Monday, 24 December 2012

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) there are 347 million diabetics in the world today, and this figure is projected to increase to over 500 million by the year 2030. Of the diabetics that exist in the world at the present time, about 90% have the Type 2 variety of the disease. Type 1 diabetics usually have the disease from birth, or get it at an early age, and are insulin dependent because the body has stopped producing this hormone which regulates blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetics usually get the disease in middle or old age, and for this reason it is also known as “adult-onset diabetes”.

Diabetes is a chronic condition resulting from either the body’s inability to produce enough insulin to regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels, or the insensitivity of the body to react to the amount of insulin produced. If the blood sugar level in the body remains high for a sufficient period of time, it can negatively affect the function of the heart, eyesight and limbs. In both the USA and UK, diabetes is second only to road accidents as the cause of amputations. Lots of people have died from health complications arising from diabetes.

It is prudent to take some preventative measures against Type 2 diabetes, especially if you are in one of the at-risk groups. Statistics on the disease has shown that a person stands a greater chance of getting the disease if a parent has suffered from It, you are overweight or obese; if you are of Afro-Caribbean or Asian origin, or you are of middle or low class income groups. You can ask your doctor to carry out tests if you consider yourself to be susceptible to the disease. The main symptoms of the disease are: excessive thirst; frequency of urination; muscle cramps; poor healing of wounds; itching; and eyesight problems.

The bodily organ that produces enough insulin to aid the metabolism of food is the pancreas. If you take pre-emptive actions against getting the disease by concentrating on diet, exercise and food supplements, you are insuring the pancreas does not become overloaded thereby impairing its ability to function properly.  As the disease is caused by the body becoming too acidic, there should be alkaline bias in the diet.

The diet should consist mainly of raw natural foods. Vegetables such as kale, celery, cabbage, watercress, lettuce, cucumber, chicory, onion, olives, beans, soybean, fruit in general and especially apples, oats, grains and sprouted grains , beef liver, egg yolk and wholegrain bread should constitute a major part of the diet. Natural foods to be avoided are bananas, beets and potatoes. The latter have shown to increase blood sugar levels rapidly. If you eat potatoes from time to time, do so with their skins intact, which contain fibre which counteracts some of the rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

Anything causing a rapid rise in blood glucose levels such as sugar-laden soft drinks should be avoided. Other foods to be avoided are chocolates, biscuits, jam, fruit syrup, jelly, ice cream mayonnaise, honey and white rice. It is also best to avoid coffee, cocoa and only take alcohol in moderation. Giving up smoking also helps the whole body to function better.  

Adequate daily exercise is the second preventative measure that should be undertaken against Type 2 diabetes. This can involve walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, going to the gym, or anything else that takes your fancy.  You will need to engage in a physical activity of your choice for 30-40 minutes daily in order to achieve and maintain an ideal weight. The time period involved daily can be split up into two or more sessions if necessary. Two 15 minute exercise sessions 30 minutes after eating a meal that contains carbohydrates, which convert to sugar in the body, would be ideal.  

Lastly, it would be prudent to take a multivitamin and mineral tablet daily as insurance against a deficiency in the diet having an influence on the development of diabetes. Sufficiency in vitamins B2, B6, and the minerals chromium, manganese, magnesium and potassium are vital in the fight against developing this chronic condition.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Why the Acid/Alkaline Balance is Important to Health

A healthy orgasm is one which has an effective filtration system composed of organs like the liver, kidneys, skin and intestines all functioning well, and able to eliminate waste. These organs generally do a very effective job. If you don’t overload them, they generally manage to get rid of all of all the substances  your body doesn’t need, especially excess acids - the waste products of metabolism. 
   
