Category Archives: HEALTH

Complementary Therapy

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Cover Story

By Serena Mui

TCM, Reiki, Phytobiophysics, Fast Track and Emotional Freedom Technique, Ayurveda, Karuna, Ki, Sufi, Pranic and Sound Healing. One hears these terms being bandied around as more and more people are being introduced to some of these techniques and practices to help heal the physical and emotional ups and downs faced by most people at some point in their lives. Ipoh, being the laggard in new ‘things’ finding its way here, is seeing a stirring of activity, the winds of change bringing fresh ideas, fresh techniques and fresh faces to the complementary therapy scene. In this and the coming issue, Ipoh Echo takes a look at the plethora of complementary therapies available in Ipoh…

Complementary therapy

Alternative Therapies to Complement Allopathic Medicine?

With the rising costs tagged to conventional medical treatments available today, more people are seeking out complementary methods of healing to address various ailments. Although one should not carelessly dismiss the benefits of a proper medical diagnosis and its recommended programmes, it is becoming quite a common practice today even among the skeptics, to give complementary therapy a try. Especially when carried out by people who are knowledgeable and experienced.

Complementary therapy practitioners believe that all physical ailments begin with an emotional cause which fester in the subconscious mind and manifests as sickness over time. Hence complementary therapy aims to achieve balance and harmony in all aspects of body, mind and spirit.

Among the more popular examples of complementary therapy are ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicines, energy therapies, homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, mind and body therapies, herbs diet and vitamin therapies, body manipulation, massage and acupuncture.

 

Practitioners in Ipoh

In and around Ipoh, you will be able to find quite a number of practitioners, who have successfully practised their craft. These people’s successes are usually downplayed, as many do not advertise their services. Referrals are usually the main way these practitioners get their patients.

Through the course of research on the topic, I had the opportunity to sit down with a few practitioners and was intrigued with what they had to say. The main message seemed to be, that with complementary therapy, one can enjoy better overall health and well-being, as the various methodologies used, all focused on creating a balance in body, mind and spirit. They all stressed that medical diagnosis is not to be disregarded altogether, but complementary therapy would be a great addition to creating optimal recovery conditions.

Cho Ku Rei – Reiki power symbol
Cho Ku Rei – Reiki power symbol

 

Healing the Reiki way

Reiki, a form of energy healing was started by a Japanese, Dr Usui in the early part of last century. I had the opportunity to spend some time with a visiting Reiki practitioner, who has achieved the Master/Teacher level. Andrew Khor, kindly took the time to explain this healing practice and the positive impact it can make in a person’s life. It soon became clear to me, why so many people are keenly exploring Reiki, as a safe alternative to addressing some physical and mental issues. A humble and delightful character, who is bubbling with energy and what I can only describe as a “happy aura”, Andrew explained his particular style and why he is confident that, with guidance, anyone can live a happy and healthy life.

Complementary therapy-6

Vocal Rather than Touch

Andrew’s style takes the basic practice, which involves the laying on of hands and the use of symbols a step further. By vocalizing in multiples, some of these symbols, he claims to dramatically multiply their healing power. This vocal method is particularly appropriate here as “touching” is not something most of us are comfortable with especially when dealing with strangers. Although the original hands-on method is meant to channel universal energy by touch, for self-healing and a state of equilibrium, Andrew’s method of vocalizing the symbols can also bring forth similar positive results, as many of his ‘patients’ will attest.

 

Complementary therapy-9
Phytobiophysics flower remedies

This is another style of complementary therapy that utilizes the infinite energy of flowers and plants to harmonize and balance the disturbances of humanity on all levels of consciousness. Striking a balance on all levels would include addressing the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical elements within oneself.

The founder of the Phytobiophysics system, Dr Diana Mossop’s, first foray into this field came about after a severe illness, which western medical procedures could not address. Returning to her childhood roots of natural medicine, Dr Diana Mossop started seriously exploring the natural healing and organic nutritional benefits found in plants. Taking her research further she then explored the energetic, vibrational and color aspect of plants.

