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Some Health Facts – January 1st, 2007

Dr Ganga Ganesan

M.B.B.S. (India), M.Sc. (Singapore)

Did you know ..?
Influenza (flu)

Influenza is caused by a number of different types of influenza viruses (e.g., Influenza A ,B). Influenza is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks and sends flu viruses into the air, and other people breathe in the viruses. The virus can also spread when a person touches a surface that has flu virus (e.g., door handles, toys) and then touches his/her nose or mouth. Symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, cough, body ache, running nose, sore throat and sneezing. Good personal hygiene such as wearing masks when having symptoms of flu, can help to reduce the spread of influenza. Influenza vaccination may benefit people who are more likely to suffer complications of influenza. Complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infection or meningitis are more likely in the elderly, people living in nursing homes, adults and children with chronic heart or lung problems, people with diabetes, kidney disease, reduced immunity; children and teenagers on long-term aspirin; and pregnant mothers.

Heart Disease

High cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are risk factors for coronary heart disease. Diet modification, exercise and weight reduction are the first line of management for high cholesterol. Drug treatment is started only when these fail to lower cholesterol levels.


It is the clouding of the lens in the eye, causing blurring of vision. It is the most common cause of preventive blindness in the developing world. Cataract due to aging is very common. It is a slow process and in the early stages, spectacles, magnifying glasses or improved lighting can help. When these do not help, cataract removal is the only effective treatment. Cataract surgery is done when it affects daily activities like driving, reading or watching TV. In cataract surgery, the clouded lens in the eye is removed and usually replaced with an intra-ocular lens (IOL).
Caesarean Section Deliveries

The proportion of Caesarean Section deliveries are rising in many countries around the world. Some of the reasons for this increase include : fear of labour and convenience of a planned delivery. However, there are risks to this mode of delivery when compared to normal vaginal deliveries. The mother is exposed to the risks of anaesthesia and surgery, there is an increased risk of placental abnormalities in future pregnancies, increased risk of stillbirth in future pregnancies. The baby is at increased risk of respiratory morbidity.
These are some of the websites where health information is available.
Personal advice on healthy living and disease prevention over telephone is available in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil during office hours (Mondays to Fridays: 8.30am – 5.00pm and Saturdays: 8.30am – 1.00pm) from the Health Promotion Board’s Health Line @ 1800 223 1313

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