• Call
  • 0208 123 0703

Winter’s Last Laugh: The Migraine

Posted Thursday 08 February 2018 12:04 by in Migraines by Tim Deakin

There are 190,000 migraine attacks in the UK every day, and winter only makes things worse

There’s a big difference between a migraine and a run-of-the-mill headache, as anyone who has ever experienced a migraine will know. Migraines are painful, throbbing attacks in the head which cause the UK population to lose 25 million days of work or school each year. It is the single most common neurological condition in the world, affecting around one in every seven people, but for many people migraines are far more common in winter months.

So now that the end of winter is finally in sight, it’s important to stay as safe and healthy as possible in these last few weeks before spring makes its welcome return. Let’s take a closer look at why exactly your migraine attacks are worse in winter, and what you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing migraines over the next few weeks.

Why are migraines worse in winter?

Changes provoke attacks

Sudden changes from warm to cold temperatures, or cold to warm, are known to cause head pain as your body tries to adjust to your new climate quickly. This is relevant at the start of winter when the weather first begins to get colder, but is also a significant factor throughout the season and at the end when spring approaches. Winter fluctuations in temperature tend to be more dramatic than those in summer, as some people find that simply moving from a cold street to a warm house (or vice versa) is enough to bring on a migraine.

Keeping a regular temperature in your home, and wrapping up outside, will help regulate your own temperature too. This means making sure your insulation is up to scratch, using draught excluders, and wearing a scarf, gloves and — in particular — a hat when you go outside.

You’re more likely to be dehydrated

Dehydration is a common migraine trigger, and unfortunately you’re more likely to be dehydrated in the winter than in the summer. Not only do we tend to drink less water in the winter in favour of tea and coffee, we also have to deal with winds, indoor heaters and fluctuations in barometric pressure which can all create dry air conditions.

Simply staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is the best way to avoid dehydrating migraine attacks. You can also avoid excess alcohol intake and introduce more hydrating fruits and vegetables into your diets, like red peppers and watermelon.

Less natural light, more artificial light

With winter comes shorter days, which we’re still dealing with as we watch the sun set before 5pm every day. This forces us to rely more heavily on artificial lights, even during the day when the weather is grey and dull. Long hours of harsh, bright lights are another common migraine trigger, which is why it is often advised that you lie down in a cool dark room when a migraine does strike.

Where possible, you should opt for softer lighting options and avoid staring at screens like your laptop or smartphone for long periods of time. This is particularly important in the hour before you go to bed, as exposure to bright lights can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

You’re not moving as much

When it’s cold and dark outside, we’re less likely to feel the urge to leave the house, whether it’s for a morning gym session or a Sunday walk with the family. The result of this is more time spent sitting in front of the television.

Research shows that regular exercise can help reduce migraine symptoms, with one study stating that exercising for 40 minutes three times a week can reduce migraine attacks by 25%. Even vigorous housework can get your heart rate rising enough to improve your physical fitness.

If you suffer from regular migraines and are looking for fast, effective relief, Express Pharmacy offers prescription migraine medication that can be ordered online. We even offer next day delivery options on orders placed before 12pm.

Leave a Comment

Taking a Winter Ski Trip? Here’s How to Stay Healthy in High Altitude

Posted Friday 02 February 2018 10:03 by in Altitude Sickness by Tim Deakin

Mountain sickness can ruin a winter break, so here’s everything you need to know to stay safe and healthy

After the excitement and indulgence of the festive period, it’s easy to feel a little down for the rest of winter. The weather’s still cold, the nights are still dark, and the celebrations are over. To counteract this, a growing number of us turn to the solution of a winter break to keep the fun going. For many of us in the UK, this means a picturesque ski trip to lift the spirits.

And whilst a ski trip is a great way to break up your winter, it’s important that you know how to ensure sickness doesn’t ruin your getaway. Altitude sickness can strike at any time if you are travelling way above sea level, so here’s all the information you need to guarantee your family a happy, healthy winter ski trip.

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness, is a condition which occurs when you travel to a high altitude too quickly, meaning your body cannot adjust and function properly. As a result, breathing becomes difficult because you cannot take in as much oxygen as you normally would.