Your body needs acids to function properly, but excess acidity can be harmful, which is why filtration is so important. A diet that contains too much animal protein (meat) and not enough vegetal protein can cause a condition known as acidosis, whereby excess acids accumulate in the tissues. An inactive lifestyle also impairs your body’s ability to eliminate waste properly.
Proteins contain a variety of acids which include sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and uric acid.  These acid-producing foodstuffs form the basis of our nutrition since the amino acids that make them up are essential to the proper functioning of the human body.  Our bodies need a regular supply of protein but only in the right amounts. Most people absorb too much protein on a daily basis. About 50 grams (2 ounces) daily is sufficient for most people, but those engaged in strenuous physical activity could absorb 50% more.
Amino acids obtained from milk and dairy products (cheese and yoghurt) produce little acidic substances. Amino acids obtained from animal protein (meat, poultry, fish) contain sulphuric and phosphoric acids, as well as purines which contain uric acid, and are thus highly acidic. Consuming too much animal protein is often the cause of rheumatism, gout and kidney stones.
Grains produce acids, as do toxins contained in products like coffee (caffeine), tea (theine) and cocoa (thebomine), all of which are rich in purines and therefore acidifying. The same applies to white sugar, refined flour and its derivatives, and refined fats.  
Acidifying food strips your body of minerals. These foods include peanuts, asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, egg white, processed meats, liver, kidney, refined white flour and derivatives (white bread, pastry and biscuits), strong fermented cheese, hard fat, refined oils, dried legumes (lentils, peas and beans), semolina, white sugar, tea, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, meat, fish, poultry and pasta.
Fruits and vegetables are mainly alkaline foods. Milk is also alkaline if ingested in the form of yogurt. Because these foods are rich in minerals, they should form a major part of the diet. Potatoes are an excellent alkaline food especially when steamed. Chestnuts are also recommended as an accompaniment to most vegetable dishes.
Here is a list of alkaline-rich foods: vegetable broth, chestnuts, fruit and fruit juice, most herbs, powdered milk, unsweetened condensed milk, vegetable leaves and roots, vegetable stems, onions, garlic, potatoes, soybean and derivatives, and yogurt.
Foods with a good acid/alkaline balance include good quality butter, whole grains, sprouted grains, green beans, millet, fresh walnuts, rye bread, whole rye flour pasta, sweet peas and unrefined sugar.
The acid/alkaline balance should be achieved within the context of an overall balanced diet. In order to achieve the latter, you should give attention to the following: eat foods in their proper proportions; don’t eat too much meat; opt for vegetable proteins whenever possible; eat some fresh fruit and vegetables every day; cut down on your intake of refined sugars, salt and alcohol; don’t barbeque too often; cut down on your intake of fried foods; make sure you are getting enough antioxidants such as selenium, Vitamins C & E.
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Monday, 19 November 2012

Some Mental Health Considerations

Mental health problems are the least likely type to get talked about in the home or at the place of work. It is as if In certain homes and workplaces mental health is a taboo subject.  Just taking about the subject to an understanding family member or friend can be enormously beneficial to a person experiencing a mental health problem. Here are some facts about mental health not generally known:

·        A mental health problem affects 1 in 4 people in any given year.
·         The assumption that people with mental illness cannot work is false. The chances are you probably work with someone with a mental illness.
·        People with mental illness can and do recover from the condition.
·        People with mental health problems are no different from ordinary people. We all have mental health problems from time-to-time just like we have physical health ones.
·         People who have had a mental health problem and overcome it can emerge stronger the other end.
·        While some people with mental illness can sometimes be violent or unpredictable, people suffering from this condition are more likely to be a victim of violence.
·        People with mental health problems generally want to keep in touch with family, friends and work colleagues as a route to recovery. Interaction with a pet such as a dog or cat can also aid a person suffering from mental stress.
·        If you think you don’t know anyone with a mental illness, it is more likely that someone you know or love has suffered from one.
·        Nine out of ten people with mental illness suffer some form of discrimination.

If you know someone who has been unwell with a mental health problem, make a point of asking them how they are, and how they feel. By doing this you are letting them know that they don’t have to avoid the issue with you, and you are not stigmatizing it. By just spending time with the person taking about anything of mutual interest, not just health issues, can be of benefit to the person concerned.

If you want to talk to people about your mental health problem, here are some pointers: be prepared for different reactions dependent upon the person you are taking to; chose a good time and place when you feel comfortable and ready to talk; be prepared for lots of questions, as the person you are taking to might need to ask them to help them understand; at the start, keep the conversation light to help you both feel relaxed; if the other person asks you about your mental health, answer honestly bringing the issue into the open.

If you have a mental health problem, you can always learn from other peoples experiences. If you know of somebody who has come through such a problem, that would be a good place to start. Otherwise, you could learn from the experiences of how some famous people including actors, politicians and sports stars have coped with their severe periods of depression. Videos of such people taking about their mental health problems can be accessed here:  http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/take-action/people-experiences.

The following are some good websites to access regarding mental health problems: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/expertadvice.aspx ; http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/ ; http://www.mind.org.uk/help/information_and_advice. If you are not computer literate, then you should consult your doctor or local health welfare services about your particular problem. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Imagine

I have borrowed the title of today’s post from John Lennon. While the lyrics of Lennon’s famous song mainly relate to: “a brotherhood of man ……. sharing all the world” my words concern environmental, health, wellness and justice issues which constitute a similar proposition. 
                                                                                             Imagine a world without pollution in which weather patterns are not distorted by emissions from dirty industries, oil based fuels for cars and transportation generally, into to the atmosphere causing global warming. The heating up of the planet is having the following influences on worldwide weather: leaving low-lying coastal regions and cities at risk of flooding from higher seas and storms; having an influence on global food production because of droughts in certain parts of the world and excess rain in others both having a disturbing effect on food production and making prices go up as a consequence; causing artic ice to shrink resulting in loss of habitat for animals and fish dependent upon it.