‘Doc’ Yeap
‘Doc’ Yeap

Here in Ipoh, Mdm Yeap Heong Moi (everyone calls her Doc) helps those seeking to correct their imbalances with therapies such as Phytobiophysics Structural mobilization, Special Lymphatic Stimulation as well as the hundreds of flowers and plant remedies around which the Phytobiophysics healing system revolves. Coincidently  Yeap also turned to complementary therapy remedies when she too was seriously ill and western medicine could do little to help her. After successfully recovering from her illness and enjoying a new lease of life, Yeap devoted all her energy to learning more about this wonderful world of Phytobiophysics.

A nurse by training, Yeap always nurtured a burning desire to help children born with challenging conditions. Her heart goes out to families struggling to cope with such circumstances, especially those with children who suffer from autism. Through the Phytobiophysics healing properties, she has been able to help many families. Listening to her passionately talk about all the cases she has successfully helped, made me want to tell those going through such challenges to beat a path to Yeap’s door in Lengkok Canning and get an appointment immediately.

The flower formulae used in Phytobiophysics are therapeutic tools that deliver specific vibrations that can help imbalances correct themselves. Treating different conditions that include stabilizing and harmonizing emotional sadness and trauma or assisting in recovery phases, aiding the body to assimilate nutrients, releasing energy blocks, bad skin conditions, are just some of the negative situations Yeap has been able to put right using the Phytobiophysics healing method.

 

Sound Healing 

Anne Huxtable with crystal singing bowl
Anne Huxtable with crystal singing bowl

Have you ever wondered why some types of music will automatically relax you, while others, simply make you want to scream? Science tells us that sounds are a form of energy. Most people who are willing to use this energy as a complementary therapy tool have attested to its high success rates.

Anne Huxtable, an Australian living in Ipoh, is a sound therapist who practises in her spare time. I experienced her techniques for complementary therapy and came away pleasantly surprised at its effectiveness.

During a session, she showed me the various different “tools” that can be used in sound healing sessions. The two cloudy crystal singing bowls which were made from pure quartz crystal were beautiful and gave off what would probably be to others a beautiful range of sounds. Unfortunately, I must be among the odd few who found the frequencies generated by the bowls a little disturbing.

Then there was a beautiful sounding tool which looked to me like a mini xylophone. This tool is usually placed on the person’s body at his/her seven chakra points and as each piece is lightly tapped, the sound emitted will allow the practitioner to assess the condition of that particular part of the body. If a particular area’s energy is negative, then positive vibrations can be introduced into the affected area for healing.

Then came the “tool” that impressed me the most. The tuning fork! I say impressed, because although I was rather skeptical about trying this therapy method, (I had never seen tuning forks, so to me they looked like something a mechanic or electrician would use) I felt immediate effects when Anne placed the tuning fork on the area where I was experiencing a nagging ache. I could feel an immediate tingling sensation as the vibrations worked on my muscles and relieved the tension. I was so thrilled at the immediate results enjoyed, that I am now seriously considering getting one of my own.

Next issue IE177: Karmic and Angelic Reiki, Reiki, Karuna, Ki, Sufi, Imara Attunement, Fast Track and EFT technique, TMC (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Acupuncture, Pranic Healing.

 

Contact Details:

Andrew Khor:  khoracle@gmail.com

Yeap Heong Moi:  www.phytob-my.com
22 Lengkok Canning, Ipoh Garden.  Tel: 05-546 5297

Anne Huxtable:  soundhealingipoh@gmail.com

 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

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Dr Saravana.KDigestive Health

By Dr Saravana.K

Consultant Physician, Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist

 

GERD is a common chronic digestive condition that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back into your food pipe. The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your oesophagus and causes GERD symptoms. These symptoms can interfere with your daily activities.

