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How Do You Really Stop Smoking for Good?

Posted Thursday 30 March 2017 10:25 by Tim Deakin in Smoking Cessation

Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to accomplish. But can a few simple changes make a big difference?

If you vowed to kick the habit in 2017, you’ve made an important decision that could not only improve your health but also prolong your life. Tobacco is the single biggest cause of cancer in the UK, with over a quarter of all cancer-related deaths initially caused by smoking.

Although the benefits of living a smoke-free existence can be a huge incentive for most people, actually staying away from cigarettes is easier said than done. All too often a moment of weakness sees people falling back into their old routine.

Spend time in places where smoking isn’t allowed

One of the easiest ways to stop yourself from smoking is to spend time in places where it’s legally not allowed. Whether that means spending your afternoons in cafes, galleries and museums, or simply sitting in the office during the week, finding spaces where you’re not allowed to smoke is a good way of weaning yourself off the habit during the early stages of trying to give up.

This is also true when you’re out for the evening. Think in advance about whether you are likely to find yourself in an environment where people will be smoking or whether you can find a temptation-free bar or restaurant environment.

Avoid food and drink you associate with smoking

Smoking is something people do habitually, and that means there are probably certain things you associate with it. For some people it’s lunch because that’s when they normally go outside for a cigarette, for others it’s coffee because they usually consume the two together. Try to pick up on what little reminders still linger in your life and take steps to separate yourself from those particular cravings.

For many people, alcohol and smoking go hand in hand. This is particularly dangerous, as alcohol alone has been found to cause mouth and liver cancer, and studies show that together alcohol and smoking are much more detrimental to your health than either of them are alone.

Set yourself goals and rewards

Quitting smoking is a big task to undergo. Breaking it down into smaller goals helps make it seem much more achievable and, in many instances, can be more effective in helping you to kick the habit than trying to go cold turkey. At the start of each week, give yourself a point you want to be at by the end of the week. Examples like ‘cut down to five cigarettes a day’ or ‘make one pack last the week’ work well as realistic goals to aim towards.

And don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach your goal, too! Think of the things you like that aren’t related to smoking, and indulge yourself after a job well done.

Use helplines and services

Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, but discussing quitting smoking with family or friends can be uncomfortable. Helplines are there to give you honest help and support so you feel a little bit less alone in your struggle. In 2014, over half a million people managed to quit smoking through NHS Stop Smoking Services. These services are there for a reason, so don’t ignore them.

Get help from Express Pharmacy

Express Pharmacy offer expert advice and approved treatments to help ease your journey to a cigarette-free life. Champix is an effective nicotine-free medication for reducing cravings and relieving feelings of withdrawal. Our simple online ordering system is quick, discreet and safe.

If you’d like to find out more about the medications we prescribe, use our Live Chat service today.

Related Products: Champix

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10 Ways to Get Rid of Your Acid Reflux

Posted Thursday 16 March 2017 10:20 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

It is thought that 60% of the adult population suffer from some form of acid reflux over a twelve-month period. So, what can be done about it?

Acid reflux – or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to give it its medical name – is a condition that affects millions of people. At some point, we probably all have a bout of acid reflux, however mild, but for some people it can be uncomfortable and debilitating to their daily life.

The main symptom of the condition is acid leaking up from the stomach and into the oesophagus, due to the lower oesophageal sphincter being too relaxed. It’s nasty and sometimes painful, but don’t worry – Express Pharmacy is here with ten easy at-home methods for treating your acid reflux.

Go gluten free

Some studies have found that gluten – commonly found in rye, barley and wheat – can increase symptoms of acid reflux, so it’s worth considering a gluten-free diet.

Wear loose clothing

Tight jeans, clinging dresses and belts that cut into your stomach can all exacerbate GERD, and create further discomfort. Stick to looser clothing and slightly larger waistlines to take some of the pressure off, even if it’s just on days when you’re lounging around the house.

Cut down on alcohol

Drinking alcohol can relax oesophageal muscles further and even cause them to spasm, so cutting down on your drinking – or better yet, giving up altogether – is an effective way of lessening your symptoms and making you feel more comfortable.

Stop smoking

Smoking is a double threat to acid reflux, as studies have found that smoking both increases the relaxed state of your oesophageal muscles and inhibits your saliva’s ability to clear out excess acid from your throat.

Elevate your bed

When dealing with acid reflux, it’s helpful to use gravity to your advantage in order to keep stomach acids where they belong – in your stomach. This is true of the time you spend asleep as well as awake. Elevating the head of your bed six to eight inches keeps stomach acids down, and prevents symptoms from showing themselves. Your entire upper body needs to be raised for this to work, so extra pillows alone probably won’t have the desired effect.

Wait after meals

Speaking of gravity, it’s important to wait before you lie down if you’ve recently eaten a large meal. At least three hours should have gone by since your last meal before you take up a horizontal position in bed or on the sofa. This means planning ahead and eating your dinner with enough time before you go to sleep.

