can also cause heart disease, stroke, and various complication of lung disease, being the most common one is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (2). Most harmful tobacco smoke is invisible but travel through the air and lingers, thus it can also build up on surfaces and clothes, which explains why it is even more dangerous since people cannot see it thus take no precaution for it, when in fact it is still there and harming your body as you inhale it (2).

 

 

Passive smokers’ health

 

The first conclusive evidence on the danger of passive smoking found out from Takeshi Hirayama’s study 1981 on lung cancer among non-smoking Japanese women who is married to men who smoked. Whenever passive smoker inhale the smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette (sidestream), and also whenever the non-smoker breathe from the smoke that smoker has inhale and exhale (mainstream), this will imposed 20-30% risk of getting lung cancer and 23% more risk of getting cardiovascular diseases to the non-smoker (3).

 

The smoke from cigarette will do even more harm to children and pregnant women, as compared to adult. As to children who is exposed to the smoke, they will have higher risk of sudden unexpected death of infant, which include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents. Children who lives in a smoking household for the first 18 months of their life has an increased risk of developing a range of respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis, broncholitis, and pneumonia (4).

 

Children who is exposed to second-hand smoke are also more prone to get colds, coughs, and glue ear (middle ear infections). Their lungs are weaker and do not grow to their full potential. Which also explain that the children who is exposed to second – hand smoker in the home is more likely to develop asthma symptoms, have more asthma attacks and use asthma medications more often and for longer period. As for the pregnant mother who is exposed to the second-hand smoke, they have higher risk of for ectopic pregnancy, or give birth earlier (premature baby), and lower birthweight (3,4).

 

What can be done to improve this situation?

 

There are many things that can be done in order to improve this, as an example, from the government body and community point of view, their role is that they need to always create awareness on harmful second-hand smoke, so that many more people are aware. Government also can implement health policy such as in Australia, it is illegal to smoke in car with individuals below 18 years old, it is also illegal to smoke in indoor workplace, and if individuals are to smoke, it has to be four metres away from the gate of children’s indoor play centre, school and kindergarten, if it is in the outdoor play park, it has to be 10 metre away from the play space etc. While in Malaysia, it is illegal to smoke in the hospital area, school area, and certain public places such as restaurant (4).

 

Apart from this, the individual who is in contact with smokers, be it their family members, friends, housemate, partners, etc they must always voice out their uncomfortableness, and their right for fresh air.

 

 

As for the smoker itself, after knowing the harmfulness of tobacco smoke, one should already try to quit smoking, not only for the sake of oneself but also for your loved ones, for those who lived with you and care for you. You may get help from the nearest community clinic for this, every government community clinic in Malaysia have smoking cessation counsellor, doctor, and nurse who will help you with your addiction. Meanwhile you are struggling to quit, you may practice to not smoke in public place etc. You may also wash your hands or take a bath as soon as you get home where you smoke outside, then only engage with your loved ones. If you are also concern about your health condition while you are trying to quit smoking or if you already feeling symptoms of chronic coughing, you may also try tiger’s milk mushroom supplement that can help with chest clearance etc.(Find out more about Tiger’s Milk Mushroom here, https://bit.ly/2SVhRKu ) All this will not be causing damage as much as if you do not have action at all to quit smoking knowing how harmful smoking is.

 

References


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Passive Smoking Atlas. https://www.who.int/tobacco/en/atlas10.pdf?ua= (Accessed on October 16, 2020)
  2. Cancer Research United Kingdom. What is passive smoker? https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/what-is-passive-smoking (Accessed on October 16, 2020).
  3. Bek K, Tomaç N, Delibas A, Tuna F, Teziç HT, Sungur M. The effect of passive smoking on pulmonary function during childhood. Postgraduate medical journal. 1999 Jun 1;75(884):339-41.
  4. Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Passive Smoking. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/passive-smoking (Accessed on October 16, 2020).

Your Lung and Exercise

Lung are a pair of organs in your chest. When you inhale (breathe in), air enters your lung and oxygen from the air moves from lungs to blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide (waste gas) moves from blood to the lung and is being exhaled (breathe out). This whole process is known as gas exchange. It is essential to life, despite the very microsecond period that it takes to complete the cycle (1). 

