Month: January 2023
Statins are a widely prescribed class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular events such as heart disease and strokes. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently released updated guidelines on the use of statins, which now recommend that they can be considered for people at a lower risk threshold.
This decision was made after the independent committee updating the NICE guideline on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and reduction considered new evidence on the safety and side effects of statins, meaning more people could be given them.
The draft guideline recommends that doctors should consider statins for people who haven’t had a CVD event (called ‘primary prevention’) with a 10-year CVD risk score of less than 10%. The committee agreed that if more people took statins there would be a greater reduction in the incidence of heart disease and strokes.
In addition to being prescribed by National Health Service GP’s, statins can also be prescribed by private healthcare providers, such as us, Fleet Street Clinic. In fact, private GP’s can play an important role in the management of cardiovascular disease risk by offering statins as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for patients at high risk.
People can be at risk from CVD because of factors they cannot change including their age, sex, ethnicity and family history but it’s important to note that certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk. These include stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, introducing or increasing exercise and eating a healthy diet.
Therefore, the decision to take a statin should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional and should take into account the individual’s values and priorities as well as the potential risks and benefits of treatment.
With the British Heart Foundation noting that “there are around 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK” and that they “estimate that in the UK more than half of us will get a heart or circulatory condition in our lifetime” this is likely to be an impactful change in the landscape of CVD and statins.
To conclude, Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, said:
“What we’re saying is that, for people with a less than 10% risk over 10 years of a first heart attack or stroke, the decision to take a statin should be left to individual patients after an informed discussion of benefits and risks.
“The evidence is clear, in our view, that for people with a risk of 10% or less over 10 years, statins are an appropriate choice to reduce that risk.
“We are not advocating that statins are used alone. The draft guideline continues to say that it is only if lifestyle changes on their own are not sufficient, and that other risk factors such as hypertension are also managed, that people who are still at risk can be offered the opportunity to use a statin, if they want to. They don’t have to, and their decision should be informed by an understanding of the risks and tailored to their values and priorities.”
Reference Source: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-ng10178/documents
Related services available at Fleet Street Clinic:
Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being, and recent research has revealed a strong link between sleep and cardiovascular health. A study conducted by the University of Warwick in the UK found that individuals who get 7-9 hours of sleep per night have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality compared to those who sleep less or more than the recommended range.
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, analysed data from over 116,000 participants in the UK Biobank study and found that those who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours had a higher risk of CVD and mortality. These findings add to the growing body of evidence that suggests a link between sleep duration and cardiovascular health.
The exact mechanisms by which sleep affects cardiovascular health are not fully understood, but researchers suggest that it may be related to the impact of sleep on cardiovascular regulation, inflammation, and metabolic function.
It is important to prioritize sleep and aim for the recommended range of 7-9 hours to maintain cardiovascular health.
It’s worth noting that these findings are observational, and more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between sleep and cardiovascular health, but it’s a good indication that sleep plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
To read the full study, continue reading here:
medscape.co.uk – Does sleep duration influence cvd and mortality risk?
Related services available at Fleet Street Clinic:
Travelling can have a significant positive impact on one’s physical and mental health, according to a study published in the Journal of Travel & Health. The study surveyed over 1,000 adults who had recently returned from a trip and found that the majority of them reported improvements in overall well-being, including increased energy and reduced stress levels.
One of the key reasons for these self-rated health benefits is that travelling allows individuals to step out of their daily routine and experience new environments and cultures. This can lead to increased physical activity, as travellers may be more likely to walk or bike instead of drive which may also expose them to different types of food, leading to a healthier diet.
Additionally, travelling can have a positive impact on mental health as well. The study found that the majority of participants reported feeling more relaxed and less stressed after their trip. This is likely because travelling can provide a sense of excitement and adventure, as well as a break from the demands and responsibilities of everyday life.
Another benefit of travelling is that it allows individuals to build new social connections, which can be important for mental health. Meeting new people and forming new friendships can provide a sense of belonging and can also help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
In conclusion, the study suggests that travelling can be good for one’s physical and mental health. It can help to increase energy levels, reduce stress and improve overall well-being. So, next time you are planning a trip, remember it’s not only good for your soul but also for your body.
