Doctor’s visits can always feel a little rushed, especially if our mind is too preoccupied with getting help for the ailment that’s plaguing us. It can feel the same for our doctors — they have so much more health advice to share, if only they had the time.
Today, we sat down with Dr Andrew Fang, one of Doctor Anywhere’s hybrid doctors and a family physician, to get his top advice on how to stay well and keep healthy.
“A healthy lifestyle is the best medicine.”
“In general, a good diet, regular exercise and getting quality sleep will help us to stay healthy as we age,” shares Dr Andrew.
Over the years he’s been in practice, Dr Andrew has seen the negative impact of sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets. The most common chronic health conditions that patients consult him for are the three highs: high sugar (diabetes), high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol, which can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyle habits. In fact, there’s been an increasing trend in these three conditions, even amongst younger Singaporeans, over the past few years.
“While you can manage these conditions with medication and treatment, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help you lower your risk of developing them in the first place.”
“Additionally, make sure your vaccinations are up to date so that you stay protected from diseases,” adds Dr Andrew. For example, Dr Andrew sees many patients for acute respiratory infection, which can be prevented by going for annual influenza vaccinations.
“Watch out for unexplained or odd changes in your body.”
Health screening helps to detect any underlying conditions early, so that you can take action with your doctor to improve your health. However, in between your regular screening appointments, there are actions you can do to monitor your own health.
“You know your body best,” says Dr Andrew. “As such, there are certain red flag symptoms that you can watch out for, that could point to a more serious condition.”
- Unexplained weight loss or loss in your appetite
- Blood in your stool and urine or changes in your bowel movements
- Persistent abdominal discomfort
- Persistent respiratory symptoms or chest pain
- Unexplained fever and fatigue
- Sudden weakness and numbness in your body
“If you notice any of these symptoms, you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible,” Dr Andrew says. “Your doctor would be able to advise you on whether additional check-ups are necessary, so that we can pin-point the reasons for these changes in your body.”
“Don't forget about your mental health.”
Over the past few years, especially during the pandemic, conversation around mental health has opened up. This is no surprise, given that Singaporeans are known to have longer working hours and a more stressful corporate environment, compared to our counterparts in other regions.
Dr Andrew shares his three tips for stress relief:
“Talk to someone about it — it doesn’t have to be a mental health professional. Simply confiding in a close friend can already take the burden off your own mind, and help you feel better about your situation.”
“Fix a time in your schedule every day to decompress from work. It could be at the end of the day, while you’re preparing to go to bed. This helps to clear your mind and reset for the new day.”
“Find hobbies and activities that you’re interested in. This helps to take your mind off your stress.”
“Ageing gracefully comes down to healthy habits.”
Ageing is an inevitability in life; however, it doesn’t have to be a negative thing.
Our silver years may give us more time to explore interests and passions that we didn’t have the opportunity to in our younger years. Studies have also shown that old age may bring greater happiness and emotional connections.
Ageing gracefully is being able to take advantage of all the wonderful things that come with growing old — and this means ensuring our bodies are healthy and well to carry us through the things we want to do.
“Leading a healthy lifestyle, while you’re younger, is one of the most important ways to ensure you stay well when you age,” shares Dr Andrew.
“In addition to the habits shared previously, try to also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Of course, it’s alright to indulge once in a while but do take everything in moderation.”
This article was first published on Doctor Anywhere and republished on theAsianparent with permission.