Chronic Diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary Heart Diseases
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
Diabetes (or Diabetes Mellitus) is a chronic disease. It is caused by insufficiency of pancreas-secreted insulin or malfunction of insulin in the control of blood glucose level. When the blood glucose cannot be converted into energy we need or stored in the liver, excess glucose accumulated in the blood will excreted in urine. This is called Diabetes.
Risk factors
  • Hereditary Factors: People who have family history of diabetes
  • Obesity: People with abdominal fat deposit
  • Middle-aged or elder people
  • Pregnancy: People who have given birth to heavy weight baby or suffered from diabetes during pregnancy
  • Lack of exercises
  • Irregular and unhealthy eating habits, smoking and drinking
  • Frequent thirsty
  • Frequent urination and increase amount of urine excretion
  • Increased appetite but decreased body weight
  • Easy fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Wound with healing difficulty and infection problem
  • Numbness, painful or weakness legs
To prevent diabetes, one should maintain an optimum body weight and waist circumference through a balanced diet, regular physical activity and refrain from alcohol consumption.
Basic Rules for Diabetes Treatment
  • Diet Control
  • Weight Management
  • Adequate Physical Activity
  • Medication Treatment
  • Self-Supervision
*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.
Coronary Heart Diseases
Heart Diseases refers to a broad spectrum of diseases related to the heart. Among different types of heart diseases, coronary heart disease constitutes a major portion of the mortality. Coronary heart disease is due to deposition of cholesterol and fat on the inside wall of arteries. This disease process is called atherosclerosis. Progressive atherosclerosis will cause progressive narrowing of coronary arteries or even complete blockage.
Risk factors
  • Family History
  • Hypertension, High fat and cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercises
  • Stressful and high pressure
  • Sudden death without any symptoms
  • Constricting chest pain lasts for few minutes; the pain or discomfort may expand to neck, shoulder, arm and lower jaw
  • Dizziness, perspiration, nausea, shortness of breath and palpitation
  • It typically occurs while doing exercises or during stress
  • The patient who suffers from heart failure feels shortness of breath and feels dropsy
  • Avoiding Smoking
  • Balanced diet, eat less the food with high saturated fat, eat more food with high fibre content
  • Regular check up and maintain an optimal blood pressure and cholesterol level
  • Maintain the ideal body weight
  • Proper treatment and monitoring of co-existing conditions such as diabetes and hypertension to reduce the progression of coronary heart disease
*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a chronic disease in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. A normal blood pressure is required to push the blood through the body and supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. But if blood pressure rises and stays elevated over time, a number of serious health problems may ensue, including stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and even early death.
Blood pressure is written as two figures. The first figure (systolic pressure) represents the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart contracts to pump blood, whereas the second or bottom figure (diastolic pressure) represents the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.
In general, for an adult, if systolic blood pressure (SBP) is persistently ≥ 140 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is persistently ≥ 90 mmHg, the person is said to have hypertension. SBP between 120 mmHg and 139 mmHg or DBP between 80 mmHg and 89 mmHg is considered pre-hypertension and should also be of concern. A child or adolescent is said to have hypertension if he or she has a SBP or DBP ≥ 95th percentile for age, height and gender on repeated measurements.
Risk factors
In over 90% of cases, no specific cause can be identified. These cases are called primary hypertension. A number of risk factors predispose a person to develop hypertension. These factors include: high salt intake, obesity, having a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, heavy drinking, inadequate sleep, stress, family history of hypertension and increasing age.
Hypertension seldom causes symptoms until complications develop. That is why it is considered a "silent killer". However, extremely high blood pressure may cause symptoms like dizziness, visual disturbance, headache, fatigue and facial flushing.
Having a balanced diet that is low in salt, keeping physically active, avoiding obesity, quitting smoking, refraining from alcohol consumption and managing stress are useful in preventing hypertension. Periodic checks for blood pressure can detect hypertension early. Proper management of hypertension can prevent its complications.
*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.
Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease. Our body has total 206 pieces of bones, which consists of cortical bone and trabecular bone. The proportion of these two types of bone would be different in various parts of body.
With advancing age, the body start aging and the bone metabolism slow down gradually, that lead loss in calcium inside the bone tissue; hence, the cavities within the bone becomes larger and more numerous, bone density decreased. In general, regular bone loss just indicated insufficient bone. If too much bone is resorbed or the resorption is too fast, osteoporosis will result.
Risk Factors
  • Family History of osteoporosis and fracture
  • Small body build
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Alcoholism
  • Lack of Calcium & Vitamin D
  • Consuming too much sodium (salt)
  • Lack of oestrogen in women with premature menopause (age < 40 years old) or after surgical removal of the ovaries
  • Imbalanced feeding, on a diet, too much pressure or over exercise at young age
  • Prolonged use of certain medications , such as steroids and under chemotherapy
  • Some diseases, such as thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis or nephropathy
  • Bones pain over a long period of time
  • Biting back pain when moving and working
  • Loss of height, stooped posture happened
  • Spine tends to curve and causes stomach disorder
  • Just a slight fall leads to a broken bone. The most common broken parts are on the spine, hip and wrist.
