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Forty and Beyond

the life of a fortysomething

February 12, 2024

Bye situationships? A loving partner can be good for your heart


MakatiMed explains how your romantic relationship impacts your heart health


Everyone knows that being in love and being loved in return is one of the best feelings in the world. The kilig factor that comes from being in a happy relationship makes your days happier and even a mundane errand turns into a cherished memory with the right person. 

Rosario Soledad C. Neri-Velhagen, MD from the Section of Cardiology at the top hospital in the Philippines Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed) reveals that science backs loving relationships as they can contribute to one’s heart health. 

“Research suggests that strong relationships, particularly in marriage, contribute to overall health. A 2017 study found unmarried individuals with heart disease had a 52% higher likelihood of a heart attack or cardiovascular-related death over nearly four years compared to married counterparts with heart conditions. Overall, data indicates a lower mortality rate for married individuals compared to those never married, divorced, or widowed,” explains Dr. Neri-Velhagen. 

According to Dr. Neri-Velhagen, how it works is that the feeling of being in love releases hormones such as oxytocin, which is released in response to hugging, kissing, and other forms of physical touch. Such hormones decrease stress levels and promote calm and relaxation. 

“When you’re relaxed, this helps the blood vessels dilate more and ultimately lower your blood pressure,” shares Dr. Neri-Velhagen. “A decrease in blood pressure means less force is exerted on the walls of the arteries with each heartbeat, improving overall heart health.”

Even just thinking of your partner helps. “Studies using imaging techniques reveal that looking at pictures of a romantic partner triggers the parts of the brain associated with mood and pain regulation,” says Dr. Neri-Velhagen. “The thought of one's partner may enhance energy levels by improving blood glucose levels. Healthy blood glucose levels prevent damage to your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels, decreasing the risk of heart disease over time.” 

Of course, the right partner might also encourage you to adopt healthier lifestyle habits. “Doctors can give all the advice they want but the truth is you’re more likely to listen to your spouse if they urge you to eat healthier and exercise more,” admits Dr. Neri-Velhagen.

The next time you see your special person, don’t just thank them for their love, thank them too for giving you a healthier heart. And if you don’t have anyone just yet, be patient and wait for the right one—the one that won’t give you heartaches and heartbreaks. Your heart will thank you for it. 

For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email mmc@makatimed.net.ph, or visit www.makatimed.net.ph. Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter.

January 29, 2024

Embracing Solo Love: A Guide on Celebrating Valentine's Day Alone


Valentine's Day is traditionally associated with love, romance, and couples sharing special moments together. However, being single on Valentine's Day doesn't mean you can't enjoy the day and celebrate self-love. In fact, it's an excellent opportunity to focus on yourself and create a day filled with joy and self-care. Let us explore some creative and meaningful ways to celebrate Valentine's Day alone.

Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

Begin the day by indulging in a spa-like experience at home. Draw a warm bath, light some candles, and use your favorite skincare products. Take the time to relax and pamper yourself – you deserve it!

Cook a Special Meal

Instead of going out or ordering in, try cooking a special meal for yourself. Choose your favorite dish or experiment with a new recipe. Set the table, use your best dinnerware, and savor the flavors. It's a wonderful way to show yourself some culinary love.

Write Yourself a Love Letter

Take a moment to reflect on your accomplishments, strengths, and the things you love about yourself. Write a heartfelt love letter to yourself, expressing gratitude for who you are. This exercise can be a powerful reminder of self-worth and self-love.

Plan a Movie Night

Create a cozy movie night at home with your favorite films or explore new ones. Whether it's romantic comedies, action movies, or documentaries, choose films that bring you joy. Don't forget the popcorn!

Explore a Hobby

Use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to engage in a hobby you love or try something new. Whether it's painting, reading, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, immersing yourself in activities you enjoy can be fulfilling.

Connect with Loved Ones

While Valentine's Day is often associated with romantic love, it's also a great time to connect with friends and family. Reach out to loved ones, schedule a virtual hangout, or plan a casual get-together. Surrounding yourself with positive connections can uplift your spirits.

Take a Solo Adventure

If possible, consider taking a solo day trip or exploring a nearby park or scenic area. Nature has a way of rejuvenating the soul, and spending time outdoors can be a refreshing way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Practice Gratitude

Set aside some time to reflect on the positive aspects of your life. Create a gratitude journal and write down the things you are thankful for. Focusing on gratitude can shift your perspective and enhance your overall well-being.

