Tag Archives: Healthy living

The cost of diabetes….

You might be shocked to know that around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year. Type 2 diabetes is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke, and there are currently some 5 million people in England at high risk of developing the disease.

Around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year.

As well as the human cost, Type 2 diabetes treatment currently accounts for just under 9% of the annual NHS budget – that’s a whopping £8.8 billion a year!

Since the disease is largely preventable through lifestyle changes – having a healthy diet, maintaining a proper weight and getting enough exercise – the NHS Diabetes Prevention programme is primed to target these issues as it is rolled out.

If you live in one of the areas below you could be among the first to benefit from a referral that will give you tailored help to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes:

Newham West London Oldham East Midlands
Camden Sefton Leeds Worcestershire
Cheshire/Wirral Cumbria Dudley St Helens
Lincolnshire East and North Herts Bury Berkshire
Norfolk and Norwich Rochdale Southwark Essex
The South East Birmingham Derbyshire Herefordshire
Cambridge Peterborough Co Durham Sheffield

It’s a big programme – serious stuff!

NHS care – know what your choices are

The government is committed to giving you greater choice over how you receive your NHS health care. A new NHS guide sets out some of the options available to you. It explains:

• when you have choices about your health care

• where to get more information to help you choose

• how to complain if you are not offered a choice.

A new NHS guide sets out some of the options available to you.

In some situations you have legal rights to choice: in other circumstances you do not have a legal right, but you should be offered choices about your care, depending on what is available locally.

To find out what the options are, follow the links:

• My NHS care: what choices are available to me?

• Choosing your GP and GP practice

• Choosing where to go for your first appointment as an outpatient

• Asking to change hospital if you have to wait longer than the maximum waiting time

• Choosing who carries out a specialist test

• Choosing maternity services

• Choosing services provided in the community

• Choosing to have a personal health budget

What does your doctor mean by cardiac risk?

Cardiac risk calculators are frequently used to predict the chances of people having heart disease.

Population statistics are used to work out the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, things like being overweight or smoking. This information gives doctors a good idea of what your heart attack risk is, based on your lifestyle.

What’s your cardiac risk?

Reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke for people as they get older can be helped by changing individual factors. Age is one risk factor that cannot be modified, but others such as cholesterol and blood pressure can be.
Using these early predictions for a raised risk of a major heart event within 10 years is a guide for lifestyle changes and medication that can bring the predicted risk down. If you are at higher than average risk of heart problems you may find your GP prescribes you statins or blood pressure drugs, for example.

Ask one of our pharmacists if you want more information about cardiac risk calculators.


Toddlers’ eating habits may harm long-term health

Toddlers in the UK are consuming more calories and protein than recommended, which puts them at risk of obesity in later life, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Toddlers need a balanced diet too

Dietary preferences and habits are established during the first two years of life and what you eat then can have an enduring impact. Increased protein in early life is a risk factor for obesity, and high intakes of salt may set taste preferences for the future, increasing the risk of raised blood pressure in later life.
Researchers found that at 21 months, 63% of children exceeded the recommended daily intake of 968 calories, consuming an average on 1,035 calories. On average 40g of protein was consumed per day, but just 15g is recommended for children aged 1-3. Salt intake was almost three times higher than the 0.5g recommended, and fibre intake among many young children was 8g, half that recommended.

Are you missing out on a night’s worth of sleep every week?

People are under-sleeping by an average of almost an hour every night – losing an entire night’s sleep over the course of a week, warns The Royal Society for Public Health.

Are you missing out?

An RSPH poll shows that people feel getting enough sleep is the second most important activity for optimising their health, ahead of eating five fruit and vegetables a day, undertaking enough physical activity, and sticking to alcohol guidelines. The poll of 2,000 adults also reveals:

• average sleep time is 6.8 hours, below the average 7.7 hours people feel they need
• more than half (54%) have felt stressed as a result of poor sleep.

Experts are now calling for the introduction of national sleep guidance time – ‘a slumber number’ – to help inform people about the critical importance of sleep to wellbeing.

The RSPH says we need to wake up to the benefits of sleep. There is a wealth of evidence that lack of sleep is damaging to your health and is associated with a range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart attack and depression.


Make the link between alcohol and cancer

Almost 90 per cent of people in England still don’t associate drinking alcohol with an increased risk of cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.

Alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of cancer

Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of seven different cancers – liver, breast, bowel, mouth, throat, oesophageal and laryngeal – but when people were asked: “Which, if any, health conditions do you think can result from drinking too much alcohol?” only 13 per cent mentioned cancer.

The survey also highlighted a lack of understanding of the link between drinking alcohol and the risk of developing certain types of cancer. While, when prompted, 80 per cent said they thought alcohol caused liver cancer, only 18 per cent were aware of the link with breast cancer. In fact alcohol causes 3,200 breast cancer cases each year compared to only 400 cases of liver cancer.

The new alcohol guidelines which came out in January make clear that there is no level of drinking which can be considered ‘safe’ from risks. So be sensible!

1 million more people with life threatening conditions within a decade

An ‘explosion’ of one million more people will be living with more than one serious long-term, life-threatening condition by 2025, according to analysis by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

The RCGP says this will push the cost of general practice in the NHS up to £1.2bn a year. GP leader Dr Maureen Baker says this highlights a paradoxical situation where treating patients with chronic conditions is most cost-effective in general practice – yet the bulk of NHS money continues to go into hospital care.

Is healthy living the answer?

The share of the NHS budget that general practice receives stands at 8.33% (England – 8.45%), and GPs are pushing for their share to rise to 11 per cent.

All of which makes your community pharmacy look like pretty good value for money. Remember your pharmacist can prepare and dispense prescription and non-prescription medicines. We are also able to give you advice about how to use your medicines and highlight any possible side effects.

We offer advice on common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as healthy eating and stopping smoking. We can also help you decide whether you need to see a doctor.

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!’

Men’s health in focus

Men’s Health Week recently took place Since men are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol to hazardous levels and be overweight or obese the focus is on leading a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy dad

The sad fact is that one in five men don’t make it to retirement age. The biggest single cause of death in men is cancer, and 75% of premature deaths from coronary heart disease among men.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital for avoiding these sorts of diseases, yet men are more likely than women to smoke and drink alcohol at hazardous levels. Over 65% of men are overweight or obese. Participation in activity amongst men declines with age: 83% of men aged 16-24 met the recommendations for physical activity, compared with 57% aged 65-74.

Think about this next time you grumble about the failing NHS. Are you part of the problem?


Even modest exercise helps the elderly

Even short periods of low intensity exercise can benefit life expectancy for elderly people.

For the average person an exercise program of 30 minutes for five days a week (or 150 minutes per week) has been shown to reduce the risk of death by 30%. However, the ‘pros and cons’ of exercise for elderly people has not been so clearly determined.

Now, a French study has shown that in the elderly the risk of death also decreases with greater and more regular exercise. Over 1,000 people were enrolled in the study at age 65 in 2001 and followed-up for 13 years. Although 10% died during this period, the risk of death was calculated to be 57% lower in those whose activity level was equal to or higher than 150 minutes a week.

There were other significant findings too – notably that starting or restarting physical activity during retirement reduced the risk of death by two-thirds.

As a simple rule at least 15 minutes of physical activity for five days a week would be a suitable first target for the elderly. This could include brisk walking, cycling or swimming. Ask your pharmacist if you need advice.