Friday, November 30, 2007

Smoking Mothers Could Produce Fat Children!

Smoking women not only raise the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease of their babies but also are at nearly 3 times greater risk of producing obese children.

This is result, of a study conducted by Yamanashi University's School of Medicine, revealed at the recent meeting of public health experts in Japan in the middle of October 2007. The survey was done over a period of almost 2 decades to cover some 1,400 women in Japan who gave birth between April 1991 and March 1997. The researchers then collected the data on about 1,000 of their children when their ages reached 9 or 10.

The study showed that the risk of obesity was 2.9 times higher among children whose mothers smoked when they were 3 months pregnant or in earlier stages of pregnancy, as compared with children of non-smoking mothers. This indicates that mothers who smoke during pregnancy, even in early stages can still affect the health of children over a longer period of time.

Nevertheless, the researchers could not find out the exact correlation. They "speculate" that children whose mothers smoked were in shortage of nutrition in the womb. The poorly fed babies in the womb would naturally stock up nutrition after they were born.

While the truth is yet to be found, what matters most for the mothers-to-be is to stop smoking for the sake of their children.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Child's Cardiovascular System May Be At Risk By Secondhand Smoke!

Parents may want to consider giving up their smoking habit as this will harm not only their own bodies but also their children's arteries.

A study, conducted by the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Turku in Finland, measured levels of continine in blood of 400 children between the ages of 8 and 11. Continine is a substance that the body produces when it breaks down nicotine in tobacco smoke. The participants were divided into 3 groups: low, high and non-detectable continine groups.

The researchers reported that exposure, even a little, to secondhand smoke at home or in public can actually harm the function of the cardiovascular system of the healthy children. This is because children who were in the high continine group were found to have a significantly lowered endothelial function. As a measure of arterial health, endothelial function is the blood coagulation and platelet adhesion in the blood vessels.

Parental smoking is also associated with an increased occurrence of asthma and respiratory illness in children. Statistics showed that asthmatic children who are exposed to cigarette smoke at home have a 4.5 times greater risk of respiratory-related absence from school, thus affecting their learning.

Besides cardiovascular disease and asthma, cancer, especially of the lung, is another disease that is strongly associated with secondhand smoke.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Smoking Mothers Could Risk Their Babies Of Heart Disease!

Smoking has long been regarded as a risk factor of heart disease. But now, women who smoke and want to have baby may need to think twice because cigarettes may cause heart defects to their babies.

A report presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago revealed that pregnant women who smoke just before pregnant and shortly thereafter may increase the risk of their babies of getting a congenital heart disease by 60 to 80 percent. Exposing to second-hand smoke in the workplace or at home may also raise the women's risk of bearing infants with such defects by 30 percent.

This is the finding provided by a study conducted by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Congenital actually means existing at or dating from birth. Congenital heart disease refers to a kind of problem with the heart's structure and function due to abnormal heart development before birth. Congenital heart disease can cause more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects. Some of these defects may heal over time, others will need treatment. For more information on congenital heart disease, you can want to check out at

The actual causes of most of defects are not known, but scientists believe that genetic susceptibilities and exposure to environmental toxins, such as alcohol, infections, various chemicals and some medications, may be the culprits.

Cigarette smoke contains about 3,000 chemicals and sad to say, their potential to cause heart defects is still unclear till now.

The heart's basic structure develops early in pregnancy. During this period, chemicals or infections may easily interfere with the genetic blueprint resulting in abnormalities. Even if pregnant women stop smoking 6 weeks after conception, the foetus can still be exposed to the chemicals in cigarette smoke. The most common problem caused is
ventricular septal defect, which is a hole between 2 chambers of the heart.

It is estimated that some 2,000 congenital heart defects could be prevented every year if women stopped smoking before they try to become pregnant. Or better still, do not start smoking at all and this could be good not only for you but also to the people around you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Possibility To Fight Obesity By Drug

The generation of adipocytes (the precursors to fat cells) could be prevented by just suppressing the protein entirely with its beneficial properties being decreased. The protein, known as perixosome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARg), can actually turn on various genes related to obesity in the body.

This is the latest finding presented by the researchers at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) at the recent AACR Centennial Conference on Translational Cancer Medicine on November 7, 2007.

