17 May, 2016
You should not smoke
If you smoke, stopping smoking is often the single most effective thing that you can do to reduce your risk of future illness. The risk to health falls rapidly as soon as you stop smoking (but takes a few years before the increased risk reduces completely). If you find it hard to stop smoking, then please consult a smoking cessation clinic or service.
Undertake regular physical activity
Anything that gets you mildly out-of-breath and a little sweaty is fine, for example: jogging, heavy gardening, swimming, cycling, etc. A brisk walk each day is what many people do - and that is fine. However, it is thought that the more vigorous the activity, the better. To gain most benefit you should do at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. Two shorter bursts are thought to be just as good as for example two 15-minute bouts of activity at different times in a day.
Eat a healthy diet
Briefly, a healthy diet means:
• AT LEAST five portions, and ideally 7-9 portions, of a variety of fruit and vegetables per day.
• THE BULK OF MOST MEALS should be starch-based foods (such as cereals, wholegrain bread, potatoes, rice, pasta), plus fruit and vegetables.
• NOT MUCH fatty food such as fatty meats, cheeses, full-cream milk, fried food, butter, etc. Use low fat, mono- or poly-unsaturated spreads.
• INCLUDE 2-3 portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be 'oily' (such as herring, mackerel, sardines, kippers, pilchards, salmon, or fresh tuna).
• If you eat meat it is best to eat lean meat or poultry such as chicken.
• If you do fry, choose a vegetable oil such as sunflower, rapeseed or olive.
• Try not to add salt to food, and limit foods that are salty.
Don't have too many sugary foods and drinks
Sugary foods and drinks are high in calories, and too much may cause weight gain. It isn't just the amount of sugar that may be bad. Even eating small amounts of sugary foods (sweets, etc.) too often is bad for teeth. Tips include:
• Try not to add sugar to tea, coffee, and breakfast cereals. Your taste for sweetness often changes with time. Use artificial sweeteners only if necessary.
• Reduce sugar in any kind of recipe. Use fruit as an alternative to add sweetness to recipes.
• Try sugar-free drinks. Give children water as their main drink.
• If you eat chocolate or sweets, try to keep the quantity down. Eating them as part of a meal, and then brushing your teeth, is better than between meals as snacks.
Don't drink too much alcohol
A small amount of alcohol is usually fine, but too much can be harmful. Men should drink no more than 21 units per week (and no more than 4 units in any one day). Women should drink no more than 14 units per week (and no more than 3 units in any one day). One unit is in about half a pint of normal strength beer, or two thirds of a small glass of wine, or one small pub measure of spirits.
Further tips on healthy independent living can be obtained from your GP, Practice Nurse, Podiatrist other Healthcare Professional.
We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.
Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( www.renniegrove.org ).
Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.
The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: http://www.renniegrove.org/support/our-shops/online-shop/page/2/ .
Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018):
‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’
Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer. Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.
But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.
Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow. He died in June 2016, aged 74.
Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.
So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.
We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.
The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members.
I quote the following:
‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher
September is World Alzheimer’s Month.