Currently viewing the tag: "health"

The latest  US death linked to vaping has been reported. This makes it the ninth person to die from a outbreak of a mysterious lung diseases, with the Centre of Disease Control confirming over 530 people now affected. First reported in April this year, symptoms include fatigue, coughing, breathlessness, vomiting or diarrhoea. The first case has now been reported in Canada.  The White House has announced plans to ban flavoured e-cigarettes.  Over 20 countries, mainly in South America, the Middle East and South-East Asia, have  already banned the sale of vaping products, India and Korea being the the latest to join them. With such uncertainty on e-cigarette (EC) legislation and amidst  calls to ban, the US supermarket giant  Walmart has ceased all sales entirely.

In 2014 and 2018 I wrote about the potential dangers and long term harm of EC, which at the time was extremely high on the media agenda when UK sales had sored 340% in a single year (2012). Its was promoted as the safe alternative to tobacco smoking. Significant rise in the number of never smoking youths taking up EC has been noticeable. Advertisements of nicotine-free liquids with fruity and sweet flavours offer a sizeable incentive and social approval to young people to start using EC. The Forum of International Respiratory Societies has deemed EC smoking to be a significant public health issue  as it encourages smoking behaviour.

No firm evidence has been established on the exact causal constituent but the finger is still on the many ‘flavours’ and ‘carrier substances’ that cause physiological effects. Effects include changes to our immune system and alters the healthy biology of the lung tissue. Inhaled gaseous mixture is deposited in our lungs and undergo changes. A chemical propylene glycol causes upper airway irritation. EC smoking releases volatile organic compounds and (ultra) fine particles into the atmosphere giving rise to potentially toxic passive vaping for others.

After the experiences of tobacco smoking, we have still now learnt that inhaling anything other than clean air is not good for our health.  In the UK there is still a belief that vaping is a safer alternative to tobacco smoking, however this may be changing.  A small study conducted with GPs and nurses found that practitioners were uncertain of the safety and longer term risks of EC. Some were unsure about their ability to advise on its use.

Acupuncture is widely used for addictions. In particular smoking and drug addiction. It offers a safer alternative when compared to the suspect risks of EC smoking, and a useful adjunct to prescription opiates for difficult cases of drug addictions. Auricular acupuncture or acudetox techniques involves inserting small needles into the patient’s ear. These can be used in conjunction with body points. Treatments help to ease withdrawal symptoms, reductions in cravings, anxiety, sleep disturbances and the need for pharmaceutical medicines.

 

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More than ever, your body is in strong need for a coping mechanism that can fight off the chemical/toxin onslaught. One way or other, those health hazarding toxins, environmental pollutants, pesticides, heavy metals, carcinogens, chemicals, and allergens find their ways into our body thorough direct touch, food consumption, inhalation, or by some other means.

In the midst of a hectic routine lifestyle, keeping your body toxin free and ideally nourished is a cumbersome task. That is why we want to talk about simple and easy to follow detox tips to effortlessly incorporate in routine lifestyle.

Are you frequently experiencing unexpected weight gain and/or prolonged periods of being under stress? Do you often find yourself feeling foggy and fatigued for no reason? If yes, then it is time to detoxify your body and gift it with full and flourishing health.

What is Total Natural Detox?

The approach towards achieving total body detox aims at flushing out toxins and other harmful elements in a natural way. By strengthening your immune system, achieving natural detox protects your body against many serious diseases. It allows you to perform your best by being at your best. It is centered around;

  • Promoting natural weight loss
  • Preventing a state of fatigue and improving energy level
  • Delivering a solid immune boost
  • Rejuvenating health & fitness levels

How to Achieve Total Detox

Sleep Detoxification

Research studies have supported our brain’s role in detoxification through its waste management system. When we are asleep, this system gets activated, which is referred in scientific term as the glymphatic system.

This system facilitates pumping of cerebral spinal fluid through brain’s tissues, which then pushes harmful waste back to our body’s circulatory system. From then, the liver takes on to promote toxin excretion as its routine functions.

