Author: Karl Gibbs

Senior man reading prescription label

 

“The best doctors and medicine in the world can’t save you if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.”

~ Magic Johnson

 

 

Keeping on top of meds

Very few people like taking medications but not taking them can lead to medical problems. Medications fall into three main categories:

Supplements

Whilst not strictly medications, dietary supplements such as vitamins and fish oils are widely used. Much is written about the benefits of supplements but it is important to recognise they have not been tested to pharmaceutical standards. In general, supplements have no deleterious effects on your health as long as you follow the directions on the label, though for any beyond the most widely available, it would be wise to check with a dietitian.

‘Over the Counter’ remedies

These medications are typically taken for the relief of pain or discomfort. They can be very effective as a short term remedy but should not be used to treat long term symptoms without prior consultation with your doctor. As with all medication, read the label before taking.

If you have a symptom, speak to your local pharmacist. They are highly trained and can advise on a suitable medication.

Prescription Medicines

These medicines are prescribed by your doctor and are typically more ‘powerful’ (or expensive) than over the counter medicines and should be taken as prescribed.

 

Here are five top tips to help your doctors to help you.

  1. Always take your medications as prescribed. The label will give details of times and special conditions (such as before a meal).
  2. Always discuss with your doctor any concerns you have about any medications you are taking. It is important to let your doctor know if you have decided, for whatever reason, not to take any of your medications or if you are taking additional over the counter medications.
  3. If your medications are having any effect (either good or bad) make a note so you can tell your doctor the next time you see them.
  4. If you are having a strong reaction call an NHS adviser direct on ‘111’ and they will advise you what to do or to call an ambulance if they think it is that urgent.
  5. If you have difficulty keeping track of your medications ask your pharmacist for your next prescription in blister packs. These are organised so that you pop the right pills out at the right time. There are also electronic pill dispensers that will sound an alarm when you should take your next medication.

The next article in this series explores ‘Managing your weight’.

 


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    “Take care of your body.
    It’s the only place you have to live.”

    ~ Jim Rohn

     

     

    Getting to an ideal weight

    After the first part of ‘Managing your weight’ (in our previous post) you might have found your ideal weight range. If you’ve identified that you are either underweight or overweight – or even if you are trying to maintain your weight, you need to learn to calorie count.

    You probably know the logic but here is a reminder:

    • If your body is processing food normally and you are regularly taking in more energy than you are using, your body will store this energy and you will put on weight.
    • If you take in less energy than you use you will lose weight and if you balance the energy in with energy out you will maintain weight.
    • The bigger you are the more energy will be used to perform the same activities as someone smaller than you.
    • As your weight changes your calorie need will change too and you can adjust for that.
    • Calories (with a capital C ) are the units of energy used in dieting; this information is available on all packaged food and drink and can be looked up for ‘fresh’ produce. Sometimes energy is also displayed in kilocalories (kc) or kiloJoules (kJ) where 1 Calorie = 1kc = 4.2kJ.

    Know your maintenance calorie needs

    calculator.net/calorie-calculator will tell you the calories needed to maintain your correct weight with your current lifestyle. You can then set your calorie goal as a variance from this. If you are underweight the chances are you have been taking in too few calories and if you are overweight too many calories. There is a danger that if you just cut down or add proportionately to your current diet you will feel hungry or bloated. But there are some low-calorie foods which are very filling and the converse is also true, so choosing carefully can mean you feel nicely full whilst still moving towards your target weight. Don’t eat on the run: sit and enjoy what you eat, if you focus on the act of eating you are likely to feel satisfied with less food.

    The 500 Calorie rule

    Now you need to set your calorie target. Keep your target to within 500 Calories of your daily maintenance calorie needs to make sure your body is not being too stressed by the change of weight. This will mean you will lose (or gain) 3,500 Calories a week which roughly equates to a pound (450g) weight change. You might like to think of that as losing a small packet of butter, if it helps.
    Some diets advocate fasting days and combining foods which might mean there are days that are far less, or more. Just bear in mind over a week that the calories should balance out.

