Health news for September


Losing bone is a normal part of ageing, but some people lose bone much faster, leading to an increased risk of broken bones and osteoporosis.

If you’re at risk of developing osteoporosis, you can take steps to help keep your bones healthy. Regular exercise, healthy eating and making lifestyle changes – such as giving up smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can help to keep your bones healthy.

You can find more information from the @NHSwebsite

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose their strength and are more likely to break, usually following a minor bump or fall. Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis due to hormone changes after menopause which affect their bone health.

Find out if you could be at risk by reading this helpful page from the Royal College of Nursing:

Erectile dysfunction

Impotence becomes more common with increasing age. 50–55% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 experience erectile dysfunction. Many factors can cause erectile dysfunction, which can have a gradual or sudden onset. It might feel uncomfortable discussing this with your doctor, but our GPs are always happy to listen.

Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of other illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes, so seeking medical advice is essential. This helpful page from the NHS has more information:

Leading a healthy lifestyle can dramatically improve erectile dysfunction – for example, eating a healthy diet, reducing alcohol intake, losing weight and increasing your levels of exercise. Find out more about erectile dysfunction prevention, causes and treatments on this helpful page from the British Association of Urological Surgeons:

Children’s eye health and safety

Although serious vision problems during childhood are rare, routine eye checks are advised for newborn babies and young children to identify issues early on. The sooner any eye problem is found, the sooner you and your child will be able to get any treatment and support necessary. This page from the @NHSWebsite has more information:

Many different eye problems can be discovered during eye tests, including childhood cataracts, lazy eyes and astigmatism.

Signs of a possible eye problem can include:

– Headaches

– Reading difficulty

– Clumsiness

– Eyes not looking in the same direction

If your child has any of these symptoms, contact your GP or an optician for advice and assessment.

Eye injuries caused by something getting into the eye can vary in severity. Some foreign objects may cut or penetrate the eye and require medical help quickly; others may be rinsed out. This page from St John Ambulance has more information on first aid for eye injuries:

If your child gets something in their eye:

– Advise them not to rub their eye

– Sit them down facing a light, stand behind them and gently open their eyelids with your thumbs

– Ask them to look right, left, up and down as you look closely at the eye

If you can see something, tip their head backwards and wash it out by pouring clean water from the inner corner from a clean glass or jug.

If the object isn’t easy to remove or the eye is very painful, seek medical advice.

You can learn more from this video from St John Ambulance:

Accident prevention

There are an estimated 13,000 deaths per year as a result of past exposure to harmful working conditions. Accidents are a leading preventable cause of death, serious injury and long-term disability. Find out more about the accident prevention strategy from RoSPA with this short video:

RoSPA plays a unique role in UK health and safety, providing services and support to help organisations on their journey to becoming safer and healthier places in which to work. Their National Accident Prevention Strategy aims to prevent serious accidental injuries in England.…ciety for the Prevention of Accidents WEB.pdf

Healthy eating

Eating well means enjoying your food and having plenty of variety in your diet, so you get all the nutrients you need and maintain a healthy weight. Eating well doesn’t have to mean giving up the less healthy things you enjoy – it just means eating them in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. The Eatwell Guide shows you a way to ensure a balance of healthier and more sustainable food in your diet: https://assets.publishing.service.g…/file/742750/Eatwell_Guide_booklet_2018v4.pdf

Are you eating a balanced diet? Use the Eatwell Guide to help you get a balance of healthier and more sustainable food. It shows how much of what you eat overall should come from each food group.

If you’re finding it difficult to eat enough, you might find yourself feeling tired, depressed and low on energy. This is because you lack essential vitamins and minerals. Eating six small meals and snacks every day can be more beneficial than eating the traditional three meals a day for people who prefer eating smaller meals.

Food labels can help you see which foods are high in fat, salt and added sugars, as well as how many calories are in a product.

– Red means high levels: You should try to eat these less often and in small amounts.

– Amber means medium (neither high nor low amounts): You can eat these foods most of the time.

– Green means low: This is the healthier choice.

Diets high in fat, sugar and salt can put you at risk of developing common health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity and tooth decay. Find out how to use food labels to keep a check on what you’re eating on the NHS Website.

