Read This Before You Reach for Your Snacks This FIFA World Cup Season

WORDS LIM CHAIN YIN

LIM CHAIN YIN
SEA Nutrition Lead
Mondelēz International
TIP 1
Portion Out Your Snack
  1. Be sure to pace yourself throughout the equal halves.
  2. Once you’ve decided what you want to eat, portion it out. This can help you slow down, so that you enjoy your snack.
  3. Check in with yourself to see if you’re full and satisfied before having another portion.
  4. To keep tabs on how much you eat, always check the serving size per package on the label and put your snack in a bowl or on a plate.
TIP 2
Alter Your Choices

If you’re watching the game late at night, you might have a craving for something to eat. Remember that your body works harder when it’s sleeping, so try to snack on something light that will give you energy to keep going, but won’t make it hard for your body to digest.

TIP 3
Enjoy Every Bite

Snacking while engaging in other activities—in this case, watching the game—can easily lead to unconsciously eating more than you should.

  1. Take a moment during the interval to savour your snack with all of your senses. To fully enjoy your snacking experience, pay attention to the smell, taste, texture, shape, and colour of your food.
  2. Take small bites and chew slowly and be sure to finish one bite before starting the next.
TIP 4
Put Your Snacks Out of Reach

When watching a game in your living room, make sure your snacks are beyond arm’s reach. That way, you will be less likely to keep going back for more and inadvertently grab more than you need.

TIP 5
Drink Water, Lots of It!

Your brain tends to trick you into wanting to snack more, but you might just be thirsty. So, drink a glass of water and wait for a couple of minutes before deciding whether or not you’re hungry.


Snacking mindfully is a simple way to tune into your body’s needs. It can be practised by anyone, anywhere, and at any age. It is a great habit in cultivating a positive relationship with food by making deliberate and conscious choices to promote your well-being as well as keeping a balanced lifestyle. But habits take time to build and change, so taking small steps is a good way to start out!

How Much Do You Know about Male Breast Cancer? Let’s Find Out!

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

DR NIK MUHD ASLAN ABDULLAH
Clinical Oncologist
Sunway Medical Centre
BREAST CANCER AFFECTS MEN AS WELL AS WOMEN

Breast cancer in both men and women share many similar attributes.

The most common kinds of breast cancer in men are the same kinds that are present in women, namely:

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (or DCIS)

Dr Nik Muhd Aslan Abdullah says that breast cancer is, however, rare among men.

WARNING SIGNS

According to Dr Nik, many of the most pressing early warning signs of breast cancer in men are also similar to those found in women, such as:

  • Lumps in the breast tissue
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple retraction
  • Unusual discharge from the nipple
HORMONAL CHANGES CAN GIVE RISE TO BREAST CANCER

One reason why breast cancer is rare among men is that the hormone testosterone inhibit the growth of breast tissue, while oestrogen stimulates breast tissue growth.

While men and women have both hormones in their bodies, men have higher levels of testosterone compared to women. On the other hand, women have higher levels of oestrogen.

Some breast cancer cells have special structures at the surface, called hormone receptors. These cells are called hormone-receptor positive (HR positive for short). Oestrogen can bind to these receptors to cause the growth of these cells. Dr Nik explains that men have a higher possibility of developing breast cancer cells that are HR-positive, when compared to their female counterparts.

“Breast cancer cells in men are sensitive to hormonal imbalances,” Dr Nik explains, “so any factors or conditions that can lead to an excess of oestrogen and a lack of testosterone will increase their risk of developing breast cancer.”

What can cause the raise in oestrogen levels in men?
  • Klinefelter syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which a male has an extra X chromosome and produces lower levels of androgens
  • Injury to the testicles
  • Use of androgen inhibitors
  • Liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
  • Obesity 
Family history also plays a factor

About 1 out of 5 men with breast cancer is found to have had a family history of the disease.

This is because men can also inherit a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes or in other genes, such as CHEK2 and PALB2. These mutations will highly increase their risk for breast cancer.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a say in the types of genes we inherit,” Dr Nik says.

He recommends that men with a family history of cancer should consider seeking counsel from their doctors about going for genetic screening tests as soon as they can, especially those over the age of 50.