Symptoms:

  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn)GERD-1
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness or sore throat
  • Regurgitation of food or liquid

When you swallow, the lower esophageal sphincter – a circular band of muscle around the bottom part of your oesophagus – relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach. Then it closes again.

However, if this valve relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus, causing frequent heartburn. Carbonated drinks, spicy food and alcohol, fatty food can also cause the valve to relax abnormally thus producing symptoms of GERD.

GERD symptoms can also be aggravated by a number of medications – either through impaired valve function or by damaging the oesophageal surface.

This constant backwash of acid can irritate the lining of your oesophagus, causing it to become inflamed. Over time, the inflammation can erode the oesophagus, causing complications:

  • Narrowing of the oesophagus (stricture). The scar tissue narrows the food pathway, causing difficulty swallowing.
  • An open sore in the oesophagus (ulcer). Stomach acid can severely erode tissues in the oesophagus, causing an open sore to form. The esophageal ulcer may bleed, cause pain and make swallowing difficult.
  • Barrett’s oesophagus. Changes occur to the tissue lining the lower oesophagus which is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

GERD-2

Risk factors for GERD include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Delayed stomach emptying.

Most people can manage the discomfort of heartburn with lifestyle modifications:

  • taking  frequent small meals
  • avoid food that can aggravate the condition including alcohol
  • avoid tight fitting clothes
  • elevate the head of the  bed by 30 degrees
  • to have an interval of 3 hours between meals and bedtime
  • weight loss.

 

When to see a doctor

  • If you take over-the-counter medications for heartburn more than twice per week.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Loss of weight and appetite.
  • Persistent vomiting.

GERD can be diagnosed by doing an endoscopy which involves inserting a scope through the mouth down to the stomach to assess the internal surfaces of the stomach, oesophagus and duodenum. The scope will show any inflammation and enable a biopsy to be done to determine the presence of cancer.

World Sight Day 2013

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

World Sight Day 2013

In conjunction with WORLD SIGHT DAY on the October 10, Ipoh Echo talks to Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr S.S. GILL on ways to prevent visual impairment.

Visual impairment is a term used to describe any kind of vision loss to the extent that even with conventional forms of correction or treatment, the person’s vision remains poor.

The World Health Organization lists the following facts:

  • About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide:
    • 39 million are blind and
    • 246 million have low vision (severe or moderate visual impairment)
  • preventable causes are as high as 80% of the total global visual impairment burden
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment
  • Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness
  • 65% of visually impaired, and 82% of blind people are over 50 years of age, although this age group comprises only 20% of the world population

What Causes Visual Impairment?

Many factors can cause visual impairment. Cataracts, or the clouding of the eye’s lens preventing light from passing through to the retina, are common causes for loss of vision. Because cataracts form slowly, causing gradual vision loss, it may not be noticeable to the patient. Cataracts usually affect people in their 60s and 70s, but may sometimes appear earlier in people who are excessively exposed to sunlight.

Many patients who present early are golfers and sports people who are not in the habit of wearing sunglasses. The general rule is that you should always wear good sunglasses whenever you go out during daylight hours. Symptoms of cataract include double vision, cloudy or blurry vision, difficulty seeing in poorly lit spaces, and when colours seem faded. Replacement of the eye’s cloudy lens with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant through cataract surgery usually restores vision in these cases.

If you have diabetes, you need to be screened regularly for Diabetic Retinopathy, which is a condition where the tiny blood vessels in the retina (back of the eye) are damaged due to diabetes. People with retinopathy may not have any problems seeing at first. But if the condition gets worse, they can become blind. To help prevent retinopathy, people with diabetes should avoid smoking, keep their blood pressure under control, and keep their blood sugar at an even level.