When we deprive our body of adequate sleep, it hampers the functions of the glymphatic system and leads to toxin build up. A relaxing sleep at night ensures optimum functioning of the brain to support our body’s detoxification process.

Alcohol Curb

Our liver metabolises around 90% of total alcohol consumption. Liver enzymes convert alcohol to acetaldehyde through metabolism. Acetaldehyde is a known cancer causing chemical. Liver identifies acetaldehyde as a harmful toxin and assists in its excretion from body.

Excessive alcohol consumption causes liver inflammation along with fat build up. It affects liver’s toxin excretion capabilities, which then leads to toxin build up such as acetaldehyde. Limiting alcohol consumption is a smart and effective way to keep your body toxin free.  

Sweat Out Toxins

Did you know that our skin is capable of flushing out metallic toxins like lead, mercury and arsenic? Exercise is a great way to get rid of toxins through sweating. You do not necessarily need to join Gym classes. Start with a mild-moderate workout sessions including stretching, jogging, pushups, crunches, etc. and then move your way up. 

Hydration for Health  

A state of ideal hydration has been associated with total body detox. As mentioned earlier, the liver and the brain facilitate toxin excretion. However, it is water that serves as a transportation medium for these toxins and other types of waste. Ensure that you are drinking at least 2 litres or 8 (8-ounce each) glasses of water every day to maintain a state of optimum hydration.

Clean Eating

The concept of clean eating is not news to most of us. Clean eating has become a way of life to stay healthy and most importantly for natural detox. Get rid of harmful processed foods including commercial fried foods, fast foods, refined snacks, sugar based drinks, fruit juices and beverages. Excessive sugar, salt and oil leads to toxin build up. Incorporate clean eating by consuming more wholesome fruits, fresh vegetables, healthy greens and other healthy organic foods.

Let’s detoxify to live to your fullest. Keep your body disease free as well as toxin free to accomplish total body detox.

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Are you familiar with waking up felling sluggish, groggy and irritated after pulling an all-nighter, staying up till wee hours, or finishing a night shift?

Unfortunately, apart from feeling exhausted and lethargic, improper sleep does more harm to our health than we assume. We are not only paying fines for sleep deprivation in terms of lack of focus and bad mood; it has greater consequences for our long-term health.

The Vicious Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Despite rising awareness about the importance of proper sleep at night, health disorders associated with lack of adequate sleep are on continuous rise. It is estimated that approximately 1/3rd of human population suffers from health hazarding effects associated with poor sleep, working on computer and stress.

Alone in the US, approximately 50-70 million people are suffering from chronic health problems linked with sleep and wakefulness. Diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, and shortened life expectancy are the most common health disorders linked with poor sleep at night.

Research studies conducted on a group of volunteers state concluded that people getting inadequate sleep are at higher risk of falling victim to chronic diseases such as impaired control of blood glucose, increased inflammation, increase blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. According to these epidemiological research studies, long term sleep deprivation is also linked with the development of health problem in people who are initially healthy.

Why Sleep Matters?

Usually, while we are sleeping, our body goes through a healing process; it provides a much needed energy boost to our body in order to effectively carry out hundreds of routine functions.

In order to function properly and sustain healthy energy level throughout the a day, a person needs good sound sleeping of 8 hours at night. Sometimes, our day starts with sluggishness and fighting for energy; usually, it happens due to inadequate sleep that prevents our body from getting sufficient relaxation.

Mental Well-Being

Critical mood disorders including depression, mental distress, stress and anxiety are linked with chronic sleep deprivation. Adequate sleep keeps us focused at work by improving mental clarity and reducing stress level. As per a study, mental exhaustion, sadness and depression are correlated with people getting less than 4 ½ hours of sleep per night.

Diabetes Prevention

Research studies point out to a strong connection between development of diabetes and getting less than 5 hours of sleep. It increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by adversely affecting the way our body utilises glucose.