    All calories count!

    Don’t forget drinks. Allow 100 Calories per glass of wine and 180 per pint of beer. Tea can have up to 50 Calories per cup with milk and sugar though semi-skimmed with no sugar will bring it down to about 15-20. Swapping to green tea reduces this to 1 or 2 calories.
    Calories count even if:

    1. No one else is watching
    2. It’s from someone else’s plate
    3. You’re wearing training shoes (it does NOT make consumption into exercise)
    4. The date says it’s between Christmas and New Year
    5. There’s one bite left
    6. It’s your birthday
    7. You eat standing up
    8. You’re on vacation
    9. It’s free
    10. It would be rude not to

    BUT!
    Do it anyway, occasionally. Enjoy the odd treat. But don’t give up, just try and adjust back to your target over the next few days.

    The next article in this series explores ‘Managing your finances’.


      If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.


      How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

      If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

      1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
      2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
      3. Follow us on Facebook

      Standing on weighing scales blocking readout with feet.

       

       

      “No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means. ”

      ~ Maimonides

       

      Why ideal weight is good for you

      You are likely to live longer, with less time being impacted by health issues. It becomes easier to enjoy life and indulge in activities that bring you joy!

      More specifically maintaining an ideal weight can lead to proven medical benefits.

      If you are overweight reducing your weight is likely to lead to:

      • Improved mobility
      • Improved blood sugar levels and decreased risk of diabetes
      • Lowered blood pressure
      • Improved cholesterol levels
      • Decreased risk of heart disease
      • Lowered risk of certain cancers
      • Reduced joint pain
      • Decreased risk of stroke
      • Reduced back pain
      • Decreased risk, or improvement in symptoms, of osteoarthritis
      • Decreased risk, or improvement in symptoms, of sleep apnoea

      If you are underweight increasing your weight is likely to lead to:

      • Improved energy through decreased risk of malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, or anaemia
      • Decreased risk of osteoporosis
      • Improved immune function

      Enjoying what you eat and drink

      If you choose well what you eat and drink you should be able to enjoy it just as much even if you are trying to gain, lose or maintain weight.

      Find an ideal weight

      In the UK, we have a rule-of-thumb to find the ideal weight range which is called Body Mass Index (BMI). This is a very rough guide and whilst it works well for most people the boundaries are quite broad and it doesn’t work the same for all body types.

      Remember that an ideal BMI for one ethnicity may not be right for another.

      This video www.acticheck.com/bmivideo gives a good overview of why BMI can be a misleading measure.

      We suggest that you search online for an ‘ideal weight calculator’ and explore what the various formulae suggest.

      Pick a target weight, and if you are already there that is great, just make sure to weigh yourself regularly and check that you are not drifting from your target.

      (to be continued)

       


      If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.


      How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

      If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

      1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
      2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
      3. Follow us on Facebook

      Managing medication

      Senior man reading prescription label

      “The best doctors and medicine in the world can’t save you if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.”

      ~ Magic Johnson

      You might not like taking medications, very few people do, but not taking them can lead to medical problems. Medications fall into three main categories:

       

      Supplements

      Whilst not strictly medications, dietary supplements such as vitamins and fish oils are widely used. Whatever you read about the benefits of supplements but it is important to recognise they have not been tested to pharmaceutical standards. In general, supplements have no deleterious effects on your health as long as you follow the directions on the label, though for any beyond the most widely available, it would be wise to check with a dietitian.

      ‘Over the Counter’ remedies

      These medications are typically taken for the relief of pain or discomfort. They can be very effective as a short term remedy but should not be used to treat long term symptoms without prior consultation with your doctor. As with all medication, read the label before taking.
      If you have a symptom, speak to your local pharmacist. They are highly trained and can advise on a suitable medication.