Another common cause is Glaucoma, a condition where an increase in pressure inside the eye impairs vision by damaging the optic nerve. Any damage to the optic nerve is irreversible so it is important to find out if there is any history of glaucoma in your family as the condition is hereditary. Early detection and treatment is crucial or the vision will gradually deteriorate over time to a small tunnel vision, and then blindness can occur.

Most people may also find it surprising to note that injury is one of the commonest cause for vision loss. Examples like getting hit with a hockey ball or a shuttlecock, or children playing with sharp objects, and injuries from car accidents are common factors. These incidences are potentially devastating and a drastic accident can cause blindness.

Macular degeneration is a gradual deterioration of the macula (centre point at the back of the eye), which is the most sensitive region of the retina. The condition leads to progressive loss of central vision (the ability to see fine details directly in front). Excessive exposure to sunlight and smoking can increase the risk for age-related macular degeneration. Symptoms may include increased difficulty reading or watching TV, as vision becomes distorted and straight lines appear wavy or objects look larger or smaller than normal.

In children, amblyopia or “lazy eye” in early childhood can drastically reduce vision in an eye if the weak eye is not corrected. It is important to detect and treat the lazy eye before the age of 7 or 8 years, before the “vision center” in the brain completes development.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Why do newborn babies have to cry?

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Dr Shan Narayanan – Consultant General Paediatrician
Dr Shan Narayanan – Paediatrician

Child Health

Dr Shan looks at the care of term newborn babies in this article.

“Sometimes, the smallest things take up most room in your heart.” – Winnie the Pooh.

How true…both my boys filled my heart as soon as they “arrived”.

Arrival of a newborn brings along with it a barrage of activities and excitement. On the other hand there is a lot of stress and fatigue. Caring for a newborn is a full time job…no rest…thus support, both physical and emotional, is very important. Knowing what to expect helps to ease the anxiety and stress and gives you confidence to handle the small fragile ‘new thing’ in your life.

Babies born when the mother has completed 37 weeks of gestation are called “term babies”. Babies born earlier are “preterm babies”.

Immediate care of preterm babies varies from care of term babies. We will look at the immediate care of term newborn babies in this article.

Most newborn babies are vigorous (active + crying). About 10 per cent require some assistance and only 1 per cent need major resuscitation, that is, intubation (inserting a tube in the windpipe to ventilate), chest compression and medications to survive.

Most babies are delivered normally (vaginal delivery), while some may need instrumentation (vacuum/forceps) and others are delivered by Caesarean section. The newborn is covered with vernix caseosa.

Vernix caseosa, also known as vernix, is the waxy or cheese-like white substance found coating the skin of newborn human babies. Vernix starts developing on the baby in the womb around 18 weeks into pregnancy. It is composed of sebum, cells that have sloughed of the fetus’s skin and shed lanugo hair (first hair to be produced by fetal hair follicles).

Once the Obstetrician has delivered the baby (usually onto the mother’s abdomen) s/he, would clamp the umbilical cord and then cut it.

This is one time when everyone is “happy” when the baby cries. Without crying the mood is somber. Crying indicates a healthy newborn but WHY?

Why do newborn babies have to cryWhen the baby is in the womb the lungs are compressed and filled with fluid. Physiological changes occur as soon as the baby is born to adapt to the environment outside the womb (extrauterine environment).

In simple terms, when the baby cries, s/he takes a deep breath, called inspiratory “gasp”. This deep breath together with the contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles brings about the following changes in the lungs:

  1. expansion
  2. reabsorption of fluid
  3. air rushing  in
  4. increased blood flow.

This sparks off the breathing process. HENCE EVERYONE WAITS FOR THE BABY TO CRY!!!

The baby is wrapped in a warm towel and shown to the mother. Then the weight, length and head circumference is taken. The baby is given an injection of Vitamin K (to prevent bleeding) and Hepatitis B vaccination.

The baby is then placed under a radiant warmer. When the baby is warm, s/he is bathed and fed. BCG vaccination is then given.

In the next part, I will discuss other aspects of the care of the newborn.