Any altitude above 8,000 feet is considered high, meaning the risk of acute mountain sickness is present. However, for most people the condition will occur at heights of 12,000 feet or higher, as at 12,000 feet there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath than at sea level.

If ignored, altitude sickness can result in an emergency medical situation.

Causes of altitude sickness

Factors such as physical fitness, age or sex have no bearing on your likelihood of obtaining altitude sickness when away. You also shouldn’t assume that just because you haven’t suffered from acute mountain sickness when skiing in the past, you won’t suffer from it in the future. Anybody can suffer from the symptoms of altitude sickness at a given time.

Symptoms of altitude sickness

Altitude sickness symptoms can include:

- Dizziness

- Tiredness

- Nausea

- Vomiting

- Headaches

- Shortness of breath

- Loss of appetite

Symptoms of altitude sickness don’t usually develop straight away, often taking between 6 and 24 hours to occur after you’ve been exposed to high altitudes. Symptoms are usually worse at night, and can feel similar to those of a particularly bad hangover.

Altitude sickness prevention

When you are in the UK, it is very unlikely that an individual will suffer from acute mountain sickness as the highest peak — Scotland’s Ben Nevis — is only 1,345 metres high, which is equivalent to 4,413 feet. However, this is the time of year when many of us head overseas for winter ski trips, so it’s more important now than ever to get to grips with prevention and treatment for altitude sickness.

In order to avoid altitude sickness, you should travel to altitudes above 8,000 feet slowly to allow your body to get used to your surroundings. You should also:

- Take 2-3 days to get used to high altitudes before going above 8,000 feet

- Avoid flying directly into high altitudes

- Rest every 600-900 metres you climb

- Avoid climbing more than 300-500 metres in a single day

- Drink plenty of fluids

- Avoid strenuous exercise for the first day of your trip

- Eat light, high calorie meals

- Avoid alcohol and smoking

- Medication for altitude sickness

Acetazolamide is an effective medication for the prevention and treatment of acute mountain sickness. It works by reducing the amount of fluid in the head and lungs, improving breathing and helping us adjust more quickly to higher altitudes. It should be taken initially 1-2 days before entering a high altitude area, and for at least a further two days after reaching your peak altitude.

Acetazolamide is available from Express Pharmacy.

For altitude sickness tablets or other effective NHS-approved medication for a variety of conditions, contact Express Pharmacy. You can use our discreet diagnosis process to find the right treatment for your condition, or call the team on 0208 123 07 03.

Tags: Acetazolamide General Health Travel Health

Leave a Comment

Ready to Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution. Read This!

Posted Monday 29 January 2018 16:35 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

Don’t be a six-week dropout: how to stick to the new leaf you turned over in January

It’s the end of January, which means many of us have spent the past couple of weeks struggling to keep the promises we made to ourselves in the tail end of 2017. New Year’s resolutions have become something of a rite of passage in the UK.

Of course, New Year’s resolutions sound like a fantastic idea on the 31st of December. But by the final days of January, many of us find ourselves ready to throw in the towel and cast aside the goals we set with good intentions.

So why is it that so many of us can’t seem to keep our New Year promises for more than six weeks, and how can we make more of a success of our resolutions?

The answer lies in long-term, lifestyle changes.

What are the most popular New Year’s resolutions?

Statistically speaking, the top ten New Year’s resolutions are:

- Exercise more (38%)

- Lose weight (33%)

- Eat more healthily (32%)

- Take a more active approach to health (15%)

- Learn new skill or hobby (15%)

- Spend more time on personal wellbeing (12%)

- Spend more time with family and friends (12%)

- Drink less alcohol (12%)

- Stop smoking (9%)

- Other (1%)

As you can see, the most popular New Year’s resolutions are, by far, those which focus on improving our health and wellbeing, with exercising, losing weight and eating healthier dominating our New Year promises. Other health factors like drinking less and quitting smoking are also shared by around one in ten UK adults.

How many of us make resolutions, and how many of us actually stick to them?

Over a third of us in the UK make a New Year’s resolution at the start of January. Sadly however, not many of us manage to see them through.