Eat smaller dishes

Eating little and often is an effective way of managing acid reflux. Avoid infrequent large meals and opt for smaller plates of food instead.

Avoid danger foods

Spicy food, fatty food, chocolate, coffee and mints can all increase symptoms of acid reflux, so try to avoid them. You might find this hard, but with 60% of acid reflux sufferers reporting bad sleep quality, and 40% reporting a lower quality of work concentration, surely it’s worth it.

Lose weight

Acid reflux is often more severe in overweight individuals, so eating right and exercising can do wonders for keeping your symptoms at bay.

Use medication

Medication can help directly treat the symptoms of your acid reflux. At Express Pharmacy we stock a number of medications to treat heartburn, including Omeprazole, Lansoprazole and Losec.

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Knowing When to Visit the Doctor Could Be Crucial to Easing the Burden on the NHS

Posted Thursday 16 March 2017 09:57 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

The government recently admitted that the NHS will need £1bn in order to cover the cost of personal injury claims. Money it can ill afford.

According to a recent report, the NHS will need an estimated £1bn bailout to cover the cost of personal injury compensation claims. With such a hefty bill adding to the already overstretched healthcare budget, what can we do to prevent the health service from reaching breaking point?

Knowing when you need the help of a doctor and knowing when to simply rest and take over the counter medication may sound simple, but it could actually save billions of pounds a year. As GP surgeries become busier and busier it is advised that people take ownership of their own illness rather than making a routine trip to the doctor. Importantly, this advice should not deter those with serious conditions that require immediate treatment.

Here are some of the health complaints that a GP should not encounter from day to day:

Leave your cold at home

Research at the end of 2016 found that there had been over five million visits to GP offices for blocked noses, forty thousand for dandruff and twenty thousand for travel sickness.

While blocked noses can be uncomfortable and travel sickness can be a nasty affliction, it is important to be aware that a doctor will only prescribe medication that is readily available over the counter in your local pharmacist. A simple trip to your nearest community pharmacy or a check online with us should be the first port of call when you are suffering from a problem that does not warrant a GP appointment.

For conditions such as altitude sickness, acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, period pains or hair loss, pharmacists are well equipped to treat you and put your mind at ease.

Minor symptoms and illnesses are responsible for 57 million GP visits in the UK, as well as nearly four million A&E admissions every year. Sprains made up 38% of these A&E admissions last year, while 17% of them were for flu like symptoms, and 13% were for insect bites. All this put together costs the NHS around £2 billion – twice as much as their personal injury claim debt!

Learn the art of self-care

One in five GP appointments are reported to be for minor, self-treatable symptoms. Therefore, encouraging patients to practice self-care could save doctors more than an hour every day. That’s a lot of free time that could be used to work through a waiting room full of serious conditions.

Self-care is exactly what it says on the tin – an individual taking the time to look after both their physical and mental health. Lifestyle diseases, i.e. conditions that are attributable to the way we live, make up 75% of diseases in the UK. This shows that making a few small changes to our daily routines could help us avoid GP visits altogether.

When it comes to physical health, drinking more water, eating three healthy meals a day and doing even a small amount of exercise can make a huge difference. Cutting out bad habits like smoking or excess alcohol consumption also helps. Similarly, therapeutic activities and breathing exercises can help your mental health by lowering stress and anxiety.

Turn to Express Pharmacy for help

Our three-step online treatment programme allows you to select a treatment, undergo a free consultation and purchase your required medicine without any hassle and with complete discretion – all from the comfort of your own home.

Express Pharmacy provides NHS approved medical help, treatment and advice without the need to use up doctor time.

If you are experiencing an illness or a problem that is a significant issue to you but not one that warrants visiting your GP, don’t hesitate to try our discreet live chat today and find out what we can do for you.

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The Health Problems to Expect When You’re Expecting

Posted Tuesday 07 March 2017 14:42 by Tim Deakin in Women's Medication

The process of growing another human being is a magical one. At the end of it, lucky parents get to take their bundle of joy home with them for a lifetime of love and shared affection. Yet, pregnancy itself is a challenge like no other. For many expectant mothers it is filled with a whole host of not-so-wonderful symptoms that go far beyond the healthy glow and whirlwind of hormones.

From conception to the day of the birth, the female body goes through a bevy of major changes. Knowing what to expect from week to week from a changing body can be a great source of relief, whether you are a first-time parent or not. Each pregnancy is different, of course, but there are a variety of common side effects that many women are likely to experience.

Here we reveal just some of the common health problems to expect when expecting, so you can understand what your body is going through and seek assistance from your maternity team where necessary.

Backache

Backache is particularly common during pregnancy as your ligaments soften and stretch to prepare you for the impending birth of your child.

