Posts Tagged ‘Health Screening’
August 20, 2013
We’ve known for some time that having high cholesterol or blood fats can damage your health, leading to heart disease, stroke and dementia.
Keeping your weight and your waist circumference within the healthy ranges, and taking regular exercise can all help to keep you and your cholesterol levels healthy.
What you eat plays a big part in what happens to your cholesterol too. I’ve known for some time that my cholesterol is a bit high due to my family history and genetics, so lowering my cholesterol naturally is really important for my health. There are essentially 3 steps you can take to keeping your cholesterol levels healthy naturally by choosing better options.
Step one – replace saturated fat
Saturated fat plays an important role in the body, but eating too much raises LDL or the bad cholesterol. Most saturated fat comes from animal sources such as meat products and high fat dairy products like cheese. It’s also in foods containing animal or highly processed fats, such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastries and pies. Replacing these damaging fats with heart healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, lean meat, poultry and oily fish reduces the amount of saturated fat leading to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of the good cholesterol HDL. I like to have a handful (30g) of walnuts or pecans as my mid-morning snack.
Also, oily fish such as salmon, trout or herring have omega 3 which helps keeps all your bloods vessels in good condition and reduces the risk of blood clots, which are what cause heart attacks and strokes. Salmon, horseradish and beet root are a delicious and great health combo!
Step 2 – eat a rainbow
Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants and phytonutrients which protect the blood vessels and also soluble fibre which lowers cholesterol. They all count and help towards better heart and blood vessel health, but I’d recommend getting as many colours in as possible – broccoli and peas, blueberries; orange peppers, red apples, sweetcorn – I love a handful of cherry tomatoes and a good chunk of cucumber with my lunch. The more variety and colour the better!
Step 3 – fill up on fibre!
Soluble fibre, especially from oats which contain the fibre beta-glucan, has been shown to have a beneficial effect of cholesterol levels – a 30g portion (dry weight) of porridge for breakfast and 3 plain oat cakes will provide enough beta-glucan everyday. I add a handful of blueberries plus some cinnamon to my porridge.
Other whole grains are also great for soluble fibre and include wholewheat pasta, or why not try 2-3 handfuls of popcorn, of course it’s best if it is unsalted or unsweetened.
Baked beans, chick peas and lentils as well as other beans are also a really great source of soluble fibre. My favourite lunch is good old baked beans on wholewheat toast – yummy and great for my cholesterol!
If you’re thinking about leading a healthier lifestyle, you might want to consider getting a health screening to determine the status of your health first. Click here to learn more about health screenings or cholesterol screening.
June 18, 2013
If you’re looking for ways to improve your diet and help protect your heart, learn how the Mediterranean diet and regular health screenings can help. A Western diet is typically high in animal fats and processed foods – a combination which can increase your risk of heart-related disorders. The good news is, you can help keep your heart in shape by switching to healthier eating habits.
Inspired by the traditional dietary choices of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea – health experts have recommended a Mediterranean style eating plan to prevent heart disease.
The new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been developed following recent research amongst people from Mediterranean countries. This group of people exhibited lower rates of heart-related complications than their western counterparts. The popular diet has also been associated with a longer lifespan and good weight management, both of which are factors that promote a healthier heart.
How do I incorporate the Mediterranean diet into my lifestyle?
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and beans that are rich in anti-oxidants
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and go for whole grain pasta, bread and cereal
- Replace saturated fats like butter with healthy fats such as olive and canola oil. Olive oil in particular is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
- Use herbs and spices to season foods instead of adding salt
- Reduce the amount of red meat you eat, ideally only three times a month
- Add fish and seafood to your meals twice a week and eggs and chicken once a week
- Consume low fat cheese, yoghurt and red wine in moderation
- Nuts have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and are a good source of fibre and healthy fats
- Try choosing natural peanut butter or honey-roasted nuts instead of heavily salted ones.
- Avoid eating ‘fast foods’ or ready made meals which are usually loaded with salt and sugar
Promoting a healthy heart
Although the Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to encourage a healthier heart, – it is also important to incorporate regular exercise into your lifestyle and avoid other risk factors such as smoking.
Click here to learn more about health screenings or visit our Facebook page this week for more heart health and Mediterranean Diet tips. Why not share some of your delicious Mediterranean recipes with us on Facebook and Twitter.
June 5, 2013
Our pulse is our heart beat, rate and rhythm. We all know how to take our pulse but when did you last check yours? A normal resting pulse should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and your heart rate can vary depending on what you’re doing – it will be slower if you’re asleep and faster if you’re exercising! Factors such as your age, taking medication, level of fitness, or illness can all impact your pulse.