Obesity is a well known risk factor not only for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease but also for prostate, breast and colon cancer. Recent studies have also shown that a protein responsible for generating fat cells can also cause cancer.

The scientists figured out that if they could identify the gene targets of PPARg, they could open up new targets for drug development against a number of diseases, including obesity, diabetes and cancer.

Only a limited number of direct targets for PPARg have been identified so far. A number of new PPARg target genes which are connected to adipogenesis and insulin sensitivity have been identified by the scientists at the GIS. According to them, these direct targets when inhibited, could lead to a dramatic reduction of adipogenic potential.

The oral hypoglycemic drugs currently available can effectively treat Type II diabetes. But it could also cause bad sides effects including heart disease, liver toxicity and weight gain.

If new drugs can be developed to direct specifically those PPARg targets to regulate insulin sensitivity, then it is possible to provide a safer and more efficient therapeutic approach.

The researchers plan to test their data on mice.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Diabetes Are Not For Adults Only!

Diabetes has been regarded as a problem for ageing population in Singapore. But now, as a result of modern lifestyle and diet, the number of pregnant women and children diagnosed as diabetics continues to rise. This really worries the health authorities.

In the National University Hospital (NUH), the number of pregnant women with gestational diabetes has climbed from 13 a month in 2005 to 21 a month in 2006. For 2007, the number of cases was found to be 28 per month.

The problem was partly due to the poor awareness of the issue when most pregnant women tend to eat more and some eventually eat excessively. If they eat more carbohydrates and fried items, instead of proteins and vegetables, their weight will very likely to gain. And weight gain may cause these pregnant women to get diabetes.

Women who have a family history of diabetes, who had a previous baby weighing more than 4 kg, and who weigh 85 kg during the pregnancy are at risk of developing diabetes. The reason behind this is that the birth hormones disturb metabolism needed to clear glucose after meals.

Although 98 percent of pregnant women will return to their normal pre-diabetic state after giving birth, the condition do have some complications like prolonged labour and delivering asymmetrically big babies who may develop neck problems.

This will also make the newborns unhealthy. If the mothers' blood sugar levels are higher, their babies are very likely to have low blood-sugar levels and high insulin levels. This could place them on the list of diabetes, obesity, overweight and hypertension (high blood pressure), and will also increase their chances of developing heart disease.

Diabetes Type 2 used to affect adults. Now, the number of young children suffering from diabetes Type 2 is increasing because of the calorie-rich environment and less physical activities. On the other hand, Type 1 diabetes is the genetic variation affecting someone from childhood. The upward trend corresponds to childhood obesity rates around the world.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Diabetics Are On The Rise In China!

The strong economic growth in China has been seen for the past decade. This, however, has also brought along some serious health problems to the country.

According to a report by Xinhua news agency, there are now more than 40 million people in China have diabetes or a precursor. As a result of growing wealth, most Chinese eat more and exercise less, causing the number of diabetic patients to increase. The 20 million diabetics found in China are obesity-related while the other 20 million people have impaired glucose tolerance or what we call "a per-diabetic condition".

Last year, there are about 60 million people (roughly the population of France) were classified as obese. 12 percent of children in China's big cities are also considered to be overweight. The parents are thus advised to limit their children's intake of fast food, snacks and soft drinks and the time they spend watching TV and playing computer games. Sound familiar?

Either you like it or not, people with health issues such as diabetes and obesity are likely to be candidates of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, etc, if they do not manage their conditions appropriately.

China, once a poor country where its people were struggling for food, is now having health problems similar to that of its so-called capitalist counterparts. With the continual economic growth, more and more people are wealthier. If they are also adopting the similar unhealthy lifestyle, then the number of people with various health problems is likely to increase tremandously. Being the largest nation in the world (in term of its population), the social cost resulting from such health problems will definitely be increasing by many folds and becoming a very heavy burden for China.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why You Should Take Omega-3?

When we talk about fats, we will normally refer to saturated or trans fats and associate them with bad things that will affect our health, especially heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), overweight, and so on and so forth.

But, not all fats are bad! For example, the fatty acids found in fish, nuts and seeds are good for our hearts. Recently, there is a study even suggests that it can help prevent high blood pressure.

In a multinational study, over 4,000 participants who took a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet had been found to have a decrease in their blood pressure levels.

