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How Much Damage Can Smoking Actually Cause?

Posted Monday 03 September 2018 17:25 by in Smoking Cessation by Tim Deakin

Although the number of active smokers in the UK has dropped significantly in the last decade, 9 million Brits still smoke cigarettes regularly. It’s no secret that this isn’t good for your health, but the extent of the damage is truly sobering. Smoking is biggest cause of preventable deaths in England alone, accounting for more than 8,000 deaths a year. In fact, 50% of smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. Understanding the damage caused is one way to encourage smokers to kick the habit for good.

Smoking affects your… Lungs

Lungs top the list of most affected organs when it comes to smoking. And the infamous ‘smoker’s cough’ is just the start. 84% of deaths from lung cancer and 83% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the direct result of smoking. Tobacco smoke can also cause other fatal diseases such as emphysema and pneumonia.

Circulation

Poisons from the tar in your cigarettes make their way into your bloodstream when you smoke, and these poisons can consequently make your blood thicker, increasing the chance of clots. The result of clotting is that blood pressure and heart rate can increase as the arteries narrow. All of these factors increase your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Brain

Smoking increases your risk of having a stroke by 50%, which in turn can lead to brain damage or even death. This is mainly because smoking increases your risk of having a brain aneurysm, caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall. However, within five years of stopping smoking, a smoker’s risk of stroke is the same as that of a non-smoker.

Heart

The damage smoking causes to your blood circulation can in turn cause significant damage to your heart, increasing your risk of conditions like coronary heart disease, heart attack, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and stroke. Carbon monoxide from the smoke and nicotine also puts a strain on your heart by making it work at an increased rate. Your risk of experiencing a heart attack doubles when you smoke, but this risk is reduced by half after just one year of being smoke-free.

Mouth and Throat

Smoking may cause bad breath and stained teeth, but this is only the beginning of the problems in the mouth and throat. Gum disease is a common consequence of smoking, while cancers of the lips, throat, tongue and oesophagus are also widely seen in heavy smokers. In fact, 93% of oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the throat) are caused by smoking.

Reproduction

For men, smoking can be a key cause of impotence. It can also damage sperm, reduce sperm count and lead to testicular cancer. Around 120,000 of UK men in their 20s and 30s are impotent due to smoking. For women, smoking can reduce fertility, with figures revealing that smokers are three times more likely to take over a year to conceive.

Stomach

Smoking can make you more prone to acid reflux, as well as significantly increasing your chance of getting stomach ulcers and cancers. Research has also shown that if those who regularly smoke ten cigarettes a day are 1.5 times more likely to develop kidney cancer compared to a non-smoker.

Bones

Even bones can be affected by smoking, as smoking cigarettes causes the tissue of the bones to weaken and become brittle over time. This is more common in women, who are more likely to suffer from conditions like osteoporosis and therefore need to take extra care.

Champix is an effective smoking relief medication from Express Pharmacy. Get in touch today for more information on 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet live chat service.

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10 Facts You May Not Know About Migraines

Posted Thursday 30 August 2018 09:17 by in Migraines by Tim Deakin

Migraine Awareness Week 2018 begins on 2nd September. This is a chance for people to educate themselves on this common affliction, including how to spot the signs of a migraine and how to prevent and treat a migraine effectively. To help boost your knowledge surrounding migraines, here are ten facts you may not know.

Women suffer from migraines more than men

Around three quarters of people who suffer from migraines are women. This could be to do with the cyclical nature of female hormones. One study also found that levels of NHE1 (a protein which regulates the transfer of protons and sodium ions) fluctuate a lot more in women, and NHE1 is a key component of migraine headaches.

Migraines are the world’s third most common condition

Migraines are hugely common, affecting 6 million people in the UK and 14.7% of the world’s population. This equates to around one in every seven people, or one billion sufferers. Chronic migraines are less common, affecting around 2% of people globally. This is when sufferers experience at least 15 headaches per month over a three-month period, with more than half being migraines.

Children get migraines too

It’s not just adults who have to suffer with migraines – around 10% of children experience the condition. In fact, children as young as 18 months old have been known to experience a migraine attack. However, children can also grow out of their migraines. One study found that migraine symptoms had disappeared completely in 23% of child sufferers by the age of 25.

Auras can be a warning sign for some

Less than 25% of migraine sufferers experience distorted senses, but those that do can use them as a warning sign that a migraine attack is on the way. This usually involves blotches of light and dark disrupting their vision between 10 and 30 minutes before an attack.

Triggers can be very different for different people

Migraines can be caused by wildly different factors for different patients, making it difficult for doctors to treat them effectively. Common causes include stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol, dehydration and caffeine, though spicy foods, cheese and even weather conditions have all been known to result in a migraine attack.

Temporary blindness can be a symptom

A retinal migraine is a kind of migraine limited to one eye, and can lead to symptoms such as starry vision, partial blackness or complete loss of vision. It is almost always the same eye which is affected, and sight usually returns after 10 to 20 minutes.

