109 articles Articles posted in Health

Managing Type 2 Diabetes with LloydsPharmacy #LetsTalkDiabetes

Some of you may know that I’m a Type 2 diabetic; I’ve written about it a few times before but it’s not something I talk about at great length, probably because it’s just become a part of my life now. My diabetes started when I was pregnant with Sausage and never went away once I gave birth, probably due to the fact that I struggle with my weight and I have a family history on one side.

Anyway, type 2 diabetes is one of those condition which doesn’t need to take over your whole life, but it does need a certain amount of management to make sure that your sugar levels are not affecting your health in other ways. Unmanaged diabetes can cause heart problems, stroke, infections and other issues, so ensuring that your levels are correct is important, so when LloydsPharmacy asked me if I’d like to go along to one of their branches for a Medicines Check Up, Cholesterol & Heart Check and Blood Pressure testing, I thought it would be a great opportunity.

Lloyds Pharmacy

When I got there, I was greeted by a lovely lady who took my blood pressure and checked my cholesterol and blood sugar levels – it’s a super simple process which needed just one finger prick to get the blood for the sensors and it’s over in less than a second. She also took my blood pressure in both arms to ensure she was getting an accurate reading.

Once the results were in, I was handed a chart which showed my results, and as it turned out, my blood sugar was a little high at that moment (probably because I was slightly stressed out), as was my blood pressure, but that’s normal for me as I get what they call “white coat syndrome”. My cholesterol levels were interesting; my LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) was borderline – not great but not a worry, either.

My HDL (the “good” cholesterol) was actually a little bit low, and it was explained that I could stand to increase this by eating good fats like coconut oil, avocados and other things, which in turn will reduce the amount of bad cholesterol, too! Based on all of my results, I was told that my chances of having a heart attack in the next ten years was 6%, which may not sound high, but it’s a number that I’d like to dramatically reduce.

After my results were in, I was handed over to the pharmacist who came in to do my medicines check-up, and this was where it got really interesting for me. I take several different medications to manage different conditions, but one of the medicines that I take for my underactive thyroid should be taken half an hour before any other food or medication, but in the 12-odd years I’ve been taking it, I’ve NEVER been told this! I also learned that, not only have I been taking my diabetes medications at the wrong times of day, I also should have been taking it with food each time. I’m a HUGE fan of the NHS, but sometimes the lack of time they’re able to spend with each patient means that things can get lost in communication, exactly like this. I was also given a Type 2 diabetes support pack to take away and read at home, containing lots more useful info for managing my diabetes. You can download the support pack here.

LloydsPharmacy Diabetes Support Pack

I can’t believe how much I learned in one short consultation and my medicine routine has changed completely now. I’ve spaced my pills totally differently so that hopefully they should have a better level of effectiveness when I take them and I’ve booked myself in for a repeat health check with LloydsPharmacy in 3 months to see if there has been any improvement with my levels. I’ll be eating more avocado, too! If you’re concerned about any health issues or management of any existing conditions, I can totally recommend a trip to LloydsPharmacy.

According to Diabetes UK, there are 1.1 million people in the UK with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and LloydsPharmacy is on the hunt to find them! They will be visiting a city near you to offer FREE type 2 diabetes screenings as well as lots of useful information, advice and support. Click here to find your local event.

How To Stop the Health Damages of Noise Pollution At Home

noise pollutionNoise pollution brings about negative effects to human health. Especially for those living in areas where noise has already become part of their daily routines, addressing the issue of noise pollution should be considered a primary concern. Let’s look at some effective tips to protect us from health risks caused by noise pollution in our homes.

Brief Background on Noise Pollution

Globally, noise pollution is considered one of the most pressing environmental issues. The World Health Organization mentions that exposure to noise pollution usually results to health risks such as heart illnesses, cognitive abnormalities on children, and sleep deprivation that could lead to serious mental health disorders.

Responding to the threats of noise pollution has become a trend in global politics. For one, the United States Environmental Protection Agency summarizes the provisions of the Noise Control Act of 1972, which identifies the major contribution of the transport sector and business establishment in the problem.

Techniques To Protect Yourself From Noise Pollution At Home

The home should serve as a relaxing haven to rest our tired bodies, but that won’t be possible when ambient sounds disrupt the tranquility. Here are some tips to control the noise in your home:

Install soundproof windows

One of the best and most effective ways to soundproof your home is to install soundproof windows. Laminated glass or a combination of glass-plastic-glass are perfect materials for windows to reduce noise. This works well in homes that need soundproofing against plane noise pollution or any disturbing outside sound.