To read the full study, continue reading here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140522002079?via%3Dihub
Related services available at Fleet Street Clinic:
- Travel Vaccinations
- Jet Lag Calculator
- Travellers’ Diarrhoea Online Consultation
- DVT Rick Calculator
Blue Monday happens every year on the third Monday of January. It is supposedly the most depressing day of the entire year, based on a crude calculation of bad weather, long nights, back to work dread and post-Christmas debt.
It does sound very plausible perhaps because we so familiar with the term “January Blues” but Blue Monday is in fact, a myth!
The phrase “Blue Monday” was coined by Sky Travel back in 2005 as a way to encourage people to book their next holiday as something to look forward too. They highlighted all the seasonal negatives to reinforce the benefits of booking a holiday – a clever marketing trick.
But can we really pinpoint the most depressing day of the year?
There is no actual scientific studies that have ever backed up any claims about Blue Monday being true or that there could even be a “most depressing day of the year”. This does make sense because this would be different for each and every one of us based on personal circumstances and the variables are extensive. It did, however, get use thinking about our mood, mental health and overall wellbeing at this time of year.
January is cold, often wet and everyone is trying to shake off the Christmas comedown and get excited about the new year ahead, but the January blues can creep in.
Remember you are not alone, and many people experience a dip in mood this time of year but it is important to identify when the January blues are actually symptoms of depression.
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy, fed up or low for a few days. It can be long lasting and the symptoms range from mild to severe. Once accessed by a doctor, they will conclude the severity of your depression.
A simplified description follows:
Mild depression will have some impact on your daily life.
Moderate depression has a significant impact on your life.
Severe depression makes it almost impossible to get through daily life.
Sometimes there’s a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job or giving birth, can bring it on. Other times, it can be linked with family history; people with family members who have depression are more likely to experience it themselves. But you can also become depressed for no obvious reason. It is quite complex and each person is unique.
There are many symptoms of depression and the combination is unpredictable.
They can be categorised at physiological, physical and social symptoms.
Some examples of psychological symptoms of depression include:
- continuous low mood or sadness
- feeling hopeless and helpless
- having low self-esteem
- feeling tearful
- feeling irritable and intolerant of others
- having no motivation or interest in things
- finding it difficult to make decisions
- not getting any enjoyment out of life
- feeling anxious or worried
- having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
Some examples of physical symptoms of depression include:
- moving or speaking slower than usual
- changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
- unexplained aches and pains
- lack of energy
- low sex drive
- changes to your menstrual cycle
- disturbed sleep – for example, finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning
Some examples of social symptoms of depression include:
- avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
- neglecting your hobbies and interests
- having difficulties in your home, work or family life
The most common symptoms of depression tend to be a low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of energy, problems with sleep and a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy but it can be any number of symptoms listed above.
It’s important to seek help from a GP if you think you may be depressed. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery.
For more information on GP services at Fleet Street Clinic, click here.
Chinese New Year is a festival celebrated annually by Chinese communities across the world to bring good luck and prosperity into the New Year. Every year corresponds with one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac, with 2023 being the Year of the Rabbit. Celebrations for Chinese New Year kick off on the 22nd Jan, continuing until the 5th February where the festivities culminate with the Chinese Lantern Festival. Every year, thousands of people travel to China to enjoy the celebrations. So, if you are one of those people who are planning to travel to China to join in with the festivities, please ensure you follow these tips to stay healthy whilst abroad.
Firstly, you may want to check the entry requirements for China in terms of required covid-19 testing. If you travel to China after 8th Jan, you would require a negative Covid-19 test and submit your negative result by filling a Health Declaration Form via China Custom Website or their app or WeChat account. You would also need a pre-departure Covid -19 test when coming back to England from China. If you are still travelling to China you can view what covid-19 testing entry rules are currently in place here: GOV.UK WEBSITE. You can find more information on our rt-PCR Testing service here and our Lateral Flow Testing here.
Covid aside, check your vaccination history. All travellers need to ensure they are up-to-date with their childhood vaccines, most importantly, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP).
More information on our wellness vaccinations can be found here.