…So can loss of limb function

A hemiplegic migraine is a rare and scary form of the condition which can result in weakness, numbness, tingling or complete loss of function in parts of one half of the body, including an arm, leg or face. This can last anywhere from one hour to several days!

Migraines might be hereditary

Migraines can run in the family. Between 80 and 90% of migraine sufferers report having at least one family member who also lives with the condition. What’s more, one study found that if both parents experience migraines, their child’s risk of acquiring the condition increases by 75%.

Migraines may have inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

In Carroll’s iconic story, Alice drinks a beverage which makes her grow and eats food which makes her shrink. This is reflective of two potential migraine symptoms: micropsia and macropsia. One popular theory is that Carroll suffered with migraines and turned his experiences into a story. Nowadays, related symptoms are even known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

Treatment is available

Many people see their migraines as something they simply have to live with, but this isn’t the case. Safe and effective migraine treatment is available from Express Pharmacy, including Imigran and its unbranded equivalent Sumatriptan. Sumatriptan has been rated 10/10 in independent customer reviews.

Click here to explore the migraine relief medication available from Express Pharmacy, You can also get in touch by calling 0208 123 07 03 or using our discreet live chat service.

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5 Hair Loss Myths and Partial Truths Put Under the Microscope

Posted Tuesday 28 August 2018 21:58 by in Hair Loss by Tim Deakin

Misinformation can prevent you from treating hair loss effectively, so let’s establish the facts surrounding the condition.

Hair loss is a common condition. In fact, it’s a natural part of life, as both men and women lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, and 80% of this is due to washing or brushing the hair. However, for some people hair loss can occur at a highly increased rate. This can cause both distress and a lack of confidence.

You should know that you do not suffer alone. Around 40% of men will experience significant hair loss by the age of 35, and around half of women over 65 experience balding. But despite how common the condition is, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding hair loss.

To combat that, we are going to take 5 common statements regarding hair loss and put them under the microscope.

“You will definitely lose your hair if your parents did”

It is generally considered factual that if hair loss is common in your family, you will be more likely to deal with it at some point in your life. This is true, but it is not the only factor which plays a part in the balding process.

There is no single ‘hair loss gene’ which is passed down through family members. Hair loss is a polygenetic condition, which means it is determined by an assortment of genes from your immediate and extended family. Therefore, your father losing his hair does not guarantee that you will lose yours.

“Hair thinning only occurs with age”

Many people believe that you only start to lose your hair after a certain age, but the harsh reality is that you’re never too young to start losing your hair. The age at which your hair loss begins is largely due to genetics, though the condition does become more common as you get older.

However, the good news is that the reverse is also true: hair loss in old age isn’t a guarantee, and you could end up keeping a full head of hair well into old age.

“Only men can suffer genetic hair loss”

While it is true that hair loss is much more common in men (as 80% of men will experience male pattern baldness by the age of 80), this doesn’t mean that it is impossible for women to suffer with hair loss. On the contrary, up to 40% of women have visible hair loss by the age of 40. However, women are also much more likely to seek medical advice regarding their hair loss (53% compared to 26% of men).

“Wearing a hat will encourage baldness”

Some people blame hat wearing for their hair loss, claiming that a hat stops their scalp from ‘breathing’. However, your hair follicles actually receive their oxygen supply from the blood stream, so blocking off outside air will not make any difference to your chances of experiencing hair loss. Dirty hats however can lead to scalp infections, which may accelerate hair loss.

“Shampooing your hair frequently will make it fall out”

As we mentioned earlier, we lose around 50-100 hairs a day, and many of these are due to washing. However, washing your hair less is not the key to beating hair loss. This level of hair loss is perfectly normal, and the average adult will grow more hairs than they lose. By delaying your shampooing session, you’re only delaying the loss of these hairs until your next wash.

You may think that hair loss is an inevitable condition, but there is effective treatment available. Finasteride and Propecia are both available from Express Pharmacy. Get in touch today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or using our discreet online Live Chat service.

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How Do You Stop Hair Loss?

Posted Thursday 16 August 2018 15:06 by in Hair Loss by Tim Deakin

British men are the most likely in Europe to become anxious about balding, but the least likely to do anything about it. In fact, 60% of hair loss sufferers say they would rather have more hair than money or friends.

For many men, hair loss can affect their confidence and their overall happiness. It can leave you feeling powerless and unable to do anything about it. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are certain measures and treatments you can take to reduce your symptoms and even encourage regrowth.

Explore prescription medications

75% of men believe their hair loss cannot be prevented, and 87% do not know that there are scientifically proven and medically approved hair loss treatments. Once the discovery is made, it can really add a sense of hope to men struggling with male pattern baldness.

Finasteride is a clinically proven hair loss medication. It works by inhibiting the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes the hair follicles to shrink and fall out. This allows Finasteride to not only slow the loss of hair, but to actually encourage regrowth too.

Try a laser comb

Aside from medication like Finasteride, the only hair loss treatment to receive FDA approval is the laser comb. Although the exact way the comb works has not yet been fully understood, it is believed that it uses low power lasers to create an antioxidant effect on hair follicles. In one study of over one hundred men, 26 weeks of using the laser comb three times a week resulted in significant hair growth and strength in participants.