Ensure that windows are fit perfectly

The entry of noise is lessened if the gaps in your windows are lessened, or better, if they are completely sealed.  Furthermore, choosing perfectly fit windows makes it easier to manage air and noise pollution, which are common issues when a home is located in areas where transportation modes pass by.

Use thick curtains

Although using thick curtains is certainly not enough, doing so goes a long way in blocking the noise you need to spare yourself or family from. Choose stylish drapes that not only reduce heat from sunlight but also block the noise from the outside.

Consider using thick carpets

Whether it’s your bedroom or an elegant loft, putting carpets may effectively absorb ambient noise entering your home. Carpets are not only a stylish way to decorate your home, but are also effective pieces for soundproofing.

Use personal protective gear

If you have no control over the source of the noise and if you cannot afford window or carpet installation, your next best solution would be to wear earphones and similar protective equipment. These things can protect your ears from constant noise and are much cheaper than other options.

Ask help from authorities

You may approach government agencies or local authorities to handle the noise situation, especially when it’s beyond what you can control. In most cases, they can address the sources of noise and allow you (and your neighbors) to enjoy a more peaceful community.

We all dream of sufficient rest whenever we are home, and this can only be achieved if we reduce unnecessary noise coming from the outside environment. Although we cannot do anything about most sources of noise, the least you can do is soundproof your homes. That way, you can protect yourself from the health damages of noise pollution.

Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/usa-manhattan-contrasts-new-york-1777986/

5 Unexpected Benefits of Vaping

vapingAs you’ll know if you read my blog regularly, I’m a bit fan of vaping. I haven’t smoked for years, but I’ve always missed nicotine and when I discovered that I could basically have all the nicotine I wanted without all of the health risks of smoking, I was ALL IN. I started with a slimline e-cig and moved to one with a larger tank and battery, and I just keep discovering more and more benefits of vaping, so I thought I’d share some of them with you.

You Don’t Need to Brave the Cold

Vaping doesn’t have second-hand smoke risks, nor make the whole house stinks, so although we don’t vape in the same room as the girls, we often sneak into a different room for a quick vape, which means that we won’t have to go out in the cold when the winter arrives!

Easy Charging

Most e-cigs charge using a micro USB, which we have LOADS of around the house. Most of the chargers at Greyhaze are quick and easy to use, and can be plugged in anywhere, even in the car, which means you don’t have to worry about running out of power when you need it the most.

ALLLLL the Flavours!

With smoking you get two options: tobacco and menthol. With vaping, you can have those traditional flavors along with a myriad of fruits, deserts, and drink options. And who doesn’t like more options?

You Can Just Have a Few Puffs

If you want one or two puff of a cigarette, you have to light it, have a few puffs and then put the cigarette out, either leaving it in the ashtray or putting it back in the box which makes the whole box smell rank! With an e-cig, if you want ONE puff, you can do it and it’s not a drama.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

If you’re like me and have a sweet tooth but struggle with your weight, you can indulge your craving without needing to eat any sweets. It’s a great way to make yourself feel like you’re having a treat without any of the calories or sugar!

Have you discovered any unexpected benefits of vaping since you started?

Ways to Make an Elderly Relative Feel More Connected

One of the things that elderly people can really struggle with once they lose their mobility is feeling disconnected from the outside world, and this isolation can lead to mental health issues, on top of what they might already been dealing with. Unless they’re lucky to have family around them all the time, the loneliness can be awful, so finding ways for them to have interaction and enjoy things they once loved can really improve their mental state. Here are a few things that you can do to help.

Get Them Online

The internet is an amazing resource and if your relative is open to learning how to use technology, it can help them to keep in touch with people and do a whole load of things that they once enjoyed. If your relative enjoyed bingo or having a flutter every now and then, teaching them how to use websites to do this could give them a much needed source of fun and freedom – the least you can do is check it out!

Join a Club

There are loads of clubs all over the country which are set up for elderly people to give them a chance to socialise. Many of them have weekly entertainment or talks and in some areas the council will even provide transport, so we’d strongly advise you to have a look in your local area to see if there’s anything like that where you live.

