The Importance of Daily Exercise Routine and How They can Minimise Your Risk of DVT

Most of us are aware that we should do regular exercise. However, due to modern lifestyles, many of us neglect this fundamental fact. Often a lack of time is blamed, but more often than not, this is merely an excuse and an easy way out. Partaking in regular physical exercise has been proven to reduce the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, various cardiovascular diseases, and some forms of cancer. The benefits of regular exercise can be felt in both the short and long-term and require only 30 minutes of daily exertion.

Why are routines important?
Humans are naturally creatures of habit, and we do tend to adapt better to a regular routine. It is certainly applicable to exercise and helps you retain focus whilst also giving you the benefits. If you miss a day, it is always best to start again the next, but don’t be tempted to put it off “until Monday” as positive habits can be quickly broken. Decide on a realistic plan from the outset and stick to it. It should challenge you and not be too easy or too difficult, both of which can negatively impact your motivation.

The general benefits of exercise
As we touched upon at the beginning, regular exercise reduces your chances of getting some severe diseases and conditions. However, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight, develop a better physique, reduce your risk of falls and improve your recovery time from common illnesses. Exercise also helps to release mood-boosting hormones including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.

How much exercise should you do?
Of course, how much exercise you do will be very much dependent on your goals. However, healthcare professionals recommend that you do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day to reduce your health risk, although something is better than nothing. If you class yourself as doing no daily exercise, we would suggest speaking to your doctor before commencing any form of physical activity. Assuming, exercise will pose no risk to your health, you should build up gradually to the desired levels.

Although guidelines vary from country to country a “little but often” approach is thought to be best for most people, you should aim to do between 150 and 300 minutes moderate exercise per week. However, if you prefer more vigorous exercise, your goal should be 75 to 150 minutes per day. Try to incorporate some form of strength-building activities into your routine at least twice a week.

How can I increase the amount of exercise that currently do?
Often a rather lame excuse for not doing exercise is that people don’t know how to increase what they are currently doing. A good way is to walk or cycle to work, although this may depend on where you live. Alternatively, you could get off the BTS or MRT a stop early and walk the remaining distance or walk with your children to school. Bangkok has some beautiful parks, and these are excellent places to escape from the exhaust fumes.

Can exercise reduce your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition resulting from a blood clot forming deep within the body, often in the legs. If the clot becomes free, it can travel to the lungs, which is known as a pulmonary embolism that is often fatal if not detected quickly. Exercise improves circulation and helps to relax the walls of blood vessels, which results in better blood flow. Blood that moves freely is less likely to become blocked, thus reducing your chances of developing a DVT.

How do people get DVT?
There are several reasons why people develop blood clots, but DVTs usually arise from poor circulation. Again, there can be a number of contributory factors, including thickening or narrowing of arteries due to age or poor general health.Exercise has been proven to improve circulation and cardiovascular health, significantly reducing your chances of developing DVT. However, even active people can get clots if they stay in one position for long periods such as on long-haul flights. Therefore, it is essential to move around periodically and do some light exercise to increase your heart rate and improve circulation.

Exercises for DVT
Maintaining a healthy exercise routine as we outlined above will help promote overall health and wellbeing and reduce your chances of developing DVT. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle in your job, such as work in an office or when you are on a long-haul flight, there are some light exercises that you can do during these times to reduce your risk. You should also avoid crossing your legs where possible as this too can have an impact on circulation. Exercises you can do while seated include:

  • Leg extensions – keep your thigh on the seat, slowly raise one leg until it is parallel with the ground and lower again. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Ankle pumps – keeping the heel on the ground, raise your toes toward your shin and lower. Repeat with the other foot.
  • Seated march – move your legs as if walking but in a seated position for 2 minutes, increasing the speed where possible. Try to aim to complete the exercises once an hour.

Can I exercise if I have DVT?
It is possible and indeed often helpful to do some exercise if you have a DVT although you should always consult your doctor before doing this. Exercise will help to ease venous insufficiency, which is a disease that may restrict blood flow back to the heart. Aerobic activity is recommended, such as walking, swimming or dancing. Building the muscles, especially in the legs, will also help promote better blood supply, and this will reduce the chances of another clot forming or existing clots getting larger.

Most people with DVT take regular medication such as blood thinners and aspirin. Once again, you should consult your doctor about the effects of this medication on exercise.

Should we adopt a vegetarian diet several times a week?

