Monday, 19 November 2012
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
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
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
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.
If you have any comments to make on this post, please do it via the comments box below.
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
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 sautéed 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
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
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.”