Keep Them Young

It’s a well-known fact that when elderly people spend time with kids, it keeps their mind active and can have a real rejuvenating effect on them, so taking your kids to visit your elderly relatives can actually help them on an even deeper level. Also, happiness can lower blood pressure and stop the blood from thickening, so you’re helping them on a medical level, too!

Do you have any tips for helping to keep elderly relatives feeling young? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear them,

The Effects of Domestic Abuse and Why You’re Not Alone

The effects of domestic abuse vary from person to person depending on their circumstances. Abuse can come in many forms. Physical attributes, such as bruising, broken bones, scars and burns, can be very hard to deal with, and are the most obvious signs of abuse from a partner, friend, family member or anyone you have a relationship with. But what about the mental effects of domestic abuse? These are harder to spot, and worryingly, only around 40% of abuse survivors have the courage to speak to friends or family about their ordeal. If you know someone who has survived an abusive relationship, it’s important to understand that, although they can claim compensation for abuse, they will still need help moving on emotionally. Below are some common effects of domestic violence to look out for. You can learn how to spot them, offer help and be there for survivors.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder which occurs after a stressful or traumatic event. When you have PSTD, you tend to relive your experiences in the form of flashbacks and nightmares. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from PTSD, then speak to them. Some symptoms include avoidance, alcohol misuse and more. PTSD can be treated thanks to therapy. The earlier someone sees a therapist, the earlier their PSTD can be treated.

Suicidal Tendencies

People with suicidal tendencies will usually not openly show any signs of their turmoil. However, if you suspect someone is depressed or suicidal, ensure that they cannot harm themselves with household objects, such as knives. Another way to keep them safe is by hiding any pills that can cause harm in large amounts.

Emotionally Numb

If you have noticed that your loved one has become socially detached, excusing themselves from social events, acting strange or not emotionally responding to certain events, then they may be showing signs of emotional numbing. This is a typical symptom of PTSD, depression and anxiety. They may not even know they’re excluding themselves emotionally. In order to open up a dialogue, mention that you’re concerned for their mental health, and that you will be there for them if they need to speak to a professional.

Anger

Not everyone is the same, and many people may lash out as a response to their emotional trauma. If you’re experiencing this, it may be a good idea to sit your loved one and down, and explain that although you are here for them as a friend or partner, you will not tolerate anger in your direction. Usually, anger is used a reaction by someone who cannot emotionally understand their trauma. Many therapists can address this.

Guest post by Gina Kay Daniel

The True Cost of Staying in Shape

Eating healthily, exercising regularly, and staying in shape is something many of us aspire to. Unfortunately, the cost can soon add up. Gym memberships, healthy meals, personal trainers, apps, gadgets, clothing, and supplements are marketed as “essential”, and don’t always come cheap. In fact, online trainers can be hired to meet specific needs, especially those who’ve completed a personal trainer course from Discovery. This way you’re guaranteed to be taught by someone certified in the field.

If a lack of will power doesn’t put a stop to your healthy lifestyle, the cost just might.

Why Is It So Expensive?

The fitness industry is worth billions and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.

Marketers prey on our desire to look and feel great, encouraging us to dig deep and spend big on a whole host of health and well-being items. Protein shakes and pre-workout supplements used to be products for bodybuilders, but not anymore; they now line supermarket shelves and have earned a place in many ordinary homes.

While scientific studies do show benefits of many supplements, results can vary greatly and the cost can sometimes outweigh the rewards. If you’re buying cupboards’ full of the things, you might be wasting money.

How to Stay in Shape and Save Money

The cost of staying in shape should not be a barrier to leading a healthier life.

Luckily, it is entirely possible to keep fit without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. When it comes to supplementation, stick to the basics: protein, creatine, omega-3 and multivitamins show the biggest rewards vs. cost. While other sports supplements work well, they largely depend on your fitness goals and budget.
  2. Set up a home gym: If you’re on a budget, you can grab stuff second-hand from places like Gumtree. With just a skipping rope, a cheap set of dumbbells and some comfortable workout clothes, you can achieve amazing results. This can be done for under £100. This also saves on travelling costs to get to the gym.
  3. Hire an online personal trainer: Registering with a local gym is not the only way to access the valuable knowledge of a personal trainer. In fact, online trainers can be hired to meet specific needs. The combination of a budget home gym and an online personal trainer will come in far cheaper than a standard gym membership.
  4. Compare prices before you spend your hard-earned cash: Some retailers, especially supermarkets, sell protein powders and other fitness items at full retail price. This can sometimes be more than double what you might pay elsewhere. To check the huge differences, you can compare prices at Fitness Savvy.

