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5 Signs of Stress Not to Ignore

Between 2016 and 2017, over 500,000 employees in the UK were affected by work-related stress, with 12.5 million working days lost due to depression, anxiety and stress, according to government statistics. Stress is often described as the feeling of not being able to cope with the pressure of everyday life or a particularly difficult time in a person’s life. People who have suffered with work related stress report feeling overloaded, under serious pressure and are very emotional. Stress is a mental illness and can not only affect you on an emotional and mental level, but it can also affect your physical wellbeing. Those who are depressed, feel anxiety or are stressed tend to crave fatty and sugary food, are sleep deprived and don’t tend to look after themselves as much as they normally would. This can have a dramatic impact on the body and can even weaken the immune system, meaning you’re more likely to become ill and find it difficult to fight off infection. More serious conditions caused by stress can include high blood pressure, heart palpitations, cardio-vascular problems, migraines and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

With this in mind, here are 5 signs of stress that you should never ignore.

 

Problematic Skin

One of the first signs of stress that you can notice physically on the body and especially on the face is problematic skin. If you’re suffering from breakouts, blemishes, unexplained rashes or your eczema is becoming worse, this could be an indication that you’re suffering from stress. 

If you do notice breakouts, blemishes or problematic skin, you can use topical creams to help reduce the redness, irritation and damage to your skin, but you should also look at your daily life and routine and see if you can identify whether you may be suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.

 

Weak Immune System

If you find that you keep catching a cold or you can’t seem to kick a viral chest infection, stress may be to blame. Stress can cause you immune system to weaken, meaning that it is more difficult for you to recover from illness. The chemical reactions triggered by a stressful event or situation can cause stress hormones to be pumped around the body. These hormones can interfere with the immune system which can result in inflammation, reduced white blood cells which makes you more prone to infection and tissue damage. 

To boost your immune system while dealing with stress, you should eat a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables, take regular exercise and get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.

 

Anxiety

The NHS defines anxiety as the feeling of unease, worry and fear that can be mild or severe. It is quite normal to feel anxiety in your life, whether it be before a big exam, a job interview or a special event, but feeling anxious on a daily basis is a sign that you may be suffering from stress. This feeling can affect how you live your life, as you may begin to withdraw yourself from socialising, going to work or putting yourself in situations which you believe might trigger your anxiety. Anxiety can lead to panic attacks, phobias and social anxiety disorder. Often anxiety is caused by post-traumatic stress when you can experienced a particularly bad or painful experience recently or in the past. 

If you think that you’re suffering from anxiety, you can speak to your GP or family and friends who will be able to help you through this stressful time.

 

Shortness of Breath

Breathlessness can be a sign of stress, especially if you’re struggling to catch your breath without actually doing anything physically demanding. If you walk up a set of stairs and find it hard to catch your breath, this is quite normal, but if you’re breathless before leaving the house or while getting ready for work or to meet a friend, it sounds as though you may be suffering from anxiety or stress. Sometimes shortness of breath causes anxiety, while other times shortness of breath is brought on by anxiety. There are ways to deal with stress induced breathlessness such as taking up yoga or meditation, but to put your mind at ease, some people prefer to speak to their GP.  

 

Sugar Cravings

When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to crave sugary and fatty food and snacks to give yourself a quick burst of energy. This is because stress takes up a lot of energy from your body and makes you feel tired and lethargic. Whether you’re dealing with sleep deprivation, anxiety or suffering from a continuous cycle of colds and flu due to a week immune system, you will notice that you can’t help yourself from indulging in all matter of sweet stuff and junk food. If you notice that you’re eating a considerable amount of sweet fatty food, it’s time to look at your lifestyle and consider whether stress is an issue. 

 

Stress can affect people from any walk of life, at any age and at any stage in their life. It is not thing to be ashamed of, but left it can cause you serious health problems. If you think that you might be suffering from stress, anxiety or depression you should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, seek help and support from family and friends and speak to your GP.

