Work in an office? On your feet!

A group of experts has advised that people working in office environments should stand for at least 2 hours a day during working hours, and eventually progress to 4 hours of standing.

The recommendation – part of a set of guidelines commissioned by Public Health England – aims to counteract the health risks that come with long periods of seated office work.

Sedentary living – including time spent at work – can be fatal.

For those working in offices, 65-75% of their working hours are spent sitting. Sedentary living – including time spent at work – is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among other diseases.

Other recommendations for office workers during working hours are:
• Break up periods of seated work with standing work
• Avoiding prolonged static standing, which may also be harmful.

There is a growing interest in changing office environments so that they are no longer wholly sedentary. Potential measures employers can take include making provisions for breaks that involve standing and movement, and investing in office furniture that allows employees to work easily while standing up.

It may soon be a case of ‘Get off your bottom!’

Experiencing PMS? Your pharmacist can help.

More than 150 symptoms are associated with premenstrual syndrome: the number and type vary from person to person, and often from month to month. It’s difficult to diagnose PMS because in hinges on timing, with symptoms usually occurring during the same phase of the menstrual cycle, from one to 14 days before menstruation.

We can help.

Unfortunately there is no lab test to help with a clear diagnosis, but the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome suggests that a chat with your sympathetic pharmacist or GP can prove helpful.

For women who want to take a more pro-active approach, then it’s worth knowing that a healthier lifestyle, improved nutrition and regular exercise may relieve mild to moderate PMS. Complementary medicines, such as agnus castus 20-40 mg a day, red clover isoflavones 40-80 mg a day, or St John’s wort may also help. But some complementary medicines can conflict with other medicines, so make sure you get advice from your pharmacist first.

More information is available on the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome website

Smoking ban linked to drop in infant deaths

Further proof that anti-smoking laws have delivered definite health benefits comes from a study of childbirths between 1995 and 2011 which suggests that almost 1,500 stillbirths and newborn deaths were averted in the first four years after the law to prohibit smoking in public places was introduced.

Smoking ban keeping our babies healthy

Stillbirths have dropped by almost 8 per cent in England since the smoking ban was introduced, and the number of babies dying shortly after birth has dropped by a similar amount, according to estimates.

Additionally more than 5,000 fewer babies were born with a low birth weight of under 2.5kg, the researchers estimate. Smoking and smoke-exposure during pregnancy are known to have long-term adverse effects on the health of unborn children, including increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

If you haven’t quit yet and the time is right for you, pop in and have a chat.

Contraception with a bonus…

The contraceptive pill offers long-term protection against endometrial cancer, according to research from Oxford University. The protective effect persists for decades, meaning that women who use the Pill in their 20s continue to benefit into their 50s.

Contraception helping you in more ways than one

Endometrial cancer is most common among women over the age of 45, and 3 in every 4 cases are diagnosed among women aged 55 and older. The researchers calculated that the risk of endometrial cancer reduces by around 25 per cent for every five years of birth control pill use.

The link between use of the Pill and reduced risk of cancer does not appear to be influenced by women’s reproductive history, body fat, alcohol or smoking.

In addition, despite oestrogen doses in birth control pills decreasing over the past 50 years, women who used the pill in 1980s – when oestrogen doses were less than half what they were 20 years earlier – experienced the same reduction in endometrial cancer as those who used the Pill in the 1960s.

Energy drink or health hazard?

Last year the World Health Organization branded energy drinks as a “danger to public health”. Caffeine is the most common stimulant in these drinks, but some brands contain other stimulants, such as guarana and ginseng.

Think before you drink…

The amount of caffeine in an energy drink can range from 80 mg to over 500 mg: a cup of coffee contains around 100 mg. Like other fizzy drinks, energy drinks are high in sugar. A 250 ml can of Red Bull, for example, contains around 27.5g.

Caffeine enters the bloodstream within 10 minutes of consuming the drink and peaks over the next 15-45 minutes, triggering a rise in heart rate and blood pressure. Within an hour, the effects of the caffeine will begin to subside and a sugar crash may occur. Energy levels will begin to feel low and tiredness will set in.

Individuals who consume energy drinks regularly may experience caffeine withdrawal in the 12-24 hours after consumption, which includes symptoms such as headache, irritability and constipation. Think before you drink….