Preventive Healthcare for the Masses

By Dr Sania Iqbal, MBBS, Medical Practitioner PMDC

Preventive healthcare is a term used for the measures taken to prevent the onset of disease, and as the adage goes, has always been better than cure. It helps with the maintenance of health rather than treatment.

There are three levels of prevention:

  • Primary Level – Preventing contraction of disease and improving overall health of the population.
  • Secondary Level – Early detection of disease and preventing it from getting worse.
  • Tertiary Level – Enhancing quality of life and reducing symptoms of a disease you may already have.

In general, environmental factors such as dust, smoke, teratogens, microbes etc. are responsible for the different diseases we may contract. In addition, genetic causes may exacerbate these problems. The good news is, the negative impact of many illnesses and diseases can be mitigated by way of preventive measures, helping you save both money and time – considering the financial and emotional toll these ailments can potentially cause.

This is especially important when set against the high incidence of sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy and poor diets, which are some of the leading contributors to cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, etc. What we can do in light of this, is simply to add a half-hour walk into our daily routine, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, and above all, visiting our doctor once or twice a year for a complete check-up. This ensures that any major health issue can be discovered before it’s too late.

In line with preventive measures, here are some recommended guidelines:

  • Do not smoke.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake.
  • Do not use drugs which are banned by the FDA or relevant health sciences ministry in your country.
  • Make green vegetables a part of your diet.
  • obesity at bay by eating healthy and doing exercise on a daily basis.
  • Ensure regular visits to your healthcare provider.

Preventive measures do not simply extend to exercise and diet. In fact, health can further be promoted via the following measures:

  • Sleep Recovery:
Sleep can help you recover from a number of disorders. Try to improve your sleep quality and increase your sleeping hours. 2 to 3 nights of normal sleep after being sleep-deprived for a long period of time can help you recover from damaging effects. Eight hours of sleep is recommended for a generally healthy life.
    • Stress Recovery:
    When your stress becomes prolonged without any break and recovery period, you may suffer from different problems. Some of them can be due to finances, work, parenting, studies, etc. It would help to read up on some methods of stress relief, which can include slowing down your pace of life and spending quality time with your loved ones or on passion projects. Accept that stress is a necessity for growth, and embrace it as a challenge.
      • Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment: 
      With the advancement of science, different technologies have been introduced for monitoring your health and fitness. These technologies help you observe your physiology in a digital manner by making the reaction of your body to various environmental factors visible to you.
      One such example is the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment (FBLA), a professional grade coaching tool for checking health and wellness. Its unique heart rate variability analysis reveals how the body reacts to the demand of daily challenges, transforming heartbeat data into information regarding your physical activity and stress levels. By plotting data taken during your work, rest and sleep routines, it becomes easier to identify measures you can take to improve both your sleep and stress recovery.
      For instance, if you’ve been spending too much time on the computer both in the office and at home, your report might reflect heightened stress levels during such activities. More accurate isolation of such stress factors would allow for you to make suitable lifestyle adjustments in tandem with a wellness consultant, such as setting aside time to perform meditation.
      Over time, taking such corrective action could lead to both better recuperation from stress and higher energy levels, which in turn would give your productivity and personal happiness a much-needed boost.


      For more information regarding the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment, visit

      Sophia Rose Meyers, 17


      National Youth Sailor, 'A' Division Footballer


      Q1: What is it like dealing with pressure or expectations to win as a national youth sailor? How does it compare to playing A Division football for Victoria JC?

      It's definitely quite stressful to deal with expectations, especially at regattas. What I may define as doing well may not match up in the eyes of others, and this really affected me for a period of time in 2018, when I felt that I wasn’t good enough to be in the national team. However, my coach managed to convince me that my definition of success shouldn't be up to others to decide. Since then, I've tried to block out such “external noise” and set my own goals.

      Playing for the Victoria Junior College A Division football team is a very different story. Although everyone has very high expectations of us since we have been defending champions since 2003, all the girls in my team are very encouraging. We spur each other on in a positive manner and fight even harder for gold. That definitely makes dealing with the pressure a lot easier.

      Q2: Of the different NAPFA exercises (e.g. 2.4km run, standing broad jump), which do you excel at the most? Do you train harder for it?

      I'm probably best at sit-ups compared to the other exercises; I somehow find it more enjoyable. I don't necessarily train harder for NAPFA but I do try and make sure that I do relatively well for all the stations. That’s why I try to train up for the standing broad jump and 2.4km run because I'm slightly weaker in those.

      Q3: Choose one from the following: burger and fries, laksa, nasi lemak, bak chor mee. Any particular reason?

      It's a tough decision but I would have to go for nasi lemak! Nothing can compete with a steaming plate of fragrant rice, crispy chicken and sambal with ikan bilis – it's one of my favourites! Although I know it's not very healthy, I can't imagine a world in which I can’t indulge in a plate of nasi lemak at least once a month.

      Q4: What’s your ethnicity? Is there a typical reaction when strangers discover that you can speak Mandarin and you’re not actually a foreigner?

      My mum is Singaporean while my dad is American, so I’m actually Caucasian. I've spent my whole life in Singapore and definitely feel like a Singaporean more than American, although my appearance says otherwise.

      People definitely get a shock when they hear me speak Mandarin, especially teachers or coffee shop assistants. I love ordering my food in Mandarin and watching the stunned expressions of the coffee shop uncles/aunties. They'll normally ask if I'm a 外国人 (foreigner), at which I'll laugh and reply that I'm actually Singaporean. Sometimes they're so amused that they give me extra food! #bonus

      Q5: Imagine that you’re stranded on an island with one other person. Who would you prefer that person be?

      My choice would be Bear Grylls, haha! Being an amateur at survival skills, I figure I’d need someone experienced and capable of actually finding food and water in the wild, so who else than the infamous Man vs Wild host. Hopefully I don't end up having to drink my own pee, because that won't be fun!

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