Valentine's Day is not exclusive to couples; it's an opportunity for everyone to celebrate love, including self-love. Embrace the day with open arms, treating yourself with kindness and appreciation. By engaging in activities that bring you joy and practicing self-care, you can turn Valentine's Day into a celebration of your own worth and happiness.

January 13, 2024

Moving with Purpose: The Top 10 Vitamins and Minerals Needed by Your Body


Going from place to place and chasing one task after another, you might think that you’re already doing enough to keep your body moving and your health goals on track. But having an active lifestyle does not automatically equate to living a completely healthy life. It must be supplemented with the correct vitamins and minerals for our body to function at its best. Therefore, a thorough understanding of these components is necessary. For all efforts in building an active and healthy lifestyle will be in vain if we are not knowledgeable with what kinds of vitamins and minerals must go in our body and how they correspond to our daily needs.

Here's a quick guide on the top 10 vitamins and minerals needed by the body and the problem areas they address according to pharmaceutical experts.

1. Vitamin A is known to maintain a strong heart, immunity, and eye and lung health thus addressing all problems related to these. 

2. Vitamin B is in charge of converting macro and micronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. Therefore, it is necessary for healthy metabolism as well as cell development, growth, and function. It also ensures the peak condition of our hair and nails. Vitamin B helps with problems involving the nervous and digestive system, the brain, and the skin. 

3. Vitamin C is among the most heard vitamins on the list. It helps the immune system and increases iron absorption from plant-based foods and supplements. Since it’s an antioxidant, vitamin C protects our cells from damaging free radicals. It also aids in wound healing by helping our body produce collagen. Hence, vitamin C is helpful in maintaining healthy veins and arteries, muscles, cartilage, tendons, bones, teeth, and skin. 

4. Vitamin D builds strong bones by helping our body absorb calcium from food and supplements. It also boosts the functioning of the immune system while supporting healthy cell growth as well as muscle and cardiovascular function. 

5. Vitamin E helps defend our cells against the oxidative stress caused by sunlight, pollution, and stress which can prematurely age the skin. When combined with zinc, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, vitamin E also help maintain long-term eye health.

6. Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in immune function and is essential for normal growth and development during pregnancy and childhood. It is an antioxidant that plays a vital role in overall health. It is mostly involved in many processes, including metabolism, vision and skin health. Zinc also appears to provide support to other antioxidants involved in supporting visual acuity.

7. Sodium plays a critical role in helping your cells maintain the right balance of fluid. It’s also used to help cells absorb nutrients. It’s the most abundant electrolyte ion found in the body. It is an essential mineral controlled by your kidneys and partially responsible for keeping your body’s fluids in balance. This includes blood plasma and the fluid between your cells. Sodium is also necessary to maintain healthy muscle and nerve function.

8. Potassium allows the nerves to respond to stimulation and the muscles to tighten, which are processes especially critical to your heart function. Your body also needs potassium to build proteins and muscles. It’s required for growth throughout your body and helps regulate the use of carbohydrates. Potassium is abundant in the average diet. 

9. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is crucial for structural support. It is necessary for healthy bones, teeth, muscle, and nerve function. It is also a critical part of many metabolic, neurological and muscular functions. 

10. Magnesium helps more than 300 enzymes that regulate various processes in the body, including muscle and nerve function, heart rhythms and glucose control. Magnesium is critical for helping the body use calcium and vitamin D so that it can strengthen the bones. It also supports energy production and cardiovascular function.

It seems daunting to remember the importance of these 10 vitamins and minerals. But there are various sources from which they can be acquired such as meal replacement shakes. USANA Philippines offers a variety of meal replacement shakes under their active nutrition line namely: Nutrimeal, Fibergy Active, and Watermelon Electrolyte Replacement Drink. All of which takes less than a minute to prepare. In quick and easy steps, people on the go will be able to secure the nutrients they need and move with ease. 

Indeed, it is important to know what our body needs to keep us healthy and active. But the process does not stop there. It is what you do with the information you gained that will affect the results. What will you do now? 


Transform Your Life: 6 Simple Resolutions to Keep Beyond the New Year


As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, people around the world make resolutions, setting ambitious goals for self-improvement. However, studies show that by mid-February, a significant number have already abandoned their resolutions. Dr. Jon Edward B. Jurilla, Section Chief of Psychiatry at Makati Medical Center, suggests a different approach for 2024—small, achievable tweaks to daily routines that lead to long-lasting positive impacts. Here are six simple resolutions recommended by MakatiMed that you can easily integrate into your life.