Meat has formed a crucial part of the human diet since before pre-historic times as it was seen a vital way of attaining the levels of protein required to survive and prosper. However, we have moved on from the hunter-gatherer mentally, and an increasing number of people are adopting vegetarian or vegan diets. There are many reasons for this, such as protecting the planet, the welfare of animals, because of their religion, or perhaps more commonly, health reasons.

Of course, many people who choose to improve their diet for health reasons do so without eliminating meat. Most of us are aware that we should eat a least five portions of a combination of fruit and vegetables every day. Vegetables and fruit contain high levels of fibre and many vitamins and minerals that can’t be consumed in large enough quantities from a meat concentrated diet. Therefore, if you do wish to continue eating meat, and there is nothing wrong with this, you could consider switching to a vegetarian diet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for example.

What are the benefits of a vegetarian diet?
In many western countries, obesity rates are often above 25%, which poses significant health risks. It is believed that this is because of the consumptionof large amounts of processed food, usually ones which contain substantial quantities of meat as well as being high in sugar and salt. Moving to a more vegetarian diet helps individuals lose weight, but perhaps more importantly, it allows them to keep the weight off.

Another crucial benefit of following a vegetarian diet some days of the week is that it improves cardiovascular health. Several studies show that those who follow a vegetarian diet in India have considerably better heart health than those who follow a mainly meat-based diet. Of the participants studied, those consuming primarily meat had higher blood pressure as well as higher levels of cholesterol. In particular, red meat is known to increase cholesterol, and although cholesterol is present in plant-based foods, it is significantly lower.

Over the last half-century, the number of people who develop cancer has increased dramatically. While some of this can be attributed to living longer and increased health checks so more occurrences are found, it should not be ignored that meat does appear to play a role. Many leading medical experts believe that following a non-meat diet can offer significant protection from some forms of cancer. However, for balance, it should be noted that more research is needed in this area before this is confirmed.

Dangers of a vegetarian diet
A vegetarian diet which is correctly managed is incredibly healthy, and there are very few arguments to counter this. However one of the problems with a vegetarian diet is that people miss out on some vital nutrients such as protein if they don’t eat the right foods. Nuts, pulses and seeds can all be high in protein, so anyone that follows a strict vegetarian diet should ensure that these foods are incorporated into their daily meals.

What is the Process for COVID-19 Testing?

Although the symptoms of COVID-19 can vary slightly from person to person, some of the symptoms are far more common. These include a raised temperature, a dry and persistent cough along with loss of taste and/or smell. Other widely reported signs include fatigue, sore throat, diarrhoea and muscle aches. However, many sufferers are regarded as being asymptomatic, meaning that they don’t display any symptoms.

If you have any concerns that you may have COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has the virus, you should immediately take a coronavirus test.

What is the process for a COVID-19 test?
If you are displaying symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with the virus, you should always phone the hospital first to seek their advice. However, if you wish to take a test for travel, work or insurance purposes, and you have no reason to suspect that you have the virus most hospitals offer the test on a walk-in basis. Prices start at around THB 3,500 for the COVID-19 PCR test method – the test recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

When you are called for your test, you can be expected to be met by someone wearing a full hazmat suit for their protection, and they will usually be behind a Perspex screen. They will ask you to confirm your name and date of birth then they will apply a swab to each nostril and then take a swab from the back of the throat, around the tonsil area. Although you may feel some minor discomfort, you will be able to resume normal activities immediately after assuming you are not suspected of having the virus.

Results are usually available after 24 hours although if there is excess demand, it may take as long as 72 hours. Most people are notified by email or SMS, although you can receive a hospital certificate, which is normally at an additional cost. A negative result will be reported as “not detected” on your medical certificate. The wording can be confusing, but this the global method from which results are reported. Should you return a positive or “inconclusive” test result, the hospital will contact you immediately and advise you of the next steps to be taken.

Do I need to self-isolate?
You should self-isolate if you suspect that you have the virus or been in contact with someone who has before taking the test. In Thailand, you will be admitted to a medical facility if you return a positive result and remain there until you produce a “not detected” result. Unlike in some countries, you will not be allowed to self-isolate at home.

COVID-19 Vaccines
In December 2020, the United Kingdom became the first country to start a mass vaccination program with several other countries following suit shortly after. There are currently (at time of writing) three vaccines that have been authorised for use in Thailand that have been authorised for use around the world which are from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Thailand has signed an agreement with Oxford-AstraZeneca to supply 26 million doses but is in talks with the other leading producers along with manufacturers in China, Russia and India.