Final Words

Gym memberships, sports supplements, and gadgets can add up to hundreds per month in costs, yet are mostly unnecessary. By sticking to the basics, setting up a home gym, checking

Five Tips for the Novice Vaper

Just recently, Husband and I have both started vaping and although we’ve both found equipment and flavours that we like, it took a while to get it dialled in. We’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks, so I thought I’d share some tips for newbies so that you can learn from our experiences.

Try Before You Buy

If you have friends who vape, ask if you can use their machines before you take the plunge and buy one for yourself. There are various types of e-cigarettes, some with smaller coils, some which look slimline, some which are HUGE and will give off a huge plume of vapour and every person will like a different thing. Your e-cig will be your biggest investment so finding one you like before you spend is a good idea.

Sample Some Juice

As with the equipment, e-liquids are vastly varied and what you like will be totally personal to you. Many vape cafes offer you the chance to sample flavours before buying a whole bottle, so finding one locally could help you.

Start Low

Unless you’re a 60-a-day smoker, starting off on a lower dose of nicotine is probably a good idea. Husband and I haven’t actually smoked cigarettes regularly for over a decade, so we went for the 3mg of nicotine and that’s been more than enough for us. If you find yourself puffing on it all day long, maybe moving up to the next strength of liquid is for you.

Keep it Clean

You’ll need to perform a little bit of maintenance to your e-cig to keep it working at its best. Clean the tank between each refill, especially if you change flavours, and check your battery connections to make sure you don’t have a build-up of juice on them.

Don’t Burn 

If you let your e-liquid run low, there’s a risk of your coil overheating and burning, which will give a pretty acrid flavour if you continue to use it. Make sure you keep your tank topped up and if you do taste a burn, change your coil. Oh, and keep a stash of spare coils for moments like this!

Are you a seasoned vaper? Do you have any tips for the newbies out there? Please leave a comment below.

Alternative Medicines for the Naturally Sceptical

Alternative Medicines As someone who has a strong belief in science, there are a lot of things which make me massively sceptical. On an almost daily basis, I see people on social media discussing things like ear candling, amber teething bracelets, “detoxes” and other such stuff which I believe to be absolute hokum; pseudoscience which people parade as fact, which actually does absolutely nothing except separating you from your hard earned cash. It’s a massive bugbear of mine and I range from pure rage to absolute defeated apathy on the subject!

There are, however, lots of alternative medicines in which I do totally believe, things which should probably be prescribed by doctors as they’re so beneficial, and these are a few of them:

Medical Cannabis

I think we’re SO far behind the rest of the world in our attitudes towards medical cannabis and strongly believe in the many, many beneficial uses that it can have, from pain relief to reducing inflammation, stimulating appetite in chemo patients, treating autoimmune diseases – the list goes on and on. Sadly, it’s illegal for use here in the UK but I really hope we’ll start to follow the lead of the rest of the world soon.

Garlic

According to WebMD “Garlic is used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These conditions include high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, reduced blood flow due to narrowed arteries, and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). Some people use garlic to prevent colon cancer, rectal cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, and lung cancer. It is also used to treat prostate cancer and bladder cancer.”

Beetroot

Beetroot has such a profound blood-pressure lowering effect that there were significant debates about banning it from the Olympic village before the games as it can give athletes such an advantage! Beetroot juice can lower blood pressure – in fact, when you consume the juice, you will find your blood pressure drop instantly and stay lowered for up to twenty-four hours. Researchers believe that this impact on blood pressure is due to naturally occurring nitrates found in beets.

Are there any alternative medicines that you swear by?

All Information Displayed In This Post Is For Educational Purposes Only, And Is Not To Be Construed As Medical Advice Or Treatment For Any Specific Person Or Condition. Cannabis Has Not Been Analyzed Or Approved By The FDA. Individual Results May Vary.

Why I Started Vaping After Years of Not Smoking

I had my first cigarette when I was waaaay too young to become a smoker, but it was the mid-Nineties and still in the era when smoking was cool. Obviously my Mum found out and slapped me all the way the the stairs to my room, but ultimately it didn’t stop me and I smoked all the way through my teen years, into my early twenties. Then, when I was 23, I woke up one day and even the smell of cigarettes made me want to vomit, so I quit, there and then.