For those who are not familiar with omega-3 fatty acid, it refers to the polyunsaturated fats found in fish and certain plant oils. It include a combination of beneficial fatty acids like EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These essential acids are not produced by our bodies yet are required by us for growth and brain function.

High blood pressure is a common disease found in people in their middle age though it may also happen to younger persons. It is one of the likely risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It has been known that a diet of excessive salt can raise one's blood pressure levels. Studies have also shown that a small decrease in blood pressure levels (as little as 2 mhg) can reduce deaths from other illnesses by 4 to 6 per cent.

How omega-3 can lower blood pressure is still being studied. Before the full answers are out, what health experts can think of right now is its ability in controlling the salt and water balance in the body, managing blood flow in kidneys and its effects on the heart.

Besides helping to manage blood pressure, omega-3 can also benefit people with other ailments. For example, individuals with cardiovascular disease are advised to have a daily intake of 1 g to 2 g of omega-3, preferably from fish oils. Every 100 g of salmon and sardines contains about 0.9 g and 0.3 to 0.5 g of omega-3 respectively. People with high cholesterol should take 2 g to 4 g because of the heart-friendly fats such as EPA and DHA acids found in omega-3.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Eat More Whole Grains To Prevent Heart Disease

The risk of heart disease can be reduced if people can increase the amount of whole grains in their diets. Yes, researchers have found that whole grain bread, brown rice and a bowl of oats or cracked wheat can help us keep our heart healthy.

After studying dietary patterns of some 150,000 participants from 7 surveys, researchers of the Wake Forest University reported that participants who ate 2.5 servings or more of whole grains a day reduced their risk of heart disease by 21 percent compared with participants who did not include any or had little whole grains in their diet.

Whole grains are known to be low in cholesterol and rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants. 3 main parts can be found in grains, namely the bran (the fiber-rich outer shell), the germ (the nutrient-packed inner layer) and the endosperm (the middle layer).

The fiber found in whole grains helps bind with the bile acids and sterols in the body to pass cholesterol out as waste product. This effectively reduces the amount of dietary cholesterol absorbed by the body, and thus makes it heart-friendly. Furthermore, whole grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates which make us feel full on less. This also means that we will tend to eat less to prevent us from being overweight or obese.

In additional to the above benefits, whole grains also help regulate blood pressure with their potassium and magnesium content. Because of the high amount of fiber, they help prevent constipation too.

Nevertheless, most people do not eat enough whole grains. Instead, they rely heavily on more refined grains such as noodles or white bread. These are made of refined flour containing lesser nutrients and fibers since the bran and germ are removed in the milling process.

From the heart-healthy point of view, we should seriously consider replacing white rice, noodle or white bread with whole-grain varieties and make sure that we have at least 1 serving of whole grains (2 slices of whole-grain bread) a day. Products that list whole grains as its first or second ingredient means that it is high in whole grains and is a good source of it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Some Ideas To Fight Global Childhood Obesity

I came across the following heading:

"Australia offers some ideas to fight globesity in kids."

"Globesity? What does this mean?" I have not seen this word before so naturally I looked up dictionary for answer but in vain. Then, I "googled" and straightaway I got my answer:

"Globesity" is a recent WHO (World Health Organization) term for the global obesity epidemic.

The recent Educating For Health Conference, organised by the Singapore Ministry of Education, provided an opportunity for educationists in the region to look for ideas to beat obesity in children. Australian officials suggested some ways that their government had used to fight obesity in kids, and here are their solutions:

Firstly, school children were asked to participate in compulsory weekly physical education lessons lasting for 2 hours.

Secondly, an active government-funded programme was launched to immerse children in sports or activities after school.

Thirdly, healthy menus were created in school tuckshops.

Fourthly, multimillion-dollar advertising and education campaign targeted at children and their parents were funded.

Nevertheless, they also stressed that effort from government alone is not sufficient to combat childhood obesity successfully. The campaign should also include contribution from individuals, families, and the industries.

In Australia, fast-food giant McDonald's, for instance, had responded to offer more healthy food in its outlets in 18 months by stating the nutritional information on healthier food options. In addition, the chain cut back on advertising during children's television programmes by 40 per cent.

Being the world's fourth fattest nation, lagging behind United States, Britain, and Mexico, Australia acted accordingly to fight obesity among its young. It is known that 3 million people are overweight or obese in Australia: 67 percent are men and 57 percent are women; 1 in 5 children is overweight and 1 in 10 is obese.