How is the vaccine administered?
The current vaccines are administered via an injection which requires two doses. The second dose is given between four and twelve weeks after the first. The first vaccine is thought to give around 90% of the full immunity after approximately four weeks. During this initial period, your levels of immunity will increase as the body naturally produces more antibodies. A small proportion of people have suffered more severe side effects, and anyone carrying an EpiPen should not have the vaccine.

How effective is the vaccine?
The vaccine’s effectiveness appears to vary, but the consensus is that they are over 90% effective after the second dose. However, some reports do suggest that some only offer protection to 70% of people. The vaccine has also been proven to effective against current variants or mutations of the original virus, although this cannot be guaranteed for future mutations. It is also unclear whether the vaccine will need to be given annually, if boosters will be required periodically, or if the initial two injections will be sufficient.

As the vaccine was rolled out in record time and this form of coronavirus is new, there are still some unanswered questions. Nevertheless the current vaccines have deemed safe by all the major health regulators around the world.

How much will the vaccine cost?
No definitive answer has been given about how much the vaccine will cost to patients in Thailand. However, the Pfizer vaccine is believed to cost around $19 to produce each dose, the Moderna costs between $32 and $39 while the AstraZeneca one is thought to be around $4. Previously, a hospital in Bangkok had an option to pre-book the vaccine and offered both doses to patients for THB 10,000. As the vaccine is not yet available, and the government felt that this was unethical, the hospital in question was forced to withdraw the offer.

Smoking versus Vaping The Effects on your Body

There is no escaping the fact that both smoking and vaping carry some serious health risks. The risks associated with smoking tobacco are well known, but the long-term risks associated with electronic smoking are unknown. However, all evidence seems to suggest that they are far from a safe alternative to traditional smoking.

Is one more harmful than the other?
Initial evidence suggests that vaping is less harmful than smoking, although both potentially have dangerous side effects, smoking tobacco involves inhaling around 7,000 toxic chemicals, whereas vaping has significantly less. However, there are heavy metals, carcinogenic compounds, diacetyl, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) amongst the chemicals inhaled. The liquid used in electronic cigarettes is dangerous if swallowed, inhaled or comes into contact with the skin. E-cigarettes also contain vast doses of nicotine which is damaging to brain development.

On the other hand, tobacco is known to cause damage to every single cell and organ in the body and is responsible for 90% of all lung cancer deaths. In the US, it is responsible for almost 500,000 deaths per year and is known to cause numerous other health conditions, including heart and respiratory diseases. People who smoke tobacco are also more at risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Should vaping be promoted as an alternativeto smoking?
When the FDA authorised electronic cigarettes, they were used to try and wean people off tobacco rather than as a long-term alternative. Unfortunately, people appear to be equally addicted to vaping, and indeed, some teenagers are now taking up vaping as opposed to smoking. It is also thought that vaping “normalises” smoking, which may make smoking more popular again. Alternative methods should be used to quit smoking, such as patches or hypnosis.

Long-term impact of tobacco
It has been known for decades that smoking seriously damages your health. Some health issues are well known, such as the increased risk of miscarriage or children born with congenital disabilities. The increased risk of cancer is also well publicised as too are increased asthma attacks and blood clots. However, some people may be unaware of some of the other issues, including increased risk of cataracts, problems with the immune system, reduced sperm count, and an increase in general inflammation, which is now known to impact general health and well-being.

Long-term impact of vaping
As vaping and electronic cigarettes is a relatively new phenomenon, information regarding the long-term side effects is somewhat limited. The University of Iowa produced a report suggesting that vaping was safer than tobacco, but many experts now question whether that is the case. Preliminary reports suggest that vaping causes damage to the lungs and releases free radicals known to cause cancer. Like tobacco it can delay brain development in unborn children, children in their formative years, and teenagers.

Both smoking and vaping have been proven to cause cancer and damage the lungs, both are now regarded as bad for your health. Although vaping may be marginally better, it should still be avoided and should be treated with the same caution as tobacco.

Medical Marijuana in Thailand

The use of marijuana for medical purposes has been proposed by many activists and even medical professionals globally. In December 2018, the use of marijuana for medicinal and research purposes was legalised in Thailand. The legislation meant that cannabis, marijuana and kratom, a locally grown opioid, could be used for medical conditions that are recognised by a doctor.