This week the heart rhythm charity, Arrhythmia Alliance will be holding their annual Heart Rhythm Week providing everyone with the opportunity to raise awareness and promote a better understanding of heart rhythm disorders.
Symptoms of heart arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) can include:
- Heart palpitations (sudden pounding, fluttering, or a racing feeling in the chest)
- Lack of energy
- Chest discomfort
- Shortness of breath, even at rest
Up and down the country fundraising events will be taking place during the week for this years’ theme, Hearts & Goals – raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and the life-saving techniques we can learn. Here are some ideas that will hopefully inspire you to get involved!
- I love baking. Everyone loves a treat so why not host your own cake sale? Cut down on the sugar and replace with fruit for healthier, delicious cakes
- Get active. Why not take part in a sponsored walk, run or cycle to raise money?
- Community spirit. Are you part of a local group in your area? Why not get others involved and raise money together
- Dinner party. Are you talented in the kitchen? Why not host a dinner party and ask your guests to donate what they think the meal is worth!
Click here for more information about vascular health screening
August 7, 2012
We have tweeted recently about some amazing advancements in medical technology and treatments. Everything from the spray-on skin that helps to heal leg ulcers, to the blood test that can predict heart attacks. It’s a remarkable time in the history of scientific research.
Perhaps most amazing of all is that scientists at University College London have answered an age-old question: How can you mend a broken heart?
Cardiac experts and mechanical engineers have teamed up to create a 3D bio-electric spray that creates thin sheets of beating cells. Scar tissue that is left on the heart after a heart attack does not beat, so the heart can subsequently struggle to pump blood around the body. However, applying this astonishing new technique can help to build up parts of the heart that need help.
Researcher Dr Anastasis Stephanou said, “A heart is made up of different cell types, so we would be able to design the technology where we would be able to place the right number of cell types to develop the actual cardiac tissue.”
This development could mean a dramatically different standard of living for those who have suffered a heart attack, the medical director at the British Heart Foundation, Professor Peter Weissberg, said: “This groundbreaking research is trying to find a way to build ‘pieces of the heart’ outside the body. We hope that one day these pieces can be grafted onto damaged hearts to help them pump more strongly again”.
What this means, he said, is that “this research could offer hope to the 750,000 people living with heart failure in the UK”.
If you’re concerned about your heart’s health, take control and become proactive by learning more about what you can do to keep your body healthy and the health screenings offered by Life Line Screening.
Life Line Screening Selected To Present Unique Research at the 25th World Congress of the International Union of Angiology
June 29, 2012
Authored by Dr John Coltart (Medical Director) and Dr Mohsen Chabok (Clinical Manager), in partnership with Imperial College London, the research highlights shortages in current screening recommendations for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) within the UK.
We are really pleased to have been invited to present our joint paper, with Imperial College London, on recent research into Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) at the prestigious 25th World Congress of the International Union of Angiology (IUA) this weekend. The research highlights the need for a greater focus on screening, and the importance of private screening for those falling outside the current selection threshold of the National Programme.
With the full article due to be published soon, the research papers are based on data from 2,049 participants between mid 2008 and 2011 who were identified as having AAA by ultrasound screening via our health screening services. The research showed that 60% of the cohort fell within the National Programme’s guidelines to screen males aged 65+, leaving 40% outside of the scope of the current programme.
The five-day Silver Jubilee event (July 1st – 5th, 2012), this year held in Prague, will be attended by a broad range of vascular professionals. These include internists, surgeons, radiologists and other specialists – all keen to share ideas, knowledge and progress within the area of cardiovascular disease, a key concern wherever you are in the world.
Dr Chabok will be joining a number of leading lights within the global scientific community, “We have closely followed and attended the Congress in the past and as such, are extremely honoured to have been selected to present our findings to such a reputable audience at this prestigious event,” said Chabok. “Angiology is an ever-changing field and as such, we are very much looking forward to not only introducing our peers to this latest research, but also, learning and collaborating with the wider global scientific community.”
After a two-round evaluation process, Dr Chabok’s research has also been nominated for the IUA Presidential Prize awarded to young researchers.
Dr Chabok will be presenting the papers – “Epidemiological study and risk analysis in men and women of different age with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)”, and “Risk factor analysis for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) in a cohort of 288 women with AAA” within the course of the congress.
June 12, 2012
Diabetes Week is an annual campaign, which takes place this week, from 10th to 16th June. The event is championed by the UK’s foremost diabetes charity Diabetes UK, who has been asking people to “Make a Connection” and spread awareness, support and raise funding for diabetes sufferers across the UK. Throughout a variety of activities, including a recent Guinness World Record attempt for the most waists measured in 8 hours, Diabetes UK aims to support over 10 million people across the UK who have either been diagnosed with diabetes or are at a high risk of developing the condition.
Diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus) is a condition where the body is not able to adequately control blood sugar levels:
Type 1 – This is where body does not produce insulin, the hormone needed to process glucose for energy. This is the least common of the two, accounting for around 10% of cases in the UK. Treatment and maintenance of Type 1 diabetes includes regular injections of insulin to enable the body function correctly.
Type 2 – Type 2 diabetes is far more common and is where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin produced does not work properly. This condition can largely be controlled through a healthy diet and monitoring blood glucose level. Type 2 is progressive however and can, on some occasions, develop into Type 1.
Here at Life Line Screening we test for Type 2 diabetes using a glucose screening that tests for blood sugar levels, helping to not only identify diabetes, but also provide information about how those who have already been diagnosed are managing the condition.
A recent BBC article has highlighted the importance of an “early and aggressive” screening approach to reducing the number of diabetes cases among those who are close to developing the condition. Blood sugar levels typically rise ahead of reaching a diabetic level of glucose (measured in milligrams per decilitre, or mg/dL), an indicator that the patient could be pre-diabetic. Bringing this level back within a healthy range can, in some cases actually prevent a pre-diabetic from developing diabetes – an important consideration, given that those with pre-diabetes are five to six times more likely to develop diabetes and are also at greater risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
International Diabetes Federation – World Diabetes Day 14th November
June 1, 2012
Stroke Awareness Month is annually held throughout the month of May. And on 1st May this year the Stroke Association launched Life After Stroke Campaign, following a report that stroke survivors are being denied the best chance of recovery, typically feeling abandoned on leaving hospital.
National Stroke Awareness Month was established in the US government in 1989. Since then the campaign has continued to grow form strength to strength and is largely co-ordinated by The Stroke Association in the UK, a national charity that has been working to raise awareness of all aspects of the condition ranging from prevention to recovery, and the organisation is active in funding research.
Key messages include how to identify signs of stroke fast, with the Act F.A.S.T. campaign, which can make a real difference to those affected. Preventive measures are also important and healthy living, such as keeping active and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption have a positive impact, where as risk factors such as smoking, can double the risk of suffering a stroke.
There is much more to discover about stroke and currently we do not fully understand the impacts and best road to recovery. Therefore, it is important to be able to offer support and information. This is particularly understandable as there is still much to be learnt about what causes stroke, how it affects people and how to promote effective recovery. There is much more to learn from a medical perspective too and “research funded by the Stroke Association has the ultimate aim of making stroke a preventable and treatable disease, and improving the quality of life for people affected by stroke.” And many may have seen the recent breakthrough development in testing for stroke using a simple drawing test.
There have been a myriad of activities across the UK from an art exhibition to the Bolton Wanderers FC players warming up in new Stroke Association t-shirts ahead of the Bolton Wanderers vs West Brom match. This month also saw the opening of the new Life After Stroke Centre in Bromsgrove, West Midlands and people have raised awareness by getting involved in events such as the Thames Bridge Bike Ride, Edinburgh Marathon Festival, BUPA Great Manchester 10k run and the Great Swim in London, to name but a few.
We’d love to hear how you got involved during Stroke Awareness Month!
May 31, 2012
Today is World No Tobacco Day, an annual opportunity to raise awareness of the negative effects that smoking can have on one’s health. The day itself in fact goes beyond this to educate people about the shortcomings of the tobacco industry.
This year we will be celebrating World No Tobacco Day on Thursday 31st May. The day is organised, coordinated and promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), who have chosen to focus this year’s campaign on the interference of the tobacco industry.
“The campaign will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine global tobacco control efforts” describe the World Health Organisation of their Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI). The WHO seeks to monitor this industry through surveillance and regulation and have published a paper and global brief on the topic.
There has been a seismic shift in societal and cultural attitudes to smoking and the tobacco industry as a whole since the early 20s, back when it actually used to be considered beneficial to wellbeing.
Ultimately, smoking is a risk factor. The more frequently and the longer that someone smokes the higher their risk, the more likely, they are to experience associated health issues.
Since the introduction of the smoking ban the legal age to smoke has been raised from 16 to 18 years of age and more recently, tobacco and associated paraphernalia has been moved behind closed doors, so to speak, as it is now illegal to display these products for sale. However it is also important to consider that although there has been a significant reduction the amount of smoking. There is still a strong campaign regarding the risks of passive smoking, in particular the impact this can have on children.