Sleep Well

Commit to getting 7-9 hours of sleep most nights of the week. Quality sleep plays a crucial role in physical and mental well-being. Dr. Jurilla emphasizes that adequate sleep improves mood, reduces stress, sharpens cognitive abilities, and contributes to maintaining a healthy weight, lowering the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart conditions.

Eat More Veggies

Enhance your diet by consuming 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This simple adjustment can aid in weight loss, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Dr. Jurilla advises including a variety of colorful produce in your meals, ensuring a diverse range of nutrients.

Get an Annual Health Screening

Prioritize preventive care by scheduling a yearly health checkup with diagnostic exams. Early detection of diseases, even those without noticeable symptoms, allows for timely treatment. This proactive approach can save you from expensive and stressful hospital confinements, ultimately prolonging your life.

Exercise Your Brain

Challenge your mind beyond mindless social media scrolling. Engage in activities like word games, puzzles, reading, or memorizing poetry. Dr. Jurilla highlights the cognitive benefits of regular mental stimulation, such as enhanced memory, prevention of depression, and a reduced risk of dementia.

Practice Mindfulness

In the midst of worries about the future or dwelling on the past, embrace mindfulness. Dr. Jurilla defines it as open, active attention to the present moment, promoting objective observation of thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can lead to greater peace, reducing tendencies toward anger, anxiety, and depression.

Chill

Prioritize relaxation, a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Taking time for activities that bring joy and peace—whether it's gardening, dancing, meeting friends, or meditating—recharges your mind and body. Dr. Jurilla emphasizes that being well-rested and relaxed prepares you to face life's challenges with renewed energy and a positive mindset.

Instead of setting grandiose resolutions that often lead to disappointment, consider integrating these simple and sustainable tweaks into your daily routine. By focusing on achievable goals, you can make 2024 a year of positive transformation for both yourself and those around you. Remember, the key is to embrace small changes that lead to lasting well-being and happiness.

December 10, 2023

A grown-up Christmas (stress buster) list: MakatiMed shares tips to ward off holiday stress


For Filipinos, the holidays bring some of the best times—but they can also be the most stressful! Between frantic gift shopping, excruciatingly slow holiday traffic, and even pressing concerns about the rising cost of goods, there’s a lot that can take the ‘Merry’ away from Christmas.


Edgardo Juan L. Tolentino, Jr., MD from the Department of Neuropsychiatry at the top hospital in the Philippines Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed) shares that holiday stress is a very real thing. “Holiday stress typically comes from coping with high expectations to make every meal and gift perfect, to attend every single party,” explains Dr. Tolentino. “It shares many of the typical symptoms of regular stress such as anxiety, headaches, inability to sleep, body aches, and irritability. Since we cannot completely remove stress from our lives, we should find ways to lessen its impact on our overall wellbeing.” 

MakatiMed shares a few stress-busting strategies over the holidays. 

Plan ahead. The season of get-togethers requires some serious logistics. “Being prepared is one of the best ways to alleviate stress. It can be something as simple as buying gifts ahead of time or as elaborate as plotting the best and traffic-less route going to the in-laws. It’s also wise to make a to-do list of all your needs and activities this season, so nothing slips from your mind,” shares Dr. Tolentino. 

Embrace the Christmas spirit. It’s time to amp up the holiday cheer at home! Throw on a joyous Paskong Pinoy playlist or light some Christmas-themed candles like cinnamon or peppermint. Or simply clean your room or the entire house to give you a sense of clarity and peace of mind during these stressful times. “Your surroundings play a crucial part in regulating stress. Whatever it is you like to do, do whatever it takes to make sure you have an environment you can relax in,” reminds Dr. Tolentino. 

Set healthy boundaries. Filipinos know it all too well—a big chunk of holiday stress comes from dealing with judgmental titas or other toxic relatives. “It’s not easy, but it’s best to accept that some family members can be difficult. If things get tense with someone, remember that you can only control how you respond. While you don’t have to please them, you also don’t have to be rude,” says Dr. Tolentino. “If it’s possible, inform your family which topics you’re uncomfortable with. It may also be helpful to set a time limit when you’re together, leave early if you need to. You don’t have to stay if you’re feeling all stressed out.” 

Just say no. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’, especially if you’re already spreading yourself too thin. “Recognize that it's perfectly acceptable to send your regrets. It’s okay to refuse invites that are already in conflict with your initial plans,” notes Dr. Tolentino. “Learn to say no, and you’ll also learn that people are actually okay with that too. By being intentional with your commitments, you’ll find more time for opportunities and activities that genuinely bring you joy and maybe you’ll find the time to sneak in some much-needed holiday R&R too.” 

