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Are People Honest With Their GPs?

Posted Monday 28 January 2019 12:08 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

It’s no secrets that the pressure is high for GPs today, with less resources and more appointments than ever. In fact, 93% of GPs say their heavy workload has negatively affected the care they provide, while 37% describe the workload as ‘unmanageable’.[1]

But what could be making things even harder for GPs is a growing number of patients who struggle to tell them the whole story when it comes to their health. A new study has revealed that many of us, when we make a visit to the doctor’s office, regularly withhold information from our GP.

The findings

The study, published in the JAMA Network Open journal by researchers at the University of Utah Health and Middlesex Community College, found that between 60 and 80% of patients admit to not being honest with their GP.[2]

The results were collected from over 4,500 responders, using two different surveys. In both sets of findings, patients who were younger, female or had long-term poor health were more likely to abstain from the truth.

The main reasons for failing to disclose information included disagreeing with a physician’s advice, not understanding medical instructions and not wanting to disclose relevant health behaviours like a poor diet.

Not wanting to be judged or lectured was the main reason for withholding information, followed by a lack of desire to hear about their unhealthy life choices, and simple embarrassment. Others didn’t want to hear information on their medical record, while some just wanted their GP to like them.

In a statement, senior study author and professor and chair of population health sciences at the University of Utah, Angela Fagerlin, PhD, commented: “Most people want their doctor to think highly of them. They are worried about being pigeonholed as someone who doesn’t make good decisions.”[3]

Why honesty is the best policy

Simply put, withholding information from GPs can make it more difficult for GPs to provide the right care. This can lead to health-related consequences which could have otherwise been avoided.

The most recent NHS GP Patient Survey (August 2018) revealed that more than one in ten patients felt that their mental health needs were not being recognised or understood by their GP. What’s more, over 60% had not had a conversation with their GP during their appointment about what is important to them when it comes to managing their condition.[4] Discussing your health honestly and openly is key to feeling understood and listened to.

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, study co-author ad research associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, says that some responsibility also falls onr the GP:

“Perhaps by acknowledging how common it is for patients to withhold information, clinicians may be able to make it easier for patients to share their concerns and acknowledge their less-than-ideal behaviours.”[5]

What else can you do?

Having an open and honest relationship with your GP is vital, and there is no replacement for it. Certain medical concerns will require you to pay your GP a visit and seek their fully-informed, professional opinion on the best course of treatment.

However, online pharmacies such as Express Pharmacy offer the opportunity to seek out safe and effective treatment for NHS-approved pharmacists without having to feel concerned or embarrassed. The benefits of online pharmacies also include increased access, convenience and greater autonomy and accessibility for customers.[6]

We provide medication for a range of health conditions such as erectile dysfunction, acid reflux, hair loss and weight management.

Get in touch today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.


[1] Primary Care Workforce Commission. The future of primary care: creating teams for tomorrow. NHS. 2015 [Accessed January 2019]

[2] Levy, A.G., Scherer, A.M., Zikmund-Fisher, B.J. et al. Prevalence of Factors Associated With Patient Nondisclosure of Medically Relevant Information to Clinicians. JAMA 2018 [Accessed January 2019]

[3] Kiefer, J. Why Patients Lie to their Doctors. University of Utah Health. 2018 [Accessed January 2019]

[4] NHS England. GP Patient Survey 2018. August 2018 [Accessed January 2019]

[5] Levy, A.G., Scherer, A.M., Zikmund-Fisher, B.J. et al. Prevalence of Factors Associated With Patient Nondisclosure of Medically Relevant Information to Clinicians. JAMA 2018 [Accessed January 2019]

[6] Desai, C. Online pharmacies: A boon or bane? NCBI. 2016 [Accessed January 2019]

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8 Ways to Work Out When You’re Over 50

Posted Monday 21 January 2019 15:16 by in Express Pharmacy by Tim Deakin

exercising in old ageAs we age, paying attention to our health and looking after our bodies becomes even more important

Exercise is key at any age, but particularly as we get older. Not only is exercise important for staying fit and mobile, it can also reduce your risk of major health concerns like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes by up to 50% – all of which are more common in older adults. It can also reduce your risk of early death by up to 30%.[1]

What kind of exercise should you do?

