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May 29th Is World Digestive Health Day!

Posted Friday 26 May 2017 11:38 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

In honour of World Digestive Health Day, we’re looking at the importance of digestive health to our overall wellbeing, and the conditions that are associated with digestive concerns

The World Gastroenterology Organisation has named 29th May 2017 as World Digestive Health Day. With that in mind, there’s no better time to explore the importance of our digestive health – an important factor in our general health.

A useful way to do this is to ask the question: Why is our digestive health so important? And also: What conditions are linked to poor digestive health?

Let’s look at some of the common conditions associated with poor digestive health, letting you know what you can do to avoid and treat them.

Why is digestive health so important?

70% of our body’s immune system lives in our digestive tract. This means that if something isn’t right with our digestion, then our overall health is compromised as a result. Digestion is the entire process from consuming food to excreting waste. It’s responsible for the nutrients our body absorbs, making it not only necessary for our overall health, but for our survival.

In order to maintain a healthy digestion process, we need to make sure our diet consists of all the necessary food groups in the correct quantities. This means carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, healthy fats and sugars and fibre, which is key for keeping the digestive process moving. We also need to drink plenty of water and be active, even just by making the effort to walk for fifteen minutes a day.

What conditions are associated with poor digestive health?

There are a huge number of conditions which either result from or cause poor digestive health. We’ve explored two of the most common digestive symptoms which can occur.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is extremely common. In fact, up to 20% of the UK population suffer from it in some form. It’s a condition that affects the large intestine, and most often results in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea and constipation.

IBS is a chronic condition, and it’s unclear exactly what causes it. Most sufferers learn to manage their symptoms through lifestyle and dietary changes, and by managing stress levels. Anti-diarrhoeal or anti-constipation medication can help, and it’s also advisable to cut gluten and high-gas products like carbonated drinks from your diet.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and is caused by stomach acid rising up into the oesophagus, causing an unpleasant and sometimes painful acidic sensation. This is usually the result of a weakened lower oesophageal sphincter muscle. One of the main symptoms of GERD is heartburn, which feels just as the name suggests: a hot, tight (often painful) discomfort in the centre of the chest.

You can manage and avoid GERD by sleeping smart; elevating your head, neck and upper back with pillows and allowing gravity to do its job with the acid in your stomach. You can also maintain a healthy weight (as being overweight increases your chances of experiencing acid reflux and heartburn) and cut fatty, greasy or full dairy products from your diet.

Acid reflux and heartburn can also be treated with the help of prescription medication designed to cool and neutralize the acid in your stomach and throat with an antacid-based formula.

Gaining an understanding of your health concerns is the first step to treating them effectively, so don’t hesitate to get the professional guidance you need to ease your worries.

Express Pharmacy provides an easy to navigate and discreet service, and we provide patients with a handy Live Chat tool so that they can ask any questions that are troubling them, no matter how sensitive.

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The Rise of Virtual Diagnoses

Posted Friday 19 May 2017 11:35 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

The number of people choosing to treat their health concerns through online research is on the rise. Even doctors are jumping on board, so does this signal a new age of digitalized GP appointments?

In the 21st century, there is one medical know-it-all who has seen more patients than any other. In fact, it is more than likely that you’ve checked your symptoms with him/her yourself. We are talking, of course, about Dr Google. A quick bit of research online and most of us interpret our maladies with help from one of the world’s largest search engines and choose to self-diagnose ourselves after a quick education session online.

A phenomenon of the 21st century, this kind of medical intervention is on the rise – and depending on who you speak to, it can be both a blessing and a curse that so much information is at our fingertips. But the healthcare system itself is also changing – taking on some of the best aspects of the digital age. Take Express Pharmacy as an example: we now offer prescription medications direct to your door in a safe, swift and discreet fashion.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s now on offer to patients.

How getting a diagnosis has changed

When you think about a consultation with a GP, the traditional image conjured up is of a hot and busy waiting room, a doctor’s office, stethoscopes and dreaded waiting times. There’s a reason for this. On average, over 90% of GP appointments involve a patient, a General Practitioner and a family member, but it seems these figures are changing, according to new reports.

In-person appointments are taking on a digital edge, with GPs nowadays referring to tech tablets to retrieve information and instantly contacting specialists in other areas of healthcare related to patient concerns.

GPs are also being given access to a hub of patient data prior to appointments in order to have the relevant information about the individual on hand. This data can include anything from blood pressure, glucose levels and diet to level of activeness and social engagement. This allows GP appointments to be a true exchange of information, with professionals being able to make informed decisions on treatment which reflects the patient overall, rather than the information they’ve shared during a ten-minute consultation.

In America, there are already FDA-approved smartphone apps being used by GPs to help increase the accuracy of physical patient examinations. It seems appointments are slowly but surely being revolutionised by technology.

But the revolution doesn’t stop at physical appointments. It seems more and more of us are opting for online solutions to our health-related problems, engaging in virtual consultations, using online resources and ordering relevant medication through online sources.

