Keeping Healthy This Winter

It may have been a warmish October in places, but November?

We’re feeling the chill in the air and the cold, wet weather seems to have finally come upon us.

For many people this change is not a big deal.

This is particularly true for those that are young, fit and healthy.

However, for those with weakened immune systems and older adults (especially those over the age of 65), this change in the weather can lead to serious health conditions and health deterioration.

Yet there are some things that you can do to help prevent this!

[1] If you are older, make sure that you keep yourself warm. This can include wearing an extra layer, or even turning up the heating.

Heating your home can be expensive, but please, if you can, do, and if you can’t afford to, please ask for help.

It’s understandable that you might not want to, but not doing so can worsen conditions such as arthritis and isn’t very good for your circulation either.

[2] Make sure that you’re getting enough water! It’s really easy to let this one slip by in the winter, particularly when it’s cold outside and you keep the water in the fridge! However, it’s still important.

Drinking water will not only help keep your skin from getting dry, but it will also help keep your body healthy.

Your body cannot do anything without water, so give it a helping hand.

[3] Try to pioneer a healthy lifestyle. It’s even more important in the winter to fuel yourself on healthy foods and to partake in regular exercise.

Both of these things help to boost your immunity and will help you when it comes to fighting off those nasty bugs, colds and flu’s that travel around.

Most importantly, don’t forget to look after those close to you.

If you know an elderly person that lives on there own, please check on them and make sure that they are ok.

Insomnia

beta glucanWhen you don’t get a good night’s sleep you can find yourself becoming irritable, rundown and generally ‘off’.

However, what if it was not just one night’s sleep that was missing?

What if, like 30% of the current population of the UK right now, you suffered from insomnia.

Insomnia, according to medical definitions can include anything from 7 days to three weeks of sleepless nights, or nights where sleep is continuously disturbed without the full sleep cycle being completed.

After this period, professionals usually start to recommend medication to help you to sleep.

Primarily this is because sleep is needed for your body to operate properly.

Without sleep, insomnia can lead to relationship breakdowns, emotional issues and the increased likelihood of illness.

When you look at the statistics, 30% doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you think that this applies to 1 in every 10 people that you meet, and that they haven’t slept properly in around three weeks, the seriousness of insomnia is apparent. However, there are some things that can help.

Before doctors give out medication, they usually try other things, and ask you to try other things too.

Some things are as simple as asking you to create a sort of bedtime ritual, so that you do the same thing every night before getting into bed.

This helps your brain to get ready for bed, the same as your body, and is a lot more effective than watching TV right before sleep and then expecting to fall into a deep slumber.

In fact, cutting out any TV/ computer/ phone use for an hour before bed is also recommended.

Sometimes our brain really does need to just switch off. Cognitive behavioural therapy may also be used to treat insomnia, to override whatever it is that is stopping you from sleeping.

Sleeping is an important function, and plays an important part in our bodies’ immune system.

The more sleep that we get, the healthier we are, and the more living we can actually do!

Why We Need To Take A Step Back From Technology

technologyTechnology is an amazing thing.

It enables us to communicate with people over the other side of the world, and we have uncapped and uncensored information at our fingertips.

Now more than ever we can learn anything, we can do anything, and we can teach ourselves anything. However, it is possible that we can have too much of a good thing.

Over the past 20 years of information technology being popularised and brought into homes and workplaces, of it shrinking and being able to be popped into our pockets, our concentration levels have dropped, our eyesight has worsened and our self-worth has become clouded in a sea of ‘likes’ and ‘favourites’.

None of these things are good for our physical or mental wellbeing.

Of course it’s easy to say that you need to step away from technology, but with texts and phone calls being on the same device as your Facebook messages and Twitter feed it’s hard to do.

Most of us don’t even put our phones into the same class as our laptops despite them being able to do most of the things that our laptops can.

Moreover, when we take a break from our laptops, we can often be found on our phones, a habit which does nothing for our eyesight, or our memories.

When we use our phones whilst watching the television and feeding the dog, our mind isn’t focused therefore whatever we watch or read never makes it to our long-term memories, making it difficult for us to learn new things.

This constant stimulation also causes us to be more anxious as we are subconsciously frightened of missing something, despite the fact that whatever that something is may not actually be applicable to our lives, or cause us any enjoyment.

It even affects our social lives. When you go out, take a look around. How many people are at lunch with their friends with their phones on the table?

Sometimes we can get so carried away with our virtual lives that we are actually missing that face-to-face communication desperately needed by humans. But what can we do about it?

Get out (without your phone… or at least put it in your pocket!), set specified hours for laptop and smart tablet use and don’t go over them!

Unplug and get out of the house, and most importantly, make time for your family and friends without using your phone every 5 minutes… they’ll thank you for it!

Men’s Health

men's healthMen’s health is a topic not widely discussed outside the realm of gym fitness or a healthy, balanced diet. However, it is an important subject and one that needs to be discussed, particularly as according to the NHS men visit their GP’s half the amount that women do.

Recent surveys have suggested that this is because women in general feel more comfortable talking to others about their problems and opening up, whilst men are more inclined to keep certain things, especially pertaining to health to themselves.

Whatever the reason however, it is important to be aware of what is normal for you, and what isn’t and to know that if there is something that feels wrong to you that you should inform your doctor straight away, regardless of if you think it is important or not. Sometimes even the slightest of symptoms can be signals that there is an underlying condition, so it’s always best to get things checked out.

The NHS have outlined five main conditions that men need to be aware of, and understand, particularly because they are the health ailments that men generally think will go away by themselves, don’t mean anything, or are not important.

 They are:

 1. Depression – Now I know I’ve already said that men are more known for keeping certain things to themselves rather than letting other people know, but depression is definitely an ailment where you should talk to someone and let them know. It’s important to know that depression is a medical condition and even though there is no quick fix, there are important steps that your GP can take to make sure that you get the support and help you need.

2. Problems urinating – It might be embarrassing broaching this subject with your doctor, but problems urinating could be a sign of underlying conditions such as an enlarged prostate, or even bladder problems. Definitely get this checked out if it happens.

3. Impotence – Despite this usually being a sign of a lifestyle change such as a change in diet or activity, it could also be a sign of underlying conditions, so make sure that you visit your doctor to make sure.

4. Moles – Not the most obvious of conditions sometimes, but important. Moles that change shape or size should always be checked by your GP, as should any new ones. Moles can be benign, but they can also be a sign of skin cancer, so it’s important to be aware.

5. Testicular lumps – Make sure that you self-examine, it’s important and the earlier you catch lumps and bumps, the earlier you can get them checked out and the easier it is for doctors to diagnose and treat any problems.

So please, if you do have any of the aforementioned ailments, go see your doctor. It’s not silly, it’s not a waste of time, and this is not a lecture.

Your health is important, and so are you!