      Prescription Medicines

      These medicines are prescribed by your doctor and are typically more ‘powerful’ (or expensive) than over the counter medicines and should be taken as prescribed.
      Here are five top tips to help your doctors to help you.

      • Always take your medications as prescribed. The label will give details of times and special conditions (such as before a meal).
      • Always discuss with your doctor any concerns you have about any medications you are taking. It is important to let your doctor know if you have decided, for whatever reason, not to take any of your medications or if you are taking additional over the counter medications.
      • If your medications are having any effect (either good or bad) make a note so you can tell your doctor the next time you see them.
      • If you are having a strong reaction call an NHS adviser direct on ‘111’ or visit 111.nhs.uk and they will advise you what to do or to call an ambulance if they think it is that urgent.
      • If you have difficulty keeping track of your medications ask your pharmacist for your next prescription in blister packs. These are organised so that you pop the right pills out at the right time. There are also electronic pill dispensers that will sound an alarm when you should take your next medication.

      The next article in this series explores ‘Managing your weight’.

         


        If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.


        How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

        If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

        1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
        2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
        3. Follow us on Facebook

        Food Table Celebration Delicious Party Meal Concept

        “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”

        ~ Virginia Woolf, A room of one’s own

        Further to our previous post here are some rules of thumb to judge your diet against.

        • Eat a wide range of foods
          Ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
        • Base your meals on rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and cereals.
          Try to keep it unprocessed by choosing wholegrain varieties – and don’t peel your potatoes.
        • Have lots of fruit and veg
          Try smoothies, augment cereals or porridge with a chopped banana, swap a treat for a piece of fruit.
        • Fish is a generally healthy option
          having a couple of portions of fish a week is good. At least one of these should an ‘oily’ fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, herring or sardines
        • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
          We are all aware that these are bad for us but you need to be careful about what is in processed food. Sometimes food and drinks have large amounts of sugar that you would not expect . Check everything but especially look out for fruit juices, spaghetti sauces, soups and breakfast cereals.
        • Eat less salt
          Two tips here.
          Firstly try ‘low-salt’, it is a much healthier option when adding salt to food that you are preparing. Most people get on with it very well as a direct replacement for salt but for a small minority it will taste more bitter than salty.
          Secondly, check your processed foods. Pizzas, pasta sauces, table sauces (ketchup, etc) and processed meats can all be culprits but they do have to state the salt content on the label.
        • Drink (mainly water)
          Aim for 6-8 glasses a day and whilst all non-alcoholic drinks help, water is about the best. You should also have no more than 150ml (just under half a drinks can) of juice or smoothie.
          Dehydration, not having enough fluid intake, can lead to confusion and balance issues amongst other symptoms.
        • Get a good cookbook.
          Not everyone likes cooking but there are ways to make food tasty without using so much salt and fat.

        The NHS has a free downloadable ‘Eatwell guide’ at www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/.

        Next are 5 top tips to managing your medication.


        If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.


        How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

        If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

        1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
        2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
        3. Follow us on Facebook

        Eating well

        Creative landscape made with assorted organic vegetables.

        “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

           ~  Oscar Wilde

        As with all aspects of this guide bear in mind it is general guidance. If you are aware of an intolerance or allergy, or have taken professional dietary advice that has priority over any of the following.

        Cooking and eating should be a pleasure and not a chore. Consider exploring some of the wide variety of food on offer in supermarkets, local shops and markets, or even from an allotment. The Web is full of recipes you can try.

        Balance is everything

        • Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
        • Base your meals on rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and cereals. Try to keep it unprocessed by choosing wholegrain varieties and don’t peel your potatoes.
        •  Have lots of fruit and veg, drink smoothies, augment cereals or porridge with a chopped banana, swap a treat for a piece of fruit.