The Australian federal, state and territory governments have in fact jointly set up a sum of A$500 million to launch more community-based healthy lifestyle initiatives.

You may be wondering why Australian government is willing to spend such a huge amount of money for such campaign? This is because each year, obesity costs Australia A$3.7 billion in direct costs and A$21 billion in indirect and lost-productivity costs. Overweight or obesity could lead to many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, etc.

Keeping to a healthy diet and regular exercise are the keys to fight obesity, but this is indeed a very challenging task, judging from the effort and amount of money governments need to offer to their target audiences.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Government Starts Plan To Combat Obesity At Schools

Heart disease prevention is possible if one can adopt heart-healthy lifestyle that combines balanced and healthy diet with regular exercises. And more importantly, one should start this lifestyle when young.

Unfortunately, the majority of the youngsters nowadays are living away and away from the heathy lifestyle that they are supposed to have. Long hours of TV and computer games cause young kids to skip almost all of their physical exercises. Instead of having more fresh vegetables and fish, they choose to have french fries and fast foods like burgers. As such, overweight or obese school children can be spotted easily almost everywhere.

In order to combat the increasing threat of obesity, the British government launched on October 15, 2007 a new programme costing 100 million pounds to encourage greater participation in sports at schools. The campaign aims to increase the number of hours of physical education in schools from 2 to 5 per week.

A government-commissioned research has earlier warned that half of all Britons will be obese in 25 years if nothing is do to change the current trends. Moreover, the report also revealed that 86 percent of men will be overweight in 15 years and 70 percent of women in 20 years.

As a matter of fact, about 2.3 million pounds has already been set aside in the last decade to increase the number of hours of sport in school. Nevertheless, establishing sports facilities alone would not effectively stop the situation from becoming worse. There is no doubt that schools should show leadership but because school kids spend more time at home with their parents, what they do at home matters most. Moreover, it is also agreed that there is more to do for girls so as to encourage them to keep playing sport.

It is evident that parents at home should play their parts by setting role examples for their children, in terms of their living habits. Without their support, it is felt that the effort to stop the epidemic in obesity would greatly be compromised even with the bigger budgets from governments to help kids at schools.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Do You Know How Many Adults Are Clinically Obese Across The World?

More and more people are seeking ways and means to get rid of the extra fats in their bodies, and they do not mind spending bigger portion of their earning just for this. Weight management, therefore, has become a very hot topic nowadays and the business opportunity associated with it is also very attractive.

Why is this so?

Very simple! People understand obesity or overweight will ultimately bring to us many health problems like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc, and more importantly, the escalating healthcare cost can simply wipe off our savings should any of the serious health problems hit us.

A report published early November 2007 in the US Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that about 25 percent of men and women in 63 countries were found to be obese in a study of more than 168,000 people. The research was conducted by France's top medical research institute, and the data was collected in over two half-day periods in each of the 63 countries,

BMI (body-mass index) is used as the benchmark for obesity, and it is defined as one's weight in kilograms divided by the square of one's height in meters. People with a BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered as healthy. One is considered overweight when the BMI ranges from 25 to 30, and obese when the BMI is equal to or higher than 30..

Out of the 168,159, adults aged between 18 and 80, studied in 2005, 24 percent of men and 27 percent of women were found to be clinically obese. An additional 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women were classified as overweight.

I made a simple calculation based on the findings, and the result is rather shocking:

"between 50 to 66 percent of the world's population is either overweight or obese."

No wonder many health experts believe that mankind is now facing a true epidemic: not in hunger, not in virus, but in obesity.

And not surprisingly, the researchers running this study have again exert pressure on governments urging them to be more aggressive in promoting physical exercise and balanced diets.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fight Against Obesity For Students in US Schools

Out of a population of about 300 million people in US, more than 200 million of them are overweight or obese. And, nearly 13 million children and adolescents are found to be overweight. Some obese children, who are admitted at the hospitals for treatments, weigh as high as 400 to 500 pounds (180 to 225 kgs), and they can barely breathe.

Four culprits of childhood obesity quoted by health experts are:

  • Fast food,
  • Television,
  • Soft drinks, and
  • A sedentary lifestyle

Most of the families do not really make any effort to stop their children from becoming overweight or obese, therefore, the burden to prevent outbread of such epidemic naturally falls on the schools. As we know, overweight or obesity can easily lead to diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) or even heart disease.