Switch your shampoo

The main culprit of hair loss is DHT, so you may see some positive results by switching to an anti-DHT shampoo. These are becoming more and more common, so it shouldn’t be difficult to track down. Seek out products which contain 1-2% ketoconazole — a drug which blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT in a similar way to Finasteride.

Change your hair products

There is some evidence relating hair products with hair loss, though this link hasn’t been proven causal so take it with a pinch of salt. However, using hair care products such as tough gels with lots of chemicals can make the products difficult to remove completely from the scalp. This may lead to the products becoming trapped in the follicles, making it more difficult for hair to come through to the surface. Try swapping out your hair products for more natural alternatives.

Try to avoid overly hot showers

Although there is no evidence to directly link hot showers with hair loss, it is true that overly hot showers can strip the scalp of its essential oils, causing dryness, flakiness and irritation. Some experts believe that this irritation can cause the hair follicles to shrink, leading to thinning hair.

Try a scalp massage

One Japanese study by researchers Koyama et al found that a scalp massage has the potential to improve blood circulation to the follicles, and in turn increase hair density. Massages are also an effective way of reducing stress levels, which is another factor relating to hair loss.

Have a transplant

Hair transplants are one of the more extreme hair loss treatment options, but may be the right course of action if your hair loss is significant and you want fast results. Men are more likely than women to look into hair restoration surgery (20% vs. 12%), but be sure to research around the subject fully so you know exactly what to expect.

Safe and effective medication for hair loss, such as Finasteride and Propecia, is available from Express Pharmacy. Get in touch today for further information by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online live chat service.

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10 Tips for a Healthier Summer

Posted Saturday 04 August 2018 17:04 by in Primary Care Givers by Tim Deakin

We all deserve a little fun in the sun this summer, but here’s a reminder of how to stay safe and healthy too.

Now that summer (and the summer holidays) is in full swing, many of us are busy enjoying regular barbeques, sunbathing sessions, beach days and afternoon cocktails. You might even be jetting off somewhere hot for a week or two. Whatever you’re doing, it’s important to enjoy yourself and have fun. However, it’s also important to remember to stay healthy.

There’s never a bad time to refresh yourself on how to maintain your health and wellbeing during the summer months, and that’s exactly what we’re here to do. From sunscreen to smoothies, here are our 10 tips for a healthier summer.

Apply sunscreen regularly

Sun damage is cumulative, and an estimated 90% of skin ageing is caused by the sun. So the first and most vital step to staying healthy this summer is remembering to apply – and reapply – your sun protection.

Stay hydrated

20% of men drink no water at all throughout the day, as do 13% of women. This is particularly damaging in the summer, when we sweat more and therefore become more easily dehydrated. It’s recommended that you try to consume 8 large glasses of water a day, so make this the target you aim for.

Stay fit

Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of many serious conditions including stroke, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, obesity, mental health concerns and musculoskeletal problems. So whether it’s running, hitting the gym or just enjoying some summer walks, make sure you get moving.

Try swimming

If you’re going to up your fitness game this summer, swimming is a great way to go about it. In fact, a study published by Swim England found that swimming lowers the risk of early death by 28%. If you’re heading abroad, make the time to get in a few lengths of the pool each day.

Be aware of ‘healthy’ smoothies

A study by the British Medical Association found that people who swapped their smoothie for whole fruits three times a week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%. That’s because, while smoothies do contain plenty of fruit, they also tend to contain high levels of sugar. Be sure to check the label before you buy.

Exfoliate

Summer means more dead skin cells, which means keeping your skin fresh and clean is vital. Exfoliation not only removes dead skin cells, but can also improve blood circulation to the face. Just be sure to tone and moisturise your skin afterwards, and reapply your sun protection.

Protect your hair

The combination of harsh sunlight, salt water and chlorinated pool water can wreak havoc on your hair, so like your skin, you need to remember to protect and treat your mane with nourishing conditioner and hair masks.

Consume your healthy fats

In the UK, the intake of healthy fatty acids is now well below the recommendation of 2%. On average, we consumer 0.7% of healthy fats. Fat gets a bad reputation, but making healthy fats a staple part of your diet is vital to your all-round health. Nutritionists recommend the equivalent of one tablespoon of olive oil a day to keep you hydrated and protect against UV damage.

Cool down with healthy snacks

According to research by Harris Interactive, young women with children are the most likely culprits to indulge in unhealthy snacks rather than having three square meals a day. If you do require a snack, make it a healthy one. Yoghurts, fruit, mixed nuts or even just some bottled water might be all you need to cool down by the pool.

Try something new

Hobbies are good for both your mind and body. In fact, research shows that engaging in enjoyable activities can reduce feelings of depression and even lower blood pressure. What will your new summer activity be?

If you have any health queries this summer, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Express Pharmacy. We provide essential medication for a variety of conditions and concerns. Call today on 02028 123 07 03 or get in touch via our discrete live chat service.

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