Immune Boost & Sex Drive

Adequate sleep improves our body’s immune strength and saves us from health problems associated with a weakened immune state. Lower libido is common among men and women not getting enough sleep at night. Sleep apnoea in men is associated with lower libido due to lower testosterone levels.

Healthy Heart

As per research studies, if a person is suffering from hypertension, even one night of sleep deprivation leads to increased blood pressure the following day. Poor sleeping pattern is well known to be associated with stroke, increases blood pressure, and the development of many cardiovascular diseases including coronary heart disease. Adequate sleep improves our cardiovascular health and helps in reducing high blood pressure.

Healthy Weight Loss

Sleep promotes natural weight loss. In truth, sleep deprivation means putting on more and more weight. If you are sleeping less than 7 hours, it increases your chances of gaining more weight.

Increased Life Expectancy

It is not surprising that sleep deprivation is associated with lower life expectancy. Epidemiological studies narrate that sleeping 5 hours or less at night increases mortality risk by 15 percent.

So what’s you are going to pick? Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, shortened life, or a soothing, relaxed sleep at night?

 

References:

NHS. Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. NHS, UK. 2018. [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/ [Accessed 5 March 2019]

Harvard Medical School. Sleep and disease risk. 2007. [Online] Available at: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk [Accessed 5 March 2019]

NIH. Sleep deprivation. NIH. 2016. [Online] Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sleep/conditioninfo/sleep-deprivation [Accessed 5 March 2019]

Neurocore. How sleep affects mental health. Neurocore. 2018. [Online] Available at: https://www.neurocorecenters.com/blog/how-sleep-affects-mental-health [Accessed 5 March 2019]

 

The most innovative of changes to healthcare is the ability to personalize one’s care to their individual medical and personal needs. This new paradigm in medicine uses smart technologies and patient participation to prevent and treat disease. Personalized healthcare works by being able to tailor treatment and care that takes into account not just patient symptoms but also their genomics or genetic profile, brain circuitry, family dynamics, cultural and environmental exposures. Analysis of this data enables the doctor or nurse to understand the patient’s unique characteristics and develop prevention strategies based on individual risk profiles.

Personalised medicine is an evolving practice which has become increasingly popular in the past two decades owing to its ability to streamline care. Specifically, it is being introduced into routine clinical practice and becoming a part of cancer prevention, diagnosis and prognosis. Within therapeutics it focuses on molecular targeting, increasing efficacy and decreasing toxicity.  One the biggest barriers to developing personalized medicine are the cost of resources, the complexity of developing an acceptable system for sharing genomic data and translating data into clinical practice. For personalized medicine to expand and become a part of future of medicine then long strides need to be made to provide training to healthcare professionals1.  More recently, this form of personalized healthcare has been advocated to be included into educational curriculum for primary care providers. It has even insisted that doctors familiarize themselves with the unique mental, social and emotional factors of a patient that influence their health condition2.

Integrated Medicine has been referred to as a form of personalized medicine. Both put the individual at the centre of healthcare. It allows for medicine to be viewed as a philosophy, through an understanding of the patient.  This promotes the likelihood that your doctor will see you as a whole person – thoughts, feelings, mental state included – and not just another prescription to write. Integrated medicine is especially beneficial to the patient because it allows you to have a say in your treatment and be educated on the actual decisions your doctors are making. It promotes a compassionate care environment where the patient feels heard by their health provider, which ultimately helps balance the feeling of power disparities between patient and doctor.

A healthy doctor-patient relationship is a promising option for the future of healthcare. It has the ability to create a unique dialogue that could change the way doctors care for patients for the better. Personalised medicine should be seen as a movement that encompasses wider medicine and healthcare. It must be based on cohesive, tight collaboration between the patient, medical professionals, researchers, scientists and social scientists3.