For more information, call Dr Shan’s clinic at Hospital Fatimah 05-546 1345 or email shaniea02@gmail.com.

Conjunctival Naevus

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr. S. S. GILL talking to us about CONJUNCTIVAL NAEVUS.

Every now and then, there are patients who come in complaining of some patches of brown or grey on the white (conjunctiva) of their eyes. Well, most often than not, it will probably be a conjunctival naevus. Conjunctival naevus is a pigmented growth or lesion similar to a mole on your skin. It may be referred to as a “freckle in the eye.”

The word “naevus” has its origins from Latin. The Oxford dictionary defines it as a birthmark or a mole. Medically, a naevus may be found in the eye usually in the clear front white of your eye (conjunctiva), around the colored part of the eye (iris), or underneath the retina (nerve at the back of the eye). If the naevus is at the back portion of the eye (retina), it is called a choroidal naevus.

Conjunctival NaevusHOW DOES IT LOOK LIKE IN THE EYE?

Conjunctival naevus appears as a dark brown to black patch in the white of the eye (conjunctiva). The size of the patch may range from a small, barely noticeable patch, to a large patch that may cover a noticeable portion of the white of the eye (see adjacent picture).

CAUSES OF A CONJUNCTIVAL NAEVUS

A conjunctival naevus (pigmented growth) is produced by pigment cells called melanocytes. These are the same pigment cells which contribute to the colour of our skin, hair and eyes. These melanocyte cells are usually distributed evenly in the eyes, but when they form a cluster, it results in the formation of a conjunctival naevus.

SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED?

Conjunctival naevus, although benign, should be periodically assessed with photographs taken at every check-up. This is to ensure that if it should ever start growing in size, it should be removed surgically. Sometimes there may be changes in colour and when this happens it should also be removed. This is because there is a small risk of the growth turning malignant and becoming a melanoma (cancerous). Thankfully, the risk of this happening is very low.

HOW IS IT TREATED?

There are no eye drops or medication available to treat conjunctival naevus. The only option for treatment is surgical removal.

Surgical excision is always done mainly for two reasons:

Cosmetic reasons – this is the commonest reason especially in cases where the growth is very dark or large, and appears unsightly to the patient.

Malignant (cancerous) transformation – this is the other reason that a conjunctival naevus growth is removed, that is, if it undergoes malignant transformation. In such instances, surgical removal is mandatory.

If you are in doubt about any pigmented lesions around the eye, do seek professional help.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah

(05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Gill

Colon Cancer is Preventable

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Dr Saravana.KDigestive Health

Dr Saravana.K

Consultant Physician, Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist

How common is colon cancer?

The Colon is the final portion of the digestive tract, just before the anus. Colon cancer is the commonest cancer among men and the third commonest among women in Malaysia. Every year about four thousand new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed in Malaysia. Among the local ethnic groups, the Chinese appears to have the highest incidence of the disease, followed by Indians and then Malays. The incidence is even higher among the western population. It is estimated that one in twenty people will get colon cancer in their lifetime.

How does colon cancer happen?

Most colon cancers develop from precancerous polyps. Polyps are growths that arise in the lining of the colon and are visible when the bowel is examined by colonoscopy. There are two types of polyps: adenomatous polyps and hyperplastic polyps. Adenomatous polyps can become cancerous over time and this progression takes at least 10 years in most people. At age 50 about 30% of colonoscopies will detect adenomatous polyps. This adenoma detection rate continues to rise with age (45% of colonoscopies at age 70 will detect adenomatous polyps).

Colon cancer (1)How do you know if you have colon cancer?

  • No symptoms at all
  • Change in bowel habit
  • Diarrhoea, constipation
  • Blood in stool
  • Bloating, fullness, cramps
  • Constant tiredness

How can you prevent colon cancer?

Colon cancer can be prevented by doing screening tests. The most effective and widely practiced screening test is screening colonoscopy. The primary goal of screening colonoscopy is to prevent deaths from colon cancer.