How Many Have Applied Medical Marijuana?
Around 50,000 patients are legally allowed to use marijuana in Thailand as all users must have either a prescription or doctor’s certificate clearly stating the reasons for use. The drug is still outlawed in all other circumstances under the 1979 Narcotic Drugs Act with marijuana classed as a class-5 narcotic. Illegal possession and cultivation are punishable by up to 15 years in prison along with steep fines.

The Debate about the Benefits
Many people, including those in the medical profession, still have reservations about the benefits of marijuana which is said to offer relief from Parkinson’s, asthma and cancer amongst many other things. Most of the discussion is regarding the two main ingredients of marijuana Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

What is known is that both THC and CBD do affect receptors in the human brain, but the responses that they cause are significantly different. THC is the psychoactive part, and this produces the same “high” that is experienced by cannabis users. CBD is believed to show signs of promise for medical purposes with users not getting the same high but gaining pain relief and other benefits. More research is being conducted in this area.

Benefits of THC
There is medical evidence to support the idea that THC does relax the blood vessels, which is beneficial in terms of pain relief and alleviating some of the symptoms of spinal injuries and multiple sclerosis. Marijuana is known worldwide for its Sativa effects caused by the high THC content.

There is plenty of evidence of the success of THC. However, what is lacking is evidence supporting its safety and efficacy when used as the primary treatment for serious diseases like cancer. Unprocessed or raw marijuana has no supporting evidence to suggest that it is useful for treating any medical conditions.

Cultivation Laws
The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) opened their first facility in Pathum Thani province in February this year at the cost of approximately 100 million Thai Baht. The farm covers more than 100 square metres and is fitted with aeroponic systems and is naturally heavily guarded.

All other farms which are allowed to grow hemp are in tribe-development zones in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Phetchabun, Tak and Mae Hong Son. These farms are all licensed and operate under strict regulations and subject to high levels of scrutiny. These tighter regulations have inevitably pushed up the costs of medical marijuana. The first drops of oil were issued to patients back in July after they were issued with 5ml bottles.

Drugs Policies
The partial legalisation of marijuana in Thailand is likely to have far-reaching consequences across ASEAN with strict laws in place in most countries with the death sentence still in place in Indonesia for cannabis smugglers. In Malaysia and Singapore, a survey found that most residents believed that marijuana did possess medicinal properties, although less than half of those responding supported its legalisation. Singapore in particular still believes that cannabis should still be classed as an illicit drug.

Nowhere in ASEAN can Marijuana be sold over-the-counter or in raw form. Thailand’s moves are viewed as a way of curtailing the illegal supply of cannabis and imposing government regulation, making it harder for its illegal sale.

Few would argue that marijuana doesn’t have substantial potential worldwide, and indeed, Thailand is very optimistic about its future viewing it as a likely multitrillion-dollar industry in years to come.

Healthy Living – The Importance of Exercise and Healthy Diet

We are all encouraged to lead healthier lives which are usually centred on adopting a healthy diet, doing more exercise and avoiding things such as alcohol and tobacco. Leading a healthy lifestyle has physical, mental and emotional benefits leading to improved overall wellbeing and increased self-confidence.

If you want to change your lifestyle and adopt healthy habits, it can be quite challenging, but you need to alter your mindset to embrace it. Regardless of your starting physical condition, your age or sex, everyone can feel the benefits of living a healthy life and here are just five of the benefits.

1. Controlling your weight
Both eating well and doing moderate amounts of exercise will help you to manage your weight. It is almost impossible to lose weight without adopting both strategies, and indeed, people who choose one rather than both usually fail in their objective. Carrying excessive amounts of weight is bad for the cardiovascular system. Losing weight, on the other hand, will boost your immune system and lead to higher energy levels.

It would help if you aimed to do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week which could include walking at pace or swimming. Eating a calorie-controlled diet will help with weight loss, and you should always eat breakfast as this will stop you from snacking later in the day as well as helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Most dieticians will tell you to eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables eat day to gain the body’s required nutrients.

2. Better moods
Leading a healthy lifestyle also leads to better moods as exercise stimulates the release of endorphins the chemicals and hormones that make you feel happier and relaxed. Eating well will increase your chances of improving your physique, which is good for self-confidence and esteem. When you carry out even moderate exercise, the short-term benefits include reduced stress and better cognitive function.

Developing healthy habits is good for your mental wellbeing and interaction with others helps to boost serotonin levels. Incorporating this with a healthy diet and an exercise regime will help to improve your moods immensely.

