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How to Master Stoptober

Posted Monday 01 October 2018 09:45 by in Smoking Cessation by Tim Deakin

For many people, October marks the start of a determined bid to quit smoking once and for all. Here’s how to succeed.

Smoking accounts for more than 8,000 deaths a year in England alone, so making the decision to quit is certainly the first step on the path to a healthier lifestyle. And now that October has rolled around again, more and more people will be making this decision thanks to Stoptober.

What is Stoptober?

Running throughout the month of October, the Stoptober campaign was first launched in 2012 by Public Health England, and millions of people have taken part every year since. The premise for the campaign is that, by abstaining from smoking for 28 days, individuals are five times more likely to quit smoking for good.

To date, Stoptober has driven over 1 million attempts to quit smoking, making it the biggest mass quit attempt in the country. So if you are trying to stop smoking, now is the perfect time to do it.

What support does it offer?

Stoptober offers a huge amount of materials and support which partakers can take advantage of, helping them feel as though they aren’t suffering the quitting process alone. The Stoptober app allows you to track your progress, see how much you are saving and get support.

Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult, but Stoptober offers a wide range of quitting tactics, including:

  • E-cigarettes: a great way to avoid the effects of inhaling tar. While research into E-cigarettes is still in its infancy, it is believed that vaping carries just a fraction of the health risks that cigarettes do.
  • Face to face support: free advice from experts. This allows you to stay on track with support and encouragement.
  • Social media: Stoptober has a strong social media community behind it, and their Facebook page gives you the opportunity to chat with others and share your progress or tips.
  • Daily support: A daily email throughout your journey will provide you with advice and tips for staying focused on your goal.

Why quit smoking?

The main reason to quit smoking is, of course, to improve your health. Smoking significantly increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and many fatal forms of cancer. (You can read more about the dangers of smoking here.) However, the good news is that no matter how long you’ve smoked for, quitting can help to improve your health immediately.

Quitting smoking improves not only your health, but the health of those around you. By reducing the amount of second-hand smoke your loved ones are inhaling, you will reduce their risk of developing asthma, meningitis and cancer.

You’ll also save money when you quit. If you currently smoke a packet a day costing roughly £10, taking part in Stoptober could save you as much as £300!

Can medication help?

Yes, it can. Champix is clinically proven to be the most effective prescription treatment for stopping smoking, and it has the highest success rates when compared to other medications. In fact, clinical studies have found that Champix users were twice as likely to give up smoking than those who used no medication.

NHS trials found that 45% of people had successfully quit smoking completely after using Champix for 12 weeks, compared to just 11% of people using a placebo effect. The benefits of Champix include:

  • Reduced feelings of anxiety, stress and irritability
  • Significant reduction in nicotine cravings
  • Reduced rates of insomnia
  • Fewer headaches
  • Gradual elimination of nicotine reliance

By using Champix alongside some of the methods outlined above by the Stoptober campaign, you can increase your chances of quitting smoking this October even further.

Champix is available from Express Pharmacy. If you have any further queries about stopping smoking, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

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What Causes Acid Reflux and How Can You Beat It?

Posted Friday 28 September 2018 15:59 by in Acid Reflux by Tim Deakin

Understanding the condition known as acid reflux is the first step to overcoming it

Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) – more commonly referred to as acid reflux – is a digestive disorder which affects the ring of muscle between the oesophagus and the stomach, known as the lower oesophageal sphincter. Acid reflux refers to the process of acid passing up from the stomach into the oesophagus, causing discomfort, pain and an unpleasant taste.

Acid reflux is often confused with heartburn, which is actually one of many symptoms of acid reflux. Heartburn refers to a painful burning feeling just below the breastbone.

If you are living with acid reflux, we’re here to help. By understanding more about the condition, you will be in a better position to overcome it successfully. Here’s everything you need to know about acid reflux.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

As stated, heartburn is one of the leading symptoms of acid reflux. This burning sensation in the middle of the chest is a key sign that you are suffering from GERD. The other key symptom of acid reflux is an unpleasant sour taste in the mouth, caused by the acid which has travelled up from the stomach.

