Healthy Living

If you want to live as long as possible, eat well, take exercise, spend less time in the office and move to Cambridge!

Cambridge is the number one area of Britain for longevity amongst men, where they can expect to live six and a half years longer than those in Manchester, which is bottom of the life expectancy league. Male babies born in the early 1990s in Cambridge can expect an average life span of 76.6 years, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Unsurprisingly, inner city areas like Manchester, Liverpool, and South Tyneside are years below the Cambridge experience. The combination of the male culture and working class culture of heavy drinking, heavy smoking and eating too much fatty food puts men years below women for life expectancy rates.

Women have an average life expectancy of around 80.

Office life can pile on the pounds

As working hours seem to get longer, waistbands are getting bigger. Six in ten workers use staff canteens, but although healthy options are usually available on the menu, Britons tend not to pick them.

More than 50 per cent of workers have chips with lunch at least once a week; 40 per cent pick stodgy puddings and more than 30 per cent choose fry-ups.

Vitamin and Fitness diet, green grass

Overweight people may become victims of unfair pressure. American researchers say that discrimination against the obese by employers could help to account for their findings that slimmer people and their families have on average more than twice as much money as the obese.

Health Department figures show that more than two-thirds of men and nearly six in ten women are now so heavy that their health is at risk. Male obesity has risen by 75 per cent in a decade while the number of female heavyweights has increased by 45 per cent. Weight-related diseases are claiming 30,000 lives a year.

The rise in obesity among young children has also shocked Government health experts. The number of youngsters with weight problems has doubled in the last 20 years and one in ten six-year-olds, is now classed as obese.

Combat that unhealthy office lifestyle

  • Choose the foods rich in all the vitamins and minerals and you’ll stay slimmer and healthier and boost your short-term memory and alertness.
  • A sedentary lifestyle means you need to eat less than more active people.
  • Carbohydrates in high-fibre breakfast cereals give long term energy – but sugary snacks only provide a fast blood-sugar surge and will leave you feeling drained later.
  • Avoid heavy lunches – they make you tired. Salads or sandwiches are better and include oily fish – salmon or tuna – at least once a week. (Fish can also give your memory a boost).
  • Don’t drink more than two or three cups of tea or coffee a day, and then stick to water.
  • Simple regular exercise like walking 20 minutes a day or taking the stairs instead of the lift reduces the risk of numerous disorders.
  • Nutrients from fresh vegetables, unroasted nuts and seeds, and whole grains will improve your skin condition and help you feel healthier.
  • Substitute fresh fruit for crisps and biscuits when you get the mid-morning munchies. Health experts recommend we eat five different fruit or vegetables each day to stay healthy.

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3 Questions to Ask Your Doctor for Better Health

When you’re trying to get the best health possible, you definitely have your work cut out for you. Between trying to decipher health labels on food to figuring out exactly what that bump, rash, or series of chills you received actually was. There is a lot to think about because there are so many different things that can really cause us harm. Does that mean that it’s time to hide in the closet and never come out? Absolutely not — you will just need to make sure that you have no problem facing the world at large, and that means getting the right information at the right time.

When you know that you will need certain information, your best bet is to make sure that you actually stop and ask your doctor. After all, doctors don’t just go to school for years and years for the fun of it. They go to school and get all of this advanced training sot hat they are very helpful and useful to their patients. Remember that your doctor works specifically for your benefit, and if there’s anytime you’re not sure what you’re getting is legitimate, you would do well to ask. It just cannot be stressed enough: this is what a doctor is here for.

Doctor

Of course, it helps a lot if you know what to actually ask your doctor. There are essentially three questions to ask your doctor for better health.

First and foremost, you will want to make sure that you understand the genetic markers in your history for certain diseases. If you aren’t sure how your family’s history of breast cancer really plays into your life, you would really do well to ask these questions right off the bat. Your doctor may not naturally look first to this, so asking this question also does them a favor. They can then narrow down exactly what’s going on and make sure that you’re really staying on top of the good health that you deserve.

From there, you will also need to make sure that you ask your doctor about any medication that they’ve prescribed to you. You must make sure that you understand not only how to take it, but also what you need to take the medication with. You will need to make sure that the medication you’re given isn’t conflicting with anything else that you’re taking. These questions can prompt your doctor to check this for themselves, and catch any errors that they were about to make. Remember that doctors are human, and humans make mistakes. Go easy on them!