Apart from lung, brain also plays a vital role in this whole system. Brain is the one that controls your breathing rate (how fast or slow you breathe), by sensing your body’s need for oxygen and its need to get rid of carbon dioxide (1).

 

Exercise and breathing

 

Exercise is vital in keeping the healthy body. The benefits of exercise include for the well being of your physical health and mental health. As for the physical health, studies found out that exercise is not only good for individuals with chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and many others but it is also good for the lung health (2,3).

 

During exercise, lungs bring oxygen into the body to provide energy and at the same time remove the carbon dioxide. Whilst the heart pumps oxygen to the muscle that are doing exercise (2).

 

When you exercise your muscles work harder, your body uses more oxygen and produces more carbon dioxide. To cope with this extra demand, your breathing has to increase from about 15 times a minute (12 litres of air) when you are resting, up to about 40–60 times a minute (100 litres of air) during exercise. Your circulation also speeds up to take the oxygen to the muscles so that they can keep moving (2).

 

When your lungs are healthy, you keep a large breathing reserve. You may feel ‘out of breath’ after exercise, but you will not be ‘short of breath’. When you have reduced lung function, you may use a large part of your breathing reserve. This may make you feel ‘out of breath’, which can be an unpleasant feeling, but it is not generally dangerous (2).

 

In fact, all these processes if it is practice regularly, it will improve lung health. How? By improving lung capacity. Even for people with lung problem such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) it is also recommended to exercise frequently and to practice breathing technique that can help with it such as diaphragmatic breathing technique (3,4).

 

 

Individuals with long-term conditions may as well exercise, but most people with such condition, feel demotivated to exercise due to the thought that they might quickly be out of breath. However, if individuals with long-term problem with lung do less activity over the time, individuals will become less fit and makes daily activities even harder. It is best to ask the guidance from doctor or physiotherapist before start with any exercise. This is to ensure that your exercise plans are in line with your capacity and are safe (2).

 

Generally, what can be practice is that all exercise programmes must be built up over time to allow body to adapt. It is important that you exercise at your own pace. If you reach a stage where you are breathless to talk, then slow down the pace or if necessary, take a short pause (2). Remember, the more you do, the more you will be able to do!

 

Intermittent exercises can also help you to deal with the shortness of breath. In this case you alternate brief exercise, lasting 1–2 minutes, with moments of rest (or slower exercise). This is called ‘interval training’ (2).

 

As an example, if you have COPD, you will have damaged airways. This means that when you breathe out your airways become narrowed before you have got rid of all the air in your lungs. Many people with COPD find that pursing their lips enables them to breathe out more slowly and effectively. You may also find it easier to walk with braced arms (for example leaning on a shopping stroller, or even by grasping the belt of your trousers). Patients with severe lung disease can benefit from using a wheeled walking aid (4).

 

If you suffer from severe COPD, you may have problems bringing enough oxygen into the body. If this is the case, you may need to take supplementary oxygen during your activity. Your doctor will be able to assess this before you begin a training programme (4).

 

References

 

  1. National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. How the Lungs Work. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/how-lungs-work
  2. Your lungs and exercise. (2016). Breathe (Sheffield, England), 12(1), 97–100. https://doi.org/10.1183/20734735.ELF121
  3. Breathing Exercise to Increase Lung Capacity. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-increase-lung-capacity
  4. Breathing exercise with COPD. https://www.healthline.com/health/copd/breathing-exercises

Cordyceps, more than just for cough!

Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects. When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue of long sprout and slender stems that grow outside the host’s body. The remains of the insect and fungi have been hand-collected, dried, and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease and low sex drive (3).

Since there is now increase shifting of attention from synthetic drugs to natural herbal product, not only to treat common cold and flu but as well as to prevent chronic diseases, thus people start to consume various kind of  traditional medicine in the effort to prevent diseases or to control diseases (2).

 

Since, cordyceps lives only on certain caterpillar in the high mountain regions of China, thus natural cordyceps is hard to get and is expansive. Most supplements are made with cordyceps grown in the laboratory, which is also known as cordyceps, CS-4. People start to market the products containing cordyceps in the supplement form or as functional food since many studies start to dig on its benefits. Of more than 400 species of cordyceps discovered only two types of cordyceps are commonly used, which is cordyceps sinensis and cordyceps militaris (3).