3. Helps fight diseases
Taking plenty of exercise and eating well has numerous health benefits, including helping to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure as well as regulating blood sugar levels. Monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol levels will help to ensure that your blood circulates properly. It has been proven that regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to manage the following problems:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Some forms of cancer

We would always recommend that you visit your primary healthcare each year for a full medical, including taking blood and urine samples. These appointments could save your life and prevent problems from escalating. All listen to and act upon your doctor’s advice.

4. Boost energy levels
Eating too much of anything thing that would be regarded as unhealthy is likely to leave you feeling lazy and lethargic. Eating a healthy diet will help you to boost your energy levels, so try to include the following items in your diet:

  • Lean meats
  • Whole grains
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products

Regular exercise also helps to increase muscle strength which will, in turn, boost energy levels. Moderate exercise helps transport oxygen and nutrients to all tissues around your body as well as boosting your cardiovascular system. Exercise also helps to promote healthy sleeping patterns, including falling asleep faster and going into a deeper, less interrupted sleep. Lack of sleep can be a trigger for many other problems.

5. Improves life expectancy
Eating well and doing regular exercise will increase your chances of leading a longer, healthier life. According to a study by The American Council on Exercise, walking just 30-minutes a day significantly reduces your chances of premature death. If you are new to exercise, make sure you consult your doctor first and start slowly working your way up until you can do 30-minutes walking each day.

How Rising Medical Costs in Thailand Will Impact on Your Insurance Premium

Thailand is an extremely popular destination for expats and tourist alike with Bangkok repeatedly voted the world’s top destination according to Mastercard. Medical tourism is a rapidly expanding sector in Thailand with the country being recognised for its excellent standards of healthcare which is available at affordable prices.

Quality of Care
Thailand’s private international hospitals are famed for the quality of their levels of care. Hospitals in Bangkok and other major cities attract highly trained and professional medical practitioners who offer excellent care to all patients. With almost all world-class hospitals in the country providing healthcare that is on a par with or better their counterparts in the west, medical costs in the Kingdom will inevitably increase.

Increasing Medical Costs
Medical costs in Thailand, along with many other parts of the world, have been growing dramatically in recent years with medical inflation consistently nearing double digits. With advances in technology and new forms of treatment continually becoming available, healthcare costs are now rising at their fastest rate ever. In Southeast Asia, medical expenses are increasing at such a rate that locals are finding it challenging to meet costs without having sufficient medical insurance.

How Much Do Treatments Costs?
Costs vary from hospital to hospital, but under Thai law, their prices must be publicly available and are often available on their websites. Eye surgery, appendectomy and surgery to joints can be a significant financial burden not to mention the costs associated with coronary care and cancer treatments. These costs are far beyond the means of most Thais as well as many expats.

Why You Need Health Insurance
With medical expenses steadily rising in Thailand, any out of pocket expenses, even for relatively minor treatments can have a significant impact on your finances. Thais and those with work permits do have access to healthcare via their social security payments, but in many cases, these government hospitals do not have the equipment or expertise to offer the required levels of healthcare. To get the standards of care that you and your family need, you need a quality health insurance policy to meet these extra costs.

How Much Are Premiums Expected to Rise?
With medical inflation almost hitting double digits on an annual basis, it was inevitable that health insurance premiums would need to follow suit. Most insurers have tried to keep their annual increases to a minimum and, as such, average insurance premium are expected to rise by between five and nine per cent this year – less than the rise in medical costs. These increases are incredibly reasonable, especially when you take into account the peace of mind that insurance offers.

How Can Pacific Cross Help?
We endeavour to keep our insurance premiums to a minimum and well carefully consider all rises, absorbing many of the additional costs ourselves rather than passing them on to our clients. We have an extensive range of policies to suit your needs and your budget. Our team will be able to discuss the best options for you and your family.

Health Insurance Requirements for Thailand’s Retirement (O-A) Visa

As of 31 October 2019, foreigners entering Thailand on a Retirement (O-A) Visa will be required to purchase adequate health insurance, and this will form a mandatory part of the visa requirements. It is suspected, although not yet confirmed, that this will also apply to those renewing their Retirement Visa.

Basic Requirement for a Thai Retirement Visa
The requirements for an O-A visa in Thailand are quite straightforward, and it is one of the most accessible visas to obtain if you meet the requirements. Firstly, you must be 50 years old or older and have 800,000 Thai Baht in a Thai bank account, or an income of 65,000 Thai Baht per month or a combination of the two. The amount must be kept in a Thai bank for a prescribed time before, and after the application is submitted From 31 October 2019, you will need to prove that you have adequate cover.

