For years dieters have been trying to avoid fat, and low-fat products have been promoted as the healthier option. But there is now a great deal of publicity around sugar and its toxic effects on our health, including claims that it is the 'new tobacco'. The sweet white stuff is being blamed for the obesity epidemic and with it diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. So what is the evidence behind the hype, and what should we as health professionals be advising patients?
More people than ever are making trips overseas. Many of us have long-term conditions that we manage with lifestyle choices and medication or medical devices. You may have high blood pressure, angina, a previous heart attack, heart failure or another heart condition. This leaflet will help remind you of some of the advice given to you in a pre-travel consultation with your practice nurse or travel nurse.
The World Health Organization has recommended that everyone should be eating more foods that contain potassium, and we routinely measure this electrolyte as part of the standard U&Es blood test. But why is potassium important for our health, and why do we need to worry if a patient's levels are too high or too low?
The NHS Health Check offers 15 million people aged 40-74 years in England an assessment of cardiovascular risk, together with preventive interventions, once every five years. The programme has aroused some controversy, but there is an urgent need to take action now to reduce preventable, premature death and disability caused by vascular disease.
The long-awaited Joint British Societies' consensus recommendations for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (JBS3) were issued at the end of March.
Warfarin is highly effective in preventing strokes in people with atrial fibrillation (AF), but has its limitations. Only half of patients who could benefit actually receive warfarin, resulting in an estimated 7000 avoidable strokes each year.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is three to four times more common in men with diabetes, and 20% have the condition at diagnosis. ED is a marker for heart disease, and men themselves value the opportunity to discuss their sexual problems with a health professional. The annual diabetes review offers the opportunity to identify and treat these men. Some practice nurses may find this task daunting, but treatment of ED can help to improve a man's wellbeing and reduce his cardiovascular risk.
Compared with the rest of the population, people with long-term conditions—especially cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and musculoskeletal disorders—have two to three times the risk of experiencing a mental health problem. In this article we will consider how these issues affect long-term conditions, how we can assess their impact and how we can improve the psychological wellbeing of these patients.