Genetic screening tests involves taking a blood sample for analysis. A genetic counsellor will then advise the person, based on the results given, on what the next best steps would be for him.

How to conduct self-breast examination for men. Click the image for a larger version.
MEN WITH HR-POSITIVE BREAST CANCER ARE MORE LIKELY TO RESPOND TO HORMONE TREATMENTS

Dr Nik explains that hormone therapy can be used to help lower the risk of the cancer cells spreading or treat cancer that has come back after treatment.

Why then do men with breast cancer have lower survival rate compared to their female counterpart?

“Through many of the studies that I’ve seen, men who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a 8-9% lower survival rate than women,” Dr Nik says.

He attributes this to the fact that men with breast cancer are often diagnosed late.

“Men will sometimes wait too long to seek out a diagnosis for the symptoms they may be experiencing,” he explains, “or not recognize the warning signs of breast cancer in their bodies.”

As a result, they delay seeking help, and tend to do so only when the cancer has become advanced and spread to other parts of the body.


Dr Nik encourages men to seek a doctor’s opinion if they find themselves experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms related to breast cancer. “Breast cancer can be cured, and it is very treatable if detected early on,” he says.

Important Advice to Stay Prepared During the Monsoon Season

WORDS LIM EN NI

LIM EN NI
Chief Pharmacist
Alpro Pharmacy

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) recently announced that Malaysia will experience continuous heavy rainfall from mid-November, leading to probable major flash floods in several states, and the monsoon season will last until early next year.

We would like to outline several precautionary measures for residents in flood-prone areas, from a community pharmacist’s point of view, to proactively mitigate flood damages ahead of the period and in the aftermath.

BEFORE A FLOOD
  • Closely monitor your surroundings and stay up to date on weather forecasts and warnings
  • Assemble disaster supplies, including long-term medications and first aid kits in water-proof bags in case of evacuation.
  • People, especially the elderly, with chronic diseases, are advised to visit their nearest pharmacy and bring along with their chronic medications, in order to keep a record in the pharmacy and have an up-to-date medication list; this will be useful should one lose the hard-copy of their prescription and face difficulties in retrieving their medication
AFTER A FLOOD
  • Due to poor sanitation and hygiene in flood areas, there is a high risk of flood-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, cholera, and dengue fever. Keep an eye out for general symptoms such as fever, headache, diarrhoea, muscle aches, and vomiting. In the case of any such symptoms, please visit the nearest healthcare centres immediately.
  • Alpro Pharmacy and DOC2US have launched the Life-saving Medication Care Programme, which provides a one-time supply of medications for up to 7 days for free. Those with contaminated or lost chronic disease medications can visit an Alpro Pharmacy outlet and speak to the pharmacist for more details. Note that a police report copy of the flooding is required for verification purposes.

Stay dry, stay safe!

Invasive Mold Infections: A Rare but Deadly Fungal Disease

WORDS DR LOW LEE LEE

DR LOW LEE LEE
Infectious Disease Physician
Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital
FUNGI: OUR FRIENDS & FOES (IT’S COMPLICATED)

Fungi are found naturally in our environment. There are many different types of fungi, over 2 million species however about 600 fungi have caused diseases.

Invasive fungal infections typically manifest as a severe and aggressive form of the disease, leading to corresponding to high prevalence and death rates if left untreated.

These infections include invasive mold infections.