MakatiMed reminds people not to lose sight of what truly matters this holiday season—spending time with your family and friends. “With all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget that the holidays were originally a time meant for our loved ones. Keeping this in mind will help you put things in perspective and even better cope with annoyances like long lines and traffic,” shares Dr. Tolentino. “Take it easy and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.”

For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email mmc@makatimed.net.ph, or visit www.makatimed.net.ph. Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter.

December 04, 2023

Prevent the Surge of Illness: 6 Expert Ways to Prevent Kids From Getting the Flu


The World Health Organization (WHO) has observed a surge in respiratory illnesses among children in northern China since mid-October 2023. Chinese authorities attribute this increase to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the onset of the cold season, leading to the circulation of known pathogens such as influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Mycoplasma pneumonia and RSV are known to affect children more than adults.

In our quest to ensure the safety of ourselves and our loved ones, we must find proactive approaches to cleanliness both inside and outside our homes. Traditional cleaning methods may not be the most practical solution anymore - damp rags, walis, and feather dusters just won’t cut it (sometimes they can even bring in invisible invaders such as viruses, allergens, and bacteria inside the home). The CDC recommends a few solutions to lower the likelihood of transmission:

  • Increasing airflow by using portable high-efficiency particulate air filtration systems (i.e. Air Purifiers)
  • Using natural ventilation when possible
  • Using ultraviolet (UV-C) germicidal irradiation as a supplement to help inactivate the virus

The CDC's recommendation for ultraviolet (UV-C) germicidal irradiation refers to ASHRAE's (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) position on airborne infectious diseases. As stated in their position statement, "ASHRAE will continue to support research that advances the state of knowledge in the specific techniques that control airborne infectious disease transmission through HVAC systems, including ventilation rates, airflow regimes, filtration, and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI)."

In fact, trusted brands have been relying on this technology. Germ-protection innovators such as UV Care have been employing this into different devices to help eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in the air and on surfaces to help us be more proactive in keeping ourselves and loved ones protected. 

Find out trusted germ protection devices and other science-proven must-knows to get away from the flu and other viruses this season: 

1. Update your vaccines

If you haven’t yet, update your vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual shot for everyone aged 6 months and older. It lowers your chance of getting the flu, and having complications from the flu. 

Most Philippine hospitals and clinics offer the anti-flu vaccine, but if you prefer not to risk exposure in the waiting room, home vaccination is approved by the DOH in the Philippines. You can also get it with your COVID-19 booster, but make sure to consult your doctor first. 

2. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces

Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, laptops, cellphones, light switches, and countertops. 

"UV-C sterilization has gained recognition as a powerful tool in surface disinfection. It not only offers a quick and chemical-free approach but is also effective in eliminating deadly and superbugs, providing an added layer of protection."

But take note not all UV devices are the same! According to experts at UV Care, when choosing a UV sterilizer, choose only genuine UV-C devices as these are the ones most effective for germ protection while UV-A is most effective for skin aging, and UV-B for burning. 

We recommend the UV Care Pocket Sterilizer, your best investment for protection on the go. Handy and lightweight, this sterilizer uses UV-C germicidal technology which means it can kill up to 99.99% of surface pathogens. Carry it with you on car rides, commutes, and when handling your mobile phones, tablets, laptops, remotes, keys, and the like to avoid transferring bacteria from one surface to the other - especially useful for a quick swipe over kid’s toys and devices. 

3. Wear a mask outdoors

Honestly, this should be number one. We all know its benefits already, it protects our sensitivities from viruses, smog, vog, pollution, and the like. People who are not ill and choose to wear a mask can get the best protection by wearing one every time they are in public and at home when around others, according to the CDC. 

4. Keep indoor air clean

Combat the flu with modern solutions - keep your indoor air clean with an air purifier at home. 

Air purifiers usually come with a lot of skepticism because of the complex technology behind how they operate. Although 100% proven by experts, some models in the market can be a total bust since not all air purifiers are the same; so make sure to get a FDA-approved air purifier only from trusted brands. 

Given the multitude of brands available, it is essential to choose a device that has garnered trust and proven effectiveness. This ensures that the product not only works but also delivers immediate and tangible benefits.

We recommend the UV Care Air Purifiers as they are lab-tested and proven effective by multiple independent testing laboratories. "UV Care has achieved Class II Medical Device classification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for its air cleaning products, affirming their safety and effectiveness.”