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5 things you didn't know about physiotherapy

Many of us who haven’t experienced physiotherapy first hand, or simply don’t know a lot about it or what it involves, may be surprised at the complexities of physiotherapy and the range of treatments it covers. Some may assume it is a few stretches and exercises for those who have injured their muscles through sports – but it is so much more than that! Physiotherapy covers a wide range of treatments to help restore movement and reduce pain for people who have been affected by an injury, illness or disability.

As well as being used to prevent injuries in the future, typically, physiotherapy is used to treat the following:

  • Bones, muscles and joints, such as sports injuries, or back, neck and shoulder pain
  • The heart and circulation, such as rehab following a heart attack
  • The brain and nervous system, such as problems following a stroke or related to MS
  • The lungs and respiratory system, such as problems leading from cystic fibrosis

In addition to this, there are a facts about physiotherapy that you may not be aware of…

  1. Professional physiotherapy was first established at the end of World War I in Canada, in order to treat the thousands of injured soldiers. Many required help restoring mobility and functions due to their war injuries, and physiotherapy was the most popular treatment for soldiers during this time.
  2. Physiotherapy can be used as a treatment to help people suffering from vertigo. Vertigo is a condition caused by an infection in the vestibular system, which can make sufferers feel extremely unbalanced and dizzy, and physiotherapy is a common treatment – unbeknown to most!
  3. There are a wide variety of different types of physiotherapy, such as neurologic rehabilitation, cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation, wound care, orthopaedic care, and post-operative care – to name but a few!
  4. Physiotherapy requires patients to complete homework. A home program for those participating in physiotherapy sessions is vital in improving symptoms and working on certain exercises or movements in between appointments. Physiotherapists assign homework for patients in order to speed up recovery and to reach their desired results faster.
  5. Physiotherapy can be a treatment you are assigned through a referral by your doctor, as well as simply booking an appointment directly with a physiotherapist to discuss a problem you have been experiencing. Many people book a session with a physio instead of their GP to chat about an issue they have, and to decide if physiotherapy would be a beneficial option. It is a highly regarded treatment option within the medical profession – there are approximately 50,000 physiotherapists currently working in the UK.

 

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World Malaria Day 2016

Also known as WMD, World Malaria Day is commemorated every year on the 25th April in a bid to promote global efforts to understand and control malaria. WMD is one of eight official global public health campaigns upheld by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Each is aimed at raising awareness for a specific illness or health problem. In terms of malaria, the statistics are shocking - across the world, more than 3 billion people in 106 countries are currently at risk of malaria. In 2012 alone, malaria caused approximately 627,000 deaths.

What is malaria?

Malaria is a parasitic infectious disease carried by mosquitoes. When a mosquito carrying malaria bites a human, the disease is spread from the insect’s saliva to the person’s blood. If malaria isn’t diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible after becoming infected, it can be fatal. The main signs and symptoms of malaria include:

  • A severe headache
  • A high temperature
  • Fever-like symptoms, including sweats and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Aching muscles
  • Fatigue
  • A dry cough

Although these are the most common symptoms of malaria, not all of the above may appear. Sometimes, people only experience two or three of the most common symptoms, such as a headache, fever and vomiting. Malaria is mainly found in tropical regions such as large areas of Africa and Asia, Central and South America, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Middle East and some Pacific Islands.

How is malaria treated?

If you have been diagnosed with malaria it is vital that you begin taking your medicine immediately. Depending on where in the world you contracted malaria and the exact type that you have will determine the treatment you receive. If you were taking antimalarial medicine prior to contracting the disease, you will need to take a different form of medication after diagnosis. You will need to stay in hospital to be monitored – it is likely that medication will be distributed intravenously to begin with, followed by a course of tablets.

Every year on 25th April, World Malaria Day focuses on a specific theme. 2016’s theme is “End malaria for good”. For more information, visit the World Malaria Day website to find out how you can help to raise awareness. 