Every kind of exercise comes with its own benefits. Cardio and aerobic exercises serve to elevate your heart rate and tax your cardiovascular system. This helps to build endurance and ensure that your body continues to work effectively. Conversely, the main benefits of strength training are to your musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. As you age, you may find that you no longer pack on lean muscle when pumping iron – but you can avoid muscle wastage and even help to retain bone density. This underappreciated benefit can become particularly relevant when you arrive at your seventies and eighties. Finding the best exercise for you will increase your likelihood of making it part of your daily routine, so here are some of the most beneficial options out there.

Cycling

Cycling is great for boosting your balance and burning calories, while also building resilience in stiff and sore joints. Even better, a study from YMCA found that the endorphins released during cycling can increase your mental wellbeing by up to 32%.[2]

Dancing

Whether ballroom, line, square or aerobics-based dancing like Jazzercise and Zumba, moving to the beat is an effective way to build endurance, strength and balance. Not only that, but dancing can be a really fun activity once you find the right style for you, so you may not even feel like you’re working for your fitness.

Golfing

Golf often gets written off as an inactive sport, but an average round of golf requires you to walk at least 10,000 steps. On top of that, the swinging motion itself stretches your muscles and helps build balance over time. One Edinburgh review even found that golf had physical and mental benefits for people of all ages, and that the benefits increase with age.[3]

Jogging

Even if you take it slow while jogging, it’s a great way of increasing your heart rate and circulation. You can choose how intensely you want to go — just be sure to stretch your calves and hips before you set off.

Strength Training

Muscle loss is a common side effect of getting older, known as sarcopenia.[4] However, training your muscles with weight lifting or bodyweight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, squats etc) can help tackle this concern. Start off light and build up over time.

Swimming

Swimming is a great option for older adults, as you’re not placing any weight on your joints. Instead, you’re using water resistance to burn calories, build muscle and improve mobility. You’re also less likely to overheat thanks to your surroundings.

Walking

Walking is an easy and effective way to introduce yourself to fitness after fifty. Even a short daily walk has the potential to burn calories, lower your cholesterol, improve your mood, reduce stress, improve your breathing and boost your heart rate.[5]

Yoga

Yoga has gained serious popularity in the last few years, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s particularly great for older adults, as holding a series of poses will strengthen your muscles and stretch your joints, improving your balance, mobility and flexibility. It can also boost your mental health, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health even found that 20 minutes of yoga improves the brain’s ability to quickly and accurately process information.[6]

Exercise is key to maintaining your health, but in some situations support, treatment and medication is also necessary. Discover medication for a variety of health concerns – from weight loss medication to smoking cessation – here at Express Pharmacy. We can help you gain access to effective treatment swiftly and discreetly. Contact us today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our online Live Chat service.

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3 Golden Rules for Staying Safe on a Climbing Holiday

Posted Tuesday 15 January 2019 14:43 by in Altitude Sickness by Tim Deakin

mountain climbing medication

From the right climbing gear to the correct medical supplies, here’s everything you need to know about staying safe while mountaineering

Unlike beach holidays, climbing holidays are often physically demanding as well as enjoyable. Reaching a stunning peak makes all the hard work worth it, but it’s important not to forget about your health and safety when experiencing such extreme environments.

The right gear and careful planning are imperative, as is protection against altitude sickness, which describes a number of conditions that may occur after you have ascended rapidly into a high altitude area.[1]

With that in mind, here are our golden rules for staying safe on your climbing holiday.

