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Posts Tagged ‘LifeLine Screening’

UCL Scientists Can Mend a Broken Heart

August 7, 2012

UCL Scientists Can Mend a Broken Heart - Life Line Screening

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.




Diabetes Week: 10th – 16th June 2012

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).

To learn more about diabetes and to book a screening for Type 2 diabetes with Life Line Screening visit our website. We’ve also included a few helpful resources on diabetes below:

Diabetes UK

International Diabetes Federation – World Diabetes Day 14th November

Diabetes.co.uk

NHS Choices – Diabetes

BBC Health – Diabetes




A risk or risk factor?

April 18, 2012

Many of us research health, in one form or another. Yes, there are clinical experts and scientists who research for commercial purposes and academics and healthcare practitioners who research for educational purposes. But then there’s the vast majority of us who take it upon ourselves to keep an eye on our own health – whether that’s researching family history, self diagnosing, reading resources on the management of a long term health condition or simply looking for healthy meal ideas.

Key health services such as NHS Choices – the UK’s largest health website – and NHS Direct, offer a wealth of information on just about every aspect of health.  However, navigating these vast resources can often result in confusion, or worse still, self – misdiagnosis.  Therefore, before diving in, it is imperative that you are clear on the terminology at play when it comes to firstly, identifying causes, symptoms and treatments and secondly, understanding how these realistically relate to your own health circumstances – knowing a risk vs. a risk factor.

A risk vs. a risk factor

When it comes to identifying “risks”, BestHealth, of the British Medical Journal group offers a really succinct definition:

“A risk is the chance that something (usually something bad) will happen because of something else. For example, if you smoke a packet of cigarettes a day for 30 years, you have a 10 percent risk of dying from lung cancer.”

In contrast, “risk factors”, as defined by the World Health Organisation refer to; “…any attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury. Some examples of the more important risk factors are underweight, unsafe sex, high blood pressure, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene.”

In short, where a “risk” is primarily about measuring the likelihood of a particular event happening, a  “risk factor” refers to the specific contributing factor that increases this risk and likelihood of a negative event occurring.  For example, risk factors for cardiovascular disease include smoking, poor diet and diabetes*.  It sounds simple, but it’s the key to ensuring a realistic understanding of your health and ways to best manage it.

To learn more about the risks and risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, visit the Life Line Screening website.

*NHS Choices: Risk factors for cardiovascular disease – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/cardiovascular-disease/Pages/Risk-factors.aspx




Taking Your Health Into Your Own Hands

March 23, 2012

When it comes to the NHS Health Reform, whichever side of the fence you sit, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the UK is firstly, an ageing population and secondly, experiencing a huge surge in premature deaths due to a range of behavioural factors including smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet and a lack of exercise.  Therefore with this in mind, surely it makes sense for a system that focuses its attention on empowering individuals within the UK to take charge of their own health?

One of the key facets of the “Healthy Lives, Healthy People” whitepaper highlights just that and it’s something that is very much at the heart of Life Line Screening.

Being Responsible For Your Health

It’s no secret that the UK has been and is continuing to grow into a sedentary nation of excessive consumers – be it food, alcohol or smoking, we have some very unhealthy habits currently in place.

However, by introducing a system that focuses its efforts on encouraging people to take control of their own health through adopting a healthy lifestyle, addressing damaging behaviours and attending preventive screenings, we could expect to see some really positive outcomes.  For example, the reduction of premature death, illness and costs to society and more specifically, the avoidance of over 30% circulatory diseases, a substantial proportion of cancers and vascular dementias.

A health system based on educating people how best to understand and recognise their own risk factors whilst in turn, encouraging them to make the right choices and taking steps to prevent ill health in future.

Implementing The Change

It’s all very well recognising the behavioural issues at play and placing the responsibility for change at the door of the individual – but how can they best implement these changes?

Change4Life is a great campaign which really focuses on making healthy lifestyles more accessible to the British public both young and old – be it tips on getting more active, cutting down on alcohol or how to make healthy and realistic food swaps.

  • DEFRA Fruit and Vegetables task force

Another brilliant campaign from DEFRA – the Fruit and Vegetables taskforce is all about encouraging people to enjoy more fruit and veg by making produce more readily available and affordable without scrimping on quality or standard of taste.

  • Charity Runs

Charity runs and walks are a great way of not only getting yourself up and moving, but also doing something for a good cause.  In Tipperary, a small (and brave) sub-section of one of our Partner’s, The Lisheen Mine, will be competing in the infamous 4 peaks challenge. We wish them the best of luck and will be keeping an eye on their progress both pre, during and post the challenge!

  • Preventive Health Screenings

In addition to improving eating and fitness habits, preventive health screenings are another simple way of staying on top of your health. By identifying and addressing health issues early can prevent a more serious or longer term problem and drastically improve a person’s quality of life.  For more information on health screenings and what the process entails, check out the Life Line Screening health services screening page.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

With an ageing and increasingly unhealthy population, we are fully behind a system which focuses on the protection and prevention of illness, a move which will see a drastic reduction in the number of people living with preventable ill-health such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  However, it’s important to recognise that these sorts of behavioural changes won’t happen overnight, we are looking at instilling a cultural approach to healthy living and one which will span generations.

We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled on the developments as they unfold, but in the meantime, we’d really love to hear what these changes mean for you and how you plan to take control of your health!

For further tips and advice on how best to transform your lifestyle, check out the Life Line Screening healthy living page.




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