Finally, you will need to ask about the best time to come into their office. You might not think immediately to be strategic when it comes to your doctor, but just the act of figuring out when to fit yourself into their schedule can show your doctor that you’re really serious about getting yourself to better health. Doctors always want patients to get more serious about their health and not just show up at the doctor’s office when something is horribly wrong. Proper maintenance of your body will lead to even better health.

Overall, if you’re really trying to achieve better health, these questions will help you work alongside your doctor as a team — why not try them out today?

Health Explored

Your Money or Your Health?

Let’sbe honest, the choice is not clear-cut or simple. If you have less cash you will survive if you cut back on the latest gadgets, don’t change your car every two years, and reduce the number of foreign holidays you take.

However, when it’s your health at stake, cutting back, changing and reducing will have significant effects for better or worse depending on what it is that you are cutting, changing and reducing.

Without health the rest of your life will be worse, and maybe a lot worse. Aiming for the best of health lays the foundation for a fruitful and profitable life.

There are exceptions to every rule and it is not always possible to achieve consistently positive outcomes. You must be realistic. But, research confirms that small changes to your current lifestyle can cause significant improvement to your health.

Prevention or Cure?

Not much choice here, either. Some experts espouse the prevention route, others the curative pathway. It doesn’t need to be like that. Picking one in favour of the other doesn’t cover all the bases.

Health

There’s a lot to be said for prevention. You’ll be in better health for longer. Your doctor will forget what you look like. You’ll be able to do the things you want to more often.

Think about it for a moment –

  • Proper balanced diet with judicious top up supplements, and no processed food.
  • Regular exercise at least three times a week.
  • Stress control using relaxation techniques and so on.
  • Restorative sleep up to eight hours a night.
  • Avoiding toxins and limiting negative external influences.
  • Proper work-home balance.

Achieving these ideals is not easy. But if you know how to move towards them, your health will improve.

Prevention is important, but so is finding the right treatment for what ails you. It’s unlikely you will go through life without a health problem of some kind. It could be anything from a cold to life-threatening disease such as cancer.

Treatment becomes the priority. Prevention may limit the severity of symptoms but won’t always prevent the illness. Then you need to focus on how to sort things out.

Conventional or Alternative Therapy?

You don’t need to choose. The Western world has come to favour the conventional system with doctors, surgeons, drugs, radiotherapy and so on. The Eastern countries have used complementary and alternative therapies for centuries – acupuncture, herbs, massage, yoga, etc.

Practitioners in each of these specialities believe their therapy is the best and the others are unsuccessful. That is entirely the wrong way. They choose to ignore the benefits of other therapies. They run down what the others say and do, and see it as competition. All of them have something to offer.

Remember, you are unique. Your genes, temperament, thinking, and beliefs combine to make you different from everyone else. Why is it that we think there is some universal cure that will work for everyone? It stands to reason that no single treatment works for all. Yet, you are surprised that the tablets that helped a colleague did nothing for you. Continue reading

Health and safety risks involved with DIY

St John’s Ambulance are a leading supplier of first aid and health and safety training courses, keen to help teach simple, life saving skills. Below is an infographic created by St John Ambulance about the health and safety risks involved with DIY.

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Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle as a Non-Smoker

You have read the adverts. The promises to enable you to quit smoking for good. The promises that empower you to be a non-smoker. Everything is available, from audio books to self-help courses. Hypnotherapy and a Guide to How to Quit Smoking.

There are so many products around it can be a problem when it comes to choosing the one that is right for you. However, you probably think that quitting smoking is going to be hard and that you are going to suffer withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking. Is quitting smoking really that painful?

Absolutely not! The hardest part of stopping smoking cigarettes or any form of tobacco product is that first decision you make to quit!

However, you have to want to quit to succeed. No amount of hypnotherapy courses, books or meetings are going to help you quit cigarettes unless you want to quit. Really want to quit.

In fact, it is so easy to become a non-smoker today that you wouldn’t believe it. Your mind is stronger and more powerful than you think and in the end you’ll be asking yourself “Addiction? What addiction? I’m not addicted to nicotine.”