Bring the correct gear

It’s important to remember that, while fun, mountaineering also carries many risks. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) reports that there are around 4,000 annual rock climbing accidents, and 1,000 accidents per 100 hours of hill walking.[2]

The correct gear is essential if you want to enjoy your experience safely. As well as the climbing equipment itself, you’ll also need sun protection such as sunglasses, facemasks or balaclavas and a sunscreen which protects against UVA, UVB and UVC rays. You’ll also need cold protection gear such as cold climate clothing, gloves, hats, socks and boots.

Take your time and plan ahead

mountaineering safetyA landmark study on Scottish Mountaineering Incidents by Dr Bob Sharp found that there is a gender difference in the likelihood of experiencing a mountaineering accident. Men, and particularly younger men, are around 8 times more likely to experience a fatal injury. Sharp’s study found that the most common causes of accidents are poor navigation (23%), bad planning (18%) and inadequate equipment (11%).[3]

No matter how big or small, any mountaineering expedition requires careful planning. You need to know exactly where you’re heading and how to get there, sticking to a clear path you’ve already established. If you’re travelling in a group (which is recommended), you’ll need measures in place in case somebody gets lost or injured.

Avoid altitude sickness

Altitude sickness is arguably the most common health risk associated with mountaineering and climbing. It can range from mild to severe or even fatal, as it includes acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) and high altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE).

According to the Himalayan Database, death tolls rise as the altitude increases. Peaks in Nepal with heights between 6,500m and 6,999m have a mortality rate of 0.65%. In peaks over 8,000m, this rises to 2.11%.[4]

This theory is backed up by the NHS’s Fit For Travel, which says that the risk of altitude sickness can rise up to 25% at 2,500m, and up to 75% at heights greater than 4,500m.[5]

Risk factors for altitude sickness can include the rate at which you ascend, the change in altitude itself and the sleeping altitude. It can also be made more likely if you have a history of altitude sickness or an existing cardiovascular disease, though general physical fitness does not protect against it.[6]

In order to tackle altitude sickness effectively, you’ll need to take things slow. Stay hydrated and well-rested, and make sure you bring the necessary medication with you to protect against the condition.

Find safe and effective medication for altitude sickness right here at Express Pharmacy. You can order Acetazolamide from our site and have it delivered to you easily and quickly. If you have any further queries about your health and safety, contact our team. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

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The Science Behind Altitude Sickness

Posted Friday 04 January 2019 12:30 by in Altitude Sickness by Tim Deakin

altitude sicknessWhat really happens to your body when you climb?

For many of us, the best way to tackle the winter blues is to book an exciting winter getaway that’s full of adventure. Unfortunately, a lot of the most desirable spots in the world — the Swiss Alps, Machu Picchu and the Rocky Mountains — are also ones which carry a significant risk of altitude sickness.

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is actually a term which encompasses three different conditions that occur at high altitudes, the first and mildest being AMS: acute mountain sickness. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 25% of visitors to Colorado (the U.S. state with the highest altitude at 6,800 feet above sea level) experience symptoms of the condition. [1]

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the most common symptoms of AMS include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, a lack of appetite and difficulty falling asleep.[2] Headaches can occur within two to 12 hours of exposure to high altitudes and, in most cases, symptoms last between 12 and 48 hours, only leading to more long-term concerns if you continue to ascend.

It’s thought that AMS primarily occurs due to the way higher elevation impacts your brain. Ascending to a high altitude causes changes in the blood flow to the brain, and in some individuals this can lead to a swelling of the brain tissues.[3] However, most people who experience AMS will find that descending around 1,000 feet will alleviate the symptoms, according the CDC.[4]

Altitude sickness complications

In severe cases however, brain swelling can occur on a more significant scale, leading to a much more serious form of altitude sickness: high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE). This form of altitude sickness impacts the blood flow to the brain tissue, preventing the brain from being able to function normally. The tell-tale symptom that AMS has progressed to HACE is ataxia, or loss of balance. Other symptoms include intense fatigue and confusion, and prolonged brain swelling can lead to loss of consciousness or even death.[5]

High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is another possibly life-threatening complication which can result from altitude sickness. It can occur on its own or alongside AMS and HACE. HAPE occurs when fluid collect in the lungs, resulting in difficulty breathing.[6] The blood flow of the lungs begins to get erratic and cause more pressure in some pulmonary arteries than others. As the air sacs in the lungs fill up, your ability to oxygenate the blood decreases, causing a greater lack of oxygen.