Imagine a healthier world without junk food, convenience food, street drugs, and the need for less prescription drugs. Lots of health problems could be prevented from occurring in the first instance if people had a healthier diet. The incidence of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis per head of the population has increased more than a hundredfold in the past 150 years as a consequence of the introduction of processed foods taking people away from nourishing basic foods. The introduction of sugar in all its different forms into foodstuffs and soft drinks has also greatly contributed to health problems. The medical establishment’s response to this compounded situation is prescription drugs. The latter at best only give a temporary respite from the symptoms, and do not address the root causes of problems which usually relate to a poor diet.

Imagine a world without famine. More than 10 million children under the age of five die in the world every year. Of those, more than 60% die from diseases brought on by malnutrition. Despite some developed countries giving generously to famine-stricken ones in the form of aid, a lot of the latter is taken by corrupt officials or armed groups in the countries concerned. It is much better to help people at a local level to invest in seed banks and distribution within a region in order to make the best use of the land. Any aid contributed should be channelled directly to local organizations, as far as possible, in order to avoid corrupt officials siphoning off money for themselves.

Imagine some of the injustices that exist in the world being sorted out. In recent days we have had the third presidential debate in the US election which concentrated on foreign policy issues. The two combatants, Obama and Romney, when discussing the Middle East agreed that American interests in the region exactly coincided with those of Israel, neglecting to mention at all the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland. Such an oversight only serves to further the views of those advocating armed conflict in order to bring the issue once again to world attention.
 
The United Nations are the only trans world organisation trying to sort out some of the problems highlighted above. However, they are hampered in some cases by their own rules such as the Security Council’s inability to secure a vote condemning Assad of Syria because of the need for all permanent members to agree on such a resolution. Church leaders, and especially Christian church ones, have failed to provide any guidance beyond their own narrow and generally prejudiced views of the issues facing mankind. Only the Bible provides hope in that when things get awfully bad on this planet, the Book of Revelation predicts an intervention from on high because of man’s inability to sort out problems of his own making.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Some Do-It-Yourself Health Measures

Here are some measures you can do yourself concerning health which are preventative in nature- that is they can stop a health problem from occurring in the first instance:

1.     Improve your circulation.

Poor circulation in the body can lead to the following conditions or diseases: obesity; type2 diabetes; arthritis; dark circles under the eyes; cold feet or hands; itching; eye problems; vertigo and dizziness; muscle cramps; numbness; blood clots; chilblains; varicose veins; cardiovascular problems; and memory loss.  

The blood needs to be fluid to enable it to be pumped to every corner of the body by the heart.  Here are tips to improve circulation:

·        Drink at least six glasses of water daily.
·        Eat leafy green vegetables, whole fruits, wholegrain cereals. legumes, fish and some poultry.
·        Add cinnamon, garlic or ginger to meals where appropriate.
·        Exercise regularly such as going for a 30 minute walk daily. Other excises to consider are jogging, cycling or swimming.
·        Take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure there is no deficiency of magnesium or vitamin B6 in the diet.
·        Quit smoking, limit alcohol, sugar-laden soft drinks and caffeine intakes. 

2.     Improve your posture.  

Nearly all posture problems start with tension in the neck caused by jutting the chin up and out. You need to stop pulling your head back, let your head release forward thereby enabling your entire spine to lengthen. Don’t get stuck in one position for hours on end such a watching a computer screen –get up a move about occasionally. When seated for long periods of time you need a chair to support your back and neck, keep your knees apart, your feet firmly on the floor and avoid crossing your legs which will put pressure on your spine. When standing, stand tall as bad posture causes muscles to shorten and us to shrink.  

You can undo a day’s tension by spending 20 minutes every day in the “active resting“ position. To do this, lie down on your back on a carpeted floor, keep your feet on the floor with your knees pointing upwards towards the ceiling. Support your head with some books so it isn’t tilted backwards. This will help release tension, particularly in the spine, and thereby give immediate relief.