Screening colonoscopy prevents the development of colorectal cancer by identifying precancerous abnormal growths (adenomatous polyps), and removing them before they become malignant.

The risk of developing colon cancer is reduced by 90% after a single screening colonoscopy done at age 50.

Even if cancer is already present, a screening colonoscopy helps identify it at an early and potentially treatable stage.

The age at which you should have the first screening colonoscope varies. An average risk person is recommended to have it done at age 50, regardless of the gender or ethnicity. The presence of risk factors and/or symptoms requires it to be done at an earlier age.

If any first degree relative has colon cancer or adenomatous polyps, then screening should be done ten years before the age of detection or at fifty years old, whichever is earlier.

How is colonoscopy performed?

Prior to the procedure, you will be asked to take a medication to clean your entire colon so that it is free of obstructing faeces. You will also be asked to avoid fruits, vegetable, red meat and certain medications for a period of time before the procedure. A sedative and a painkiller will be given intravenously just before the procedure. After you are asleep the doctor will pass a thin flexible video endoscope through your anus into your colon. This video endoscope has a light source and a camera at its tip and this allows the doctor to see the inside of the colon. During this procedure, most polyps encountered will be removed and sent for microscopy. It normally takes 20 minutes to an hour to complete the colonoscope. Almost all patients do not experience any pain during or after this procedure and should be able to go back that very same day.

For more information, call Dr Saravana’s clinic at Hospital Fatimah (05-548 7181) or email: gastrosara@gmail.com.

Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill

Subconjunctival Heamorrhage

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s Eye Health series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill talking to us about Subconjunctival Haemorrhage.

Subconjunctival Haemorrhage or subconjunctival bleeding is a condition where there is bleeding under the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear transparent layer that covers the white part of the eye (sclera). When the white of the eye has a bleed, this is called subconjunctival haemorrhage. Every other week, someone or the other walks into the consultation of an Ophthalmologist seeking treatment for this.

The appearance of such a bleed is often alarming to a person. Thankfully, it is generally a harmless condition when it occurs by itself and it is confirmed that the person has no other underlying serious conditions associated with it.

Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GillWhat does it look like in the eye?

Subconjuntival haemorrhage or a subconjunctival bleed appears blood red and is located over the white of the eye (see adjacent picture).

It may appear in any area of the white part of the eye. It does not cause any pain but may cause some discomfort or heaviness if there is a large amount of blood collection.

Who gets subconjunctival bleeding?

Subconjunctival bleeding may occur in any age group – in adults, children or even infants. It is basically a bleed that arises from the tiny blood vessels of the conjunctiva. These tiny blood vessels are fragile and easily bleeds into the white of the eye.

What are the causes of subconjunctival bleeding?

The commonest cause is trauma of some form to the eye. This may range from too vigorous rubbing of the eyes, swimming goggles that are too tight, any direct trauma of any nature to the eye, head injuries, severe cough or sneezing, severe straining when lifting heavy objects or straining when passing stools especially when one is constipated. It may be also seen in those who do bungee jumping and in children who have been  physically abused.

Underlying systemic conditions that may cause this is uncontrolled hypertension, bleeding disorders, those who may be on anti-platelet (blood-thinning medication) therapy, and also sometimes it maybe seen immediately after eye surgery, particularly Lasik.

Should you be concerned?

Subconjunctival bleeding does not cause any problems with vision and is generally a harmless condition. However, it is important to be sure that it is not associated with some underlying systemic illness of the body.

How is it treated?

If it has been confirmed that the subconjunctival bleeding is not part of a systemic illness like uncontrolled hypertension, a blood disorder, etc., then it will not require any form of treatment because it is harmless. The reason it does not require any treatment is because the body’s natural mechanisms of healing will absorb the blood collection. It usually takes a few days to a few weeks for the blood collection to clear. The smaller the bleed, the faster it  gets absorbed. Those with a large collection of blood may take longer.