The educators and health officials are beginning to make effort to replace greasy fast food with healthy meals in schools. Small by encouraging results are observed.

For example, in Arkansas, measurements of the students' body mass have been taken in their schools for the past three years and the schools have begun sending letters to warn the parents of school-children who are obese. Banning on junk food in cafeterias and soda drinks in vending machines coupled with greater emphasis on sports have reduced the rate of obesity from 20.9 percent in 2004 to 20.6 percent in 2007. Though the reduction is merely marginal, the measures adopted seem to stablize the rate of obesity.

According to another report In Texas (close to EI Paso), a similar health program has in fact brought the percentage of children with weight problems from 25.8 percent in 2002 down to 23.4 percent in 2005.

Nevertheless, schools cannot offer all the solutions because the time spent by American children at school accounts only 19.5 percent of their time, with vacations and weekends being factored in.

As such, some experts think that depending solely on local initiatives to fight the war against obesity is not sufficient. Instead, they urge active involvement of the federal government in a systematic way.

"We won the war on hunger in 1964, we need to win the war on obesity." This was a statement made by one of the health professionals, who also believe the government should forbid advertising of junk food to children.

Personally, I would think that support from the families of these obese kids also plays a very important role if significant results are to be seen. Perhaps, the parents should start doing something for themselves without delay so as to set examples for their overweight children to follow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stop Smoking, Lose Weight Or Be Fired?

If you are obese or overweight, you better start losing weight.

If you are a smoker, quit smoking seems to be your only option.

If you are obese and smoker, then you are not only at a higher risk of getting heart disease and other diseases, but also very likely to be fired by your employers.

Is this a joke? Don't believe?

Unfortunately, this is true and this has already happened in the US.

In order to have a better control on the escalating healthcare costs, employers have adopted stricter wellness policies.

According to press reports in the US, companies such as Scotts (gardening) and Weyco (healthcare) have fired employees who tested positive for nicotine. In fact, a policy was instituted by Michigan-based Weyco in 2005 that allow management to lay off employees who smoke, regardless of whether they do it at work or at home. The company subsequently fired 4 employees who either refused to be tested for nicotine or after tests showed they had nicotine in their blood.

Naturally, the implementation of these unpopular policies by the employers are certainly opposed by their employees. Last year, a Massachusetts man actually sued Scotts for firing him for smoking on his own time. He insisted that he was unfairly sacked for "engaging in legal activities away from the workplace."

In a online poll conducted by Harris Interactive early last month (October 07), most Americans were strongly against bosses firing workers who are obese or smoke. Out of 2,267 US adults polled, only a few actually agreed that employers are allowed to fire someone who is unwilling to lose weight (4 percent) or stop smoking (7 percent). Nevertheless, about one-third of poll respondents preferred employers to require staff to attend quit-smoking sessions or weight-loss programs.

Personally, I would not agree with companies firing their employees with health issues without first giving them a chance to modify their health conditions. But those employees who are obese or smokers should now have a pressing reason to cease smoking or reduce weight right away, not only for health reasons but also for bread and butter.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Can Vibration Really Reduce Fat?

Some days ago, I read an interesting health report relating to weight reduction.

"Vibration Can Fend Off Fat"

The heading straightaway strike my attention. Before I started to read the details, I had this thought in my mind:

"Overweight or obesity is a risk factor for heart disease. If the finding is true, then fat people do not need vigorous exercise, medication or even proceeding to reduce their unhealthy and unwanted fats."

It this true? Not really!

When I continue reading, I found that the research was only done on "young mice". Whether it can work for humans will still require further researches to confirm.

According to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences released on October 22, 2007, short bursts of low intensity vibration can prevent stem cells in "young mice" from turning into fat cells. These preliminary findings did suggest that vagorous exercise is not the only means to prevent weight gain, at least in the young.

Mechanical stimulation may stop accumulation of fat by turning immature or progenitor cells into muscle or bone cells rather than fat cells. If this could be replicate in humans, it is possible and will be helpful to prevent childhood obesity, which is now a big headache for many countries.

What the researchers at Stony Brook University in New York state did in the study is to place the mice on a vibrating platform for 15 minutes every day for 15 weeks resulted in almost 30 percent less body fat than a control group of mice that were put on a stationary platform.