3.     Improve your memory.

You can improve your memory by doing the following:

·        Don’t skip on exercise or sleep: physical exercise increases oxygen to the brain and reduces the risk of disorders that lead to memory loss; make sure that you are getting enough sleep because when you are sleep deprived your brain cannot operate at full capacity.
·        Make time for friends and fun: meaningful relationships are a strong support system vital to both emotional and brain health; engage in laughter with  family and friends on a regular basis.
·        Keep stress in check: chronic stress damages brain cells and damages the region of the brain involved in the formation of new memories and retrieval of old ones.
·        Eat a brain-boosting diet involving doing the following: eat enough fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring in order to get enough omega 3 fatty-acids which have a beneficial effect on the brain; limit anything containing sugar or saturated fat; eat more fruits and vegetables; and drink green tea containing antioxidants that protect against free radicals.
·        Give your brain a workout: the more you work the brain, the better it is able to process and remember information. The best way to do this is (a) tackle something that is new; (b) that is challenging; and (c) something that is fun and provides physical and emotional enjoyment.

4.     Improve your eyesight with palming.  

Palming is one of the most relaxing things you can do for your eyesight, and relaxation is the best natural contribution you can make in respect of your vision.  All you need to do is allocate 10 minutes of your time daily to doing the following:

·        Sit in a comfortable chair in which your back is supported and is situated immediately adjacent to a table.
·        Place your elbows on the table and place your cupped palms over your eyes in criss-cross manner so that all light is blocked out.
·        Breathe deeply while repeating to yourself “my eyesight is improving”.
·        Your eyes should be open during palming, and you should avoid touching them, as far as possible, with your palms.

The above simple steps are consistent with my belief that individuals can take preventative actions in relation to health problems.  

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Why You Cannot Solely Rely on Food for Nutrition

 The British government are the only government that I am aware of to have done a study over time on the depletion of the nutrient value of food caused by modern farming methods. The study that I am referring to was started in the 1930's and concluded in the 1990's. The years 1940 and 1992 are of particular importance in the study. A selection of vegetables, fruits and meats from those two particular years were compared in the raw and, where appropriate, cooked states to determine the loss of critical minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc etc. 

A very brief summary of the findings of the losses over this 52 year period is as follows: vegetables lost on average 31% of their mineral content; fruits lost on average 23%; and meats lost on average 30%. There is no reason to suppose this loss of essential nutrients hasn't continued from 1992 to the present time. The reasons for the losses are modern methods involving intensive farming, the mechanisation of farms, fertilizer policy and the use of chemicals and sprays on crops. 

That particular study just related to the state of the land that the selection of vegetables, fruits and meats came from. Whilst the condition of the land from which products are sourced is important, the other variables to consider with food in order to get the best nutritional value from it is: how fresh is it; how is stored; and how is it cooked ? Vital nutrients can be lost with cabbage, for instance, simply by overcooking it. These variables are such that there is no guarantee that you are getting all the nutrients that you need on a daily basis from what you consume.  

If we cannot derive all the vitamins, minerals and fibre we need daily from the food we eat, what can we do to compensate? The answer to that question is to take supplements to make up for the deficiency in the diet. A good way to do this is to take a multi-vitamin and mineral tablet or capsule daily. Most of these contain all the essential vitamins and minerals required to maintain good health, and compensate for any deficiencies in the diet. These tablets or capsules can be obtained from health food shops, from the major supermarkets or can be obtained from suppliers via the Internet.
People concerned about aging could additionally take Brewer’s Yeast on a daily basis which usually comes in tablet form. Brewer’s Yeast is an excellent food supplement containing large amounts of iron, magnesium zinc and other minerals, as well as essential amino acids and all the B vitamins.

If you have any comments to make on this post, please do it via the comments box below.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What We Consume Can Prevent Health Problems

A balanced diet and well-planned individual meals are both important for our wellbeing. Each meal has a specific function to perform, as follows: breakfast should be highly nutritious meal to commence the day with: lunch should provide the various nutrients you need in the proper amounts; and dinner should be light, enjoyable and encourage sleep.

As you may know, you are more vulnerable to disease when you are tired. Taking in foods in their proper proportions through planned meals at the appropriate times of the day can help avoid fatigue, and thereby prevent sickness.

People who start the day with just a cup of coffee accompanied by a donut or muffin are inviting health problems because they are not getting the nutrients they need at the start of the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it takes the body from a fasting state to an energy-driven state, and fuels the day’s activities.  A good way to start the day is by consuming porridge oats, or any wholegrain breakfast cereal, followed by two boiled or poached eggs accompanied by wholegrain bread.  Occasionally grilled, as opposed to fried, bacon, sausages and tomatoes can be used.     

Lunch should consist of lots of green and multi-coloured vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, carrots,  sprouts, some lean meats or cheese, fruits such as an apple, orange or banana, all accompanied by wholegrain bread. If you have lunch in a restaurant choose healthier grilled, steamed or baked foods in preference to fried or saut√©ed ones.