INVASIVE MOLD INFECTIONS AT A GLANCE
  • Usually caused by Aspergillus (giving rise to invasive aspergillosis) but can also be caused by other rarer molds such as Mucormycetes (giving rise to mucormycosis).
  • These molds produce spores; most of us encounter these spores every day without getting ill, but people with compromised immune systems may develop complications as a result of these spores.
  • Despite invasive aspergillosis and mucormycosis being relatively uncommon, invasive mold infections are often life threatening. If left untreated, the mortality rates can reach 100%!
  • Various parts of the world reported superinfections of invasive aspergillosis and mucormycosis in patients with COVID-19, which are associated with increased risk of death. COVID-19 likely increases the risk for fungal infections because it weakens the immune system or due to certain therapies used for treatment such as steroids.
  • There are no specific symptoms, as symptoms can vary depending on the type of infection. This makes diagnosis an infection a challenging and sometimes complicated task!
Invasive Aspergillosis
Aspergillosis and how it affects our lungs. Click on the image for a larger, more detailed version.
  • Invasive aspergillosis is uncommon and occurs primarily in immunocompromised people.
  • Commonly seen in people that have undergone stem cell and other organ transplants (especially lung transplant), as well as in patients with blood-related cancers such as acute leukemia.
  • Typically affects the lungs, but it can also spread to other parts of the body.
Mucormycosis
  • Mucormycosis is rare and estimated to affect approximately 10,000 cases worldwide, barring India. If India is included the numbers rise to 910,000 cases annually!
  • Typically occurs in the sinuses of the nose or lungs; however it can spread to the brain and other organs as well.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF A POSSIBLE INVASIVE MOLD INFECTION
  • Typical pneumonia symptoms including fever, chest pain, cough, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath
  • Sinus infection, which may be painful
  • Pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • One-sided facial swelling
  • Headaches
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Black lesions on nasal bridge
HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF AN INVASIVE MOLD INFECTION
  • When performing activities that involve close contact with soil and dust, such as yard work or gardening, take care to wear shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts
  • Whenever possible, avoid dusty areas like construction or excavation sites; wear a N95 mask when you have to visit these areas
  • Keep your house dry and mold-free
  • Avoid staying in a moldy home (even while it is being cleaned)

#YouMatter Promotes Mental Health Awareness and Creates Safe Space

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

In conjunction with World Mental Health Month in October, Suria KLCC together with The Body Shop invites the public to be part of the change in temoving the stigma of mental health problems. Also coming onboard this year is the is Mental Illness Awareness & Support Association (MIASA).

The campaign with the tagline #YouMatter will run until 10 November 2022.

A SAFE SPACE FOR PEOPLE TO GATHER AND CONVERSE ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

A safe space is available Suria KLCC for people to come together and converse about mental health without the fear of receiving judgment and being stigmatized by the rest of society.

This safe space, called Safe Space @ Suria KLCC, will be open for the duration of this campaign.

SAFE SPACE @ SURIA KLCC

  • Located at Level 1, Ampang Mall (you can’t miss it)
  • Will be opened throughout the campaign (until 10 November 2022)
  • 10 am to 10 pm daily
  • Participate in workshops, talks, and panel discussions with mental health professionals
  • Talk to the stationed mental health volunteer for more information

The calm room in Safe Space @ KLCC allows one to de-stim and find peace of mind.
WELCOMING THE CALM AFTER A TURBULENT MCO

“The last two years marked a turbulent and uncertain time for all,” says Andrew Brien, the Executive Director of Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd. “With the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, there’s no better time to reconnect and focus on recovery.”

He adds: “The Safe Space @ Suria KLCC is a welcoming space where the community can come together to share and learn. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved—we want people to leave the space feeling better and with more insight about themselves or others.”

A TIMELY EFFORT TO REACH OUT TO AND EMPOWER YOUTHS

YAM Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah, the Founder and President of the Green Ribbon Group, emphasizes that Safe Space and similar efforts are needed to show our support for those with mental health problems as well as to highlight an ongoing commitment towards doing more for the cause.

She adds that for this year, the focus is on the mental health of youth. “The focus on youth mental health this year is especially timely for the Green Ribbon Group. We are very fortunate to be able to pilot programmes in secondary schools and universities that focus on mental health literacy, self-management and peer support. This has always been a dream of mine—to reach out to our youth and empower them to prioritise their mental health.”

Founder and President of MIASA, Anita Abu Bakar shares a similar sentiment. “Looking after each other should be everyone’s responsibility and not just the health sector alone,” she says. “This is why we should strive to prioritise community-based mental health support—so that the burden of care can be shifted from being shouldered solely by our incredible frontliners to being shouldered by all of us. Through efforts like this, it is our sincere hope that the scale of our response to the issues surrounding community mental health can begin to match the scale of the challenge itself.”


For more information on MIASA, you can visit www.miasa.org.my (link opens in a new tab), while more information on the Green Ribbon Group can be found by visiting greenribbongroup.com (link also opens in a new tab).

See the map below if you’re unsure as to where KLCC Suria is.