Levels of Cover
The new rules are quite specific in terms of the amounts of cover that are required. The minimum amount needed for outpatient protection is 40,000 Thai Baht and the minimum for inpatient cover in 400,000 Thai Baht. Insurance is taken out overseas, and expat health insurance is acceptable so long as it provides the required coverage in Thailand. Local health insurance is, of course, adequate.

It should be stressed that these are the minimum levels of cover that are required, and more cover is certainly recommended as medical costs are increasing in Thailand. We would also recommend that you select a policy where the insurer will pay first rather than needing to reimburse you; otherwise, it could cause significant financial hardship at an already stressful time.

The Thai government feels that they have been forced to act on this issue with over 100 million Thai Baht in hospital fees going unpaid by foreign patients. A large percentage of this is from the estimated 80,000 people on the O-A visa. It is accepted that the move will not eliminate the problem, but the consensus is that it will make a significant contribution in reducing future unpaid medical bills.

Who Will Be Affected?
The only people to be affected by this move will be those applying for new O-A visas as well as (it is assumed) those renewing their Retirement Visa after 31 October 2019. Those affected will be required to show documented proof that they have the insurance for the rest of their stay. Failure to do so may result in the visa being denied.

If the move proves successful, it is anticipated that the requirement will become mandatory for other types of Thai visa including Tourist Visas, Marriage Visas and other forms of long-term visa.

What Options Are Available to You?
Many local insurers do not offer health insurance coverage beyond the age of 60. However, here at Pacific Cross, we have a wide range of insurance policies that are designed to cater to your needs and your budget. We will off you friendly, helpful and advice and ensure that you have the coverage that you need.

Stroke Rates on the Rise

Stroke Rates on the Rise

Stroke is the second most common cause of death globally, although, paradoxically, the problem tends to receive less attention than many other disease processes from healthcare providers. As the world population ages, the burden due to stroke is likely to increase in regions such as Asia, where an increase in risk factors such as smoking and the introduction of western dietary patterns is also occurring. Other groups, such as women, may also need attention because of their longer lifespan and increase in smoking incidence. In order to contain the problem, minimum standards concerning stroke management need to be set to provide a framework within which governments may work.

Here in Thailand an estimated 50,000 people are dying from stroke each year, according to the Royal College of Physicians which makes this health condition a leading cause of death among Thais. There are approximately 250,000 new cases of strokes are recorded in Thailand each year, with about 50,000 patients losing their lives and approximately 30% of the victims become paralyzed.

While strokes can be fatal, death can usually be prevented if victims are aware of the symptoms that precede the event and how to deal with it – which can be summarized by the acronym “FAST”.

  • “F” stands for facial twitching
  • “A” stands for arm weakness
  • “S” stands for slurred speech
  • “T” stands for timing of action taken once the other symptoms have been identified.

It has been proven that victims who receive treatment within 4.5 hours following the reporting of the stroke symptoms are less likely to suffer from long-lasting or permanent disabilities. Awareness of the symptoms could lead to timely intervention, potentially saving lives.

It has been inferred that those who regularly smoke cigarettes, have high-blood cholesterol levels and lead sedentary lifestyles face higher risks of suffering from a stroke. To minimize the risk of this disease, we suggest regular exercise, eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, refrain from smoking and limit your alcohol intake.

Air Quality Index PM 2.5

Air Quality Index PM 2.5

Chocking air pollution and thick smoke in Bangkok has adversely affected the health of many.

Hazardous dust particles known as PM 2.5 have exceeded the safe level around the capital, according to the Department of Pollution Control. PM 2.5 is a mixture of liquid droplets and solid particles that can include dust, soot and smoke, one of the main measures of the Air Quality Index (AQI). Public discontent has surfaced, and TV hosts are advising viewers on the types of face masks they should wear. These are serious concerns shared by the residents of the city who are battling the toxic air on a daily basis. Reasons for the persistent smog include combustion exhaust from Bangkok’s traffic-strewn roads, the burning of fields from farmers outside the city, and pollutants from factories.

The term fine particles, or particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and one half microns or less in width. Like inches, meters and miles, a micron is a unit of measurement for distance. There are about 25,000 microns in an inch. The widths of the larger particles in the PM2.5 size range would be about thirty times smaller than that of a human hair.

Particles in the PM2.5 size range are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths. Studies also suggest that long term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to PM2.5.