Back to work blues

You may have heard of phrases like the ‘back to work blues’; these phrases have sprung up to describe a low, tired or stressed feeling, almost like an emotional jet lag that often develops at the thought of going back to the office after a period away. To prevent or reduce low mood, it could be helpful to try talking about your feelings. Mind has some great advice for dealing with mental health at work:

Mental health problems at work are common, with at least one in six workers experiencing mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Time management and regular exercise can help you take back control of your time and effectively reduce stress. The NHS Website has some great tips on how to feel happier:

To prevent or reduce low mood when going back to work, it could be helpful to try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. There’s strong evidence that indicates feeling close to and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. If you need help managing low mood, talk to your GP and they will ensure you get the correct support. This page from the NHS website provides information on how to tell if you have a low mood:…ngs-and-symptoms/low-mood-sadness-depression/

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer, or cancer of the ovaries, is one of the most common types of cancer in women. Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

Feeling constantly bloated

A swollen tummy

Discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area

Feeling full quickly when eating

Needing to pee more often than usual

These symptoms are similar to those of some more common conditions, but if you’ve experienced persistent symptoms contact your GP. You can find more information on the NHS website:

Ovarian cancer comes about when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way and eventually form a growth or tumour. The risk of developing ovarian cancer depends on many things including age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. You can find out more about the risks and potential protective factors on this helpful page from Cancer Research UK:

The risk of ovarian cancer increases steeply from around 45 years and is greatest in those aged between 75 and 79 years. If you or someone you know has been affected by ovarian cancer, the Ovacome Support Service offers one-to-one support and advice:

Prostate health

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any signs or symptoms. But some things may mean you’re more likely to get prostate cancer, such as:

If you’re aged 50 or over

If your father or brother has had prostate cancer

If you’re black

Prostate Cancer UK has great information on tests and examinations that are available through your GP:

One in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer. There is currently no national screening programme for prostate cancer. Contact your GP if you think you may have, or be at risk of developing, prostate cancer and they’ll help you to make an informed decision. Cancer Research UK has more information on the symptoms of prostate cancer:

NSPCC – Let’s talk pants

Talking about PANTS helps children to understand that their body belongs to them and that they should tell someone they trust if anything makes them feel upset or worried:

Privates are private

Always remember your body belongs to you

No means no

Talk about secrets that upset you

Speak up, someone can help

We all want to keep our children safe. You’ve probably already talked to them about things like crossing the road safely. But have you spoken to them about how to stay safe from sexual abuse? Talking PANTS with the NSPCC Pantosaurus can make an uncomfortable topic a little bit easier to understand. You can watch the video here:

Children’s flu

Flu can be an extremely unpleasant illness in children, with those under the age of 5 being more likely to be hospitalised due to flu than any other age group. Vaccinating children helps to protect them in the first instance, so that they can stay in school and parents don’t have to take time off work to look after them. A free flu vaccine is offered to all primary school-aged children and this year this has been extended to include some secondary-aged children. If your child has a chronic condition or is aged 2 to 3, you should book their flu vaccination with your GP.

Flu is caused by a virus; it can be a very unpleasant illness for children and lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. The children’s flu vaccine is safe and effective. It’s offered every year as a nasal spray to children to help protect them against flu. If you have any questions about vaccinations, you can contact your GP or read this helpful page from the NHS:

Vaccines are the most effective way to protect you and your child from many serious and potentially deadly diseases; they prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year. Vaccinating children against flu also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people.

Young persons’ sexual health

If you’re a young person looking for sexual health advice, Brook offers easily accessible free sexual health and wellbeing information.

Growing up as a teenager is difficult, and no issue seems to cause more anxiety than the subject of sex. This helpful page from Childline provides information on consent, knowing if you’re ready and contraception:

Contraception is used to prevent pregnancy when having sex. There are loads of different contraceptive options so it’s really good to talk to someone at a family planning clinic or your GP to understand what will work best for you. For more information on what’s available, this page from the BBC offers some insight:


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around six in every ten people with dementia in the UK. A common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is having problems remembering recent events or information. The @alzheimerssocietyuk provides lots of information on symptoms, prevention, treatment and support.

Support is available for both carers and dementia patients. @alzheimerssocietyuk has choices of carers’ groups, memory cafes and day centres, enabling dementia patients to be part of a supportive community, and offering relief for carers who are caring for someone with dementia.

If someone you know is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and has problems with reasoning, thinking, language and perception, which cause changes in mood, anxiety, depression or frustration, @alzheimersreaearchuk provides lots of helpful information and support: https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.or…types-of-dementia/alzheimers-disease/support/

The flu vaccine

The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to anyone with serious long-term health conditions and those over 50. Having the flu vaccine will reduce your risk of contracting the flu and it will also stop you from spreading the flu to other people. You can get the flu vaccine at your GP surgery.

Flu can be serious and each year causes thousands of people to go to hospital and hundreds of deaths. If you have underlying health conditions, or if you’re older, you’re more at risk of becoming seriously ill from flu. You can book your flu vaccine with your GP. Find out more about the flu vaccine on the NHS website:

High cholesterol

High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. It’s mainly caused by an unhealthy diet, not exercising enough, smoking and drinking alcohol. Too much cholesterol can make you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke. This page from the NHS has some great information on how to control your cholesterol levels:

Having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart and circulatory diseases such as heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia. You can lower your cholesterol levels by:

Eating a healthy, balanced diet

Getting active

Quitting smoking

If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, your GP can measure your cholesterol levels and tell you how to control them.