The most effective way of preventing Osteoporosis is to maintain a healthy lifestyle to minimize the calcium loss, especially replenish enough calcium and vitamin D as well as do more exercise at young age.
  • A balanced diet rich in calcium and magnesium
  • A moderate exposure to sunlight helps our body produce vitamin D, which is needed for absorption of calcium
  • Do weight-bearing exercise regularly (Weight-bearing exercises are the activities which require your bones to bear your body weight, such as Tai Chi, jogging, brisk walking, dancing, tennis, badminton etc.)
  • Avoid smoking and intake excessive caffeine-containing drinks, e.g. coffee and tea
How do I know if I was suffering from osteoporosis?
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is specifically used in the diagnosis and monitoring of treatment effect for osteoporosis. It measures bone density by X-rays (commonly measures the lower spine and the hip joint). The whole process is simple, quick and safe. If you suspect that you may be suffering from osteoporosis, please seek advice from your family doctor.

*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.
Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the commonest cancer in men and the third commonest in women, after breast cancer and colorectal cancer. It accounted for 16.0% of new cancer cases in 2013 1
Risk Factors
Lung cancer is more common in men, particularly over the age of 40. Major risk factors include:
  • Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke (also known as passive smoking)
  • Exposure to radon gas (a radioactive gas emanates from rocks and soils that may accumulate into the foundations of buildings)
  • Air pollution, including outdoors and indoors
  • Radiation exposure
  • Occupational exposure to certain chemicals or substances, such as asbestos, arsenic, chromium and nickel
  • Lower immunity, such as being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
The risk of lung cancer is much higher among smokers who are concomitantly exposed to polluted air and vapours that contain the substances mentioned above.
In the early stages, lung cancer usually has no noticeable symptoms. As it grows, it can affect the adjacent lung tissue causing symptoms that include:
  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood-stained phlegm
  • Chest infections that are recurrent or difficult to resolve
  • Hoarseness
  • Chest discomfort or pain when coughing or taking a deep breath
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Fatigue
  • Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoking
  • Observe occupational safety rules and proper use of protective equipment or clothing to reduce exposure to cancer-causing agents in workplaces.
If you notice any suspicious symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately. The doctor may carry out some investigations including x-ray, blood tests, and procedures to obtain lung fluid or tissue samples for laboratory examination.
Reference: 1
*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.
Liver Cancer
Liver cancer continues to be a major cause of cancer mortality in Hong Kong. It was the fourth commonest cancer in men and the ninth commonest cancer in women. It accounted for 6.4% of new cancer cases in 20132.
Risk Factors
Liver cancer is more common in men. Major risk factors of primary liver cancer are:
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection
  • Consumption of foods contaminated by aflatoxins (a toxin found in mouldy peanuts, wheat, soybeans and corn etc.)
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as vinyl chloride and arsenic
Early stage of liver cancer usually has no symptoms. Common symptoms include:
  • Pain in the abdomen, especially in upper right side of the abdomen
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Dark urine and pale stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
There are many ways to prevent liver cancer:
  • Vaccinate against HBV infection
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Stop smoking
  • Store food under dry and cool condition and discard food with signs of mould infestation
  • Practise safe sex (such as condom use) to protect against HBV and HCV transmission
  • Maintain a balanced diet, take more fruits and vegetables, and avoid fatty food
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and exercise regularly
What should I do if I have suspicious symptoms?
  • If you have infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C, or have cirrhosis of the liver, please consult your doctor to follow up your condition.
  • If you notice any suspicious symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately.
  • For suspected cases, the doctor may conduct some investigations such as blood tests, ultrasound, imaging tests and procedures to obtain liver tissue samples for laboratory examination.
Reference: 2
*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.
Breast Cancer
Breast cancer has been the commonest cancer among females in Hong Kong since the early 1990's. It accounted for 25.1% of all new cancers in females diagnosed in Hong Kong in 2013. Rarely, it may also occur in males. In 2013, there were 20 new cases of breast cancer in males 3
Risk Factors
Like other cancers, the risk of developing breast cancer depends on a number of risk factors and varies among individuals. In fact, many of the risk factors for breast cancer are linked to lifestyle habits.
Lifestyle risk factors include:
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Drinking alcohol (please note that alcohol or alcoholic beverages have been confirmed to be a human cancer-causing agent, causing breast and other cancers)
  • Obesity after menopause
Other risk factors include:
  • Advancing age
  • Early menarche ( < 12 years of age) or late menopause ( > 55 years of age)
  • No childbirth, late first live birth (>30 years of age) or no breastfeeding
  • History of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or endometrial cancer
  • History of benign breast conditions (e.g. atypical hyperplasia) or lobular carcinoma in situ
  • Receiving hormonal replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Using combined oral contraceptives
  • History of receiving radiation therapy to the chest before age of 30
  • Carrier of certain gene (e.g. BRCA1 or BRCA2) mutations confirmed by genetic testing
  • Family history of carrier of certain gene (e.g. BRCA1 or BRCA2) mutations
  • Family history of breast cancer, especially for first-degree relatives (e.g. mother, sister or daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer before age of 50

If you have any of the above factors, it does not mean that you must have breast cancer – it only means that your risk of developing breast cancer may be higher than average.