Dinner should consist of a fish or meat dish accompanied by boiled or baked potatoes and other vegetables. Post the main meal, a natural low-fat and calcium rich yogurt is preferable to a desert. Dinner, being the last meal of the day, should encourage restful sleep.

Many people have problems eliminating waste because they don’t drink enough, or drink the wrong, beverages. An adult should drink 1.5 litres (3 pints) of liquid per day. Water is the best beverage to use at meal times and in between meals. Green and herbal tea, decaffeinated tea, coconut milk and low-fat milk also encourage the elimination of waste from the body. Alcohol should generally be avoided, but there is evidence to suggest that beer or wine taken in moderation can be a benefit to health.

Lots of health problems arise from people skipping meals, eating at fast or junk food outlets, and giving scant attention to the nutrients their bodies require on a daily basis. The human body requires the correct fuel to function properly in a similar manner to a motor car. Well- planned and balanced meals are essential to ensuring our bodies are functioning at the optimal level to perform whatever tasks we have to do on a daily basis, as well as maintain good health.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Should Assisted Suicide Be Legalised ?

The issue of assisted suicide has repeatedly come up in the UK over the past six months or so. The way the law in the UK stands at the moment, a family member or a doctor assisting a person to commit suicide could possibly be charged with manslaughter. Assisted suicide is legal in some jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the state of Oregon in the USA.
The case of Tony Nicklinson in the UK has recently put the spotlight on the issue. Mr Nicklinson, who in his fifties, suffered a massive stroke leaving him paralysed from the neck down was completely dependent on his family for his every need. Despite the stoke leaving him speechless, his wife Jane found a way of communicating with him via eye movements linked to a screen. After having suffered the consequences of the stroke for several years, he indicated that he wanted to commit suicide because he found his continued existence painful, demeaning and unbearable.    
Tony Nicklinson brought a case before the courts seeking permission to give both his doctor and family immunity from prosecution if they assisted him in the act of suicide. This permission was refused by the judge who heard the case. Mr Nicklinson was so devastated by the ruling that he refused to take food following it, then got pneumonia and has since died. Since his death, his wife Jane has led a campaign to have assisted suicide decriminalised.
I personally do not see why anyone assisting in a suicide should be prosecuted especially as the act of suicide itself is legal. Why should anyone helping someone commit a legal act be charged with any offence? Is assisted suicide the only example in the whole body of laws where helping someone commit a legal act is illegal? I therefore think the judge’s decision in the Nicklinson case could be challenged purely on legal grounds alone.
Some faith groups have got involved in the debate saying any premature ending of life is wrong. If most faith groups had their way, the act of suicide itself would be illegal. Someone wishing to commit suicide only wants to terminate their own life for their own specific reasons. Why shouldn’t a person be allowed to do this enlisting the help of others if necessary? Isn’t the right to end a life at the time of a person’s own choosing, a right like any other?
I think that it is ccrrect to highlight the issue of assisted suicide on this blog as the need for it usually arises out of a health problem. The laws in the country you are viewing this page from may differ from the UK’s laws referred to above, but the principles involved are the same. If you have got anything to say on this post, use the comments box below to express it.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How to Influence Your Treatment

The patient-doctor relationship is central to the delivery of healthcare on a worldwide basis. This relationship has been changing in most developed countries in recent years in that patients are now more open to question courses of treatment outlined by doctors than they were previously. This is a positive step in the delivery of healthcare to consumers (patients). A good relationship has honesty, mutual respect, trust and confidentiality as its core values.
The first thing you need to get your doctor to do in relation to a health problem, is to summarise all the different approaches to its resolution. If the doctor is proposing a prescription drug be used in the treatment of your problem, you need to ask if there is an alternative to this approach. Diet, exercise, water, food supplements, holistic, homeopathic and herbal remedies have all been used successfully to treat some health problems.  If people have been successfully treated in the past for the ailment in question without drugs, let the doctor know you would prefer the non-drug route if that is how you feel.
If the doctor insists that a drug is the only option in dealing with your health problem, then you need to ask the following questions:
1.     Who manufacturers the drug?
2.     Is there an equivalent drug on the market by another drug company?
3.     Why the preference for the specific drug proposed?
4.     Does the drug address the underlying cause of the problem, or merely provide a temporary respite from the symptoms?
5.     What side effects are stated by the manufacturer for the proposed drug?
6.     What side effects did other patients report after taking the drug?
7.     Is the drug only proposed as a short-term measure?
8.     What is the long-term solution of the problem?
By questioning your doctor, you need to establish two things: if there is a bias against natural or alternative treatments for health problems; or if the products of one particular pharmaceutical company are favoured over others. Unless you totally trust your doctor from previous experience, you should try the questioning route as a consumer: you have a right to have all the alternatives fully explained to you at the outset having paid, one way or another, for the treatment you are receiving.
The better informed you are about alternative courses of treatment for your problem prior to a visit to your doctor, the more you can influence the course of treatment decided upon by mutual agreement. Visiting online resources such as The Mayo Clinic, Health Insite, MedlinePlus and CHIS –UK can help you to understand the different options available in contrast with orthodox medicine.
If you go to the surgery unprepared in any way about your condition, then you are generally putting yourself at the mercy of what conventional medicine has decided for your condition. In such a situation, a course of treatment for a health problem can get very biased dependent upon the attitude of the medical establishment in the particular part of the world you live in. If you don’t believe the last statement, then go and read my March post titled “ Why One Person’s Ordeal is Significant.” 