We all need some cholesterol in our blood to stay healthy, but too much can lead to serious health problems in the future, including heart attacks and strokes. If you’re aged 40-74, you can ask for an NHS health check in England only, but similar schemes are available in other parts of the UK. For more information on high cholesterol and how to prevent it, take a look at this helpful page from the British Heart Foundation:

Stem cell donation

For some people, a stem cell transplant is the only hope of survival. There’s a continued need to recruit more donors, particularly people from African, African-Caribbean, Asian, Chinese, Jewish, Eastern European and Mediterranean communities. Find out more about joining the registry here:

Vascular disease

Vascular disease is caused by inflammation and weakness of the veins and arteries – and by the build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. Over time, this can reduce blood flow to vital organs in the body, potentially causing a heart attack or stroke. The Circulation Foundation has more information on the symptoms and prevention of vascular disease.

Bone marrow donation

A bone marrow transplant replaces damaged blood cells with healthy ones. It can be used to treat conditions affecting the blood cells, such as leukaemia and lymphoma. If you’re aged between 16 and 30 and in good health, you could be a lifesaving match for someone with blood cancer. This helpful page from the NHS explains more about how to become a donor and what happens when you are one:

Leukaemia and lymphoma

Blood cancers affect the production and function of blood cells. There are three main groups – leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. You can find out about the different types of blood cancer along with symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and how to cope here:

Get Britain Standing

On average, British people sit for 8.9 hours each day. A variety of major international research has produced compelling evidence to show that sitting for more than four hours each day can increase the risk of developing serious health problems. Calculate how much time you spend sitting and find out the health risks and solutions on the Get Britain Standing website:

Type 2 diabetes, obesity and activity levels

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. You can find out more about Type 2 diabetes in this helpful video:

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body can’t get enough glucose into your cells, so a common symptom is feeling very tired. Other symptoms to look out for include feeling thirsty, going to the toilet a lot and losing weight without trying to. Several factors can affect your risk of developing type 2 diabetes including being overweight, your age and ethnicity. There are several ways you can treat type 2 diabetes, such as making healthy lifestyle choices, using insulin or taking medication. This helpful page from Diabetes UK provides more information:


The NHS flu vaccination is available for everyone aged 50 and over. You can get vaccinated at your GP surgery. Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses and help to stop the spread of flu to those who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu. This page from the NHS website has more information on the flu vaccine:

If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine on the NHS, you’ll be offered one that’s most effective for you, depending on your age. You can have the flu vaccine if you are:

– 50 and over

– Have certain health conditions

– Are pregnant

– Are in long-stay residential care

– Care for or live with someone who may be at risk if you get sick

– Care for or live with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)

– Front-line health or social care workers

You can get vaccinated at your GP surgery.


Pneumonia is a type of chest infection that causes swelling of the tissue in one or both lungs. More people get pneumonia in winter because respiratory viral infections, such as flu, are more common in the winter, and these increase your risk of developing pneumonia. If you have a long-term lung condition or care for someone who does, it’s a good idea to have a flu jab every year. You can get vaccinated at your GP surgery or a pharmacy offering a flu vaccine service.

If you have pneumonia, you’ll have symptoms that are similar to having the flu or a chest infection. Symptoms may develop gradually over a few days but can progress much faster; you may feel generally unwell, weak and tired with a cough. If you feel unwell with these symptoms, see your GP or call 111. This helpful page from the British Lung Foundation has more information about pneumonia:


Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill, but for some people the risk is higher. Getting vaccinated not only reduces your chance of being infected but also contributes to protecting people more at risk in your community by reducing the likelihood of virus transmission. You can book your COVID-19 vaccination through this page from the NHS:…rus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

There’s a lot of information about the COVID-19 vaccine and some of it can be misleading. The COVID-19 vaccine greatly reduces your chance of contracting coronavirus and makes you less likely to get severely ill if you encounter the coronavirus. Because the vaccines do not contain a live virus and cannot cause disease, they are a much safer way to gain protection against the virus. You can find out more about the COVID-19 vaccines on the NHS website:

Blood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and lymphoma is the most common form of blood cancer. Lymphomas can start almost anywhere in the body and can have many different symptoms. The exact symptoms they cause depend on the type of lymphoma and where it is in the body. This helpful video explains more about the symptoms of lymphoma:

Blood cancer is a type of cancer that affects your blood cells. Over 40,000 people are diagnosed with blood cancer each year in the UK. If you or someone you know has been affected by blood cancer, Blood Cancer UK offers helpful support and information.