 

References

  1. Rehm HL. Evolving health care through personal genomics. Nat Rev Genet. 2017;18(4):259–67. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28138143
  2. Brooks AJ, Koithan MS, Lopez AM, Klatt M, Lee JK, Goldblatt E, Sandvold I, Lebensohn P. Incorporating integrative healthcare into interprofessional education: What do primary care training programs need? J Interprof Edu & Prac. 2019;14:6–12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405452617301635
  3. Pavelić, K. , Martinović, T. and Kraljević Pavelić, S. (2015), Do we understand the personalized medicine paradigm?. EMBO rep. 2015; 16: 133-136. doi:10.15252/embr.201439609

Have you recently felt struggling to organize your thoughts? Do you often forget to complete important tasks at work? Our thoughts and emotions are dictated by the brain. Memory is the most important factor to succeed in life. Our memory power and concentration go hand in hand; we think clearly when our brain is in its most optimum state of health. Any form of unbalance in brain functions leads to poor concentration, clouded thinking, and confusion. 

Acupuncture to Optimize Brain Power

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicinal therapy that has been around for more than 3000 years. It consists of inserting tiny, thin needles into specific points of a body to stimulate and balance the flow of Qi energy, enhance circulation and release useful hormonal and substances in our body.

Disposable sterile needles are used through gentle insertion at specific body points. More than 400+ points are known. Also referred to as “Acupuncture points”, they lie on 14 major pathways known as “meridians”. Each meridian links to individual body systems, including internal organs. Disruption to this flow is seen as blockages or sluggish Qi flow. Qi encompasses spiritual, physical, and emotional energy. Acupuncture acts by unblocking or stimulating these pathways to facilitate these functions.

Do you know that our intellectual thinking is mutually dependent with other physiological systems?. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Shen (mind and spirit) is our higher self; consciousness, emotions and thoughts. It influences long term memory, encompasses our wisdom and oversees mental and creative abilities. Brain memory is closely linked to the health and performance of the spleen, heart, kidney, and liver. According to the Five Element theory all of them are mutually inter-dependent e.g. spleen nourishes the heart, or disharmony between the heart and kidneys results in insomnia, anxiety and menopausal symptoms.  Emotionally, the spleen controls worry, the heart is responsible for love and happiness, fear is the realm of the kidneys and anger is associated with the liver (1, 2, 3, 4). Acupuncture positively influences the ability to think clearly by improving long term memory.

Acupuncture for Healthier Brain & Improved Concentration

We are living in a world where we are constantly bombarded by numerous forms of interruptions, smells, sounds and sights; these make it extremely difficult to stay focused at any particular time but even more so for higher level functioning.

Medical studies conducted by the Journal of Neural Regeneration Research concluded that acupuncture can help to improve our brain’s cognitive functions. The same study narrated that acupuncture can increase neural plasticity and thus improve overall brain function. It helps to restore body balance and improve mental clarity.

Treating specific acupuncture such as BA HUI – GV 20, YANG BAI – GB 14, YIN TANG – GV 24.5, SHUI GOU – GV 26, THREE MILE POINT – ST 36, HEAVENLY PILLAR – B10, DAN ZHONG – CV 17 etc. aims to improve brain health and memory functions.

Acupuncture & Brain Disorders

Medical studies focused on Alzheimer’s diseases conclude that acupuncture benefits the spatial learning process of the brain, and helps to improve memory functions. It is shown to improve brain glucose metabolism and helps improve subtle memory loss associated with dementia. Enhanced energy metabolism in the brain is imperative for the ability to learn, memorise as well as cognitive ability.

This time-tested, natural treatment therapy is a boon for your mental health. It energizes the body and nourishes your mind to sharpen memory, improve alertness, and boost your brain power.

If you are having problems focusing or have problems with memory or concentration, then acupuncture may be a good alternative treatment for you. Along with acupuncture, good nutrition also helps tremendously to boost brain functions. When it comes to brain health, never underestimate the power of a healthy diet. Wholesome nutrition acts as a brain food that keeps it sharp and healthy.

