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What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Recent studies show that at least 0.5% of the population in Singapore is affected by rheumatoid arthritis. The number might not seem significant, but research about the burden of diseases also show that it is the 12th leading condition that causes burden in the country.

What is rheumatoid arthritis and how is it different from other types of arthritis?

Causes and Risks

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system attacks your body mistakenly. When this happens, the joints are inflamed. This is the cause of the pain and swelling that patients feel. Over time the prolonged and repeated inflammation of the joints will cause irreversible damage.

There is no known cause for this condition, but because it is an autoimmune disease, it means that it can possible run in families. However, it has been found that a person might have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis if he/she is a smoker or is overweight. Prolonged and repeated exposure to silica and asbestos has been linked to the disease as well, although this needs further research.

Symptoms and Complications

This is the most common autoimmune arthritis in the world and may affect people as young as 30 years, although there are cases where younger people exhibit the symptoms much earlier. The affected parts are most commonly the hands and feet, but the disease might also affect other organs, specifically the lungs, eyes, and skin. The chronic illness will result in joint pain, joint swelling, joint stiffness, and decreased movement.

The most severe symptoms can last for hours or even an entire day, but they are more pronounced in the mornings. It is sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite, low-grade fever, fatigue, dry mouth, dry eyes, and the appearance of firm lumps on the hands and elbows.

These lumps are very characteristic of the condition and are called rheumatoid nodules. If the lungs are affected, there is scarring and inflammation which may result in difficulty breathing; but if blood vessels are affected, it can lead to damage in the skin, nerves and other organs. Anemia is a common complication of rheumatoid arthritis besides the damage to or deformity of the joints, scarring of lung tissues, hardening or blocking of the arteries, lymphoma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and abnormal proportion of fat to mass in the body.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

There will be some damage to the nerves, but the goal of the treatment is to reduce that damage and to prevent other complications. However, it can be tricky to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis at its earliest stage because it is similar to several other illnesses. Tests are administered to determine the stage of the symptoms and to confirm that it is indeed rheumatoid arthritis and not lupus, osteoarthritis or other forms of arthritis.

Medication is given to reduce pain and inflammation as well as slow down the damage to the joints are restore function. Additional treatment may be necessary such as physical therapy and occupational therapy. Surgery is only recommended if there is severe deformity, damage, or pain in the joints.

10 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Pet Scorpion

Despite the danger they pose to inexperienced handlers, scorpions can make fascinating pets. They don’t take a lot of space too which might make them ideal for a small apartment. Before adopting a scorpion, you need to keep in the mind the following facts.

They live for up to six years. If healthy, a scorpion can live for three to six years. Its longevity will also depend on the species, the ideal conditions of its habitat, and its diet.

A scorpion is relatively huge for an insect. An adult can reach up to 8 inches in length depending on the species, so it is a large insect compared to other insects you can adopt as pets. Because of its size, its enclosure needs to be big enough for it to move around as well. As it grows older, you will want to upgrade its enclosure to make sure it has enough space.

The scorpion is an insectivore. This means you can’t feed it fruits or vegetables like you would other insect pets. The best meal for a scorpion are live insects such as mealworms, waxworms, and crickets. Some experienced pet owners raise these insects to save money on the food. Make sure to supply it with chlorine-free water daily.

They have special feeding habits. To avoid overfeeding or underfeeding them, remember that adults need only to eat every other day while juveniles need to feed daily. Feed them only at night because they are nocturnal creatures.

They might need a supplement. Because they might not be getting enough vitamins and minerals, you will want to include calcium supplement once or twice a week depending on the veterinarian’s recommendation.

The scorpion molts. As it grows, it will remove its exoskeleton by molting. You can only feed a scorpion if it isn’t molting. Do not be alarmed if the scorpion refuses to eat, because they might be preparing to molt.

You need to provide the right landscape. As much as possible, you should make their enclosure resemble their natural habitat. An aquarium is your safest choice, but make sure it has a lid on top. Use a mulch-type substrate but avoid gravel and turf. Maintain the temperature between 80°F to 90°F and provide 8 to 12 hours of lighting by installing infrared or nocturnal lights.

You will need several enclosures. Never place a scorpion with other pets in the same enclosure. You should also separate adult scorpions to avoid fighting.