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Possible Health Legacy of the Olympic Games

I would first of all like to congratulate the UK authorities for staging a magnificent Olympic Games in London in 2012; and Team GB for a stellar performance across a range of disciplines reflected in their overall medal haul. However, according to my adjusted figures, the best overall nation in the games was Jamaica. To give them the number one spot, I simply divided the number of medals they won in the Olympics (12) by the current population of Jamaica (2.89 million) to arrive at a figure which wasn’t surpassed by any other major nation competing when calculated on the same basis.
The IOC President, Jacques Rogge, should be worried as he surveys the final medals table about the unevenness of the spread of medals throughout the world. India, Indonesia and Malaysia, for instance, didn't win a single gold medal from a combined population size of 1,500 million people. Shouldn’t the 2020 games be awarded to Mumbai or Jakarta in order to bring these countries fully  into the games?
There is a legacy to be had for the people of East London in that they inherit all the structures built to accommodate the games, which includes a 80,000 seater stadium, aquatics centre, velodrome, shopping centre and the accommodation blocks in which the athletes were housed during the games. This should help to breathe new life into a part of London which was a run-down area prior to the Olympic Park being constructed there to accommodate the games.  
The British authorities are assuming that the London 2012 games will be a financial success based on their estimated recovery of £13 billon from an expenditure of circa £9 billion. Whilst their projected figure for financial recovery is just an estimate at this stage, it appears to demonstrates that a well -planned games can be a financial success without unduly burdening the taxpayer.
The heroes created during the games, such as Ussain Bolt of Jamaica in sprint events, Sir Chris Hoy of GB in cycling, and Oscar Pistorius, the double leg amputee from South Africa, for competing in the 400m track event, are good role models for young people interested in sport to follow. Young people need positive role models; and all the athletes who competed in the games should in the coming weeks and months visit schools in their area in order to encourage more young people to take up sport.
The games can leave a worthwhile legacy for the UK, and the wider world, only if it inspires enough people to take up sport at a young ago, and thereby give them the daily amount of exercise they require in order to establish and maintain good health. Adequate daily exercise is one of the building blocks of good health. People who get involved in sport at a young age will hopefully keep it as a component for the rest of their lives irrespective of whether or not they compete for their counties in an Olympic games.     
 Of course governments do need to provide adequate funding and facilities for sport in order to reap the benefits later on. Providing funding for sport makes sense when the corresponding savings on crime, drug abuse and illnesses caused by inactivity are taken into account. Governments need to take action on funding now in order to benefit from the goodwill created by the games; and to ensure a positive legacy is probable rather than just possible. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Problems Associated with Prescription Drugs

Pharmaceutical companies are money-making outfits whose primary aims are to maximise the return for their shareholders. They just happen to be using health as a means of achieving their monetary objectives, as opposed any other sphere of activity. The directors and senior executives of most drug companies, in addition to any salaries paid to them, usually own sizeable amounts of shares in the company giving them an additional incentive to focus solely on profit.