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World Health Day 2016

 

Each year World Health Day is held on 7th April, marking the anniversary of the World Health Organisation being founded in 1948. World Health Day focuses on a different disease or health issue every year in order to raise awareness and educate people on how to treat or prevent certain illnesses. This year, World Health Day 2016 is covering diabetes – one of the most common and serious diseases in the world. In 2008, an estimated 347 million people around the world were diagnosed with diabetes. It is estimated that by 2025 there will be approximately 5 million people with diabetes in the UK alone.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is lifelong metabolic disorder that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2 – with type 2 affecting approximately 90% of adults with diabetes in the UK.

Type 1 is when the patient is insulin dependent and is usually developed during childhood or as a young adult. Type 1 diabetes destroys pancreatic cells, and as a result no insulin can be produced, meaning glucose levels increase which can seriously damage internal organs.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common and is more prevalent in people who are overweight and over the age of 45. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes are no longer able to produce insulin and sugar builds up in their bloodstream. Type 2 is a progressive condition, meaning those who suffer from the disease may eventually need medication.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling increasingly thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling physically exhausted
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Frequent thrush or itchy genitals 
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and wounds taking a long time to heal

If you or someone you know is experiencing two or more of the above symptoms, visit your GP as soon as possible and express your concern.

How is diabetes treated?

There is currently no cure for diabetes, meaning if you have been diagnosed you need to carefully manage your treatment. If you have type 1 diabetes you will most likely need insulin injections in order to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is important to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet and do an increased level of exercise. In many cases, those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight and should aim to lose 10% of their bodyweight in the space of a year in order to maintain their condition.

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How to Handle Hay Fever

 

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. Due to plants’ different reproductive cycles happening at different points during the year, hay fever symptoms can occur at any time during spring, summer and autumn. Hay fever is so common that it affects one in five people at some point during their life. Symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose – all of which are a result of an allergy to pollen.

During spring, trees release their pollen and the first signs of hay fever can occur in sufferers as early as February. Following this, allergies to grass pollen begin around March or April, and weed pollen is released any time between March and August.

If you are prone to suffering from hay fever or happen to experience symptoms for the first time this year, try some of the tips below to help ease suffering:

  • Take antihistamine tablets; they are available at supermarkets and pharmacies. You could also ask the pharmacist if they have any other medication to help with your specific symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol. Many people do not know this, but alcohol contains histamine which is the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in the body.
  • If the pollen count is high, try to stay indoors. Don’t keep fresh flowers inside your house and if possible, don’t dry your clothes outside. Pollen can attach itself to damp clothes and make your symptoms much worse if you wear clothes covered in something you’re allergic to!
  • Avoid areas that are particularly grassy, and don’t cut the grass in your garden – the pollen released from grass is highly likely to affect hay fever sufferers.
  • Keep all windows closed. If it is hot in your house with the windows closed, try closing the curtains to reduce the temperature. Keep the windows in your car closed too – you can also buy a pollen filter for your air vents.
  • If you have been outdoors and your symptoms are particularly bad, when you get home make sure you have a shower and change your clothes. Removing as much pollen from your body as possible is vital in order to reduce symptoms.
  • If your main symptom is a blocked nose and your hay fever isn’t responding to antihistamines, ask your doctor about corticosteroid nasal sprays. They can reduce the inflammation inside your nose and help you to breathe easier.
  • If your eyes are particularly itchy, swollen or watery, try using eye drops specifically for those with hay fever. Eye drops which include the ingredient sodium cromoglicate have been shown to be the safest and most successful in treating symptoms of hay fever.

If you continue to suffer from hay fever symptoms and nothing helps to ease your suffering, speak to your GP. There may be some stronger medications that can be prescribed, or factors to bear in mind that are specific to your particular symptoms. It’s never too early to start preparing for hay fever, so look out for warning signs over the next couple of months. 

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