Life Line Screening is thrilled that this year sees the 5-year celebration of the UK smoking ban. In 2010 the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported on the short term impact of the smoke-free legislation in England, in terms of hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (heart attack). The research found that this resulted in 1200 less emergency admissions and 1600 less readmissions for a heart attack in the first year following the change in policy. The reduction was most significant among men and women over 60 years. This has also been widely assisted by improved support for those who wish to quit smoking.
May 18, 2012
We all know that walking is good for us, there’s no two ways about it. The Government recommendation is that we should be aiming for at least half an hour a day of physical exercise to remain healthy. For those with a busy lifestyle – a demanding job, a family, a retirement of social plans – it’s important to make and keep good habits in order to remain fit and healthy.
Walk to Work Week has been taking place during the 14-18th of May. It is a week dedicated to raising awareness of the health and environmental benefits of walking, as well as encouraging people to experience and value the quality of the streets around them. Walk to Work Week is organised by Living Streets, the national charity that stands up for pedestrians and work to create safe, attractive streets for the public.
“When we have streets we want to walk in, lives are transformed – we are healthier, happier and more sociable.”
- Living Streets
On Tuesday Transport Minister Norman Baker stepped out in support of Walk to Work Week in a bid to raise awareness and join the many people across the country that have been taking to their streets and work places on foot. As this week draws to a close we have a great opportunity to reflect of how much walking we’ve done throughout the week and a chance for a final push.
In conjunction with Walk to Work Week, Living Streets have organised The Great British Walking Challenge. Whereby people can simply sign up and start counting their walking miles towards the nation’s totals, measured by total miles, calories burned and CO2 emissions saved by walking instead of using forms of transport with a negative environmental impact. If you haven’t had a chance to join in yet Life Line Screening would urge to add the walking that you’ve clocked up for the week – which currently stands at an impressive 7,274,216 Calories (or 13,946 muffins burned), 75,617 miles (or 3.04 times around the world) and 13,089 kg CO2 saved! You might also want to check out the mobile application designed for the government initiative Walk4Life, for walks in your area and the ability track how long you usually walk for.
Walking is an excellent activity for a number of reasons, not least because it doubles up as a mode of transport. It raises the heart rate and improves circulation, as oxygenated blood travels around the body to supply cells in need, invigorating both the muscular and respiratory systems. There has long been a debate surrounding the benefits of walking in comparison to running. So, to compare, the average person who weighs 73 kilograms (160 lbs) will burn approximately 530 calories running for an hour, or just over 300 calories walking during the same time. However, two key factors that walking has going for it is that it has a much lower risk of injury and it is typically to keep walking over longer distances than it is to run, especially without training.
Walking is also good for the mind and can provide time to clear your head, have a good think about a problem that you’ve being trying to solve, or simply take in the scenery.
So, these are some our favourite suggestions to get walking more here at Life Line Screening:
- A classic, always take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Make it a new habit to walk to work. Have a think about your route and how long you will need and plan out your journey.
- Make the most of lunch. Why not split your lunch instead of one longer break so you can pop out for some fresh air and a short walk twice. Or, how about trying to eat somewhere a bit further away than usual and explore your local area.
- Be sociable. Walking with others, you’ll find that time flies.
- Similarly, listen to music. It’s a great way to let your mind wander and a nice way to enjoy music or the radio.
- Walk on the phone. You’ll be surprised how much you move about while you’re thinking about something else.
What do you enjoy most about walking? Do you have a favourite walk? We’d love to know. To read more on healthy living and to book your next health screening with Life Line Screening visit www.lifelinescreening.co.uk.
Today is the final day of Walk to Work Week – make it count!
May 17, 2012
“I decided that knowledge is power and that the power of prevention is a good thing.”
Here at Life Line Screening we were really pleased to read the glowing review from blogger Super Amazing Mum.
A few months ago we invited Super Amazing Mum to review our services. We are sure that there will be those that will understand her feeling of concern about “…how I and my loved ones would react if I did find out I was likely to have a heart attack in my 40s or my bone density indicated early onset of osteoporosis.” But she goes on to decide that she is in good hands with Life Line Screening, where we have carried out over 7 million health checks since 1993 and comments that she feels “positive about having a hand in my future health.”
Taking this proactive approach to health by responsibly addressing health risks and leading a healthy lifestyle is something that very much advocate here at Life Line Screening.
Having a partial view of her family history and a long-term health condition Super Amazing Mum goes on to detail the stages of a set of 5 vital screenings; from the initial phone interview with one of our consultants and scheduling a date for the health screenings, through to the timings, warmth of the staff and experience of each medical test.
We are happy to hear she had a great experience. To read the post in full, visit the Super Amazing Mum blog.