We consumers should be suspicious of the products of drug manufacturers for the following reasons:
1.     Designed as a short-term measure.
The vast majority of prescription drugs on the market only treat the symptoms of the problem for which they are prescribed, and not the underlying cause of the problem. If you only treat the symptoms, the problem will re-occur requiring more drugs after the effects of the initial  dose has worn off. Repeat doses of a drug sets up a seemingly never-ending dependency for the patient being treated, and contributes enormously to the profits made by the manufacturer.
Drugs in the category  known as “ blockers”, as the name implies, are only temporary stop-gap measures.  A calcium channel blocker, for example, in the treatment of heart disease temporarily holds back calcium from the heart having a short-term beneficial effect only.
2.     Have side effects.
All prescription drugs have side effects to the extent that the body reacts to any synthetic input. In some cases, this reaction is quite severe and can affect such vital organs as the brain, eyes, heart, lungs or kidneys. A pharmaceutical company nearly always understates the side effects of a drug until such time as the number of people complaining about it brings it to the attention of the authorities in a particular jurisdiction.
In the past eight years the drugs Viox and Avandia were withdrawn from the market on a worldwide basis as a result of complaints by patients indicating the possibility of an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems from their continued use.
3.     Prescribed following wrong diagnosis by doctors.  
Doctors sometimes make false diagnosis of what patients are suffering from, and then prescribe drugs according to their wrong assessments. An error like this can sometimes have a devastating, or even fatal, effect on the patient being treated.  
4.     Open to abuse.
Abuse of prescription drugs means taking drugs for reasons other than the ones for which they were prescribed, or taking drugs in excess of the prescribed amounts. A certain amount of prescription drugs get into the hands of people they were not intended for at all. The taking of a drug for a purpose for which it was not intended can have dangerous health consequences for the taker, and become addictive in the same manner as illegal street drugs such as crack, cocaine or heroin.   
5.     Prescribed following bias by doctors.
Some doctors have a bias in favour of the use of prescription drugs in the treatment of health problems to the extent that the alternatives are not even considered as a first option. Doctors of this mentality do their patients a disservice in not considering all the options fully before making a decision on a course of treatment.
Furthermore, I would not rule out the possibility of undue influence of drug companies on some doctors in the form of “expenses” paid for services rendered, or the sponsoring by them of publications which doctors read, in order to advance their products
The above reasons should put you on red alert as far as prescription drugs are concerned in the treatment of health problems. Conventional medicine generally does not give patients opportunities to pursue  alternative courses of treatment for their ailments.  However, this blog is at the forefront of championing the rights of people to pursue whatever courses of treatment they desire.  

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Taking Care of Children

The best thing a pregnant woman can do for her unborn child is to make sure that she is not deficient in vitamin D. The best source of vitamin D is direct sunlight on the skin; all that is required is 15 minutes exposure daily. Food sources of this vitamin are fish oil, sardines, salmon and herring. Eggs and milk only contain small amounts. Failing to get a sufficient amount from sunlight or from food, then a vitamin D supplement should be taken as insurance against the child being born with brittle bones

From once a child is born, research by experts has shown that breast milk is the best option over the first year. If the mother is not producing enough milk, or has other problems, then formula milk can be substituted. As milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs, solids should be introduced gradually after 4 months in addition to milk. No attempt should be made before the baby is a year old to wean him/her off milk; some mothers do breast feed up to 18 months and beyond.
The foods fed to a baby after the first year need to do three things: promote growth; develop and consolidate bones; and produce red blood cells. Milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, fish, eggs, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are good foods to help achieve these objectives. Use the child’s appetite at any one sitting, to gauge how much food is required.
Vitamins A, C and D, as well as the minerals calcium and iron, are the most critical to help the child grow and develop properly. The aforementioned foods should provide these essential nutrients in sufficient amounts except for, possibly, vitamin D. Therefore kids should be encouraged in good weather to play outside in order to benefit from the main source of vitamin D: the sun. If you live in a part of the world that has long winters, consider giving your child a vitamin D supplement in order to make up for any deficiency in this regard.
Children need to drink water, for the same reason that adults do, to irrigate the whole body and to encourage the proper elimination of waste. After infants are weaned off breast or formula milk, they should be encouraged to drink water with the main meals of the day; and to drink it between meals if the weather is hot in order to prevent dehydration.

According to the medical authorities in many parts of the world, children need to be vaccinated against certain diseases. In some countries these vaccinations are “recommendations” made by the health authorities; in others, such as certain states in the USA, it is illegal not to have them done as a child cannot attend school without proof they have been carried out. In the UK at the present time, it is recommended that children are vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, meningitis, invasive pneumococcal disease, polio, measles, mumps and rubella. The balance of evidence would appear to support the view that the benefits of immunisation far outweigh any possible side effects.
In addition to the foregoing, children should be encouraged to do the following in order to aid their overall development: engage in play activities each day, and thereby get their daily quotient of exercise; interact with other children of roughly the same age; play and bond with a pet or pets; look at books appropriate to their age;  and construct or draw something from play materials provided.

If your 3 or 4 year old child is potty trained, there are advantages in sending him or her to a nursery school, if there is one near you. The main advantages are the interaction with other kids and teachers there in a secure environment. It is inadvisable to send your child to a  formal education  place (primary school) before the age of five.
I hope you have found this post on the needs of children useful. Any comments on it can be made in the box below provided for that purpose.   

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Fraudulent Practices by Global Pharmaceuticals

Last week in the UK, while most of the attention was on the banks for misquoting the Libor rate, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the UK’s biggest pharmaceutical company, was fined a record 3 billion dollars by the US’s  FDA ( Food & Drug Administration) in settlement of claims arising from three separate legal cases brought for fraud relating to sales and marketing of nine of their drugs including Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia.