Your lower back and pelvis will be most affected. As your pregnancy progresses and the weight of your baby increases, symptoms are likely to worsen. There are several steps that you can take to protect your back and limit pain. Avoid lifting heavy objects where possible and even when moving light items take extra care to bend your knees and keep your back straight to prevent injury. Wearing flat shoes is also recommended during pregnancy as high heels can exacerbate the discomfort caused by spinal curvature.

Keeping your back supported, especially when sitting or sleeping, is vital. Rest is the key to preventing back pain, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.

Cramp

The sudden onset of cramp can be extremely scary during pregnancy. Sudden, sharp pain can be experienced at any stage and in almost any part of your body. Cramp in the feet and calf muscles is particularly common during the night and can often require regular, gentle exercise to alleviate these most painful of symptoms. By ensuring that your muscles are stretched and circulation is good can keep cramp problems to a minimum. For this reason, many expectant mothers take up pregnancy Pilates in the months before their due date.

Incontinence

Common both during and after pregnancy, incontinence or the need to urinate more frequently are uncomfortable symptoms that can be prevented. Exercising your pelvic floor muscles should be an essential part of your daily routine. These simple exercises work to support your bladder and bowel, and prevent the weakened pelvic floor muscles that are common with age or after you have children. Weakened pelvic floor muscles put you at risk of incontinence, reduced sexual sensitivity and pelvic organ prolapse. But by completing pelvic floor or kegel exercises you can keep everything in working order and reduce the risk of incontinence after the birth of your baby.

If you are urinating frequently and experiencing pain or passing blood in your urine, then you may have a urinary tract infection. It is recommended that you see your GP within 24 hours of noticing these symptoms so appropriate treatment can be given. Medication will usually be offered. Please note that any medication taken during pregnancy should be approved by a GP, trusted pharmacist or midwife before use.

Heartburn

The hormonal changes in your body will be responsible for a number of side effects during pregnancy, including indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux. Around 80% of women experience these symptoms during pregnancy, particularly during the latter stages when the womb begins to put pressure on the stomach.

Easing the discomfort of heartburn and other symptoms of indigestion (these include feeling uncomfortably full, nausea, burping, gas and bloating) may require an expectant mother to change their eating habits to avoid any heartburn triggers. There are also a number of prescription heartburn medicines on the market – however, it is always important to check with your GP or pharmacist that medication is safe to take during pregnancy.

Nausea

Vomiting is experienced by many women during pregnancy, and whilst morning sickness is common, symptoms usually ease by week 16 to 20. Morning sickness does not put your baby at risk but if you find that symptoms persist into the second or third trimester, it may be necessary to seek help and advice from your GP, pharmacist or midwife if symptoms persist or you experience a more severe form of nausea, known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

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The Murky World of Brain Fog

Posted Monday 27 February 2017 16:49 by Tim Deakin in Primary Care Givers

brain fogWe all have the odd bad day but what if losing your train of thought or suffering from poor memory becomes part of everyday life? For those who suffer from brain fog, these undesirable symptoms are a harsh reality.

In this article we take a look at the causes of brain fog and reveal just some of the steps that are recommended to help lift the haze.

What exactly is brain fog?

Brain fog is known by many names, from the clouding of consciousness to brain fatigue, and can be experienced in mild to severe episodes by individuals of all ages and from all walks of life.

For most, the effects of brain fog come on suddenly with no warning. They can make the management of symptoms particularly difficult. Lack of focus, poor short term memory, reduced mental sharpness and difficulty organising thoughts or finding words are just some of the symptoms associated with brain fog. Where symptoms aren’t addressed or appropriately managed the effects of brain fog can influence sufferers’ personal and professional lives in the long term.

The causes of brain fog

There are a number of triggers that can bring on episodes of brain fog. In an age of digital overload, your lifestyle can play a major role in just how severely symptoms strike and how often. The stress and anxiety that often goes hand-in-hand with modern day life is a primary cause of brain fog. In addition to this, nutritional deficiencies and dehydration have been proven to cause disturbances in the brain. Good brain function relies on the consumption of foods containing magnesium, vitamin B12 and amino acids, and if your body is deficient in these nutrients or dehydrated in general, then brain fog is likely to occur. Lack of sleep can also result in brain fog symptoms.

As well as everyday lifestyle factors, there are certain stages of life where you are more susceptible to the effects of brain fog. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, memory loss can be a common side effect, however this is usually a short term issue. For women experiencing the menopause, pregnancy or a particularly heavy period, hormonal changes can influence your memory and concentration.

Stress and depression is also commonly associated with brain fog – whether it is mental fatigue caused by work or a lack of sleep, or depression caused by an issue such as weight concerns.

How can I relieve symptoms?

Regardless of the cause of your brain fog, there are several steps that you can take to relieve symptoms and actively improve your memory. Drinking more water and making positive changes to your diet is a great place to begin. Focus on eating a brain-function-boosting diet by incorporating foods that are rich in Omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids, magnesium, complex B vitamins, and antioxidants. People who smoke or consume high levels of alcohol have also been proven to be at greater risk of brain fog, so take steps to limit intake.

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