Women and Heart Attacks

Photo of senior Asian woman clutching her chest in pain
Senior female Asian suffering from bad pain in his chest heart attack at home – senior heart disease

You’ve probably seen it on Facebook yourself – every so often it will raise its ugly little head again: Someone on Facebook will re-post an article claiming that women have different heart attack symptoms to men. NO, THEY DON’T! It’s possible that the prevalence of some symptoms may be higher or lower among women, but that doesn’t help at all. What are you going to do – ignore possible signs of a potentially fatal condition just because a woman is less likely to experience them? Duh! The most common symptom is chest pain – usually quite central, but it can radiate to the arms (yes, both of them in some cases) and to the jaw. It can also be in the lower back. But it won’t be a pinpoint pain – it will feel a bit like nasty indigestion, or could be crushing, squeezing sensation.

Someone having a heart attack might feel sick. They might be pale and clammy. They could be short of breath.

They’re very likely to be extremely anxious – the body generally realises when something really bad is happening, even if it doesn’t know what.

If you think someone is having a heart attack, sit them down on the floor against a wall or a heavy object, knees bent, feet resting on the floor. Ideally, use something to support the legs. This is the position which places least strain on the heart and lungs. What’s more, if they become unconscious, they don’t have far to fall.

  Call 999 straight away – this person needs advanced medical care! Don’t worry that you may have got it wrong – better that than a dead casualty. And here’s another important fact: many heart attacks are “silent”. That is, there are no obvious symptoms at all. So, if you’re at all unsure, call an ambulance. And don’t ignore a possible heart attack just because it’s a woman!

Reference:  Women and Heart Attacks

Heart photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

Sugar – Sweet or Poison?

As it’s World Diabetes Day on 14th November, I thought I would do a blog about sugar, recommended intake, its bad effects on the body and tips to help cut down.

There is no UK government health guideline for total sugars, but the figure of 90g per day is used as a rule of thumb on labelling in Britain and across the EU.  That 90g equates to more than 22 small (4g) teaspoons of sugar.

Packaging previously showed guideline daily amounts (GDA) for men, women and children but this has been replaced by reference intakes (RI) – which, under European legislation, can only be shown for adults. Reference intakes are not the same as dietary reference values (DRVs), which are what health professionals use when calculating added sugars.

National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) produced by Public Health England, which includes figures collected from 2014 to 2016, cited that sugar makes up 13.5% of 4 to 10-year-olds’, and 14.1% of teenagers’ (11 to 18-year-olds) daily calorie intake respectively

That’s almost three times the recommended amount.

Sugary drinks are the main source of sugar.  Sweets, chocolate and jams made up close to a quarter of children’s sugar intake.  

For adults aged 19-64, the main sources are confectionery, soft drinks and cereals.  Alcohol is an additional source, of course!

A lot of people don’t know that there seems to be a strong link between sugar and dementia.  Obesity and diabetes are already proven to lead to a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s (some studies even suggest that Alzheimer’s is late-stage diabetes).  But even before developing diabetes, a sugar-heavy diet is linked to a decline in cognitive function.

Tips to cut down sugar:

  • Cut down on food and drinks containing free sugar such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and some fizzy drinks and juice drinks.
  • Go for water, lower-fat milk, or sugar-free, diet or no-added-sugar drinks.
  • Even unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies are sugary, so limit the amount you have to no more than 150ml a day.
  • If you prefer fizzy drinks, try diluting drinks with sparkling water.
  • If you take sugar in hot drinks or add sugar to your breakfast cereal, gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether.

We all know it’s not easy to cut down on sugar, but for the sake of your brain – try it!

References:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27941325

Lighten Up!

We all know that exercise releases endorphins.  We all know that endorphins make us feel good.  And now the days are getting shorter, it’s dark for a lot of the time.  And the darker days can make us feel a bit gloomy.  So, how can we can get those endorphins going without leaving the cosiness of our homes?

The simplest thing to do is just get up out of your chair.  If you’re playing/working on a laptop or tablet, try putting the device onto the kitchen work top and standing up while you’re working.  You can even walk on the spot while you’re surfing the internet trying to work out which socks to buy someone for Christmas.