The settlement of the dispute with the US authorities, prompted Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK, to make the following statement: ”In recent years, we have fundamentally changed our procedures for compliance, marketing and selling in the US to ensure that we operate with high standards of integrity and that we conduct our business openly and transparently."  Only time will tell if this statement is true.

GSK are not to only pharmaceutical company involved in this kind of thing. The US authorities have also in recent years fined Merck, Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories billions of dollars each in connection with their drugs.  It does not surprise me, or anyone who read my post in March titled  “ All Prescribed Drugs Have Side Effects “ , that pharmaceuticals are involved in misrepresentation, mis-selling or improper marketing techniques. It is common practice for them, for instance, to understate the side effects of a drug until such time as the numbers of people complaining about it bring it to the attention of the authorities.
Pharmaceutical companies have also been known to bombard doctors with literature about their drugs in order to have them prescribed on a regular basis; some have even gone so far as to offers doctors free holidays if certain targets are hit in the regularity with which their drugs are prescribed. The medical establishments in many countries have known for some time about the unhealthy relationship that exists between the manufacturers of drugs and the prescribers.    
The record fine of 3 billion dollars by the US authorities on GSK only represents a slap in the wrist as the money the company makes from prescription drugs is huge. It is estimated that the company has made more than 30 billion dollars from the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia alone. GSK are only fourth in the league table of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies; the table is topped by Pfizer. A more meaningful way of penalising a company found guilty of fraud would be to jail the senior executives, in addition to a fine linked to the profits they have made in the jurisdiction involved during the period cited in the legal action.   
Drug manufacturers will take fines lightly because they know they have got a monopoly in the market in the treatment of health problems, whereby the alternatives are rarely given an opportunity to be used. This situation is not going to change until such time as doctors are compelled by law to give a patient an opportunity to pursue an alternative course of treatment relating to a health problem, in the many situations where this is a viable option.

If you have anything to say on this post, do so via the comments box below.

Friday, 29 June 2012

How to Prevent a Stroke or Heart Attack

There are certain things individuals can do to greatly reduce their chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Suffering the consequences  of a stroke or heart attack can have a devastating effect on the person concerned, and his/her immediate family, as has been highlighted in the UK recently when a stroke victim wanted to commit suicide but the law prevented his immediate family from helping him do this.

Here are eight things that you can do to significantly reduce your chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack:
1. Stop smoking.
If you smoke, make a decisive attempt to give it up. If you live in a household with someone who smokes, urge them to give up the habit, or outline to them places they can smoke that will not interfere with your health. Smoking, or exposure to smoke, causes the heart to work harder.
2.  Limit your alcohol intake.  
Drink no more than two units of alcohol per day. This equates to one pint of beer or two glasses of wine per day. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, and contribute to other conditions like being overweight or obese.
3.  Choose a good diet.
One of the best ways to fight any cardiovascular disease is through a healthy diet. The food you eat can affect risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and weight control. Choose a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, whole-grains, high in fibre and containing low-fat dairy products should suffice here. Avoid or reduce the amount of saturated fats found in meats, eggs and butter as they increase cholesterol to an unhealthy level.
4.  Drink sufficient water.
Try and drink six glasses of water per day. Water cleanses the whole body of toxins and waste products leaving it clear to function properly.
5.  Take regular daily exercise.
Try and engage in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking, or light jogging, every day of the week. Indoor exercise with weighs, or on a stationary bicycle, can also help. Adequate daily exercise has a positive influence on the whole body and reduces blood pressure. Daily exercise, in conjunction with a healthy diet, should ensure you do not have weight problems, and you are within 5% of the weight indicated by your BMI( body mass index). See my recent post titled “ How To Control Your Weight To prevent Health Problems “  to learn how to calculate your BMI.
6.  Take measures to reduce stress.
Try and reduce any stress at source, if you can identify what is causing it. Otherwise you could engage in meditation, breathing techniques, yoga or listening to relaxation music. 
7.  Get sufficient sleep.
My recent post tilled “The Heath Benefits Of A Good Night’s Sleep “ adequately deals with this subject.
8.  Manage your diabetes.  
If you are a diabetic of either type, then there is an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, especially if your blood sugar level remains high for a lengthy period of time. You therefore should be avoiding foods and drinks that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, and concentrating on only consuming products that ensure your blood sugar moves on an even keel. You should also be using daily exercise routines for the same reason.
If you adhere to the above recommendations, you will have significantly reduced the risk of either suffering a stroke or heart attack. Anything you have to say on this post, can be made using  the comments box below.