Know Your Numbers

‘Know Your Numbers Week’ reaches out to those who have high blood pressure and don’t know it, so they can get the treatment and support they need to bring it under control. Hundreds of organisations take part, setting up pressure stations in public places across the UK, from hospitals and health centres to offices, car parks and supermarkets. You can find your nearest free blood-pressure check here:

In the UK, 6 million people have high blood pressure and don’t know it. If untreated, high blood pressure increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked; this can be with your GP, at some pharmacies or you can find your nearest free blood-pressure check as part of ‘Know Your Numbers Week’ here:

High blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking. This helpful page from the NHS provides more information on the causes, prevention and treatment of high blood pressure:

Migraine Awareness Week, 6th – 11th September

Migraine is a severe and painful long-term health condition that 1 in 7 people live with. Symptoms of a migraine attack can include head pain, problems with your sight, such as seeing flashing lights, being very sensitive to light, sounds and smells, fatigue and nausea. You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.

Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men. It usually begins in early adulthood. There’s no cure for migraines, but some treatments are available to help reduce the symptoms. This helpful page from the NHS has more information on migraine types, causes and treatments:

Suicide prevention awareness, 10th September

World Suicide Prevention Day aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery from suicidal thoughts and feelings is possible. You can find out more about mental illness, and you can talk to someone if you need help, on the Samaritan’s website:

National Dementia Carers’ Day, 12th September

There are 700,000 people with dementia in the UK. Many people living with dementia rely on the love, support and care of family members, friends and unpaid carers. National Dementia Carers’ Day was established to share, recognise and support this crucial role. You can share your story of support here:

Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging and stressful. But with the right support, it can be rewarding and often satisfying. If you’re a carer, you can:

Register as a carer with your GP

Apply for a carer’s assessment

Check if you’re eligible for benefits

Find out about training courses that could help you

Find out about local support groups

Alzheimer’s UK has a great selection of support groups across the UK:

Jeans for Genes Week, 13th – 19th September

The Jeans for Genes campaign raises awareness of the daily challenges faced by those living with a genetic disorder and raises money to fund projects that make a difference to the lives of those who are affected. Find out more about Jeans for Genes and how to get involved in the campaign on their website:

World Sepsis Day, 13th September

World Sepsis Day is held on 13th September every year and it’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection and is sometimes called septicaemia or blood poisoning. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, a blue tinge to the skin and a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it. Call 999 if someone is experiencing these symptoms or go to A&E.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s tissues and organs. Any infection can lead to sepsis. See your doctor if an infection or wound hasn’t responded to treatment.

World Patient Safety Day, 17th September

Patient safety is fundamental to the provision of healthcare in all settings. The global action plan was adopted with a vision of “a world in which no one is harmed in healthcare, and every patient receives safe and respectful care, every time, everywhere”. The purpose of the action plan is to provide strategic direction for all stakeholders when it comes to eliminating avoidable harm in healthcare and improving patient safety. You can download the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030 on the World Health Organisation’s website:

Organ Donation Week, 20th – 26th September

The theme for this Organ Donation Week is ‘Leave them Certain’. This campaign aims to encourage people to talk to their loved ones about organ donation by highlighting that families are always involved before organ donation goes ahead. You can find out more about organ donation on this helpful page from the NHS Organ Donation website:

Black, Asian and minority ethnic patients often have to wait significantly longer for a successful match than white patients due to a shortage of suitably matched donors. If you’re black, Asian or belong to a minority ethnic group, your decision to become an organ donor could increase the likelihood of someone from the same ethnic background finding a suitable match. You could even save someone’s life. You can find out more about organ donation and ethnicity on the NHS Organ Donation website:

It can be hard to start a conversation about organ donation, but you could cook up a conversation like the Kabs family and ensure your family and loved ones are certain about your organ donation decision:

Eye Health Week, 20th – 26th September

National Eye Health Week promotes the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all. In the UK, 2 million people are living with sight loss that’s severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives. A sight test can detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, which can be treated if found early enough. You can find an optician through this NHS page:

National Fitness Day, 22nd September

This year, National Fitness Day’s theme is ‘Fitness Unites Us’, demonstrating the inclusive power that physical activity can have in uniting people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to have fun, keep active and maintain a healthy lifestyle – physically, mentally, socially and even emotionally. You can share how fitness has helped you with #Fitness2Me. Find out more on the National Fitness Day website:

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, 25th September

Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning aims to support people living with cancer. You can join in whether you have a group in the garden, share a coffee over a screen, or grab a takeaway cake and cuppa; you can arrange yours however you like. Find out about events near you, or how to host your own, on the Macmillan website:

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