Handle carefully. Avoid handling the scorpion if it is not necessary. However, if you need to move or inspect it, you should only handle it if the exoskeleton ahs hardened after molting. Otherwise, you might injure it.

Know the warning signs. You should check the scorpion daily for the following signs of health problems: dull exoskeleton, swollen limbs, bumps, sores, abnormal feces, and discharge from the eyes or mouth. It might be difficult to look for a veterinarian who specializes in insects too.

The Ultimate Guide to Storing Everything in Your Kitchen

Every homeowner in Singapore is bound to experience some difficulty with storing different types of kitchenware they have, such as plates, utensils, and storage containers, as well as different food items, both wet and dry. Read on to know everything you need to know about how you can store all your kitchen essentials:

Knowing Your Spaces

The first step to organizing or re-organizing your kitchenware storage is making sure there is enough space for the following areas in your kitchen:  

  • Kitchen cabinets – Kitchen cabinets are great storage areas for large kitchenware, such as pots and pans, as well as large plates and plastic containers.
  • Refrigerator – Your refrigerator is best dedicated to perishables, wet goods, and liquids, and dry goods can be moved to a different storage area, like your pantry.
  • Pantry – Dry goods, such as canned goods, grains, fruits, certain types of vegetables (i.e. potatoes, carrots, etc.), and powdered goods such as milk and coffee, can be stored here.

Categorizing

The next step in maximizing storage in your kitchen is by grouping your different types of kitchenware into specific categories, and assigning storage spaces based on them.

For instance, by assigning the refrigerator for just your wet goods and perishables, you can then move the dry goods to your pantry (or store them in an airtight plastic container). From there, you can decide which areas of your pantry to place your different food items in.

Storing for Convenience

Convenience is perhaps the biggest factor you need to keep in mind when considering storage, since it’s important to store frequently used items where you can access them easily. For instance, because you always need to be in front of the stove while cooking, you want to make sure you have everything you need within arm’s reach, from spices, to knives, to cutting boards.

Storing Items Elsewhere

If your current storage area for a particular item doesn’t have enough space, you will need to find another space. One example for this is when you need a space for your large kitchenware, such as your pots and pans. If your kitchen cabinets can’t accommodate them anymore, one way to store them in a way that you can access them easily is by installing a rack on the wall where you can hang them.

Storage Containers

When it comes to storing food items in Tupperware and other plastic containers, your choices are essentially limitless. All you really need to keep in mind is that you need to make sure those containers are just the right size, if not a little larger. You should also make sure that you choose airtight containers, especially for powdered goods that can be spoiled when exposed to air.

Singaporean Fashion

Clothing around the world may differ from head to toe with the influence of culture, art, music, and many other factors which prompt the evolution of fashion. Singapore may be a bit confusing because although the heaviest influence around comes from China, the British influence is also very strong nonetheless. Known as one of the most diverse countries in Asia, Singapore is home to many different cultures which also means that Singapore is home to many different fashion styles.

Why is this so? Well, just like every other country, fashion is greatly influenced by cultures and subcultures like for example the athletic style and the artistic type. The athletic type would go for clothing based on how it makes them feel or how their clothes can improve their performance while the artistic type on the other hand goes for a very complex but sophisticated clothing.

Sometimes the subcultures tend to influence fashion even greater than the main cultures itself which is very true in Singapore because of how updated the youth are in trends happening around the world. Although this does not just pertain to the youth, it is clearly obvious that the youth spend more time indulging in fashion compared to other age ranges.

Although there are those who pick fashion as a lifestyle, a lot of your priorities will change in due time. The rocker type of clothing is finding its way into the trend as leather and black clothing have proven themselves to be really stylish. The youth in Singapore tend to celebrate a lot of pop fashion as seen from both American and British influence although one thing differentiates Singapore from the western countries, the climate.

Singapore is naturally a very humid country and although a lot of your time is spent indoors, fashion is still very much influenced by any direct surroundings. You would not see people wearing fur coats in Singapore at all. Singapore is naturally a very stylish country, not just because of the diverse culture which is very well celebrated throughout the country but also because of the availability of fashion in Singapore.

Up until this day, Singapore still plays a very huge role when it comes to trade which means that when it comes to fashion, Singapore is also very well updated. Singapore is a city of style and shopping in Singapore would encourage you not just to look good and be trendy but also to express yourself with the clothes you wear.