It is worth noting that it is still influenza season in the northern hemisphere and transmission can occur well into spring. Those travellers who haven’t received their annual flu vaccination to protect them against the most common strains for 2022-23, should ensure they receive it before travelling to China. You can still book your annual flu vaccine, here.
Travellers who are planning extended stays, and more remote and rural travel may also wish to consider vaccinations against Rabies and Hepatitis B.
More information on our travel vaccinations can be found here.
Those who are heading further south to rural areas where the weather is warmer may wish to consider vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis (JE), which is spread via the culex mosquito. You can also purchase our ‘Ultimate Bug Kit’ which will help protect you from mosquito bites.
There have been recent cases of Avian Influenza (bird flu) in both the UK and China. Bird flu is a very unpleasant illness which can cause people to fall quite unwell. It is passed on via contact with infected birds. Travellers can minimise risk by avoiding contact with any birds (dead or alive): avoid touching dead or dying birds, and steer well clear of ‘wet markets’ (marketplaces that sell meat, fish, and often live animals including birds).
Chinese New Year is heavily focused on food, with items such as fish, fruit and dumplings symbolising luck, wealth and prosperity. Travellers should ensure that they maintain good food and water practises to avoid tummy trouble whilst away. You should avoid tap water and ice made from tap water, instead stick to bottled water. Ensure you wash your hands thoroughly before eating and after using the toilet. Ensure all food that you eat is cooked thoroughly and served straight to you. And lastly, consider taking medicines for self-treatments with you, such as antibiotics – take our Online Travellers’ Diarrhoea Consultation to see if it is suitable for us to prescribe you standby Travellers’ Diarrhoea treatment.
By following these guidelines and ensuring you are generally sensible and hygienic, you will be able to relax and enjoy the sheer joys of travel and seeing the world.
Happy Chinese New Year!
You can book online for a travel consultation appointment here.
Or for more information on all of our travel vaccinations, wellness vaccinations or travellers’ diarrhoea.
Dry January grows in popularity year on year.
The campaign by Alcohol Change UK, encourages participants to give up alcohol for the entire month of January.
The dry January one-month booze-free challenge can have a significantly positive impact on your health.
Alcohol has proven to increase the risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) and that risk increases the more you drink on a regular basis.
Ruth Kander, our dietitian, looks at what is considered a safe amount of alcohol consumption.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) guideline for keeping health risks from alcohol to a low level for both men and women states that:
- It is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
- Regularly drinking as much as 14 units per week, it’s best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days.
– If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risk of death from long-term illness and injuries.
- Cutting down the amount you drink, a smart way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days a week.
A useful website for more information about alcohol is www.drinkaware.co.uk
What is a unit of alcohol?
How long does alcohol stay in your body?
On average, it takes about one hour for your body to break down one unit of alcohol, however, this can vary, depending on:
- Your weight
- Whether you’re male or female
- Your age
- Your metabolism – how quickly or slowly your body turns food into energy
- How much food you have eaten
- The type and strength of the alcohol you have consumed
- Whether you’re taking medication and, if so, what type
- It can also take longer if your liver isn’t functioning normally
If I am on medicines can I drink alcohol?
People taking sedative drugs (like diazepam/valium) or antidepressants (like fluoxetine/Prozac) should avoid alcohol altogether.
There are some antibiotics; metronidazole and tinidazole which just do not mix with alcohol – drinking with these will make you sick. But for most commonly prescribed antibiotics, drinking is unlikely to cause problems so long as it is within the low-risk alcohol unit guidelines.
People taking long-term medications should be careful about drinking, as alcohol can make some drugs less effective and long-term conditions could get worse. Examples of long-term medications include drugs for epilepsy, diabetes, or drugs like warfarin to thin the blood.
What are the consequences of drinking too much alcohol?
- Low mood/mood swings
- Liver problems
- Heart problems
- Cancers (mouth, tongue, throat, oesophagus)
- Weight gain
- Poor sleep
- Blood pressure instability
By Ruth Kander BSc(Hons)RD | Dietitian
If you wish to discuss ways to maintain a healthy diet and reduce your alcohol consumption, Ruth holds a virtual clinic every Friday from 9am-2pm. Please call our reception team on 020 7353 5678 if you would like to request a face-to-face appointment