NHS figures suggest that only one in ten New Year’s resolutions are completed successfully, whilst Bupa states that 43% of resolutions last less than a month, 66% last one month or less, and 80% don’t make it to the end of March.

This leaves us questioning why it is that two thirds of us can’t seem to follow through with our health goals for more than six weeks.

How do you make sure you persevere with your resolution?

It’s often the case that people who strive to be healthier in the coming year are responding directly to their own overindulgence and potential weight gain over the festive period. Why does this matter? Because it suggests that they are looking for a ‘quick fix’ to reverse the effects of Christmas, rather than a genuine lifestyle change.

It takes an average of 66 days — over two months — to fully learn a new behaviour, meaning many people who strive to hit the gym more frequently or consume healthier meals give up before their body and mind have fully adjusted to the change.

A New Year’s resolution, particularly one relating to your health, should be seen as a long-term change in your behaviour which you can implement into your daily life. Professor Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, suggests only making one resolution and breaking it up into a series of smaller steps you can achieve over time.

There’s nothing wrong with safe medical support

There is no cheating when it comes to long-term health improvements. Whether you want to give up a bad habit or simply lose weight and improve your fitness, NHS-approved medication can help you reach your goal.

Champix is a tried and tested medicine that can help increase your chances of stopping smoking for good. You can also look to weight loss treatments like Xenical and the innovative Mysimba if you’re trying to get healthier in 2018. All of these treatments (and more) are available from Express Pharmacy.

For reliable, NHS approved support contact the team at Express Pharmacy. We can help make 2018 the year you make those long-term changes for the better. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet live chat service.

Tags: Stop Smoking Men's Health General Health Women's Health Champix Xenical Mysimba

Leave a Comment

What Are the Early Signs of Heart Disease in Men?

Posted Monday 15 January 2018 16:24 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

New research shines a light on the possible warning signs of cardiovascular disease in men

Heart disease is a leading cause of death across the globe. In the UK, around 70,000 people die from coronary heart disease (CHD) every year, which equates to an average of 190 people each day or one death every eight minutes.

And CHD is a bigger killer in men than it is in women. On average, one in seven men in the UK dies from CHD, compared to one in eleven women.

Now recent research has been carried out to try and help men spot the early warning signs of CHD before it’s too late. The research, undertaken by Baptist Health in South Florida, is said to be particularly important for younger men who are less likely to be assessed for heart disease.

The study found that erectile dysfunction could be a sign of CHD

The researchers involved carried out a review of 26 previous studies which explored the potential link between CHD and erectile dysfunction. Their results suggested that impaired blood flow may be the reason behind the link.

The research identified a strong connection between erectile dysfunction and reduced endothelial function. This refers to blood vessels being unable to fully dilate, and therefore being unable to allow blood to flow effectively.

Endothelial dysfunction is an early sign of atherosclerosis, which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. What’s more, the research found that erectile dysfunction was also linked with an increase in carotid intimal medial thickness (CIMT). This is when there is plaque build up in the walls of the arteries supplying blood to the head.

Researchers stated that “these relationships remained consistent within age, study quality, methods of assessing ED, and publication year subgroups.”

Although over 60% of men over 60 suffer with erectile concerns, researchers noted that this link between erectile dysfunction and CHD will be particularly important for younger men, as they are less likely to undergo regular health checks and the onset of impotence may be an important indicator.

Earlier research also discovered the link between erectile dysfunction and heart disease

Research undertaken earlier in 2017 also found that men who are at risk of heart disease are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. Results from researchers at Northwestern University found that all men who are at high risk of heart disease experienced erectile dysfunction, compared to just 15% of men who are at low risk of heart disease.

The author of the study, Dr Abbie Lane-Cordova, said: “We knew that erectile dysfunction was considered an early indicator of vascular disease that might occur before heart disease was diagnosed by a doctor.

“The study showed that men who were less likely to have risk factors for heart disease and had healthier behaviours (non-smoking, physically active, healthier diet) were also less likely to have erectile dysfunction later in life.

“Men may avoid erectile dysfunction the same way they may avoid heart disease.”