Subconjunctival bleeding while harmless in most instances, should be checked out especially if it occurs spontaneously and it has occurred with no direct trauma to the eye. If you are in doubt as to the underlying cause of the bleed, do consult your local practitioner or eye doctor.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah

(05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Child Health

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Consultant General Paediatrician, Hospital FatimahBy Dr Shan Narayanan
Consultant General Paediatrician, Hospital Fatimah

Introducing our new column dedicated to creating awareness on various aspects of children, childhood and parenting.

“Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people of today. They have a right to be taken seriously and to be treated with tenderness and respect. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be. ‘The unknown person’ inside each of them is our hope for the future.”

– Janusz Korczak (Polish Paediatrician, educator and children’s author)

How aptly, Pan Doktor (“Mr Doctor”) has phrased it!

A child is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty. A child is defined by the United Nations Conventions of the Rights of the Child as “a human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”.

Children are not “little adults”, they are physically and emotionally different. They need adult protection, supervision, love and nurturing to develop and bring out their potential.

A child grows and develops with age. Growth is the gain in size and attaining puberty. Development is the process in which they acquire skills.

Child development is a continuous process; the various periods in the process of development are as follows:

Stages

Age

Newborn

Recently born child

Neonate

Child less than 4 weeks old

Infant

One month to one year of age

Toddler

1-3 years

Preschooler

4-6 years

School Age

6-13 years

Pre Adolescence

10-12

Adolescent

12 to 18 years

The various domains of child development are: Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Speech & Language, Communication, Hearing, Vision, Cognition, Social and Behaviour & Emotion.

Every child develops at his/her own pace, no two children are the same. Their development is influenced by the genetic endowment and the environment.

The health of the child is also an important factor affecting a child’s development. The physical, mental and emotional health are equally important.

Well, has anyone of you wondered what a child’s job is? A baby’s job is to eat, sleep and fill the nappy!!  An important job of a young child is play. Play is a very powerful learning tool. Children learn through play.

Children are a joy and on the other hand can be the cause of heartache. One may be lost, especially “new parents”, as to how to deal with the different situations. One may wonder how to support their child to bring out his or her potential.

There is no course to make one a perfect parent. There are many parenting websites that provide information on caring for and supporting children to achieve their potential. However in my opinion, nothing is better than experience. Sometimes we get it right and at other times we learn from our mistakes.

Arcus Senilis

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about ARCUS SENILIS.

Arcus Senilis, (pronounced “ar-kus see-nil-is”) is a visible whitish-grey arc seen above and below the outer part of the cornea (clear dome shaped part of the eye). It is easily visible in some people and often mistakenly referred to as a cataract by layman. Arcus Senilis is also sometimes referred to as Corneal Arcus or Arcus Cornealis.

Eye Health – Arcus SenilisHOW DOES IT LOOK LIKE IN THE EYE?

Arcus Senilis affects the cornea of the eye. The cornea is the clear transparent dome shaped part of the eye, like the car windscreen. Arcus Senilis appears greyish or whitish over the peripheral part of the cornea. In the initial stages, it appears over the upper and lower part of the cornea. Later, this whitish-grey area on the corneal periphery eventually may become a complete ring around the cornea, making it appear as a white ring around the edge of the clear part of the eye.

WHO GETS ARCUS SENILIS?

Arcus senilis is often seen in the eyes of senior people. It’s caused by fat (lipid) deposits deep in the periphery of the normally clear cornea. Arcus senilis doesn’t affect vision but it does give the doctor a sign. Remember again, as highlighted (in previous issues of the Ipoh Echo) that our eyes are not isolated from things that are happening in our bodies including the effects of aging. It increases with age in both male and female. It however occurs more frequently in men.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ARCUS SENILIS?