 

 

Unfortunately, Acupuncture cannot offer quick fixes. Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) discipline; its origins are in Taoism which is rooted in the natural world offering a view of health in relation to the natural environment.  Many Chinese philosophers were also contemplative, in depth scientists who devoted their life time to observing natural phenomenon. From this they developed a range of philosophical models to describe human body functions and its relationship to health. In this way they expressed their understanding of health using the language of natural forces and cycles.

TCM teaches us that health is a state of harmony between the many biological and energetic forces within our own body. There is no distinction between us as living beings, our mind and our body. When there is a problem or conflict in any then disease manifests itself as pain or other illness. Attainment of good health is a gentle process of balancing these forces. Healing takes place over a period of time.

In a modern technological world where complex tasks have been simplified to an effortless push of a button, people are often disappointed when told that regaining health is not a simple task, nor is it a short term endeavour. In many cases they have been battling with their health for many years whilst receiving medical treatment. Often patients want acupuncture to be a quick-fix without too much effort. It is amusing to think that they have such confidence in acupuncture. That a single or a few treatments will forever rid them of their health problems. Unfortunately, this is not the case although all acupuncturists would love to have such an ability to heal.

Acupuncture and TCM treatment is akin to gardening- building up healthy fertile soil, eliminating pests, growing complementary plants together, adequate water, sun and suitable temperature to grow the best possible crop. Gardening takes time. It takes regular and consistent care over many months before one can reap the harvest. With constant changes in the environment, wind, rain, sun and snow there is a need for steady ongoing care. Similarly, health is not a constant state of being; there is always an ebb and flow which needs to be cared for. The body needs good nutrition to build up resistance and resilience to overcome disease. The mind needs a suitable environment with the necessary stimulation to experience feelings of contentment and happiness. Spiritually, there needs to be a connection within oneself, others and the natural world. This is the catalyst for a person’s self-healing.

Self-healing is true healing, acknowledged by many ancient philosophies and texts. Through the natural rhythm of the universe, humans have an innate ability to self-heal. This ability is masked when the natural balance and self-awareness is lost e.g. when there is unhappiness, mental stresses or a disease state. Acupuncture and TCM treatments aim to return the balance by restoring the smooth flow of qi thus activating self-healing in the body. Unlike medical treatments that only addresses symptoms, acupuncture and TCM treatments also affects the mind, emotions and spiritual self. A strong inner self resides within us which is able to communicate the process of self-healing to the body. Reconnecting to the inner self is key to initiating this process. Acupuncture and TCM can help start this process of reconnection and harmonising.

How long will it take for your garden to grow ?

This January Many people are thinking about weight loss you are not alone.  Its when many  try to shed a few pounds with the aim to have health and happiness.  For some, this is a regular New Year event, the main reason being making a positive change in their life or a variety of reasons. Maintaining cosmetic appearances should not be the main reason  to pay attention to your weight. Sometimes a diagnosis of obesity, heart condition, diabetes or arthritis  may be the impetus  for change.

In the UK 77% of men and 63% of women are either overweight or obese.  In the last 20 years obesity has risen by 16%. Being overweight dramatically increases the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (particularly osteoarthritis),  cardiovascular disease,  diabetes  and some cancers.  There is much evidence to support a strong link that carrying excessive fat around the waistline  triggers long-term inflammatory processes throughout the body.  It also increases insulin resistance,  abnormalities in blood fats and build-up of fat in the liver.

Being overweight isn’t caused by single type of food or a lack of willpower.  Healthy choices are not always easy to make. Eating out,  ready meals and larger portion sizes also  make it more difficult. Our lifestyle has become more sedentary,  we are less likely to walk, run  or cycle.

Which type of diet is best ?

New diets are constantly being lunch throughout the year.  Each diet is promoted to be the diet to end all diets. Unfortunately,  most of these are short term solutions, can be very restrictive and not designed to achieve long-term success. Most diets either restrict calories or minimise carbohydrate (including sugars) and fat intake.