 

Traditionally people use cordyceps for various purposes, until now certain people whom able to get wild cordyceps still used this in their daily life. Some people mix it with milk, it is said to improve sex drive, it is also sometimes mix with alcohol, which refers to as ‘chang’ where people drink it in the morning as tonic (5).

 

As for the modern studies apart from the usage of cordyceps in the cough syrup, cordyceps also  have various other health benefits, such as anti hyperglycemic. Study on diabetic rats found out that,  4g/kg/day that is administered to diabetic rats does not effect  its fasting insulin level. When oral administration of cordyceps at 150 mg/kg/day and 500mg/kg/day are ingested by mice for 4 weeks it significantly prolonged the swimming time of mice by about 20 to 24 minutes, respectively, thus showing that consumption of cordyceps also improved fatigue condition. It is due to the involvement of cordyceps in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (energy)  production that accounts for a decrease in physical fatigue when it is administered. Apart from that, the administration of cordyceps decreased the airway inflammation in ovalbumin-induced mice, thus ease breathing for individuals with cough and flu (6).

 

 

However, most of studies with regards to cordyceps is conducted the mice subject not human subject thus the findings is considered as to have insufficient evidence (1,3,4).

 

However, it is safe to consume cordyceps supplement with other medication if you have any other medical condition, since the government of China use cordyceps as the natural drugs in their hospital to treat patients (1,3,4).

 

References


1. Mehra A, Zaidi KU, Mani A, Thawani V. The health benefits of Cordyceps militaris a review. Kavaka. 2017;48(1):27-32.

2. Nxumalo W, Elateeq AA, Sun Y. Can Cordyceps cicadae be used as an alternative to Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis?-A review. Journal on Etnopharmacology. 2020 Apr 16:112879.

3. Healthline. 6 Benefits of Cordyceps all backed by Science. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cordyceps-benefits (Accessed on Oct 23, 2020).

4. WebMD. Cordyceps. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-602/cordyceps (Accessed on Oct 23, 2020).
5. Pradhan BK. Caterpillar mushroom, Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Ascomycetes): a potential bioresource for commercialization in Sikkim Himalaya, India. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2016;18(4).
6. Bao-qin Lin and Shao-ping Li. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Food for your lung is there any?

Foods are supposed to be the best source of nutrients readily available to absorb by our body, unfortunately with our current advancement of food technology, it does not only make our food less perishable which is a good thing but it as well, through the process make it loss the vital nutrients inside the food. Not only that, the advancement with the culinary field makes our taste buds somehow loss its palatability towards healthy food. During the hunting gathering time, our senses use to tell us what is good or not through smelling and the taste of it (whether it has rotten etc or dangerous to be consumed), but nowadays people seems to be losing all those, we are only able to tell based on the looks of the food, if it has lots of greens then it must be not good, but if it has lots of chocolate or cheesy things on the food then it must be tasty, especially in Malaysia that is what seems to happen.

 

 

 

 

Do you know that every food has it own sets of nutrients which makes it suitable for every specific health problem that we encounter? The only unknown is how much do we need it, and how can it help whether as mean to prevent diseases or to help alleviating the symptoms of diseases. When it comes to this, whenever you looked closely you will see that animals or even pets such as dogs and cats, whenever they feel not at ease they will eat grass or some plant that possess antidote to their unwell condition.

 

 

As for lung, it also has foods that will benefits it condition but little that we know since there are not many studies conducted specifically for this. Studies shows that vitamin C is good for people who smoke, not to reverse their lung condition but as a ‘cushion’ to the damage on the lung. Which is why, according to United States, National Institute of Health (NIH), smokers are recommended to consume 35 mg more vitamin C as compared to normal adult (1). As for normal adult  in Malaysia recommended vitamin C intake is about 70 mg for both male and female (2). The way in which vitamin C works in this condition is that it will limit the damage effects of free radicals through antioxidant activity, in which this will helps to prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, improved immune function and improved absorption of plant based iron (non-heme iron) (1).

 

Foods that contain high vitamin C.

