Types of Arthritis You Should Be Aware Of

Arthritis is a very common illness in Singapore with a prevalence of 19.8% in the age group between 60 to 69. Rheumatoid arthritis in particular is the most common type of disorder which affects about 1% of the population, but there are many forms of arthritis that you should be aware of.

Childhood Arthritis

Also known as juvenile arthritis, it is an umbrella term for different conditions that involve inflammatory, autoimmune, and rheumatic diseases that afflict children younger than 16 years. There is no clear cause for this although genes may play a role with the symptoms appearing because of certain triggers. There are several forms of juvenile arthritis such as fibromyalgia, Kawasaki disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile dermatomyositis, juvenile scleroderma, juvenile lupus, and mixed connective tissue disease.

Fibromyalgia

This is a condition characterized not only by chronic pain but also by mood changes, memory problems, and fatigue. Because the illness is a combination of several conditions, researchers suspect that these are triggered by trauma, illness, and changes in hormones. The pain associated with fibromyalgia is not only limited to one area but might also affect several regions.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

The condition is commonly observed among the elderly and is characterized by flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, poor appetite, and pain in the neck, arms, shoulders, hips, thighs, and buttocks. If it is accompanied by headaches, it might be a symptom of temporal or giant cell arteritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the joints mistaking them for foreign bodies. A person will experience pain, tenderness, and swelling in the joints which are more pronounced in the mornings. Even the small joints such as those in the hands and feet can be affected. Sometimes the pain is accompanied by fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite. The flareups can also last for days and might affect even the eyes, mouth, blood, lungs, and skin.

Osteoarthritis

The worst of the symptoms usually appear in the mornings and will result in swelling, pain, cracking sounds in the joints, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Osteoarthritis can affect different parts such as the fingers, feet, knees, and hips. It makes even the simplest of chores difficult.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

The condition usually affects the pelvis and the lower spine, which is why it is often referred to as lower back pain. The symptoms can appear as early as 17 years in other people and cause chronic pain and stiffness that might even extend to the neck and rib cage.

Lupus

This is an autoimmune condition that affects not only the joints but is also accompanied by a variety of symptoms. These include hair loss, fatigue, sensitivity to light, rashes, kidney problems, mouth sores, memory problems, breathing difficulties, dry mouth and eyes, blood disorders, and vaginal dryness among women.

Gout

 It is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes extreme pain and swelling. Most of the pain starts in the feet and knees and can last for days. This condition is caused by hyperuricemia or excess uric acid in the blood.

15 Jul 2020

The Different Types of Italian Liqueurs

There are nearly 40 Italian liqueurs to choose from, each of them with their characteristic color, flavor, and aroma. To be able to distinguish each type of Italian liqueur, let’s break down the basics.

Alchermes is a dark-colored liqueur usually made with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, sugar, coriander, maces, orange zest, anise flowers, vanilla, and herbs.

Amaretto is primarily a sweet liqueur flavored with bitter almonds and is different from amaro liqueur.

Amaro is known for its aroma which may consist of one of a combination of herbs, flowers, spices, barks, roots, and leaves. Most amaro have syrupy, sweet, bitter, and dry taste depending on the infusion.

Anisette, also called anis, is an anise-flavored drink made with anise and licorice root.

Aperol is classified as an aperitif and is made with gentian, bitter orange, and rhubarb.

Aurum is a sweet liqueur made from brandy and citrus fruits.

Braulio is a type of amaro digestif that is made with roots, medicinal fruits, herbs and berries. Braulio is aged for two to three years before bottling.

Campari is a bittersweet variety of vermouth.

Centerbe has a green-colored liquid and is classified as a digestif. It is made from several medicinal herbs.

Cynar is a type of amaro which is made with 13 plants and herbs. Its name comes from one of its ingredients, artichoke.

Fernet is a type of amaro that is flavored with at least 40 spices and herbs, primarily saffron. It is classified as a digestif.

Frangelico is a hazelnut-flavored liqueur, which sometimes includes vanilla and cocoa.

Galliano is an anise-flavored liqueur primarily made from vanilla, licorice, anise, cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, juniper, lavender, musk yarrow, and other herbs.