Virtual doctor consultations give the opportunity for a 24/7 appointments service. Like the takeover of online shopping, it could soon be the case that online GP appointments are a common and convenient alternative to making the trip to the doctor’s office.

Of course, in some cases a physical examination is necessary for a condition to be accurately diagnosed, and there are concerns that a rise in online diagnoses could lead to a less personalised healthcare system. In order to understand the rise of virtual GP appointments fully, we need to ask ourselves in what way it could be beneficial to healthcare overall.

So how could digitized appointments be a good thing?

On average, a twenty minute or less GP appointment takes more than two and a half weeks to schedule in, and 35% of patients are left waiting for more than fifteen minutes after their designated appointment time. Virtual appointments could help free up a General Practitioner’s busy schedule, as more than a fifth of appointments are for conditions which are easily self-treated.

The option for patients to input their data for GPs to see gives them more accurate diagnoses and more control over the treatment they receive. By having their illness diagnosed online, a patient can then choose which medication route they want to go down whilst still receiving professional information and advice.

Ultimately, an online diagnosis could be a much easier option for patients. It instantly cuts out both travelling and waiting times and allows patients to treat conditions discreetly. This is particularly important for male patients, as men are twice as likely as women to put off seeing a GP until their symptoms become more severe.

Looking to take advantage of our own online pharmacy for your next prescription. Find out more about how it works.

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Sun Awareness Week 2017: The Risks of Sun Exposure

Posted Wednesday 10 May 2017 12:15 by Tim Deakin in Uncategorized

May 8th marks the start of Sun Awareness Week 2017, so there's no better time to remind ourselves of the risks of too much sun exposure.

The arrival of May means we are firmly into spring, and summer is just around the corner. The sun is shining, it’s warmer and we’re all spending a bit more time outdoors. Some of us may even be looking forward to summer holiday somewhere hot.

Although this is great news for most of us, we need to be aware of the risks that sun exposure can have on our skin, body and our overall health. That’s why the British Association of Dermatologists is launching its fourth annual Sun Awareness Week 2017 from May 8th – 14th.

Now is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the risks of too much sun, and learn exactly how we can stay safe.

What are the risks of sun exposure?

Sunburn

This one may sound obvious, but thousands of us still manage to find ourselves getting sunburnt in sunny weather. A survey by Cancer Research UK found that a fifth of individuals go without sun protection on a warm day, and the issue is particularly prevalent with men, who worry 75% less about getting burnt than women.

Sunburn may seem like a minor issue, but it can easily turn nasty. As well as pain, itching and flaky skin, sunburn also increases your risk of major health concerns like skin cancer.

Aging and pigmentation

For many of us, having a tan is an instant confidence booster, but sun exposure can wreak havoc on the appearance of our skin. Consequences include premature aging in the form of wrinkles, tightness and even age spots, which occur most commonly on our hands and faces.

Risks to your health

The sun’s radiation creates ultraviolet light, and it’s this light which is the main cause of skin cancer. Sunburn damages the genetic material of your skin, or the DNA. If too much damage is caused, cells can react by growing out of control, leading to the formation of cancer. This more than anything is why it’s vital we don’t overexpose our skin to the sun.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Learn the difference in sun creams

We all know we should be wearing sun protection whenever we’re outside in the sunshine, but there’s a lot more to it than you might think. Sun creams come in different factors, and pale skin, children’s skin or just skin that hasn’t seen much sun recently should always opt for a particularly high factor. In general, we should all be wearing factor 15 at the very least.

Your sun cream should also have decent staying power and be waterproof. You should reapply regularly throughout your time in the sun.

Sunlight hits the skin in the form of multiple ultraviolet rays, including UVA and UVB. Think of these as UVAging (as this penetrates deeper into the skin and causes signs of aging) and UVBurning (as this is responsible for sunburn.) Find a sun cream which protects against both.

Enjoy the shade

Sun exposure leads to 80% of melanoma cases, which is the most serious kind of skin cancer. This should be enough to tell us to take regular breaks from direct sunlight and let your body enjoy a bit of shade at least every 30 minutes.

Stay hydrated

Sun exposure when paired with dehydration is a deadly mixture which often leads to sunstroke. This can leave you feeling dizzy, nauseous and feverish, which nobody wants on a bright, sunny day! Always be sure to drink plenty of water, aiming for eight large glasses a day. This is true at all times, but even more so when it’s warm and bright.

Express Pharmacy is an excellent resource for information and treatment regarding a wide variety of common conditions. Get in touch today for more information and ensure your summer is fun, relaxing and – above all – safe.

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Everything You Need to Know to Get Through Hay Fever Season

Posted Thursday 04 May 2017 19:11 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

hay fever medicationMany of us look forward to spring as a warmer, brighter time of year. Unfortunately, for a huge number of us spring also signals the start of the dreaded hay fever season. The key to dealing with hay fever effectively is to understand it – learn what to expect and how to treat your hay fever allergy in the best way.

What is hay fever?