  • Calorie restriction can be highly effective and can improve metabolic imbalances caused by obesity e.g.  inflammation, insulin resistance, raised blood fats  and high blood pressure.  Most  research studies use  around 20%-30%  reduction in calorie intake from the baseline. However, in long-term weight loss there appears to be no difference between diets low in fat compared to diets low in carbohydrates (and sugars).
  • Fasting can make calorie restriction easier for some people. There are many versions of a fasting diet. They include;
    • Periodic fasting : limiting a diet to 500-750 calories a day for  2 to 5 days every month,  or every couple of months.
    •  Intermittent fasting:   commonly known as the “5: 2 diet”  recommends 500- 750  calories a day for 2 days every week. OR  “the 16:8”  fasting overnight (13-16 hours) every 24 hours.  the latter does not involve restricting calories but simply narrows the window in which calories are consumed.

We can’t all just get Thin !  There are many functional imbalances that prevent the best attempts at weight loss.  These include:

  • Imbalances in the gut absorption and digestion
  • Problems with blood sugar control
  • Thyroid gland problems e.g.  hypothyroidism
  • Disruption in adrenal function, causing imbalances in various hormones
  • Imbalances in sex hormones
  • Imbalance in the brain chemistry
  • Problems with appetite controlling chemicals
  • High toxic load

Ultimately,  the most effective diet is one that the individual find easiest to stick with  in the long term.  Usually,  this will be a low glycaemic load (low-GL) diet. Carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized and therefore there is a slower rise in blood sugar and insulin  resulting in lower and consistent sugar levels.

On their own dietary measures are rarely sufficient to manage weight loss. Diet with exercise is far more effective  both for short and long-term weight management.  Evidence suggests that regular aerobic type exercise or resistance training plus walking approximately 10,000 steps a day.  Exercise not only  burns calories,  but also releases endorphins which improves food cravings and insulin sensitivity. Adequate hydration is also crucial to achieving a healthy weight.  Lack of sleep leads to ghrelin hormone production stimulating hunger and suppresses leptin hormone which controls appetite.  In one study women who slept less than 7 hours and night had a 30% higher likelihood to add 33 lbs over a 16 year period.

Without doubt supplements are essential for healthy weight loss. These include; multi-vitamins, B-vitamins, minerals, fish oil, green tea, probiotics, L-Theanine and others.

 

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Seeking to maintain or restore good health?  Think harmony–not tune-up or repair.

Illness is dissonance.   The holistic practitioner does more than focus on wrong notes.  He/she undertakes a detailed examination of the body’s many systems to discover where and how they have stopped working properly together.

Patients are sometimes surprised by the questions a holistic practitioner asks and the nature of the examination.

Perhaps you’re troubled by constipation.  Why is the practitioner looking at your feet or your hand? Why are they checking pulses on both wrists, rather than just one? Why do they ask about your emotional temperament or what position you sleep in? What relevance is your blood type?

Traditional and complementary therapies centre on getting the body to work like an orchestra to make beautiful music. Like sections of the orchestra, each body system can perform separately–but all the time fully aware of the fundamental role every other part plays. Restoring good health requires our body’s orchestra of organs, tissue, muscles and bones to be at their best individually but also collectively.

Mind-Body-Spirit is the mantra of Holism, comparable to musical chords made up of top, middle and lower notes. Regardless of the sequence of notes they are equally important. What happens when we play an incorrect note?  Instead of music we get incoherent, disjointed ‘noise’ i.e. disharmony between mind-body-spirit.

A symptom like constipation is the consequence of such disharmony. Understandably, most people will think immediately of a problem in the digestive system. However, it may only be acting up as a result of a domino effect from another system or organ. Constipation can result from a poor diet; intolerance to certain foods; side effects from antacids containing calcium or aluminium.

More significantly it can also be due to low thyroid activity or neurological problems. So will taking a laxative solve the problem? The answer is no.

We need to address the root problem which offers a much better and longer-term solution.  Using this approach holistic practitioners assess beyond just the digestive system to look for clues that can tell them where the root problem lies.