Arcus Senilis is mainly an aged-related change, a sign of aging. However, it may be also seen in younger individuals. When it is seen in younger individuals, that is, those below the age of 50 years, it is important to look for dyslipidaemia (abnormal amount of lipids or fat in the blood) which is one of the risk factors for coronary heart disease. The formation of Arcus Senilis is more often seen in those having high serum LDL-cholesterol.

In other words, it is seen in aging individuals. The other link is when it occurs in younger people, that is, the association of high serum LDL-cholesterol in such individuals.

SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED?

Arcus Senilis does not cause any problems with vision, so there is no need for any concern. You do not need to be running to see an eye doctor for this. It is a harmless condition for the eye.

The only thing that you will need to be concerned about is if you are younger than 50 years old and the Arcus Senilis is visible in your eye. In such instances, it would be wise to get a blood examination done to look for dyslipidaemia, remembering that dyslipidaemia has an association with heart disease.

CAN IT BE TREATED?

Arcus Senilis requires no treatment because it does not cause vision problems. What would need to be looked into and treated is the dyslipidaemia if this is found to be abnormal in order to avoid cardiovascular risk. Arcus Senilis is only a sign – common in aging, to be concerned of only when seen in younger individuals. There is no treatment for arcus senilis by itself. If you are in doubt whether you have such a condition, do consult your local practitioner or eye doctor.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Signs of Eye Problems – Part 2

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about THE WARNING SIGNS OF EYE PROBLEMS – PART 2.

Our eyes are not isolated from medical problems like diabetes and hypertension, and also other factors like the effects of aging, the harmful rays of the sun, smoke and dust around us.

Warning Signs

There are some symptoms and signs that may indicate prompt treatment  be required. In most cases, you should see your eye doctor immediately if you experience some of the following:

 

See fingersDouble vision or ‘ghost’ images

Double vision is also called diplopia. This symptom may be caused from eye conditions ranging from minor to serious. In most cases, any sudden onset of double vision cannot be taken lightly. This is because it may be a signal of an underlying condition such as a stroke.

The other conditions that may cause double vision are brain tumours, nerve paralysis, brain swelling and abnormal brain vessels impinging on some part of the brain. Sometimes a person may need to be referred to neurologist or neurosurgeon depending on the kind of stroke that occurs.

Remember that if you have a sudden onset of double vision, see your eye doctor or general practitioner immediately. Quick treatment is invaluable in these cases.

Irritated eyes with redness and a scratchy feeling

Often this is as a result of dry eyes. It is not really an eye emergency but if left untreated may affect the eyesight of the individual affected. The symptoms of dry eyes may at times be very  severe, Dry Eye Syndrome is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (quite a mouthful). It is a condition due to the changes in the quantity or quality of the tears. Dry eye normally occurs as irritated eyes.

Dry eyes may affect vision because it disturbs the tear film layer on the cornea that is  essential for good vision. Our tears help bend the light on its way to the back of your eye (the retina) so that you can see nice and sharp images. Consult your eye general practitioner for advice about remedies, which may include over-the-counter or prescription eye drops.

Blurred Vision with Eye Pain, Nausea and/or Vomiting:

These vision changes may be due to an acute glaucoma. Since there may be associated symptoms like vomiting and nausea, the glaucoma may sometimes be missed and passed on as gastroenteritis. The patient may end up seeing their Physician only to be picked up as a glaucoma suspect to be sent to the ophthalmologist. Keep a lookout for this if you have a family history of glaucoma.

Sudden Brief Loss of Vision

You may be experiencing a condition called Amaurosis Fugax. The name  is derived from the Greek word amaurosis meaning ‘dark’, and the Latin word fugax meaning ‘fleeting’ – referring to a transient loss of vision in one or both eyes. It may be a symptom of Central and Branch Retinal Artery occlusion and must not be taken lightly.

These are only some of the warning signs. Never hesitate to seek professional help if you experience any unusual eye symptoms that you are unsure of.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com