Everything about smoking is psychological. The physical aspects of addiction to nicotine are so minimal as to be non-existent. Like many addictions – it’s all in your mind. You believe in cigarettes right now. You believe that they help you relax or relieve stress. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Quitting smoking

Your addiction creates that stress.

What of those withdrawal pangs from cigarettes? These are so minimal that you will barely notice them and because you’ll be free of the need to smoke you will not even care. It is your addiction that causes so many problems that once you become a non-smoker you will not feel any pain or suffering.

Quitting smoking is a personal choice. You and you alone can make the decision. Do not quit for your family or your friends. Only for you.

Once you become a non-smoker you will feel the difference immediately. Your energy levels will increase, your desire for life will improve and you will feel so much better. Regardless of your age you will feel a totally different person with a few days from your last cigarette.

Enjoy a healthier lifestyle today. Become a non-smoker and remember how enjoyable life really is without the drug that hangs around your neck. Feel the energy return to you as your body removes all traces of the nicotine and cigarette drug.

Is double blind drug testing really a ‘gold’ standard?

Most adults are aware of the placebo effect, where the belief in some medical benefit can enhance that effect. But few know that there are twists to the placebo effect that have a significant impact on drug testing. It is the existing ‘gold standard’ drug trial, as characterised by the following main attributes, which is impacted:

  1. One set of patients receives no treatment.
  2. A second set of patients receives the drug being tested
  3. A third set of patients receives a sugar pill (placebo) that looks like the drug
  4. The trial is double blind – neither the patients nor the administers of pills know who is receiving the drug or the placebo
  5. The trial is randomised – the patients are randomly assigned into these groups

The key to the double blind aspect is that patients should not be able to differentiate between the placebo and the drug. Recent research with anti-depressant drugs showed that this is not always the case. It appears that many patients were able to work out if they were receiving the drug, because they could detect the side-effects of the drug. They could sense that they were taking an active substance as opposed to a placebo pill. Research was carried out to try to cancel this detection process by using an alternative drug instead of an inert placebo tablet. The drug would be one that generates similar side effects to the drug under test, but not any anti-depressant effect. The net effect was that the drug was no longer demonstrably more effective than placebo. Minimising the flaw of drug detection (that had negated the vital double blind aspect of drug testing), showed the drug to be much less effective as an anti-depressant.

placebo effect

To explain this, it appears that by being able to detect that a drug rather than placebo was being administered, the patient’s expectations of healing would be elevated. Conversely, a patient that knew he was taking a placebo would have a reduced expectation, and hence lowered placebo effect. There is a profound conclusion to be drawn from this: that drugs shown in scientific studies to outperform placebo may actually have been operating by virtue of the placebo effect in addition, or in place of any biochemical effect. The existing gold standard drug trial is not as sound as it is made out to be.

There is another twist to reveal, courtesy of ‘New Scientist’ magazine. Researchers discovered that the effect of the anxiety reducing drug Diazepam virtually vanished when it was administered unknowingly. Likewise, it was discovered that morphine could be provided at fairly high levels to patients in pain with no effect on that pain if administered without the patient’s knowledge. This too was a telling discovery. Morphine is an extremely well established and effective treatment for pain, effective in most people. Yet, it seems, a part of this very efficacy is due to the placebo effect. This links in well with the placebo detection problem – anti-depressant drugs being barely any more effective than placebo when the placebo used was indistinguishable from the drug. Continue reading

Regaining your body after pregnancy

I’ve heard since my childhood how having children ruins a ladies body, how the weight gain after pregnancy will just not shift, how it is just so unfair and been amazed by the extent to which some ladies will go to lose this extra weight. As a man I never really took into consideration that whole spectrum of changes made during pregnancy, whether it be physical, mental or emotional. Since my career as a health and fitness professional started that has changed a huge amount, not least in my appreciation of the turmoil that having a baby can create.

Being a proud father and step-father, I have seen how pregnancies can be life changing for both the mother and partners concerned. But if I could explode one myth within my career it would be that ‘babies ruin bodies’ because they don’t. Though it is very true that we add maternal body fat to our frame and there are significant physiological changes that are undergone during pregnancy in preparation for the birth, it still remains that babies do not ruin our bodies. The amount of body fat we add is largely dependant on a combination of the following; stress, health, diet, activity and experience.

pregnancy

Many women feel greatly pressured to regain their figures, looks and posture quickly after giving birth. A lot of my clients have said that the most hurtful images are those of scantily clad models in commercials advertising shower gels, body lotion etc and that these feelings are also heightened greatly by the whole phenomena of celebrities reclaiming their pre-pregnancy figures and not only are they getting the bodies back in shape but they are apparently doing it really quickly.