The symptoms of breast cancer may not be easily noticed at an early stage. The most common symptom of breast cancer is a breast lump. Any of the following changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • A change in skin texture of the breast or nipple (e.g. red, scaly, thickened or “orange-skin” appearance)
  • Rash around the nipple
  • In-drawing of the nipple
  • Discharge from one or both nipples
  • New and persistent discomfort or pain in the breast or armpit
  • A new lump or thickening in the armpit
You can prevent or lower the risks of having breast cancer by adopting the following healthy lifestyle habits:
  • Have regular physical activities, do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activities per week (e.g. climbing stairs or brisk walking)
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and waist circumference – aim for a body mass index (BMI)* between 18.5 and 22.9, and a waist circumference of not more than 80cm (about 32 inches) for women
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Have childbirth at an earlier age and breastfeed each child for longer duration
  • BMI* formula: Weight (kg) / [Height (m)] 2
How can I detect breast cancer early?
The earlier breast cancer is detected, the higher the chance of cure. Therefore, every woman should be breast aware. You should protect your breast the same way as caring your skin by being aware of any abnormal changes. In order to spot unusual changes early on, you need to be familiar with the normal look, feel and cyclical changes of your breasts. If you spot any irregular change in your breasts, you should inform your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will ask you for relevant information and medical history. He/she will perform a physical examination on you and may carry out some other investigations.
Reference: 3
*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.
Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer has been the seventh commonest cancer among females in Hong Kong and accounted for 3.6% of all new cancer cases in females in 2013 4. Cervical cancer is a cancer that starts in the cervix. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection with one of the cancer-causing or high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types. HPV infection is usually found in persons who have ever been sexually active. Most people with HPV infection do not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own. Some females with persistent high-risk HPV infection in the cervix will develop pre-cancerous cell changes. While the majority of these changes will regress to normal, some may progress to cancer over years.
Risk Factors
Risk factors for the progression from HPV infection to cervical cancer include:
  • Having multiple sexual partners or sexual partner with multiple sexual partners
  • Sexual intercourse at an early age
  • Co-infection with sexually-transmitted diseases
  • Smoking
  • Weakened immunity such as infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Long term use of oral contraceptive for more than 5 years (the risk returns to normal after 10 years of stopping use)
  • Increasing parity (number of babies born) and younger age at first pregnancy
Despite the above risk factors, regular cervical cancer screening and timely treatment of the detected pre-cancerous changes can prevent cervical cancer. However, the most commonly neglected risk factor is failure to get a regular cervical cancer screen.
Abnormal cell changes in the cervix or early stage of cervical cancer may have no symptoms at all. The most common symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which include vaginal bleeding between periods, during or after sexual intercourse, or after menopause. Other symptoms include vaginal discharge with foul smell, pelvic pain or blood in urine.
Please note that the presence of any of these symptoms does not mean that you have cervical cancer. You should consult a doctor if you develop any symptoms.
Cervical cancer can be prevented by reducing the HPV infection and the progression from persistent HPV infection to cervical cancer. Here are some preventive measures:
  • Practice safe sex, such as avoid having multiple sexual partners and use condoms, to reduce the chance of HPV infection and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases
  • Avoid smoking
  • Get HPV vaccination before initiation of sexual activity
Apart from the measures highlighted above, cervical cancer screening offers you additional protection.
What is cervical cancer screening?
Cervical smear (also named Pap smear) is a simple and quick cervical cancer screening test which can detect early abnormal changes in cervical cells. With early detection and early treatment, these abnormal cell changes could be prevented from developing into cervical cancer.
Who needs cervical cancer screening?
Cervical cancer screening is for healthy women who have no symptom.
  • Women aged 25-64 who ever had sex, irrespective of marital status, are recommended to receive regular cervical cancer screening.
  • Women aged 65 years or above who ever had sex and have never had cervical cancer screening should talk to the doctor about having a cervical smear, even if they no longer have periods, haven't had sex for many years or had sterilization.
  • Women aged below 25 years old who ever had sex and risk factors for cervical cancer (such as multiple sexual partners, smoking, weakened immunity), should seek advice from doctors concerning the need for cervical cancer screening.
  • Women who have received HPV vaccination still need regular cervical cancer screening because HPV vaccination does not protect against the HPV types not included in the vaccine, nor against existing HPV infections.
  • Women who have never had sex do not need cervical cancer screening.
  • Women who have hysterectomy with removal of cervix for benign diseases and without prior history of cervical changes can discontinue screening.
Reference: 4
*The articles under Health Corner are for general information only and are not treat as medical opinions.