How Intraocular Lens Can Help People with Cataract and Presbyopia

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

DR CHEONG FOOK MENG
Consultant Ophthalmologist
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
CONCERNING CATARACT

Dr Cheong Fook Meng shares that it is normal to develop cataracts as you age.

However, this condition can also be caused by eye injuries as well as certain diseases or medications.

As one’s cataract progresses, the lens in their eyes gradually become hard and cloudy, allowing less light to pass through. This leads to diminished vision and even complete blindness in severe cases.

ABOUT PRESBYOPIA 

“Presbyopia is another condition that occurs naturally as a person ages; your eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on nearby objects,” says Dr Cheong.

With presbyopia, the lens inside the eye progressively loses its flexibility, making it harder for the affected eye to focus the light reflected from objects.

A common sign that someone may have developed this condition is having to hold reading materials at arm’s length to make out what they are reading.

BOTH CAN BE TREATED WITH SURGERY & IMPLANTATION OF INTRAOCULAR LENS

“This surgical treatment allows the removal of the eye’s cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens,” explains Dr Cheong.

The intraocular lens is clear, made to fit one’s eye shape and personalised according to the patient’s condition and needs.

Intraocular lens (labelled as lens in the image). Click to view a larger version of this image.
TYPES OF INTRAOCULAR LENS AVAILABLE IN MALAYSIA
  • Monofocal lenses correct a single range of vision, usually to see distant objects. Additional issues will need to be fixed through other means.
  • Toric lenses are suitable for patients who also have astigmatism but, similar to monofocal lenses, they restore vision for only one area of focus.
  • Multifocal lenses are designed to provide clear vision for distant and near vision.
GOING FURTHER WITH EXTENDED DEPTH-OF-FOCUS INTRAOCULAR LENS  

Extended depth-of-focus intraocular lens delivers an enhanced range of vision with a reduced frequency of glares and halos, regardless of the lighting conditions.

During the day or when driving at night, these lenses deliver great vision and clarity.

For presbyopia

Extended depth-of-focus intraocular lens can be used to correct presbyopia, by creating a single elongated focal point to enhance one’s range of distance for which their eye can see an object clearly.

For cataract

While all lenses can fix cataracts, extended depth-of-focus intraocular lens may improve one’s quality of life.

They provide distant, intermediate (at arm’s length, such as for reading a newspaper or working on a laptop) and functional near vision (up close, such as for reading books and mobile phone screen), with minimum visual disturbances.

They may even decrease a patient’s need to wear glasses after their cataracts have been removed.

Important Things That You Should Know About Silent Heart Attacks

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

DR PATRICK TIAU WEI JYUNG
Consultant Cardiologist
Sunway Medical Centre

Dr Patrick Tiau reveals that silent heart attacks, also known as silent myocardial infarction, account for 45% of heart attacks.

These heart attacks are “silent” because they occur without the usual, recognizable symptoms of a heart attack.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACK
  • Chest pain (often described as heavy or pressure sensation)
  • Radiating pain in the arm, neck, or jaw
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
HOWEVER, THESE SYMPTOMS ARE USUALLY NOT PRESENT WHEN ONE HAS A SILENT HEART ATTACK!
Because of this, many people may not know that they have experienced one until days or even weeks after.

However, Dr Patrick shares that there are some early warning signs to look out for.

SIGNS THAT YOU MAY HAVE HAD A SILENT HEART ATTACK

It’s good to consult a doctor when you have concerns, especially if you experience these signs and fall under the high-risk below (see below).

  • Feeling tired
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Sweating.

Dr Patrick says, “We have come across many patients who have dismissed the early warning symptoms as simply feeling tired, indigestion, nausea or sweating. By the time they seek out medical treatment for these symptoms, they are shocked to learn that what they are experiencing is actually due to a reduced blood flow to their heart, and that has caused them to have a silent heart attack.”

Silent heart attacks can lead to more serious health complications if left untreated over an extended period of time, such as an increased risk of another, potentially more deadly heart attack.