But before you rush out and sign up for the forthcoming ‘celebrity mom workout video’ –you know it must be on its way. There are many things to consider here before leaping on the same wagon as the celebrities. Many of the celebrities can afford and do employ personal trainers and nutritionists like myself to tailor make exercise programs and push them as far as they need to make, quick noticeable progress. Celebrities also employ nannies; so no more nappy changes and night time feeds and most importantly they can afford to take the time out to make real changes to their lives and bodies. So all of these factors should be taken into account before trying to achieve the same weight loss goals in the same ‘supposed’ time frame.

Are breakfast cereal bars as healthy as we think?

We are constantly bombarded with advertisements for breakfast cereals, breakfast bars, this brand and that. But are they healthy choices? Well I’ve taken the liberty of doing some shopping to find out how health these products are.

Ingredients

Sugar, Glucose syrup, sweetened condensed milk, invert sugar syrup, fructose (fruit sugar), glycerol, sorbitol (artificial sweetener), Lactose (milk sugar) – Would you believe all these sweeteners are in the same bar? They certainly want this bar to taste good, almost addictively good.

Hydrogenated vegetable oil – Cheap steam cleaned, bleached vegetable oil which has hydrogen forced into it at high temperature, rendering all nutritional value null and void. Its make up is more that of a plastic than an oil – totally unknown in nature and of no use to the body. Very harmful to health! Otherwise known as a Trans fat

Nutritional breakdown for a 25g bar.

Calories 103 Kcal
Protein 1.5 g 6%
Carbohydrates 18 g
 – of which sugars 11 g 44%
 – of which starch 7 g 28%
Fat 3 g 12%
 – of which saturates 2 g 8%
Fibre 0.4 g 1.6%

 

As you can see the nutrient content within this bar are pitiful. How can we hope to gain useful nutrition from this? These bars are aimed at children and I’m sure you’ll agree that one of these bars would not satisfy a child – maybe three or four? An alternative to a good breakfast? Depends on how good the breakfast is but on the whole NO.

Conclusion

Very little protein, which will not supply the essential amino acids required by children and adults alike. Huge amount of sugar – just look at the different types included. Are they trying to disguise types? Nearly half of the bar is sugar. Relatively high in fat at 12%. But contains Trans fat, which is very detrimental to health. Did you know that if Hydrogenated vegetable oil was discovered now opposed in the 1940’s the food oil industry would not be allowed to use it.

Middle Age Doctors Are The Safest

So are you set to have an operation in the not too distant future? If you are, you may want to have a look at your surgeons birth certificate as, according to a study, Middle-aged surgeons in their late 30s and 40s and are the safest.

Although inexperience is an obvious disadvantage, if a surgeon has been in the profession for decades it is not a good thing. The small study, was undertaken by bmj.com. The analysis looked at more than 3,500 operations carried out by 28 surgeons. The link they found between what age a surgeon is and complication rates was irrespective of how complex the operation was.

The study came to the conclusion that patients that has surgery (thyroid gland removal) were more prone to have some sort of complications if either an inexperienced surgeon or a surgeon who had been in the job for more than two decades.

The researchers chose to look thyroidectomy due to the fact that the procedure is, basically, carried out in the same way and has not changed that much over the past 30 years

A surgeon at the end of his career will most likely be undertaking a completely different range of operations than at the beginning of his career taking into account of the pace of change in medical developments.

Many experts in the field have gone on record as saying that the studies are in no means conclusive and further investigation is needed. Factors contributing to poor performance in older and experienced surgeons need to be investigated much further.

Medical negligence professionals encounters loads of cases where patients have been treated by younger healthcare professionals, and errors have occurred. This problem is a symptom of the wider failings of the NHS system.  It is the case that these inexperienced surgeons are not supported properly by senior staff members.

Patients undergoing surgery should not worry if the surgeon is in the “risky” age scale. There are other factors which are more important such as the wider hospital environment, how well it is managed and how well resourced the hospital is.