Simply put, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen is released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle, and levels are particularly high in the spring and summer months. These higher pollen levels lead to inflammation in the nose, which can cause pain, irritation and discomfort.

Symptoms of hay fever can vary depending on how severe the allergy is. They usually include itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose, frequent sneezing and an itchy throat, usually resulting in a cough. If the reaction becomes more serious, other symptoms can present themselves such as headaches, earache, tiredness, facial pain and even a loss of your sense of smell.

What causes hay fever?

Hay fever occurs in most people when the pollen count reaches higher than 10 grains per cubic millimetre. At this point, the allergic reaction takes hold and the symptoms present themselves. Pollen levels increase as the weather becomes warmer, which is why sufferers can feel completely fine for ten months out of the year and only start to feel unwell again once spring and summer come back around.

Hay fever is most commonly a reaction to grass pollen, though it can also be an allergy to tree pollen (released earlier in the spring) or weed pollen (released in the early autumn.)

What can you do to reduce symptoms?

There are effective medications which can help ease your hay fever symptoms (more on that below) but what about the things you can do to reduce your discomfort?

Wearing wraparound sunglasses when outdoors can help protect your eyes from irritation. Hay fever also irritates your nose as well as your eyes, making the skin red and sensitive, so get into the habit of keeping a tub of Vaseline with you and use it to moisturise the skin around your nostrils.

Try to stay indoors as much as possible when suffering from hay fever, and keep the doors and windows shut. If you are going out, you should shower and change your clothes as soon as you return home. Also, try to vacuum your home regularly to remove any traces of pollen you might be bringing in with you.

By implementing these factors into your routine, you could significantly reduce your hay fever symptoms.

What treatments are available for hay fever?

For most cases of hay fever, antihistamines are the most common and effective form of treatment. These are available at any well-stocked pharmacy, though you should try to purchase the non-drowsy variety so that they don’t affect your daily routine. Nasal sprays and eye drops are also commonly use to ease symptoms of hay fever such as itchiness, watery eyes and a blocked or runny nose.

Express Pharmacy offers a range of treatments for hay fever, helping you to enjoy the spring/summer season without worrying about allergies

Express Pharmacy offers the fastest and most convenient way to access medication for hay fever. Our range includes For Fexofenadine, Nasonex, Telfast and Mometasone. To find out more about the right solution for you, why not call 0208 1230703.

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Why You Don’t Need to Learn to Live With Migraines

Posted Wednesday 03 May 2017 21:46 by Tim Deakin in Migraines

migraine treatmentIf you suffer from migraines, then you do not suffer alone. Migraines are an extremely common affliction, with over 190,000 migraine attacks taking place every day in the UK.

And migraines are not just simple headaches. They can be debilitating and extremely painful, and yet many sufferers resign themselves to simply learning to live with the condition.

However, there are ways to treat the condition effectively. From actions you can undertake yourself to chiropractic aid and effective medications, you shouldn’t have to put up with your migraines.

What are migraines?

It is true that migraines are a form of headaches, but they are particularly intense, often signalled by a throbbing in the front or back of the head. Whilst many of us can ignore a headache and get on with our day, the pain and pressure caused by a migraine is a primary health concern for most sufferers.

This pressure is often combined with other symptoms such as blurred vision, sensitivity to light, insomnia and nausea, making it even more debilitating.

So what causes a migraine? Migraines are extremely common and can be caused by a range of factors. These include stress, noise, light, insomnia, dehydration and the increased use of computers and other screens alongside being generally inactive.

What can you do to treat your migraines?

Self-care is key when it comes to migraine treatment. There are several things you can do to try and alleviate your symptoms.

Make sure you keep active. In modern society, jobs often require sitting in front of a screen for long stretches of time, and this can be a big contributor to migraines. Aim to get up and walk a little every 30 minutes, and take the time to rotate your head and neck slowly when sitting to release some of the tension your muscles are holding. You can also incorporate light yoga and stretching into your day before or after work to help relieve stress and strain.

Pay attention to your teeth and jaws. It may sound odd, but many of us clench our jaws or grind our teeth without realising, and this is a huge contributor to increasing pressure which can lead to tension headaches.

Keep hydrated. Aim to drink eight large glasses of water a day to avoid any head pressure caused by dehydration.

Visit a chiropractor. Taking a trip to the chiropractor can offer expert advice and allows you to work with a professional to adjust any areas of your body which may be leading to your migraines such as your neck, shoulders and back. Head pain is often linked to an issue somewhere else in your body, particularly your central nervous system. Chiropractic can treat these issues and the results are long-lasting and effective.

What medications are available?

Medication is the most instant treatment for your migraines, and there are a lot of options available. This includes sumatriptan, which aims to counter the chemical imbalance that often causes swelling and throbbing in the head.

Imigran is another effective treatment, which stimulates receptors in the brain that reduce the swelling of blood vessels relieving pressure. Both of these treatments work on alleviating your migraine within 30 minutes.

Other medications are also available, including imigran in the form of a nasal spray.

Find all of these effective medications and more at Express Pharmacy

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