COMMON RISKS OF SILENT HEART ATTACKS
RISKS THAT CANNOT BE AVOIDED 
  • Age. The risk increases as we grow older.
  • Gender. Men are more at risk than women. However, women are more prone to a higher risk of complications after experiencing one, especially if they are diabetic.
  • Family history. The risk is higher for people with a family history of heart diseases.
RISKS THAT CAN BE MODIFIED 
  • Smoking. Chemicals in cigarettes stimulate one’s heartbeat and can dramatically increase one’s risk of heart attack.
  • High cholesterol. Individuals with elevated cholesterol levels can lead to formation of atherosclerotic plaque in the blood vessel and reduce blood flow to the heart.
  • High blood pressure: Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on the heart muscle. Over time, this causes the heart muscle to stiffen, thicken, and perform less optimally.
  • Individuals that are overweight or obese, especially when their weight tends to sit at the waist, are more at risk even if they do not have any other risk factors.
  • Physical inactivity. Doing regular exercise helps protect the heart by keeping under control other risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

“Undeniably our heart health is essential to allowing us to have a well-balanced and fulfilling life,” he says. “The heart itself is the first and last sign of life that is responsible for, quite literally, keeping us going. In combatting heart attacks, the most important thing to remember is that prevention is definitely better than cure.”

DR PATRICK’S TIPS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF SILENT HEART ATTACKS

Make the necessary small changes to daily lifestyle to reduce one’s risk factors. These changes include:

  • Regularly monitor blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Get sufficient exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains
  • Ensure that one’s blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are well-controlled
  • Inform a doctor as soon as possible about any unusual symptoms that may indicate a silent heart attack

Once you go home from the hospital, it is essential that you keep taking your medications as prescribed. “This will ensure your heart health is kept in check, possibly for the rest of your life,” says Dr Patrick.

Consider joining a support group. Dr Patrick acknowledges that heart attack survivors may start to develop feelings of shock, sadness, and anxiety. This is normal, and these feelings can be managed with the right support.

“Some people find it helpful to join a support group where they can talk with others that have gone through a similar experience, or seek out companionship and encouragement through avenues such as the gym, or yoga classes,” he advises.

A Man’s Swimmer Problems

A Man's Swimmer Problems

May 8, 2022   Return

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

Man’s Health and Fertility with

Dr Agilan Arjunan

Consultant Gynaecologist & Fertility Specialist KL Fertility Centre

 

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif who ruled Morocco during the 17th century likely fathered 1,042 children during his lifetime. Some historians believed that the number might be as high as 1,171!

These days, it may not be possible to have this many children, even if the man is crazy enough to want to, as there are reports that, overall, the sperm count for men in America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand has dropped by more than 50% in less than 40 years. However, we have yet to find out the exact reason(s) for this fall. It is speculated that perhaps it is due to exposure to chemicals or pollutants, smoking, stress, obesity or maybe even all of them.

This month, we join fertility specialist Dr Agilan Arjunan in looking at what men can do to ensure that their fertility is still up there to create that little bundle of joy with their beloved partner.

Reference: Kelland, K. (2017). Sperm count dropping in Western world. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/ article/sperm-count-dropping-in-western-world/

EAT BALANCED MEALS AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

Too much! “The heavier you are, the more fat you will have stored in your body,” says Dr Agilan. As a result, there is more testosterone, the male sex hormone, converted to oestrogen, the female sex hormone in the fat. This will significantly affect sperm production, which is driven by a cascade of hormones that include testosterone.

Too hot! Another issue that comes with having excess weight is that it causes the temperature in the testicles to increase. Optimal sperm production requires a temperature that is slightly lower than that of the rest of the body, which is why nature has designed a man’s testicles to dangle between the legs instead of being an internal organ. The hotter it gets inside the testicles, the lower is the rate of sperm production.

shutterstock_5648690...

“So … eat less?”

Not just that. To maintain a healthy weight, total energy obtained through food should be equal to total energy used by the body. So, there are two components to consider here: eating healthy, balanced meals and being physically active on a regular basis.

shutterstock_7686871...

“How can I eat less? I’ll starve!”

We don’t have space in this article to fully dwell on the principles of healthy eating, but you can consult a dietitian for more advice. Basically, you should eat foods from all food groups, according to the recommended portion size based on your age, sex, current body weight, level of physical activity and any existing health condition you may have.

Some hunger is inevitable at the early stages of your new diet, but you will survive and adapt. Hang in there – over time, you will feel healthier, happier, and sexier!

