[COLUMN] Your queries

DO cellphone radiation shields work?

No, the so-called “radiation shields” for cell phones do not work, and therefore are not effective in protecting the user from radiation, reports the FTC in the United States. If anything at all, this shield “lulls” the user to complacency and thus the user is subjected to a more prolonged radiation exposure because of the false sense of security the unsuspecting consumers will have. While the association between cell phone use and some type of brain tumors is still unclear, it is best to avoid and minimize any type of radiation exposure from whatsoever source. To reduce radiation exposure from cell phones, we recommend the use one of the hands-free devices now commercially available.

Can skin ointment be used for the eyes?

No, most definitely, no. Skin lotions, creams, gel, ointments, and solutions, are for topical (external or skin) application only and are not safe for the eyes. There are specific drops and ointments for the eyes. Never use any other preparation, except those prescribed by healthcare professionals specifically for the eyes, which are always labeled “Ophthalmic” or “For ophthalmic use.”

How does tobacco hurt the smoker?

Besides the tissue irritation on the breathing pipes and lungs caused by the fumes and the various toxic chemicals in the cigarette, tobacco also thickens the blood, which makes the smoker (active or passive) more prone to thrombosis (blood clot formation) in the arteries and veins, and aggravates arteriosclerosis (hardening of the artery). On top of this, smoking also speeds up the process of arteriosclerosis (especially the arteries of the heart and brain, abdomen and legs). Smoking can also cause cancer of the breathing pipes and/or the lungs and cancers in other organs in the body in either gender. Stained teeth and fingers, smoker’s bad breath and a household that smells like tobacco fumes are the more minor effects of smoking.

What causes palpitation?

Palpitation (pounding heartbeat, harder and faster than normal) could be due to extrinsic causes like ingestion of a stimulant (coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolates, some medications, etc.) and/or cigarette smoking, or due to intrinsic causes like coronary or heart valve diseases. The person feels the heart thumping in his/her chest which could lead to some degree of discomfort and anxiety. When this happens regularly, in spite of abstinence from the extrinsic causes listed above, prompt medical consultation is recommended.

Are body moisturizing lotions safe?

Yes, in general, hand and body lotions in the market are safe. The frequent (two or more times a day) use of hand and body lotion is recommended because our skin needs moisture to keep it comfortable, healthy and as young looking as possible. Caution: some people may be allergic to some of these commercially available skin moisturizers.

Does diabetes cause blindness?

Most definitely, especially among persons whose diabetes is untreated, poorly treated or simply brittle and hard to treat. The blindness is due to what is termed diabetic retinopathy. A significant number of blindness in the world today is caused by diabetes. Once the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is confirmed, prompt and appropriate therapy should be instituted. The diabetic should be disciplined enough to religiously follow the prescribed medical regimen if the complications of the disease, like blindness, leg gangrene, etc. are to be prevented.

Can hydrogen peroxide be used for gargling?

Yes, hydrogen peroxide could be used for gargling, but ask your dentist first since he/she knows your dental condition better and can advise you accordingly. Hydrogen peroxide, together with sodium fluoride and other common ingredients (like triclosan) in toothpastes, help prevent tooth decay, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), tartar and plaque formation, and halitosis (bad breath). Hydrogen peroxide is a substance that is incorporated in many toothpaste preparations in the market today. Baking soda is another. For children, the anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis effectiveness of toothpaste are still not proven.

What is cardioversion?

Cardioversion, as the term suggests, means converting the heart rhythm from an abnormal one to a so-called normal and regular sinus rhythm, either by medications or by electrical (shock) “zapping.” The term is most often used to imply electrical cardioversion. This is done when the type of abnormality of the rhythm of the heart is one of the dangerous forms that adversely affects the vital signs of the person or one that could potentially cause cerebral emboli (blood clots from within the heart) traveling to the brain resulting in stroke. The two paddles (“zappers”), held one in each hand of the cardioverting personnel (a physician, a nurse or a medical technician) are applied on the mid-chest of the patient and the heart is “electrically shocked” to a normal rhythm or to a safer, more benign form of irregularity. In some persons with a heart disease, it may not be possible to convert the rhythm to a perfect sinus rhythm. In these cases, the goal is to convert the rhythm to an acceptable more benign rhythm.

Does surgery make cancer spread?

No, this is a myth. Doing surgery or “opening the patient up” does not cause metastasis (spread) of the cancer. In general, cancer proliferates rapidly to invade surrounding tissues and distant organs. The misconception resulted from the refusal of patients suspected or confirmed to have cancer to be operated on early when first advised and had delayed the surgery so much that the malignant tumor had already spread beyond help before acceding to have the operation. So, when the surgeons operated on them that late, invariably the cancer had already spread all over. When the patients soon expired, people blamed the surgery as the cause of the spread. Today, almost everybody knows that prompt detection and early operation in the treatment of cancer gives the best chance for a cure for a greater number of patients with malignancy.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected].


Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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