 

 

Apart from vitamin C, studies also established that smoker has lower carotenoid in their body as compared to non- smoker individuals. Carotenoid is a type of antioxidants, it includes Beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Beta carotene is the most common one use especially for study related to lung health. There is study conforming that the consumption of beta carotene supplementation among smoker will improve their pulmonary (lung) function (3). However, there is also study (intervention trials) reported that supplement with large doses of beta-carotene have an adverse effect on the incidence of lung cancer in smokers and workers who exposed to asbestos. Until the efficacy and safety of taking supplements containing these nutrients can be determined, current dietary recommendation is to consume diet (fruits and vegetables) that is high with beta carotene (4,5).

 

 

Interestingly, there is also study examining on the amount of curry intake and the lung health! The longitudinal study that was conducted for a year among older adults in Singapore found out that, individuals who consume more curcumin (turmeric) rich curry has better lung health. The study also compare smoker who consume more curry has better lung health as compared to smoker who consume less curry. These results suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of curcumins in curry might be particularly effective in protecting against pulmonary damage caused by smoking (6). However, the study does not assess on the cholesterol level, and does not mentioned on how the curry is usually prepared in Singapore. If the same study were to conduct in Malaysia, perhaps among things need to consider is the amount of cholesterol since, curry used coconut milk which has high saturated fat, thus might increase the cholesterol level.

 

 

As for non – smoker, there is also guideline on foods that can help with lung health. According to American Lung Association, the consumption of complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread and limit simple carbohydrates helps to maintain lung health especially for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) individuals. Consumption of 20 – 30g of fiber from fruits and vegetables and good source of protein such as from lean meat and low fat milk helps with lung health. Whilst for consumption of fat, consumption of fat from monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) will also help with lung health.

 

Basically consumption of healthy diet helps with not gaining extra weight that can load lung condition even more. Other than the previous, dietary habit such below will also helps with lung condition;

 

  • Rest just before eating.
  • Eat more food early in the morning if you’re usually too tired to eat later in the day.
  • Avoid foods that cause gas or bloating. They tend to make breathing more difficult.
  • Eat 4 to 6 small meals a day. This enables your diaphragm to move freely and lets your lungs fill with air and empty out more easily
  • If drinking liquids with meals makes you feel too full to eat, limit liquids with meals; drink an hour after meals.
  • Consider adding a nutritional supplement at night time to avoid feeling full during the day

 

In conclusion, for non – smoker and smoker, consumption of healthy diet and having a good diet habits help with lung health as well. Even though certain food has nutrient that may help with certain body condition, it is still best to consume food in moderation, variety and balanced. Always try to cut back on the habit of smoking is advisable for smokers.

 

References


  1. United States. National Health Institute (NIH). Office of Dietary Supplement (ODS). Vitamin C https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  2. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) (2017). A Report of Technical Working Group of on Nutritional Guideline. National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition.
  3. Thyagarajan, B., A Meyer, K., Smith, L. J., Beckett, W. S., Williams, O. D., Gross, M. D., & Jacobs, D. R., Jr (2011). Serum carotenoid concentrations predict lung function evolution in young adults: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 94(5), 1211–1218. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.019067
  4. Committee on the Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age for Purchasing Tobacco Products; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine; Bonnie RJ, Stratton K, Kwan LY, editors. Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Jul 23. 4, The Effects of Tobacco Use on Health. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310413/
  5. Johnson EJ. The role of carotenoids in human health. Nutr Clin Care. 2002 Mar-Apr;5(2):56-65. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.00004.x. PMID: 12134711.
  6. Ng, T. P., Niti, M., Yap, K. B., & Tan, W. C. (2012). Curcumins-rich curry diet and pulmonary function in Asian older adults. PloS one, 7(12), e51753. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051753

 

Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID-19?

Since years ago, vitamin C has gained its popularity to be used for various functions from prevention of illnesses, alleviating symptoms for illnesses, and even in the cosmetics industry for skin care purposes. It has becoming popular after the Nobel prized scientist Linus Pauling started to consumed it (1). Following that there are many studies conducted on vitamin C and many people started to question its effectiveness and there are also many people who started to consume vitamin C for various purposes.