It turned out that I was pregnant with Sausage and had hyperemesis, but it did me a favour of not needing to force myself to quit, as I gather that’s pretty hard. Over the years, I’ll be honest, I’ve missed smoking. I’d never start again, for various reasons, not least of all because I don’t even like my kids being around the smell of cigarettes, but I’ve missed the nicotine a lot over the years (if only I’d been more up to date with vape news!) When I smoked, my appetite was smaller, I loved the social aspect of it, the routine, the having something to occupy my hands.

A while ago, Husband announced that he’d tried a friend’s vape while he was out and that he’d really enjoyed it, so he bought a pen and let me try it too. The experience is basically like all the good parts of smoking and none o the bad parts – it’s cheaper, it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t have the damaging health ramifications (even the NHS agrees that vaping is a healthy alternative to smoking) and it doesn’t cause horrible ageing and wrinkles!

I have to admit, I’m a total convert. We started off using the slim pen style e-cigarettes but have both moved onto something with a more powerful coil, and we love it. It sounds really silly, but because we don’t vape around the girls (we’re happy that it’s not damaging like smoke, but we still don’t take ANY risks with the kids), we often take ourselves off for ten minutes here and there and it’s given us time to just spend together.

Something we’ve found really reassuring is that whenever any new vaping news has popped up, it’s always something positive, and now that the NHS is on board with vaping, it’s given us the confidence to enjoy our new vice without feeling worried about effects on our health.

Are you a vaper? Did you start again after years of not smoking? We’d love to hear from anyone who’s had a similar experience to us, so please leave us a comment below.

Making Life Easier with Mobility Issues

According to figures from disability charity Scope, there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK who are living with some form of disability. This obviously covers a range of people, from those with mobility issues, right the way up to those who are profoundly disabled; the most commonly reported impairments by disabled people are:

  • Mobility (52%)
  • Stamina, breathing, fatigue (38%)
  • Dexterity (27%).

I have several friends who suffer with a range of mobility-effecting illnesses, so I thought I’d turn to them to give you some tips on how to make your day-to-day life easier if you struggle with mobility issues. My friend Jeni, who suffers with hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, offered a HUGE amount of tips:

Pace Yourself

Break tasks into smaller chunks, small enough that you stop before you get tired.

Perching stool in the kitchen

Essential for cooking meals and washing up.

Tassimo/hot water machine

Standing waiting for a kettle to boil is sooooo tiring by when you’re suffering with fatigued muscles from overdoing it. This makes life easier!

Cooking potatoes/pasta in a chip basket inside a saucepan

saves you lifting and moving with a hot pan of water as it drains as you lift the basket and you can leave the water to cool.

Having “green” activities spread through the day

Red activities are heavy duty, amber is tolerable, and green are restful-ish. e.g. Red would be hoovering, Amber would be cooking and green would be watching a film with the kids or knitting. By having green activities every so often in the day, you give yourself a break!

Also, take your time when deciding on a car; consider height, weight of steering, accessibility, as well as fuel consumption. Can you get a wheelchair in the boot?

Borrow a wheelchair

You can hire them from the red cross so you can get out and about if you need to. Mary from Keynko had one for 10 weeks for a donation of £30.

Listen to your body

It’s about learning what you can do accepting that. Rachel from Rachel in Real Life said “So it was my sister’s wedding day on Sunday. I usually work Mondays but obviously it was a bank holiday and I also suspected I wouldn’t be able to work today so I’m making up the hours on Thursday. I slept most of yesterday and today. I’m still in pain and tired now. Remember to take pain relief at the right times, don’t wait to feel the pain. I’d recommend pain management program. It was really quite helpful and enabled me to meet others who struggle with chronic pain and mobility issues.”

My friend Kerry says: “I have a walking stick for general daily use (I try not to use it sometimes so I don’t become completely dependant), I have a four wheeled walker for bad days so I can sit in-between walking to the school, and for very bad days I now have a mobility scooter that I bought myself as there are days my legs are agony and I cannot get round to the school. Hot baths with epsom salts for muscle relaxation. Magnesium spray for muscle cramps. I also take a multivitamin and several additional vitamins on top to try ensure I stay as healthy as possible.”