Lemon liqueur are beverages made from a combination of liquor, sugar, and lemons.

Limoncello is lemon liqueur made from alcohol, water, and lemon zest. It is classified as a digestif.

Maraschino is cherry liqueur made from marasca cherries from which its name was derived.

Mirto is a bitter liqueur made from berries and myrtle plant leaves.

Nespolino is made from loquat fruit seeds, which produce a bitter taste.

Nocello, or nocino, is a walnut- or hazelnut-flavored liqueur with vanilla tones.

Passione nera has a dark purple color and is nearly similar to sambuca in flavor, but it also has hints of coriander and cardamom.

Ramazzotti is classified as a digestif and has a bitter taste.

Rosolio Is made with rose petals or rose essence, alcohol, sugar, and water.

Sambuca is an anise-flavored liqueur made from sugar, herbs, spices, witch elder bush, and licorice.

Sassolino is a star anise-flavored liqueur that was first commercialized in 1804.

Strega has a characteristic yellow color and is known for its sweet anise flavor. It is made up of sugar, herbs, and safran.

Tuaca has a beautiful amber color and sweet taste that hints of oranges and vanilla. Tuaca is a type of flavored brandy.

Vespetro is made with medicinal plants and spices. It is famous for its sweet anise flavor.

Zucca is classified as an aperitif and is made primarily with rhubarb.

12 Jul 2020

How to Avoid Falling for False Advertisements

Most of us have access to the internet nowadays, making it easier for companies to advertise their products like never before. Not all people pay attention to advertisements, however, and even think of them as nuisance because we think we can easily tune them out. That is not how it works at all.

What should you do to protect yourself from advertisements, especially those that send out false information?

Read all relevant information

If you are looking for a specific product, you need to research. Some advertisements do not provide everything or construct the message to make it more attractive to customers. After all, the goal is to sell the products or services. Before any purchase, read all relevant information especially the offers that seem significant in the advertisement.

Remember that legit ads should be clear

You could easily spot suspicious ads even if you have no background in advertising and marketing. Offers and conditions must be included in the advertisement clearly and concisely. If it is an ad on the internet, it should provide relevant links to the site to give the customers more information. If it takes you a while to get the information you need (e.g., you need to click various pages), then stay away from it.

Check prices carefully

Be wary of ads that post prices with asterisks beside it. Maybe that is not the full price for the product or service. You might have to pay separately for other charges like VAT, delivery, booking, etc. Before finalizing any online purchase for example, you should check the additional charges at the bottom of the ad or the page (usually in small font size) to avoid surprises. This is mostly a problem with online purchases and ticket providers.

Don’t believe exaggerations

Presentation is everything when it comes to ads. They need to stand out among competitors which is why they will exaggerate features or capabilities of their products and services. It does not necessarily mean they are misleading the customers, but you should not take things literally.

Read the small texts

Some ads like posters have extra text somewhere that most people don’t read. Usually, these contain important information that must be included but the company is hesitant to include because it can contradict the claims of the ad. You will see this more commonly when products are advertising marked down prices. There is usually a text somewhere that says, “on selected items only.”

Don’t fall for “going green” tactics

This is a common tactic to attract customers by appealing to guilt. It is so easy to post “recycled” or “environmentally friendly” then add some trees and endangered animals on the ad. But claims like these are usually untrue. Sure, the company may be taking steps to reduce waste and source sustainably but there are other aspects not shown on the ad such as packing, transportation, labor, etc. which might still be problematic.

17 Jun 2020

10 More Underrated JRPGs (If You’re Tired of Final Fantasy)

If you’ve only been playing AAA games released in the last ten years, you most likely missed out on a lot of JRPGs that weren’t as popular as the FF series.

Radiant Historia (2010)

The world is slowly devoured by desertification and as a consequence, survivors fight for control over available land and resources. Embroiled in a battle between nations, you control Stocke who was given a book capable of sending you back in time to prevent the disaster.

Secret of Evermore (1995)

You think having a dog companion is cute? How about this action RPG that features a shapeshifting dog as a companion in an alternate world? You can control either the boy or the dog while the AI controls the other you didn’t pick during battles. If you love the combat system is Secret of Mana, this is the one for you.