With regards to COVID-19 pandemic, many people started wanting to boost their immune system thus making the demand for vitamin C supplementation and food products containing vitamin C is even higher. However, is it true that vitamin C can boost immune system and prevent or treat COVID19?

 

 

What is vitamin C and how does it improve immune system?(2)

 

Vitamin C or also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. It can also act as antioxidant, which helps in protecting cells against free radicals thus helps with various kind of diseases. Vitamin C improves our white blood cells  (WBC) which function in fighting the viruses, bacteria, and generally foreign materials in the body. There are various studies with regards to this, one of it is the study that compare the administration of vitamin C and vitamin E as antioxidant, finding of the study noted that vitamin C give greater effect on body immunity as compared to vitamin E.


 

 

Vitamin C supplementation (4,5,6,7)

 

Vitamin C is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables especially citrus food. Also, if you look closely on the food labelled, there are food that is fortified with vitamin C such as breakfast cereal, milk etc. Local fruit that is high with vitamin C is guava, the amount of vitamin C in guava is even higher than in the orange.

 

As for cold, vitamin C has been a long popular remedy for common cold, which is why many people started to consume it when the pandemic strikes. Research shows that vitamin C does not reduce risk of getting common cold. Well, being sick once in a while, or get common cold once in a while is a good thing actually, it helps  antibodies to fight against pathogen (bad bacteria and viruses) and improve the immune system naturally. However, the consumption of vitamin C can lead to  a shorter period of common cold with milder symptoms. But the consumption of vitamin C after the symptoms of common cold is showing does not appear to be helpful.

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19. However, since the symptoms is the same as common cold thus it is thought that it can be used to alleviate the same symptoms present. Currently researchers and physicians are studying the effect of vitamin C via (high dose intravenous) (IV) and also on the effect of supplementation taking on the new COVID19.

 

In conclusion, 

 

It is safe to say that, there is no harm in consuming vitamin C with the purpose to boost immune system in this pandemic situation, but also it has to be hand in hand with the other safety precautions such as only go out when it is necessary, must always adhere to the one meter social distance measure, must always wear mask when you are outside, must wash hands frequently using soap or hand sanitizer.

 

 

 

References

 

  1. Oregon State University. Pauling Recommendation (2004).https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C/pauling-recommendation (Accessed on November, 16, 2020).
  2. Healthline. 7 Impressive ways Vitamin C benefits your body. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits ( Accessed on Nov 16, 2020)
  3. 8 Nutrients that will optimize your eye health. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-nutrients-for-eyes. (Accessed on Aug 26, 2020)
  4. All About Vision. Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Eye and vision benefits. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/lutein.htm (Accessed on Aug, 26, 2020)
  5. Simonson W. (2020). Vitamin C and coronavirus. Geriatric nursing (New York, N.Y.)41(3), 331–332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2020.05.002
  6. Medical News Today (MNT). Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat COVID19.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-vitamin-c-prevent-or-treat-covid-19 (Accessed on November 16, 2020).
  7. Healthline. Can Vitamin C Protect you from Vitamin C. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-coronavirus (Accessed on November 16, 2020)

 

 


Probiotics and COVID-19

World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer health benefits on the host. It can be found in fermented food (E.g.: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi), dietary supplements, and cosmetics.

Probiotics may contain variety of microorganisms. The most common are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There are also other bacteria being used as probiotics (e.g.: Saccharomyces boulardii.)

 

According to studies, different types of bacteria exert different effect to human body. Therefore, choosing the right strains and types of probiotics is essential for it to works on the said health concern.

 

How does probiotics help to maintain health?

 

There are variety of ‘bugs’ that coexist naturally in the body such as bacteria, fungi, parasite and viruses, these are what scientists refer to as microbiome. In the body of a healthy person, all these bugs coexist peacefully. The role of the microbiome is to promote smooth daily operation of human body. However, conditions such as infectious illness, certain diet, prolonged use of antibiotics and/or other bacteria-destroying medications, can lead to body becoming more susceptible to diseases.

 

Due to this, scientists believe that consumption of probiotics influence bacteria colonization process, which can lead to speedy restoration of healthy microbiome and lower risk of being sick. 

 

Probiotics and COVID-19?