Or try the following:

  • Rolling your shoulders around – it’s easy, free and generally painless, so what’s stopping you from doing it?
  • High knee walking on the spot.  Or if walking is too easy and you’ve got no injuries try high knee running.  If you’re feeling really enthusiastic do 10 star jumps. 
  • Belly dancing wriggles.  Don’t laugh!  Belly dancing and hula hooping are great ways to get your body moving after you’ve been watching TV for an hour.
  • Dancing.  Any form of dancing is good movement.  Try the Charleston in your sitting room, or some disco in the kitchen.  Go on, get up out of your chair right now and have a little dance, I dare you!

All of these things are easy to do, and by releasing some exercise endorphins, who knows, you might just reduce the Winter gloominess that so many of us battle with at this time of year.

Is It Your Age?

Is It Your Age?

Have you ever had an ache and been told by friends and family “It’s your age, you’ve just got to put up with it”?

Or “There’s nothing we can do, it’s age-related”?

Just this week a patient told me he was just old, and asked what should he expect at his age. Well, there are some things that can’t be stopped or reversed, but some aches and pains are unnecessary. So how do you know the difference? Usually, arthritic pain starts gradually, it’s bothersome at the start, but not agony. It starts when some of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones roughens and becomes thin, then the bone thickens. So, the pain is not sudden.

As time goes on (we’re talking months and years here, not days) the bone at the edges of the joint thicken and form bumpy bits called spurs or osteophytes. That’s why arthritic joints look a bit fatter than normal. Of course, as all of this wear and tear happens it can cause pain, but it also causes a change in the way the joint works, which means the muscles can get tight, and the joints above and below have different strains put on them.

So, not only does the arthritic joint hurt, you’ve now also got pain from the changes in the muscles and other joints. And these can be helped with treatment. Muscle strains and joint pains can be treated with osteopathy, and we can give you easy things to do at home to help keep the area mobile.

You’d be amazed at how many patients think their pain is caused by arthritis when it’s only a muscle strain. So, don’t sit there and blame your age – get the right exercises and treatment.

You don’t have to put up with it!

Trampolinng

Trampolines have their ups and downs

The sun is shining, the children are smeared with a mixture of sun-cream and ice lolly gloop, the smallest one is covered in grass cuttings from falling on the newly mown lawn. And the new trampoline is waiting to keep A&E busy, and to provide me with opportunity to use some terrible jokes.

Trampolines are excellent exercise and entertainment, but they must be used safely. I refuse to do health and safety paranoia, but for every person telling you that jumping on a trampoline is great fun, another will label it a death trap. So, is your trampoline waiting to spring into action and cause you an injury? Or can your afternoon be bouncy?

Here are three and a half simple steps that you can take, to ensure that you won’t leap off the trampoline and land in the waiting room at A&E.

1. Think carefully about letting more than one person bounce at a time. Around 60% of trampoline accidents occur when more than one person is bouncing. Collisions, becoming unbalanced, and even being catapulted off are all dangers.

2. Make sure that young children aren’t on full-sized trampolines. Children under 6 make up about 15% of all trampoline injuries. Supervise them and keep them on age-appropriate trampolines to avoid accidents.

3. Buy the extra safety stuff: a safety net is essential to keep anyone from falling off, and padding over the springs will prevent fingers from being trapped or anyone slipping through.

3.5. Get some lessons if you can. If the kids know how to move on the trampoline it will be safer.

Clearly, trampolines have their ups and downs. However, if you’re thoughtful you can bounce to your heart’s content.

Upper Back Pain

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

People don’t talk about upper back pain very often. Yet it can be just as crippling as lower back pain. In most cases the underlying causes are not serious.

However, when it occurs, upper back pain can cause a level of discomfort that’s too misery-­‐making to ignore. Upper back pain is usually aggravated by moving the head or the arms, and can radiate out along the edge of the ribs. It can also cause headaches or aching pain in the neck and shoulders.