“EAT RIGHT + REGULAR EXERCISE = HEALTHY WEIGHT”

“I’m already hungry and now you want me to exercise? Are you joking?!!”

Daily physical activity is important, as it strengthens the muscles and keeps the body working in good condition (all these are great for many things, including making babies). It also burns away any unused calories from your meals, ensuring that you do not gain weight. Furthermore, exercise is a great stress reliever. The gains far outweigh any momentary discomfort you may experience when you begin your new exercise routine.

DON’T DRINK LIKE A FISH!

If you like your alcohol, brace yourself as there is no way to break it gently: abstaining from alcohol is always better when it comes to trying for a baby. Even moderate consumption of alcohol can affect fertility in a significant manner.

Alcohol affects both sperm count and quality. This is because it can disrupt the ideal conditions in the testicles needed for optimal sperm production. Over time, it can even cause the cells in the testicles responsible for sperm production (Sertoli cells) to deteriorate. Alcohol may also affect the production and regulation of hormones that regulate sperm production.

All in all, drinking is not a good thing when it comes to ensuring that a man’s swimmers are in good condition and numbers!

“Sober up, huh? You think that’s simple? HAH!”

Don’t be so pessimistic! These days there are programmes to help people quit drinking successfully. A psychiatrist specializing in treating addictions will be the best person to turn to, but if one is not available near you, you can try asking a family medicine specialist for help. There are also many support groups available both in real life and online.

STOP SMOKING! (IF YOU DON’T SMOKE, DON’T START!)

“It’s been known for many years that smoking can reduce both sperm count and the quality of the sperm produced by the man,” Dr Agilan points out, adding that the sperm count is especially affected by this habit.

It is found that the tobacco in cigarette contains substances that can negatively affect the ability of a man to produce normal amounts of sperm.

In the sperm cells that are produced, it is found that many have lower motility than sperm cells produced by non-smokers – which is to say, these sperm cells are less capable of traveling along the woman’s womb to successfully reach the egg cell.

“Hmm, so I should quit. That’s hard, right?

These days it’s easier to quit compared to the past, thanks to a combination of nicotine replacement therapy and counselling. You can consult your neighborhood pharmacist for more information.

“Wait … if the problem is nicotine, I can then vape instead, right?”

Dr Agilan points out that research on vaping is still at early stages, and it’s likely that other chemicals present in vape juices may also affect sperm count and quality. Why risk the chance? 

DON’T STRESS IT!

There is evidence that high levels of stress can affect sperm production, according to Dr Agilan. Furthermore, stress also makes it hard for couples to experience the mood to make babies!

When you are stressed, the body reacts as if you were in danger and releases stress hormones, which trigger the fight-or-flight response. You will feel your heart beating faster, your breathing will become shallower and you feel tensed up. The fight-or-flight response also closes off other functions that the body considers to be of lesser importance when dealing with the stress, and one of these functions is reproduction. Therefore, the more stress you experience, the more your sperm count may be affected.

Stress can come from a variety of external sources outside the bedroom – work, family finances, relationship woes, health issues. However, it can also come from the bedroom.

Dr Agilan cautions against what is called “medicalizing” the process of making babies. This occurs when couples are so determined to have a baby that each planned sexual encounter ends up becoming a stressful chore.

“But… but… AAAH! I JUST CAN’T ANYMORE!!!”

Calm down! Challenges and frustrations are inevitable parts and parcels of life. Often, stress relief can be obtained by stepping back for a while to focus on relaxation activities such as exercise, yoga, keeping a journal or anything else that can bring you a sense of peace.

But do reach out for help when you need to!

There are counsellors, hotlines and support groups out there that can help, and some of them offer free support. If trying to have a child is causing you and your partner undue stress, it may be time to seek a fertility specialist for advice.

DOES IT MATTER HOW YOU WRAP THE FAMILY JEWELS?

It’s well known that boxers are supposed to be the underpants of choice as the tighter briefs- style underpants can elevate the temperature around the testicles and affect sperm production. Interestingly, there are studies which conclude there isn’t any significant difference in sperm production and quality among men who wear either type of underpants. However, Dr Agilan believes that there is no harm in choosing to wear boxers over briefs – anything that can increase the odds of success can be a good thing!

