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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Cutting back on salt saves lives

Posted: 20 Apr 2014 09:20 PM PDT

"Kurang manis" is a taste we're all after. But study shows that "kurang masin" is just as important for the reduction of heart attacks and stroke incidents.

Have nutritional awareness campaigns had an impact on the British population over the past decade? Absolutely, according to a recent study published in the medical journal BMJ Open.

A reduction in daily salt intake is thought to be linked to a 40% reduction in the rate of mortality by heart attack or stroke in Britain, according to a scientific analysis of health data collected between 2003 and 2011.

Carried out by researchers at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and the Queen Mary University of London, the study was based primarily on an analysis of data from the nationwide Health Survey for England and the National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

The researchers looked at blood pressure and salt intake statistics from the two surveys between 2003, when a nationwide salt reduction program was initiated in Britain, and 2011. Their conclusions indicated that salt intake declined by 15% over the eight-year period, or by 1.4g per individual per day, on average, while blood pressure also decreased significantly.

Next, using data from the UK Office for National Statistics, the researchers concluded that the rate of mortality from stroke dropped from 134/100,000 in 2003 to just 78/100,000 in 2011, a decrease of 40%. Similarly, the rate of mortality from ischemic heart disease (IHD) dropped by 42% (from 232/100,000 to 139/100,000) over the same period.

For the authors of the study, the decreases in salt intake, blood pressure and mortality by stroke and IHD are very likely linked. However, there is still room for progress. According to the survey results, eight out of 10 men and six out of 10 women still consume too much salt.

WHO's maximum recommended salt intake is 5g per day, or around one teaspoon. To avoid going over the limit, it is best to avoid processed and prepackaged foods, which tend to be particularly high in salt. — AFP Relaxnews

Myths and misconceptions of aesthetic procedures

Posted: 19 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

There are many misconceptions about aesthetic procedures, thanks to pop culture and unfounded beliefs.

"Really? You look so... real!" 

That statement, coupled with incredulous looks, is the common reaction I get when I tell my friends and clients that I have had numerous aesthetic procedures performed on myself, including Botulinum toxin injections, fillers, various types of lasers, and an occasional skin peel or two.

As an aesthetic doctor whose job is to reduce physical flaws and enhance beauty, I have encountered numerous misconceptions that the general public has regarding aesthetic procedures, no doubt fuelled by Hollywood movies and Korean drama shows.

Many Malaysians believe that anyone who undergoes aesthetic procedures will get an unnatural, expressionless and tight appearance on their faces, but this is often untrue.

The wind-blown, robotic look sported by certain local celebrities (you know who they are!), help perpetuate the idea that you'll end up looking as "natural" as Dr Evil from the Austin Powers movies, once you decide to go under the knife.

That unflattering appearance on some people may be due to aggressive facelift surgeries of yesteryear. Modern facelifts aim to give a natural, subtle enhancement.

An experienced doctor can give you results that look and feel absolutely natural. You'll emerge from the doctor's office looking fresh and rejuvenated, but nobody would be able to tell that you had had a procedure done.

Another common wrong belief is that if you were to undergo an aesthetic procedure, you will need to continue doing so for eternity, or you'll end up looking much worse than before the treatment.

This, I assure you, is also untrue. If you decide not to continue with the maintenance sessions, you will look like your usual self prior to the treatment, and not turn into Frankenstein's monster, destined to hide in the forest shadows.

I've also had clients bringing in photos of their favourite celebrities and telling me their deep desire to have Justin Bieber's nosetip, Angelina Jolie's luscious lips and Cindy Crawford's pert bosom, among others.

As aesthetic professionals, we have to tell them that while we may be able to enhance their chosen bits and pieces, we are unable to promise that they will look exactly like their idol.

This is because each person has unique anatomical structures, genetics, skin and tissue characteristics, as well as lifestyles. For these reasons, different people respond differently to the same aesthetic procedure.

I also have had patients expecting perfection, or flawless results.

Unfortunately, this might not be achievable. Whilst I am able to greatly reduce the appearance of their acne scars or help lighten their pigmentation, in many cases, it is not possible to fully remove their imperfections.

It is imperative that patients get a proper consultation and advice from their doctor to tone down unrealistic expectations.

I've had to politely turn down clients who expected nothing less than perfection. I'm a physician, not a wizard capable of magic and miracles.

Some patients may think that only one treatment session will give the desired results, whereas in reality, multiple treatment sessions may be necessary.

I sometimes encounter patients who think their results will last them a lifetime.

The truth is that maintenance sessions are often needed. The longevity of the results differ from person to person based on their lifestyle and genes.

Lastly, I would like to impress upon you that aesthetics is not only the domain, or only within the reach, of Tan Sris, Datins, bored tai tais, local celebrities and model wannabes.

We see a myriad of clients, including college students, housewives, office workers and tourists, both male and female.

Our fellow Malaysians realise the importance and advantages of dashing good looks, and people will strive to look their best, whoever they may be.

Aesthetic procedures are also not as expensive as you think. There are numerous options for the budget-conscious and various easy payment options.

So, what are you waiting for? Head to your nearest aesthetic physician today for a consultation!

> Dr Chen Tai Ho is an experienced aesthetic doctor who chills by the pool sipping espresso latte when he's not attending to his patients. For further information, e-mail The information provided is for educational purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care. 

The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.


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