Adding a UV Care air purifier can eliminate episodes of asthma and allergic rhinitis as it gets rid of these triggers in the air. It also has been tested to instantly kill SARS-CoV-2 & viruses and eliminates 99.9% of airborne pathogens, odors and molds at home, in the office. You can also travel safely with the portable UV Care Pure Air Portable Air Purifier

Experts from UV Care have led innovations in germ-protection technology, and they emphasize on studying the product and make sure the air purifier comes with Highest Medical Grade HEPA filters combined with Activated Carbon filters and UV-C for disinfection providing the total air care protection. You can check out how these filtration systems help protect your home on the UV Care website.

5. Sterilize home surfaces 

According to the International WELL Building Institute, keeping surfaces germ-free is crucial. Surfaces can be made antimicrobial with UV-C light. For high-touch spots like countertops and handles, they should either be made germ-resistant or regularly cleaned with a UV-C device, ensuring a safer environment for everyone.

UV Care’s Room sterilizers are designed to prevent the spread of the virus or 'hawa-hawa,' ensuring faster recovery and preventing further contamination. Using Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light, these sterilizers target and eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in the air and on surfaces, reaching hard-to-reach crevices and ceilings. Perfect for just about any personal and commercial space such as schools, offices, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, salons, movie theaters, hotels, and restrooms, among others.

6. Stay on top of your diet 

Eating a diet rich in nutrients can help your body fight against illnesses. Even if you do not feel sick, it is important to stay on top of your diet and prepare whole meals for children in the family - choose green rich in vitamins A, C, and E to boost the family’s immune system. 

Remember, it's not just about reacting to the flu; it's about proactively creating a space that actively repels it. For home and travel additions that will help you fight against the flu, other viruses, allergens, and bacteria you can dive deeper into understanding the functionality and efficacy of UV Care products by exploring their official YouTube Channeland website.

November 29, 2023

Navigating the Path to Romance After Forty: Finding Love after a Failed Relationship


Finding love after the age of forty can be an exciting and transformative journey. While the dating landscape may have evolved since your younger years, the opportunities for romance are abundant. Here are some practical tips and strategies for those who are re-entering the dating scene or seeking meaningful connections later in life.

1. Self-Reflection and Readiness

You must know the importance of self-reflection before diving into the dating world. Explore questions to assess your emotional readiness for a new relationship. Take time to reflect on the specific events or relationships that contributed to your failed relationship. Understanding the root causes can be a key step in addressing and overcoming them. Knowing oneself and being comfortable with who you are helps in boosting confidence especially if you feel uncertain about dating again.

2. Embrace Modern Dating Platforms

The prevalence of online dating platforms has become a valuable tool for people over forty looking for a partner. Make sure you are creating an authentic online dating profile. The more honest you are the higher the chances of meeting like-minded individuals.

3. Expand Social Circles

Join social groups, clubs, or classes to meet new people organically. Going out and meeting people can lead to unexpected romantic connections.You can find love through shared hobbies and interests.

4. Communication Skills

Effective communication is key to building strong connections. Learn to become an active listener. Do not be afraid to express emotions and foster open communication.

5. Navigate Challenges

Handling past emotional baggage is a crucial step in creating a healthy and fulfilling present and future. Recognize and accept that you have emotional baggage. It's okay to acknowledge the presence of past experiences that may have left emotional scars. Practice self-compassion and avoid self-blame.

6. Establish Healthy Boundaries

Set clear boundaries in your current relationships to protect yourself from repeating negative patterns. Communicate openly with others about your needs and expectations.

7. Be Open-minded

Be open to different types of relationships and do not limit yourself to preconceived notions. Embrace the beauty of love evolving and changing over time. It is possible to find unexpected and fulfilling relationships outside your initial expectations.

8. Patience and Perseverance

Dating is a process. You will be faced with challenges but you can stay optimistic and just enjoy the process even in the face of setbacks. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who understand your journey. Share your feelings and experiences with those you trust.

9. Self-care is a must

You have probably neglected self-care in your previous relationship. It is now time to prioritize self-care activities that promote mental and emotional well-being. It is not being selfish. Do not spend all your time with the other person. Set aside activities that you can enjoy alone like running, meditation, reading books, or hobbies. 

Finding romance after forty is a journey that requires self-discovery, confidence, and an open heart. By embracing modern dating tools, building confidence, expanding social circles, honing communication skills, and navigating challenges with patience and perseverance, individuals can discover the joy of meaningful connections later in life. Remember, it's never too late to find love, and the journey itself can be a rewarding and transformative experience.