Practitioners may look at your feet or hands for changes in the skin but also to examine acupuncture or acupressure points. Comparing both wrist pulses for their rhythm is an essential Chinese diagnostic tool. Changes in behavior, sleep patterns or sleeping in certain positions can allude to certain diagnostic patterns in homeopathy, Chinese and ayurvedic medicine.

Practitioners adopting Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s approach (author of Eat Right For Your Type) will use your blood type to determine how it chemically reacts to certain foods.

Health restoration is like tuning a musical instrument, and must encompass a look at not just the body itself, but also what you put into it, and the environment it lives in. Most of our problems have been acquired over decades of gradual exposure to various health hazards.

  • Start with the fundamentals of a healthy life style, diet and exercise.
  • Get the right amount of sleep. On average7– 91 hrs for adults, more for children.
  • Cut out or minimize intake of processed foods.
  • Keep hydrated (preferably with filtered water).
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Routinely supplement with good quality multivitamins and minerals and omega- 3, 6.
  • We increasingly live indoors which reduces our body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D. Thirty minutes daily (less for fair skinned people) of good midday sunshine on bare skin in e.g. shorts and tank top. In the UK it is almost impossible to get this amount particularly in the autumn and winter months thus creating a need for additional supplementation.
  • As much as possible eliminate toxic environmental stresses. Xenobiotic chemicals found in our food and water, pesticides, plastic packaging, metal jewellery, shower gels, cosmetics, prescription medication etc. act as anti-nutrients and increase our nutritional requirements e.g. nickel increases the need for zinc and fluoride increases the need for iodine.

If you currently have health concerns, and your GP has not found a resolution to them, you may need additional advice on supplementation or holistic treatments. Consider going to a holistic practitioner, or for more complex problems, a holistic physician.

 

 

 

The goal of palliative care is to help patients achieve the best possible quality of life, no matter what challenges their illness causes. Many people, in particular those with non-cancer conditions, miss out on this essential aspect of medical treatment because of limited understanding of how it can help them.  A recommendation to begin palliative measures can lead to distress in patients and their families, because they may fear it means that the doctor is “giving up” on the patient, or that there is no hope.

Sometimes, despite the best efforts of the doctor or healthcare team, treatments may not succeed in halting the course of disease.  At that point, further medical interventions will at best be ineffective, and at worst may cause harm to the patient.  Treatments for very serious illness often have severe side effects, and can negatively affect the patient’s quality of life.  If the benefits to the patient don’t outweigh those negative effects, the doctor will recommend stopping them.  But that’s not the end of caring for the patient’s needs.

 

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is specialist care that is provided to help people live well with a life-threatening illness or in the final stage of life.  It can involve the relief and ongoing management of severe pain and other symptoms; supervising the use of supplemental oxygen so the patient can breathe better; creation of an individually-tailored nutrition plan to counteract wasting and weakness; ongoing psychological support and emotional comfort.

In the past palliative care was usually associated with diagnosis of cancer. However this is no longer true, as many other conditions can require palliative care. Even if the patient has been told that his or her disease is considered “end-stage,” the palliative care professional strives to make each day more comfortable.

Palliative care can be an important part of treating different stages of life-limiting illness. The goal is always to help the patient achieve and maintain the best possible state of well-being and comfort. Care is provided by a team of professionals:  doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, physiotherapists, nutritionists, complementary therapists and others.  This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Relief from pain or other distressing symptoms
  • Spiritual, psychological and emotional support to affirm life and understand that dying is a normal process of living.
  • Advice and support for carers to help cope during the illness, and bereavement care.