 

Probiotic is link with COVID19 due to its ability to boost the immune system. Currently, most extensive researched on probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Escherichia Coli, Enterococcus, etc. Although probiotics mechanism profoundly focuses on the gastrointestinal tract, the effect of probiotics is not confined to the digestive system only. Probiotics can act on the entire body via immune modulation. Not only that, it also facilitate the immune system development and maturation and regulate the interaction between host and pathogen by killing the pathogen and regulate the immune responses towards it.

 

One might argue that, but COVID-19 is a viral infection unlike others. A systematic review described probiotics’ efficacy against viral diseases where more than 20 strains of probiotics showed the anti-inflammatory effects on the body and antibody production against viruses.

 

Moreover, study found out that viral loads were lowered upon probiotics supplementation, it is postulated due to immune modulation by microbiota that fights against COVID-19 directly and decrease the risk of secondary infections due to prolonged antibiotics exposure from multiple experimental COVID19 treatment.

 

China’s National Health Commission recommended probiotics for severe COVID-19 patients to restore the intestinal balance and protect from secondary infections. Moreover, gut microbiota’s role in modulating lung diseases has been demonstrated.

 

In conclusion, scientists in this study suggest that many more studies should be established on the effectiveness of using probiotics as prevention and especially treatment of COVID-19. As of now, apart from practicing social distancing, wearing mask, adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP), individuals may also benefits from probiotics rich foods and supplementation for its boosting immunity properties and fight against COVID-19.

 

Reference


Kurian, S. J., Unnikrishnan, M. K., Miraj, S. S., Bagchi, D., Banerjee, M., Reddy, B. S., Rodrigues, G. S., Manu, M. K., Saravu, K., Mukhopadhyay, C., & Rao, M. (2021). Probiotics in Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19: Current Perspective and Future Prospects. Archives of medical research52(6), 582–594. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2021.03.002

Asthma in Children

What is asthma in children?

 

Asthma is a major non-communicable disease (NCD), affecting children and adults. It is a condition in which the airway in the lung narrows due to inflammation and tightening of the muscle surrounding the small airway. As a result, asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness developed. These symptoms are usually on and off, while the asthma disease itself is a long-term condition. Asthma triggers vary from person to person, but they can also be due to a viral infection (cold), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in the weather, grass and tree pollen, feathers, strong soap, perfume, animal fur, and many more.

 

Causes of asthma in children. 

 

Although it is often difficult to find a single, direct cause, it is believed to have multiple complex causes. Many factors have been linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, such as

  • Have a close family member with asthma and/or eczema, such as parents or siblings
  • Have other allergic conditions such as rhinitis, etc.
  • Urbanization is associated with increased asthma prevalence, probably due to multiple lifestyle factors.
  • Events in early life affect the developing lungs and can increase the risk of asthma. These include low birth weight, premature birth, exposure to tobacco smoke and other sources of air pollution, as well as viral respiratory infections.
  • Exposure to a range of environmental allergens and irritants is also thought to increase the risk of asthma, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, house dust mites, molds, and occupational exposure to chemicals, fumes, or dust. 


Prevention & Control of asthma

 

Asthma cannot be cured, but good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.

 

There are two main types of inhalers:

 

  • Bronchodilators (such as Salbutamol), that open the air passages and relieve symptoms
  • Steroids (such as Beclomethasone), that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduce the risk of severe asthma attack and death.

People with asthma may need to use an inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the types of inhalers available.

 

It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler, especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a "spacer" device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine reach the lung more effectively.

People with asthma may need to use an inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the types of inhalers available.

It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler, especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a "spacer" device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine reach the lung more effectively. 

Other than this, it is also best to avoid triggers for asthma. Triggers vary from person to person; as asthmatic children grow; parents should be able to identify things that trigger their asthma attack. It can be as simple as changes in weather, temperature, etc.

In conclusion, since asthma is a lifelong disease, it is best to manage or control it by avoiding triggers in children and by adhering to the medication based on a doctor's suggestion.

References

  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Asthma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma
  2. Mayo Clinic. Childhood Asthma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma
  3. Better Health Chanel. Asthma in children. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/asthma-in-children#causes-of-asthma-in-children

 

 

Showing 1 to 11 of 11 (1 Pages)