The Last Story (2011)

This action RPG is aptly named because it is set in a world where the life force is slowly being leached. You control only Zael and employ both stealth and tactical gameplay to progress the story, but you can use player commands for companions.

Arc the Lad (1995)

The first entry to an underrated tactical RPG, it centers on Arc’s search for his father. Exploration in the game is limited to dungeons, fields, and small areas and dialogues mostly happen during events. If you want to play the first game, you should look for Arc the Lad Collection which includes the trilogy.

Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (1995)

This prequel RPG, which includes puzzle elements, follows the story of Maxim during the start of the war between humans and the Sinistrals. You can play this game as an entry point to the Lufia series.

Grandia (1987)

It’s the introduction to the series of the same name and introduces Justine who is on a quest to discover a lost civilization. There are no random battles here because you can see the enemies on the field and you can even sneak up on them, unlike most of the FF games.

Shining Force II (1993)

Another tactical RPG on this list, you can play this game even if you’re not familiar with the first entry in the series. The exploration part is similar to that in open world games because there are no chapters and it allows for free roaming.

Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished (1987)

The entire Ys series has been around for a long time but it’s strangely underrated. This first entry is an action RPG was a pioneer when it comes to storytelling and introduces Adol, who was told that a looming threat was coming. To stop this evil from coming, he has to gather the six Ys books which contain secrets.

Riviera: The Promised Land (2002)

The first installment of the Dept. Heaven series, it features a dating sim, multiple possible endings, strategy elements, and unique movement features divided into look and move modes.

Wild Arms (1996)

A Western-themed turn-based JRPG with 3D-rendered battles, this game combines elements of puzzle solving, story-based scenarios, and combat.

17 Jun 2020

The Best Third-Person Shooter Games

Tired of first-person shooters? Or do you want to play something similar, but with a more immersive story and bigger map? These are the best third-person shooters that will fill those needs.

Gears of War (2006)

Delta Squad may be the last hope of the humans in the planet Sera against the Locust Horde. Marcus Fenix leads the defense, forcing the player to learn how to utilize different weapons and to use covers effectively against the enemies.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007)

This might seem like just another adventure game in a strange country, but Drake’s Fortune will utilize the player’s skills in problem-solving, platforming, and efficiency in the use of limited resources.

Tomb Raider (2013)

This is the 10th installment in the series which features enhanced graphics and gameplay from the original. If you loved the series, this will make you fall in love with Lara all over again and her arsenal of survival, combat, and stealth skills.

Resident Evil 4 (2005)

Out of all the games in the Resident Evil series, this is probably the most enjoyable. Your task is to control Leon Kennedy as he searches for a presidential daughter in a zombie-filled Spanish town.

Max Payne (2001)

The first game in the series introduces players to detective Max Payne in his search for justice for his murdered family. One of the game’s most notable characteristics is the use of neo-noir graphics and an immersive storyline.

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

This game is not just about your average cowboy. Following the adventures of John Marston, whose family was kidnapped by government forces to force him to kill some people, the player can choose to explore the American West through various side missions or pursue his main goal of getting his family back.

Vanquish (2010)

Vanquish has a unique gameplay in its ability to blend beat ‘em up and bullet hell games. The player will take control of agent Sam Gideon and utilize the abilities of his Augmented Reaction Suit against various enemies.

Dead Space (2008)

The game will not just challenge your ability to control Isaac Clarke during combat, but will test your sanity against reanimated corpses in a mining spaceship. Some of these creatures require special tactics to defeat.

Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

If you have enjoyed most of the titles in the series so far, GTA V will give you three times that enjoyment with the ability to control three different characters in the game. You can choose to complete the missions or just explore the different areas of Los Santos and San Andreas countryside.

The Last of Us (2013)

This survival game introduces the player to Joel and Ellie in their journey across a post-apocalyptic landscape to escape the effects of the mutated fungus. You will explore different towns while avoiding cannibals and other infected creatures.