The causes of upper back pain can vary from poor posture or trauma, to improper lifting or carrying heavy objects.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

One of the most unexpected causes of upper back pain is sneezing! Yes, the common sneeze can cause excruciating pain in the upper back. It’s very easy to blame back pain on lifting heavy things like children, concrete, shopping or piles of washing, but sometimes our own bodily functions can be the cause of the problem.

Self-­‐help things you can do if your upper back is painful:

Rest: Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain for a day or two.

Sleep: Try to make sure you get some good sleep.

Watch your posture: When you’re sitting keep your head in a neutral position with your ears directly over your shoulders. This significantly reduces the amount of stress on your neck and back.

Be careful: Don’t try to stretch through serious pain – the chances are you will aggravate it!

As always the effect of any remedy will vary from person to person. Try to figure out what works best for you. And don’t do the things that make it worse!

Other causes of upper back pain may include osteoporosis (where the bones are weakened) and scoliosis (where the spine isn’t straight, but in an “S” or “C” curve when viewed from the back). So if the pain doesn’t subside, get your back checked – it’s not clever to ignore the pain.

Man swinging children by their arms

Lifting Kids

 

Are you guilty of lifting kids in a way that could hurt you?

Whether the kids are your own, your grandkids, or the ones you’re minding for someone else, children can be back-breaking work. I have no statistics for how many child-lifting injuries we see in this country, but I’d put money on it being a significant number.

Always bear in mind that you will be less useful to your children if you are injured. Back pain in particular can make caring for kids really difficult. So even when you’re tired try to think about your own posture and movement, not just what the small person needs.

Also, swinging children in this way can cause elbow dislocation in young children (under 5 or 6). Information can be found here https://www.webmd.com/children/nursemaid-elbow#1

Look out for some top tips on avoiding injury when lifting children later this week!

What I’ve Learned from Loving a Person with Scoliosis

For anyone who knows suomeone with scoliosis

The Curvy Spine

I asked my closest family and friends to share what they’ve learned from loving a person with scoliosis, and this is what they had to say:

I’ve learned a lot about resilience, and about individual strength to cope with and push through challenges. But I’ve also learned about helplessness, and understanding that as people we have an incredible capacity in some ways, but we are so restricted in others. — said my doting husband

I suffered a lot with everything you went through,and through your resilience and resignation, little by little, I learned to accept that in life we have to accept everything that is presented to us. I also learned that even through all the pain, you can move forward in life. You are a very strong person and I know that you provide an example to many people. — said my concerned mama

For me it was that…

View original post 346 more words

Ghosts Of Diets Past, Present and Future

I have said this for years!

Unlearn-Rethink

It always makes me laugh whenever someone refers to eating a low-carb diet as a “fad”. Be it LCHF, Ketogenic, Paleo, Banting, Atkins or whatever trendy name you want to call it, human beings have been nourishing their bodies with animal fats/proteins and vegetables since the beginning of their existence. Over the vast scope of time, humans in general, have always been carnivores/omnivores, feasting on hunted meats, gathered vegetables and the occasional seasonal fruit.


In fact, if one were to measure human history by the scale of a 24-hour clock:

  • Refined carbohydrates were introduced to our diet a mere 5 seconds ago.
  • The dietary advice to eat low-fat for optimal health, only 2 seconds ago.

Perhaps these short sighted individuals should reexamine the definition of the word “fad”

What has happened since we have adopted this new “low-fat fad”? A global insurgence of metabolic disease, all in different stages…

View original post 1,868 more words

What I Mean When I Say I Have Scoliosis

The Curvy Spine

Scoliosis is an extremely complicated condition. According to WebMD, “scoliosis is a lateral (toward the side) curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine.” But that’s the super basic, elementary explanation for a very complex condition that affects the body, mind and soul. Scoliosis can cause a ginormous list of physical symptoms that lead to mental and emotional distress. Although those who live with scoliosis are similar in some ways, no two people are really 100% alike in their symptoms and in the consequences they face due to scoliosis. In my time writing my story on The Curvy Spine, I’ve had several people ask what scoliosis feels like. Here’s my brief explanation of what it’s like for me to live with scoliosis:

Those Nights When I Need Help
There are nights when I am in so much pain that I lack the stamina and the strength to adjust…

View original post 985 more words