          Here’s a trick to try which might help you to be tempted by some of the things which are better for you.
          1. Sit comfortably.
          2. Close your eyes and imagine your favourite snack just in front of you, easily within reach and think which hand you would naturally pick it up with. Just consider how you see it, anticipate the taste and sensation it will give you.
          3. Now in your other hand picture an item of fruit which you know you should eat but don’t really like. Consider how you see that and how it doesn’t inspire you to want to eat it.
          4. Physically move the hand that you are holding the fruit in around your back and pass your (imaginary) fruit into your other hand.
          5. Put the imaginary fruit down in place of the treat and pick up the treat and take it around your back and place it in the other hand to put it down where the fruit was in the first place.
          6. You might now find that you begin to see the fruit in a new way and it starts to give you the sensations you used to have about the treat. Your treat might become as anodyne as the fruit was to you before.

        If you have a critical issue bothering you, click here for some information about what you can do now.


        How to get the latest Health Active Ageing

        If you are looking for some regular handy tips to help keep you shipshape, you have some choices:

        1. The simplest is to fill in your details below and click on the ‘Get Healthy Active Ageing’ button
        2. Bookmark our blogs and visit is regularly, you will be able to navigate through all our posts
        3. Follow us on Facebook

         

        Man crossing rickety string bridge.

        When everything you do seems like a challenge maybe it is time to ask for help to make things easy again

        If you are becoming less able to cope with everyday tasks, known professionally as ‘activities of daily living’ (ADLs), and you are having difficulty solving the problem yourself then you could look on reputable websites for guidance such as AgeUK or livingmadeeasy.org.uk which are both charities.

        If you still have an unresolved issue you could speak with an Occupational Therapist (OT). OTs are not just for working life but have a mission to ‘overcome barriers preventing people from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them.’ OTs will be up to date with the latest aids and services that can make life more manageable.

        You can ask your local council or doctor for an assessment, but you are likely to find yourself on a waiting list which can be quite substantial and any support will probably be means tested. If you can afford it, go to rcot.co.uk (website of the OT’s Royal College) and click ‘find an occupational therapist’.

        Continue reading

        Leaves showing the changing colors of the seasons.

        A lot of the changes are so gradual that they don’t even qualify as news, or even as interesting: they’re so mundane that we just take them for granted. But history shows that it’s the mundane changes that are more important than the dramatic ‘newsworthy’ events.

        ~ Robert D Kaplan

        A good way to make the gradual changes more perceptable is to record snapshots against a date and we have designed a checklist for you to download, print, record and keep.

        You can dowload your one page simple health checklist by clicking here.

        Continue reading

        Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when we look back everything is different.

           ~ C S Lewis

        Optometrist examines eyesight of woman
        A regular eye exam

        A child’s growth is far more noticeable if you don’t see them every day. Likewise a drift from energy and health is far more noticeable if you look at information which is separated by time. The imperceptible changes that happen every day become perceptible over time and once you have perceived a change, often you can do something about it.

        Make sure you have the right checks scheduled

        You should be seen by health professionals in the proper timescales.

        Health checks with a GP

        If you haven’t been seeing the doctor for any other reason which would

        Continue reading

        In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
        ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

        Having useful tools to help plan will helpo you to be able to find the words for what you want to do, after all a wise man once said

        “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
        ~ Albert Einstein

        albert einstein. graffiti in st. petersburg russia

        SMART targets help you to make the future more tangible and give a good framework to work too; people use different words to complete the acronym but we suggest using the following.

        Continue reading

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        If you know something is wrong then please contact an expert immediately.

        Your doctor can help with medical problems, or if you are in an emotional crisis you could contact the Samaritans. You can call them free from any phone on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or you may have a branch near you that you can visit (see www.samaritans.org/branches).

        If the cause of your crisis is feeling overwhelmed by a financial or legal issue then they may suggest a local legal centre or the Citizens Advice Bureau as a good first step to solving your issues.

        There is a Spanish phrase that says ‘Where there is a will, there are many ways’. Just because what you have tried so far has not worked does not mean there is nothing else to try and these people are expert at finding the right solution in a crisis, and they care.