Health news for January

New year, new you

With almost a year of social distancing and restrictions, some of us have got fitter and lost weight. For others, they’ve lost fitness or gained weight. If that’s you and you’d like to do something about it, why not consider the NHS weight loss plan? It’s a free 12-week plan, and with over 7 million downloads, so you’ll be in good company. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/start-the-nhs-weight-loss-plan/

If you’re missing out on the gym, the NHS has a brilliant suite of fitness videos for you to follow at home. From aerobic to strength training, there’s something for everyone. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/

If you’re trying to lose weight, a low-fat diet could help you. Fat is higher in calories than protein or carbohydrate per gram, so changing what you eat can make a big difference over time. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diet/low-fat-diet.html

Dry January

If you think you might be drinking more alcohol than you should, you might want to consider some of the tips the NHS provides to help you cut down without stopping completely. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/tips-on-cutting-down-alcohol/

You might have decided to cut alcohol out of your life completely. For some people, it’s not a lifestyle choice; it’s a necessity. ‘Drink Aware’ has advice about removing alcohol from your life safely. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice…nking/how-to-stop-drinking-alcohol-completely

If you think a temporary change in alcohol consumption might be just the ticket, Alcohol Change UK has ‘Dry January’ lined up for you. With participants reporting benefits such as saving money and improved sleep, there’s never been a better time to take a break. https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january

Blood donation

Blood donation is a vital part of life-saving treatments for many people each year. Blood donation sessions are continuing despite coronavirus restrictions, and if you haven’t considered donating before, now might be the time to think about signing up. https://www.blood.co.uk/

Rules on blood donation are changing for gay men. In a progressive change, from the summer of 2021, men who have had the same partner for more than three months will be able to give blood. https://www.blood.co.uk/who-can-give-blood/men-who-have-sex-with-men/

If you’re over 17 and have had coronavirus (a positive test or symptoms), you might be able to donate plasma to help people who are seriously unwell with COVID-19. If this is something you might consider, then contact NHS Blood and Transplant. https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/convalescent-plasma-clinical-trial/

At this time of year, it’s relatively easy for older people to become isolated as the realities of the cold and miserable weather become more challenging to manage. Age UK are hoping that we’ll all consider a random act of kindness in 2021. Coronavirus has led to more people feeling lonely and isolated; if you can find the time to help someone safely, you might just make their day: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/small-acts-of-kindness/

Brew Monday (20th January)

2020 was a long, challenging year! Why not reach out to friends and relatives who might be finding things difficult? Even if we can’t meet easily for a cuppa, you can arrange to have a virtual cuppa and put the world to rights together. After all, they do say that a problem shared is a problem halved. https://www.samaritans.org/support-us/campaign/brew-monday/

Have you ever had a little niggle that someone you know isn’t on top form, but you can’t quite put your finger on what’s worrying you? The Samaritans have a little tips leaflet to help and support you in identifying whether someone is finding life challenging, and ways to open up a conversation with them: https://www.samaritans.org/support-us/campaign/brew-monday/brew-monday-downloadable-resources/

Sugar Awareness Week

Do you know how sugar affects your body? This site has some information that you might find surprising. It also offers some handy hints on how to cut down on the amount of sugar you eat: https://www.healthline.com/health/sugar-detox-symptoms

We know that Christmas is over and done with for another year, and given the restrictions we’re all living under, Christmas might have looked a bit different this time. How much sugar did you eat, though? Even reasonably modest portions through the day can add up to a bumper sugar rush: https://www.bupa.co.uk/dental/dental-care/news/sugar-on-christmas-day

If none of the tips we’ve shared so far have helped, the NHS has a handy guide to help you cut down on sugar in your diet: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-cut-down-on-sugar-in-your-diet/

Does it matter what type of sugar you eat? Yes, it does! The Harvard Medical School has some useful information to help you make informed choices about sugar. https://www.health.harvard.edu/stay…gar-habit-and-help-your-health-in-the-process

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

If you have a child aged 12-13, they should be offered an HPV vaccination to help reduce transmission of the HPV strains that contribute to cervical cancer. If your child hasn’t yet been offered vaccination, it’s available to young people up to their 25th birthday. If your child missed their routine two-dose vaccination, speak to a member of the team about how they can be vaccinated, if eligible. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/hpv-human-papillomavirus-vaccine/

As well as protecting you against the transmission of STIs, condoms can help to prevent the transmission of HPV, which is one of the major causes of cervical cancer. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cervical-cancer/risks-causes

There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of suffering from cervical cancer. One of the factors few people consider is smoking; but if you’re not a smoker, what else might reduce your risk? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-cancer/prevention/

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