"This could be a non-pharmalogical way of controlling susceptibility to obesity in young people." After making the statement, the researchers further clarified that it would not make fat kids skinny but it could somehow control their propensity for getting heavy. By limiting the weight gain in the young may help these kids prevent from getting diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Obesity has long been regarded as a metabolic or fat-burning disorder but the study indicated that there may also be a developing element.

The actual physiological impact of vibration is still unclear. What the scientists can assume is that "vibration causes muscles to contract and relax, and this strengthens the muscles and exerts pressure on the bones."

Nevertheless, one should not take the study as an endorsement of some of the vibrating platforms marketed as exercise machines. As the researchers cautioned, the dangerously high levels of vibration may cause lower back pain, percussive injuries to the brain and certain cardiovascular disorders.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fat-Rich Meal Can Affect The Health Of Your Heart!

In my previous post titled "Do You Want A Healthy Heart? Watch What You Eat!", I mentioned that research had shown that oily food can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The bad cholesterol (LDL or low-density lipoprotein) is responsible for the build-up and blockage in the arteries. But our body also has good cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoprotein), which is considered as being able to to counteract bad cholesterol (LDL), or even prevent heart disease.

According to recent report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a study of 14 healthy adults had found that 3 hours after participants were fed a single high-saturated-fat meal, the inner linings of blood vessels in the participants showed a decreased ability to expand. This would therefore affect the blood flow.

It was found that the ability of HDL-cholesterol to prevent inflammation was weakened within 6 hours after the fatty meal. The inflammation is one of the causes that build up the arterial plaque. But on a separate occasion, when participants were fed a meal rich in polyunsaturated fats, the protective quality of HDL-cholesterol in their bodies was actually increased. The number of inflammatory agents were found to be lesser.

In conclusion, when a person consumes a single meal of high saturated fat, his or her normal protective property of HDL is impaired. Conversely, when he or she eats a meal that is high in polyunsaturated fat, the HDL in the body is found to be more protective.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Girl Finally Gets Her New Heart!

I came across a piece of news last month (Oct 2007) learning that a young girl survived with two heart transplants. I then did some research through Internet and here is the information I had gather!

A young Malaysian Chinese girl, Tee Hui Yi, spent more than a year waiting for a heart donor finally fulfils her wish early this month (October 2007). But the operation did not go through smoothly. Her body rejected the first heart donated by a 15-year-old Muslim boy but fortunately, the second transplant using the heart of a 20-year-old Chinese man was successfully.

The 14-year-old girl was diagnosed with heart failure when she was just 2 years old, after a viral infection strike her. In order to keep her alive, she underwent an operation on 29 Sep last year was fitted last year with a mechanical heart. The mechanical heart is a device implanted outside her abdomen and connected to her heart. Because of this, she had to carry a battery weighing 9.8 kilos (about 20 pounds) to power the mechanical heart wherever she goes. The battery can only last for approximately 2 years. It is hope that this device can support her while awaiting for a donor.

A year has passed and yet no suitable donors for heart was found. Her deteriorating condition had really worried the doctors. Needless to say, she definitely felt very depressed. The girl had to make tearful pleas through the media for donors of heart.

"How long more do I have to wait for a heart? I need a donor soon."

This was the question that Hui Yi kept asking over and over again before she was given a chance to change her heart.

After the long wait of one year, she finally received a heart in a 10-hour operation at the National Heart Institute in Malaysia. The donor was an 15-year-old boy who died in a road accident. But, because of rejection, she had to undergo a second transplant 2 days later.

According to a report on 21 October 2007 by Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency, Hui Yi is showing positive progress and in stable condition after she was taken off the ventilator a few days ago.

As a precaution to protect her from any infection, she was still placed in the Intensive Care Unit. Nevertheless, she could eat soup and porridge, and was fed supplementary nutrients through the tube in her nose.

After the operation, Hui Yi expressed her gratitude to all the people who had helped her for the past. Watch the following short video provided by eMedia:

Let us pray for her speedy discovery so that she can do many of the things that she wanted to do in the past but was not able to.

What happen to this young girl is certainly uncontrollable. But for healthy people like many of us, we should prevent heart disease from the outset. Remember, eat healthily and exercise regularly are still the keys to a heart healthy lifestyle.