The NHS Health Check is changing again. Since the beginning of April 2013, practice nurses have been expected to raise the issue of dementia when seeing patients aged 65-74. But why (I can hear you ask)? Surely we have enough to do! This article explains why dementia matters, and sets out your role in the NHS Health Check.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) occurs when a blood clot forms in the wrong place, and it can cause serious illness or death. Treatment of VTE is currently very labour-intensive for nurses and awkward for patients. Novel treatments are more expensive and have their own risks. But this new approach is less reliant on nurse time and more straightforward for patients, and seems likely to become the norm during the next few years.
NICE now recommends that 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) rather than repeat clinic measurements should be the gold-standard test for diagnosing high blood pressure. This article considers the practicalities of using ABPM in the clinic, including advice to pass on to patients to ensure accurate readings.
Most people now survive a first stroke, but many patients are left with significant disability. In this article, our very own BATman 'goes through rehab' to review recently published NICE guideline. This aims to ensure that all stroke survivors have access to effective, individualised rehabilitation, both in the hospital and during long-term follow-up in the community.
People have been producing alcohol for thousands of years and consuming it as part of their diet as well as for medicinal purposes. When taken in moderation, drinking alcohol can be a safe and pleasurable activity with potential heart health benefits. However, those cardiovascular benefits are lost when alcohol is consumed in excess, and drinking becomes harmful with adverse physical, psychological and social consequences.
It has been estimated that one in every five patients in the UK drinks to excess, so the average English general practice may have as many as 1,000 problem drinkers. This size of problem can only be dealt with effectively if all members of the primary healthcare team are involved in supporting problem drinkers and ensuring that dependent drinkers are referred to appropriate specialist services.
Alcohol forms part of the diet for over 90% of adults in the UK and is unusual in being both a nutrient and a drug. For many of us, alcohol is a safe and pleasurable part of the diet. However, there is growing concern that many people who see themselves as social drinkers are consuming levels that may cause harm. Understanding how to assess safe levels of alcohol consumption and identify strategies for cutting down can help us to advise our patients how to moderate their intake.
Alcohol-related harm is a major public health concern, and since April 2013 questions to identify problem drinkers have been included in the NHS Health Check for people aged 40-74 years. But young people are also a key at-risk group for hazardous consumption, and the physical harms of alcohol may be compounded by risks to their sexual health.