3 Tips to Gain More Weight

So you’re tired of being teased about being too skinny? Just like losing weight, gaining some pounds can also be a difficult thing to do. Here, then are a few tips to consider.

  1. Eat more frequently

This is probably the tip you’ll hear the most when it comes to gaining weight, “just eat more”. It does make sense, of course, and it’s only logical. The basic formula for gaining weight is to take in more calories than you burn. To do it, just eat more than your usual, maybe even take 5 meals a day if you can. But even so, eating a lot is only a small part of gaining weight; which leads us to the next tip.

  • Hit the gym

First of all, get rid of the mindset that people are going to judge a skinny person like you walking around the gym. There is a small truth here but even though people may look at you and stare, it doesn’t necessarily mean their judging you already. Later, you’ll realize that everyone will be busy minding their own business (and bodies). On a positive note, there will even be people in the gym who will give you advice and encouragement.

When you finally decide to go to the gym, take it slow on the cardio and focus on strength training through weight lifting. You’d want to do less cardio exercises because you’ll end up burning more calories, and that’s not exactly what you want. So lift heavy to increase the mass of your muscles. Doing this means you’re gaining weight healthily because you’re supplying the calories to muscles tissues instead of fat cells.

  • Eat right

Better than eating a lot is to eat the right food. You’ll gain calories from any type of food but you’ll still have to eat the right ones. If you eat a lot of junk food for example, the calories you gain from them will easily be burned away when you’re in the gym, as opposed to when you eat healthy food which also contain more nutrients.

  • Protein – is an important building block of our muscles. Eat a lot of protein-rich food to help your muscles recover and build faster. Lean meat and beef, eggs, salmon, and chicken are only few of the many high-protein food you should include in your diet.
  • Carbs – rice is a common enough source of carbohydrates in Singapore. Carbs serve as fuel for the body and give us more energy, so don’t skip on the rice!
  • Weight gainers – drinking weight gainers and protein shakes is a good way to add more calories and protein into your intake. Regular meals, even if you have 5 a day, won’t give you enough calories especially if you’re already hitting the gym. That is why we take gainers and protein shakes as supplements.

It is important to remember that you won’t get bigger overnight. Gaining (and losing) weight is a long, yet very rewarding process.

7 Ways to Build More Confidence

Being confident is an important trait for us to have to be able to excel in school, work, and life as a whole. Sometimes, though, we can get so overwhelmed by anxiety that our confidence just begins to dwindle. To fight against that, here are some ways for you to build more confidence.

Focus on your strengths

Everybody holds certain strengths and skills, while also having weaknesses. You always have something that you’re good at, even if you say you don’t. When you find those strengths, focus on them because it will be easier to develop them than trying get rid of your weaknesses. It can be easy to expose your weak points when you can use your strengths as a foundation.

Look at yourself in the mirror

Talk to your reflection, look yourself in the eyes, and say words of encouragement and motivation. This might feel weird at first but it actually does wonders! You’re not only psyching yourself up but also practicing to speak well and maintaining eye-contact.

Improve your posture

 Improving your posture is probably one of the easiest and quickest ways to build more confidence. When you stand and sit up straight, you will exude an aura of authority and you’ll simply feel better about yourself. Plus, when you maintain a good posture, you’re straightening up and opening up your airways hence you’ll be able to speak clearer.

Groom yourself

Taking a shower, shaving, and basically keeping yourself neat and clean can contribute to more confidence. Dressing nicely will make you feel better about yourself and you’ll also earn other’s approval by looking presentable, whether you’re working, attending a formal event, or simply walking around Orchard Road on your leisure time.

Practice good and healthy hobbies

Having a hobby allows you to develop a lot of skills that you can use in your everyday life. Good hobbies can also promote a healthy lifestyle especially if they’re related to physical fitness, for example. Hobbies can help you get rid of stress, therefore making you less anxious and more self-confident.

Face your fears

A good practice for building confidence is to face one of your fears every day, doesn’t matter if its big or small. For example, if you’re afraid of asking strangers for directions, just do it because chances are they will answer you anyway. And if they don’t you can always ask another person. Once you are able to take your fears head on and move out of your comfort zone, you’ll definitely feel more confident.

Encourage yourself

Instead of always looking at the negative things happening in your life, think about the positive ones instead. Take a step back and reflect on all your achievements and all the good things you’ve done. Focusing on the positive will help you project yourself in a better, more positive light.

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