What happens if a man is born with low or zero sperm count? Dr Agilan will focus on such a situation in the next column, so don’t miss it! HT

If you like this article, do subscribe here. 

GUYS, WATCH OUT FOR THESE SILENT HEALTH THREATS!

GUYS, WATCH OUT FOR THESE SILENT HEALTH THREATS!

May 8, 2022   Return

dr_tee_chee_hian

dr_sevalingam

 

WORDS HANNAH MAY-LEE WONG

 

HEART DISEASE

Heart disease is the primary cause of sudden death among men in Malaysia. According to Dr Tee Chee Hian, sudden death can be caused by a variety of heart problems such as arrythmia (having an irregular heartbeat), congenital heart disease, or more commonly, coronary artery disease.

 

Know the signs and symptoms

Catching heart disease early may help prevent sudden death. Dr Tee says that men experiencing symptoms such as palpitations, fainting episodes, lethargy, shortness of breath on exertion, chest pain, postprandial angina (chest discomfort after meals), or reduced exercise tolerance should see their doctor immediately, as these may be signs of heart issues.

Men should also get screened regularly for the common risk factors of heart disease such as dyslipidaemia (abnormal cholesterol levels), hypertension, and diabetes.

 

Keep a heart-healthy lifestyle

Lifestyle changes that include quitting smoking, having a balanced diet with more vegetables and fruits, and doing exercises that promote cardiovascular fitness like running, jogging, and cycling can help lower the risk of heart disease.

 

PROSTATE CANCER

Dato’ Dr Selvalingam Sothilingam notes that prostate cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in Malaysian men. It is often diagnosed in the late stages, due to the asymptomatic nature of the disease in its early stages.

 

Get screened

“The most common age for diagnosis of prostate cancer is men in their 60’s and 70’s. However, we have also detected cancer cases in men as early as in their 50’s. Early diagnosis is key as it is potentially treatable if detected at an early stage,” Dr Selvalingam explains.

Men that have a family history of prostate and/or breast cancer should get screened for prostate cancer from the age of 45.

 

The right diet may lower risk of prostate cancer

Dr Selvalingam shares that frequent consumption of foods such as cooked tomatoes, soya products, green tea, vegetables, and fruits may lower a person’s risk of prostate cancer.

On the other hand, having a diet high in red meats and processed foods as well as low in fibre may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Just Guy Things

Just Guy Things

April 28, 2022   Return

Ask people what defines a man and, chances are, the first thing that crosses the mind are those body parts down below. There are at least 174 ways to describe the penis using the English language, and at least 100 for the testicles. We said ‘at least’, because there is no doubt that more slangs and creative euphemisms are created for those body parts with each passing year.

We may talk and think quite a lot about those body parts, but just how well do you really know the male reproductive system? Our grandparents often tell us that to truly know something is to love it, so guys, if you really want to love those parts down below, let’s take a while to know them better.

Here are the Guy Bits

Comedians and other people who think they are so funny often describe men as simple, uncomplicated creatures. Well, compared to the fairer sex, there may be some truth to that. For one, biology has decided that the human male reproductive system is less complex than the female reproductive system!

You are no doubt familiar with the penis and scrotum as they are the visible components of the male reproductive system. Hidden from view and less well-known are structures inside the body, such as testes and prostate gland 

The structures of the male reproductive system serve three important functions – to let you look like and function as a man, allow you to make babies and get rid of urine. 

The testicles produce sperm cells, which are then sent to the epididymis to mature. The prostate gland (which technically is part of the exocrine system) produces a fluid that make up a big part of the semen. This fluid serves to nourish sperm cells, so that they function properly to allow the conception of new life.

The testicles also produce and release male sex hormones such as testosterone. These hormones play key roles in the regulation of many important functions to give men their distinctive characteristics (facial hair, huskier voice, etc) and maintain the function of their reproductive system.

The penis also helps to expel urine, which contains excess water and unwanted waste products.

What Can Go Wrong?

Men are naturally concerned about the possibility of things not working properly, especially when it comes to making babies. However, let’s not overlook the dreaded ‘C’ word – cancer. Find out more in the next article.

Reference: WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com

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