According to the CDC, symptoms can include headaches, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, fever, chest pain, fatigue and a mucus cough. It can become fatal even more quickly than HACE.[7]

Treating and preventing altitude sickness

altitude sickness medicationTaking things slowly and giving your body time to adjust is key to avoiding altitude sickness. The CDC advises that you should not travel from a low altitude to over 9,000 feet in a single day. Instead, they recommend increasing your sleeping altitude by no more than 1,600 feet a day.[8]

You should also make sure to stay hydrated and avoid substances like alcohol when climbing.[9] Effective altitude sickness relief medication can help you to travel safely and without worry.

Contact the Express Pharmacy team today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

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How Obesity Can Weigh on Your Mind

Posted Friday 28 December 2018 09:46 by in Weight loss by Marina Abdalla

obesity and mental health

We’re often warned about the physical impact of obesity, but what about the emotional toll it can take?

Obesity continues to be a huge issue for UK healthcare. In fact, 62% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.[1] This is a serious concern, as obesity be a factor in many serious health concerns like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

However, the consequences of living with obesity can also be emotional as well as physical. We’re here to explore the ways obesity and mental wellbeing can interact.

Is obesity a mental health issue?

It’s important to establish that there is no direct causal link between mental health and obesity. The reason this is important to state is that there is often a stigma attached to overweight people that they are ‘slower’ or less intelligent than thinner people. This caricature holds no basis in truth.

Instead, we’re going to explore how mental health and obesity can impact each other in ways shown by research and statistics. Can mental health conditions make obesity more likely, and can being obese increase your chances of experiencing mental health concerns?

Eating disorders

Mental health can impact our weight at both ends of the spectrum, as evidenced by conditions like anorexia. Over the last four decades, the number of eating disorders has escalated hugely both in the UK and worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 1.6 million people struggling with an eating disorder in the UK.[2]

On the surface, eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia represent the opposite problem to obesity; causing sufferers to become extremely underweight rather than overweight. However, they do highlight a key connection between dietary habits and mental health.

This connection also presents itself in habits like binge eating, which is often a key cause of obesity. Binge eating compels people to consume huge quantities of food in a short period of time. Unlike other conditions like bulimia, sufferers rarely purge themselves afterwards. However, feelings of shame, guilt and even depression are common.

Obesity as a symptom: a vicious cycle

hamburger and chipsAlthough we cannot assume that just because someone is obese that they must be living with mental health concerns, obesity can be a symptom of psychological factors. For example, stress is one of the most common mental health concerns in the UK. According to the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 report, 74% of people reported feeling so stressed in the last year that they were unable to cope. What’s more, 46% reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress.[3]

Conditions like anxiety, stress and depression can lead to the use of food as a comfort or coping mechanism. They can also have a detrimental effect on motivation when it comes to activities like exercise and cooking healthy meals. As such, your likelihood of becoming obese rises with the appearance of these conditions. This can then create a vicious cycle, as being obese can reduce your motivation even further and make you feel more anxious or depressed.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, start the new year off right with safe and effective weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy. Both Xenical and Mysimba can help support you on your weight loss journey and meet your goals in a healthy way. And for further support, contact our team today. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our online Live Chat service.


[1] Cancer Research. Overweight and Obesity Statistics [Accessed December 2018]

[2] Priory Group. Eating Disorders [Accessed December 2018]

[3] Mental Health Foundation. 2018 Study [Accessed December 2018]

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