03 Feb 2020

What Happens During Blood Transfusion

Despite the advances made in the processes of identifying blood groups in humans, blood transfusion is still considered a potentially risky procedure and is recommended only when patients have no other options. This is to avoid transfusion-transmitted infections and acute hemolytic reactions.

Hospitals in Singapore have guidelines when it comes to donating and receiving blood components, which include red cells, platelets, granulocytes, cryoprecipitate, and fresh frozen plasma.

Matching Process and Compatibility

Before blood transfusion can occur, blood typing is performed for every donated blood bag. The results will make it easier to find stocks of blood bags for individuals who will need a blood transfusion in the future. There are eight blood types based on the combination of ABO and Rh antigens, such as; A positive, B positive, A negative, B negative, AB positive, AB negative, O positive, and O negative.

There are different guidelines for transfusion of plasma, cryoprecipitate, and platelets than those set for red blood cells transfusion. The same can be said for organ, tissue, and bone marrow donation, too. All of the donor samples are tested first for compatibility with the receiver to avoid reactions.

Antibody Screening

Once the blood typing is done, antibody screening is performed to determine if the receiver’s plasma has other antibodies present besides those already tested for A, B, and Rh. This means that there is still a possibility that the donor will not be compatible with the receiver even when the first test is completed. For red blood cells transfusion, there is also another test that should be performed called cross-matching after the antibody screening.

In this process, the donor’s red cells are mixed with the plasma of the receiver to observe the reaction. Cross-matching, however, is no longer needed for plasma and platelets transfusions.

Blood Transfusion

Once the doctors are satisfied with the results of the tests, blood transfusion is recommended. Red blood cells transfusion is monitored by a hospital staff to see if the receiver exhibits any reaction by checking the blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The process is usually completed within 4 hours, while each bag is given after every few hours.

Blood transfusion reactions nowadays are rare although they still pose a risk, but the more common problems come from infections from the donated blood. Individuals who experience the following symptoms within the next few days after the transfusion should contact the hospital right away: headache, itching, body pain, nausea and dizziness, difficulty breathing, and shivering.

Transfusion reactions include allergies, febrile reaction, lung injury, hemolytic reaction, and graft-versus-host disease. Possible infections to watch out for are bacterial contamination, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus, cytomegalovirus, other STDs, and other infections.

03 Feb 2020

The Best Horror Movies About Possession

If psychopaths and freaks running around with chainsaws bore you to death and if you’re laughing more at zombie films than you would at comedy movies, then it’s time to consider another horror subgenre that’s been growing in popularity recently—demons and possession.

These are the best titles you should watch.

The Exorcist (1973)

Adapted from the novel of the same title by William Peter Blatty, it tells the story of young Regan who seems to exhibit signs of possession after playing with an Ouija board. When her mother couldn’t find help from doctors, she turned to a troubled priest for help.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

The story is partly based on the life of Anneliese Michel who died after an exorcism rite. The film opens with an investigation into the death of a teenager who died after an exorcism was performed by a priest.

The Possession (2012)

Clyde Brenek and his children saw a wooden box at a yard sale and brought it home only to find out it could not be opened. When his daughter Emily finally opened the box, she found a few strange items stored inside.

The Rite (2011)

Based on the novel by Matt Baglio, the film introduces the audience to the exorcism rites performed by Roman Catholic priests. It is told from the point of view of Michael Kovak, a priest training to be an exorcist.

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

A documentary crew begins a project about Alzheimer’s disease, focusing specifically on an old woman who has been exhibiting strange symptoms of the illness.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

This is a series of films based on the most famous haunted house in New York and is also partly based on the book of the same title by Jay Anson. It was inspired by the supernatural case of the Lutz family who moved into a house with a history of grisly murders.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Based on the novel of the same name by Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby is about an expectant mother’s fears that her baby is of an interest to an evil cult. Terrifying events in their new apartment building only served to intensify Rosemary Woodhouse’s fear for her baby.

Fallen (1998)

A police detective, John Hobbes, finds himself entangled an unusual string of deaths right after the serial killer whom he helped capture was executed. Apparently, a copycat killer is reproducing the crimes, but when Hobbes followed the trail, he discovered something more sinister than a deranged killer on the loose.

18 Dec 2019