St Christopher’s Hospice (UK) founded in 1967, was the first modern hospice where expert pain and symptom treatment was linked to compassionate and humane care. Today palliative care is provided by a team of general and specialist providers. This includes providing everyday care to patients and the family, and specialist treatments from doctors and nurses.  In the past palliative care was seen to be the domain of hospices and hospitals but the focus has evolved to providing care in patients’ homes so that they may continue to live in a familiar environment surrounded by their family. Other supportive complementary therapy services like massage and aromatherapy, acupuncture and nutritional supplements can make a considerable contribution to alleviating pain and discomfort, sleep, improving low mood and depression, and reducing other symptoms e.g. stress, nausea, tiredness and appetite.

Despite its long-term integration into standard medical practice, doctors can still find it uncomfortable to broach the subject of palliative care.  The misconception that palliative care is the start of the last days of life can make it difficult for patients and families to discuss and accept.

In truth, palliative care is all about living–it is about being in control of your life and what you want to do. It offers you peace of mind, knowing that there is always someone for you to turn to for advice and reassurance. It allows your palliative care team to help you to find physical comfort and emotional acceptance of your circumstances, and a spiritual resolution for end of life planning. With this support you can still appreciate vibrant sunsets, and have a reason to wake up in the morning to a beautiful sunny day, full of aspirations and HOPE.

 

Once again the media have focused on the use of E-cigarettes. For good reason there are still doubts on its safety. Majority of safety research has been on the e-cigarette liquid prior to it being vaped based on its constituents having fewer carcinogenic toxins. In a recent study scientists at the University of Birmingham believe that e-cigarettes commonly known as vaping is much more harmful than previously thought. Although safer in relation to causing cancer, 20-30yrs of vaping is associated with a higher risk of long term lung disease such as, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after 20-30yrs of vaping. Scientists mimicked the vaping mechanism, once the vapours are inhaled it turns back into a liquid condensate within the lungs. They tested this new condensate on samples of lung tissue and found significantly harmful effects.  It inhibits the alveolar macrophages from working effectively thus affecting the lungs ability to get rid of dust, bacteria and other allergens. Alveolar macrophages are a vital part of the lungs immune system.

When first introduced e-cigarettes had my own alarm bells ringing. The World Health Organisation has expressed concerns over e-cigarette safety. In the UK sales soared by 340% in one year, with the industry worth rising from an estimated £44 million (2012) to £193 million (2013). In 2017 sales increased by 50% to reach £1bn and set to exceed £2bn by 2020.

Vaping is advertised as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking, but is it really?  ‘Vaping’ is the inhalation of a mixture of carrier substances; propylene glycol (an alcohol) and glycerine (produced from fats and oils), added with nicotine and flavourings through an electronic vapouriser. Scientists are still divided on its safety. One camp believes that vaping is a safer alternative to tobacco smoking, while others are sceptical of its longer-term use. The finger has been firmly pointed at the many ‘flavours’ and ‘carrier substances’ that cause physiological effects. Vaping also releases volatile organic compounds and (ultra) fine particles into the atmosphere therefore for the rest of us increasing the risk of passive vaping. A study at New York University (Jan 2018) suggested that vaping may raise the risk of cancer and heart disease. Researchers observed changes in DNA which were similar to those found in secondhand smoke. In another stuty  the toxic element chromium and four times more nickle was found when compared to traditional tobacco. A BBC investigation found that a VIP butterscotch flavour refill contained a chemical diacetyl which, although safe to eat is not safe for inhalation and has been linked to a serious lung condition called ‘Popcorn worker’s lung’.

It took a long time for us to realise the health risks of smoking tobacco. Doctors used to recommend smoking to aid the nerves. How long will it take for us to realise that e-cigarettes are not safe? The rise in popularity amongst young smokers is worrying as they are drawn towards its image as a ‘safer’ alternative to smoking, consequently making it a potentially major public health issue. It is hard to accept that regularly spraying your lungs with layers of vegetable fat and other chemicals was OK! There is talk of e-cigarettes undergoing stricter regulation, and for its sale to be made illegal to the under 18s, while the WHO advised on banning its use indoors. Personally, I feel both of these cannot come soon enough as we need to establish a few facts before it is too late and lives are lost.

 

 

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