Those suffering from erectile dysfunction should consult a health professional, not least because Express Pharmacy can offer effective, discreet medication to tackle the issue, but also because raising awareness of your ED greatly increases the chances of identifying any potential heart problems earlier.

Weight is another CHD factor among men

Recent research found that slim people can also find themselves at risk of CHD, as half of the non-smoking middle aged people of normal weight who were tested were found to have diabetes or clogged arteries.

This is largely due to the fact that people who aren’t overweight are often less aware of how much saturated fat they are consuming, leading to high levels of LDL cholesterol.

However, being overweight remains a significant factor in increasing your risk of CHD. The researchers from Northwestern University identified seven key risk factors for heart disease. These are: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol, insufficient physical activity, smoking, poor diet and being overweight or obese.

You can get effective and safe weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy, including Xenical and Mysimba.

For further advice, information and medication to help you get healthier in 2018, contact the team at Express Pharmacy today. Simply call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

Tags: Mysimba Xenical Acid Reflux General Health

Leave a Comment

January 15th Is Blue Monday, a Time When Mental Health Concerns Can Hit Hardest

Posted Friday 12 January 2018 13:35 by in Express Pharmacy by Tim Deakin

Depression is a widespread condition throughout the UK which can affect you both emotionally and physically

This year in the UK, January 15th has acquired the title of ‘Blue Monday’, a title generally awarded to the third Monday in January.

Blue Monday refers to the day of the year when we are supposed to feel at our most down. Several factors are said to contribute to this conclusion, including the cold, dark weather, low finances following Christmas, general post-Christmas blues, failing New Year’s resolutions and generally low motivation.

So at this glum time of year, it’s important to reflect on the impact that conditions such as depression can have on our wellbeing — both physical and emotional. Understanding the condition can help you identify potential symptoms and seek the help and support you need.

What is depression?

Although we’re all set to feel a bit down on Blue Monday, depression is much more than simply feeling unhappy for a few days. The condition involves feeling persistently sad, negative and fatigued for weeks or months at a time.

Depression is a real health concern with real symptoms. It affects around 10% of people at some point in their lives, and research has even shown that around 4% of children in the UK aged 5 to 16 present symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, therapies and medications such as anti-depressants. These lifestyle changes can involve incorporating factors like exercise or self-care measures into your daily routine. The level of treatment prescribed is generally based on whether the depression is deemed mild, moderate or severe.

Depression can lead to a variety of symptoms, including persistently feeling low, experiencing stress or anxiety, or even feeling suicidal. The impact of depression on your mental health can also have an effect on your body.

Despite being a mental health condition, depression can lead to physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of depression most commonly involve feeling constantly tired, paired with poor sleep health. This can lead to sufferers taking refuge in unhealthy ‘comfort’ foods or poor health habits like smoking, and this lack of energy and physical activity can also lead to weight gain. However, for some people, depression can create a loss of appetite.

What’s more, depression has also been found to lead to aches and pains (often as a result of poor diet and exercise due to low energy) and a lack of a sex drive. In men, depression can lead to sexual health concerns such as erectile dysfunction.

The physical impact of depression can create a vicious cycle

When an individual suffers from depression and starts to experience physical symptoms as a result of the condition, it can create a vicious cycle by adding more fuel to the fire of their negative thoughts and feelings. Putting on weight or falling back on habits like smoking can reduce motivation even further and make those experiencing depression think that their feelings will only get worse rather than better.

Similarly, sexual health symptoms of depression can create increased stress and anxiety around the act of sexual intercourse, increasing the likelihood that conditions like erectile dysfunction will persist or even worsen.

If you think you might be experiencing depression, it’s hugely important to seek help and support in order to get to the root of the problem. Tackling any physical symptoms can also help to reduce the intensity of negative feelings. Effective medication for conditions like erectile dysfunction, excess weight and smoking are all available from Express Pharmacy.

Express Pharmacy can provide discreet advice and medication for a variety of health concerns. If you’re living with a condition we can help you with, don’t hesitate to get in touch today. Call Express Pharmacy on 0208 123 07 03 or use our online Live Chat service.

Leave a Comment