Other potential symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Hoarseness in your voice
  • Bad breath
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Coughing or hiccups which keep coming back

Many people find that their symptoms are worse when lying down or bending over, or when they’ve just eaten.

What causes acid reflux?

Most people experience at least a small amount of acid reflux at some point in our lives, and there isn’t always an obvious cause behind it. However, for people who experience acid reflux on a chronic level, there are several key factors which can trigger the condition or worsen your symptoms. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Certain foods and drinks, including alcohol, coffee, chocolate, fatty foods and spicy foods
  • Certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers like Ibuprofen
  • A hiatus hernia (a condition in which part of your stomach moves up to your chest)

What can you do to ease acid reflux?

When it comes to acid reflux, simple lifestyle changes can sometimes be enough to ease your symptoms or even get rid of the condition altogether. Below you’ll find some do’s and don’ts for dealing with the condition.

Do:

  • Raise one end of your bed by 10-20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress. By positioning your head and chest above your waist, you’re making it harder for stomach acid to travel upwards.
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than relying on larger meals.
  • Practice relaxation techniques if you suffer from stress, including meditation and yoga.
  • Try to lose weight if you are overweight.

Don’t:

  • Eat 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.
  • Smoke.
  • Drink large quantities of alcohol or drink regularly.
  • Wear clothes which fit tightly around the waist.
  • Consume food and drink that may be considered a GERD trigger.

If your symptoms persist or worsen, you should explore options such as effective anti-acid reflux medication. These treatments can help to ease your symptoms by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach produces. For the best results, swallow the medication whole and consume before eating.

Effective acid reflux medication such as Omeprazole and Lansoprazole are available from Express Pharmacy. If you require any further information about the condition, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

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Research Reveals That Lack of Exercise Puts One in Four People at Risk

Posted Monday 17 September 2018 10:29 by in Weight loss by Marina Abdalla

A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that more than a quarter of people globally are not getting enough physical exercise. This equates to around 1.4 billion people, a figure which has barely improved since 2001. What’s more, high income countries like the UK were among the least active.

The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, saw researchers look at data from 358 population-based surveys in 168 countries. They showed that in countries like the UK and the USA the number of inactive people has actually increased from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016. By contrast, low income countries’ results stayed stable at 16%.

Those classed as inactive engaged in less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise – or 75 minutes of intense exercise – per week.

Experts state that the reason wealthier countries are more prone to inactivity could be due to more sedentary jobs and hobbies, as well as car-centred travel. In lower income countries, people are more likely to have physical jobs and rely on walking for travel.

Women were also found to be less active than men in all of the world’s regions apart from East and South-East Asia. Researchers said this is likely to be due to a combination of factors, including extra childcare duties and cultural attitudes to women exercising. Co-author of the study, Dr Fiona Bull, commented on this aspect of the study’s results, saying:

“Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

Previously, WHO had been aiming for a global goal of reducing inactivity by 10% by 2025. In light of these figures however, they now say that this target will not be met.

Lead author of the study, Dr Regina Guthold, discussed the consequences of the findings in more detail, saying:

“Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Guthold continued: “Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

How much exercise should you be getting?

The recommended amount of exercising you should be getting changes depending on what age group you fall into. Below you’ll find some recommendations based on data from Public Health England.

For children aged 5-18: 60 minutes of physical activity.

For adults aged 19-64: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

For adults aged 65 and over: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, as well as strength exercises two days a week.

Activities that can count as moderate aerobic activity include fast walking, bike riding, hiking, water aerobics and sports such as basketball, volleyball and tennis. Vigorous activity may consist of running, swimming, gymnastics, martial arts or sports like football and rugby. Muscle strengthening exercises include weightlifting, push ups, sit ups, yoga and activities such as gardening.

Making time for physical activity is absolutely vital to our overall health. Inactivity increases your risk of a large number of health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. These risks are increased further if you are overweight.

If weight loss could improve your health and fitness, you’ll find safe and effective weight loss medication right here at Express Pharmacy. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries. Just call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

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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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