Do you see patients with diabetes? Do you advise them about their diet? If so, you have an incredibly important role in developing patients' self-confidence and empowering them to be able to make healthier choices. In this article we look at how to advise patients newly diagnosed with diabetes about diet. A patient-centred approach is vital, with advice offered in a supportive, non-judgmental and non-didactic manner.
Good hydration is essential for health, especially for people who may not feel thirsty because of ageing or illness. Maintaining good levels of hydration can prevent or help in treating low blood pressure, urinary infections and constipation. It's so easy to assess hydration status - this useful guide will help.
This month’s Back to Basics feature is a wallchart showing the new government Eatwell Guide to help your patients understand how to eat a healthy and balanced diet. You may also be interested in visiting the Eatwell page on the NHS Choices website. This includes useful healthy eating tools such as a calorie checker and BMI calculator.
The National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network has launched a series of hypertension profiles that allow CCGs and local authorities to see how well they are doing in detecting and treating high blood pressure compared with other similar authorities and the national average.
Some fat is essential for maintaining good health, in order to provide essential fatty acids and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Essential fatty acids can only be derived from foods because they cannot be synthesised by the body. However, the hard truth is that essential fatty acids represent only a very small amount of total energy needs and most people still consume too much fat. How much fat should we be eating? What is the difference between different types of fats and what advice should we be giving patients about fats to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease?
Dietary fibre is a frequently neglected nutrient, with eight out of ten UK adults eating less than is needed for good health. Most people think of fibre simply as roughage or bran and know that it helps with constipation and bowel disorders, but fibre is far more than this, with a wide range of health benefits. Evidence indicates that eating a fibre-rich diet will not only improve digestive health, but also aid weight loss, help to reduce cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of certain cancers (including bowel and breast cancer) and type 2 diabetes. It will also boost intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This review explores the major role of fibre in health and wellbeing and gives practical tips for dietary advice.
Obesity is estimated to be responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year, reducing lifespan by an average of nine years. The links between obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are well documented, but overweight and obesity also causes 6% of cancers in the UK. These figures have resulted in warnings that obesity is the new smoking when it comes to risks to health and longevity. So the problem is clear. The challenge is to put into action what works.
Save the Children, a charity well known for its work helping children in war-torn or faminestruck countries, recently announced that it is now handing out grants to struggling UK families who cannot afford to feed themselves. In a recent report, the charity suggests that the credit crunch has led to an increase of 11.3% in cost of food over the last year. It is not surprising that many parents have now cut back on food expenditure, with the poorest of families spending less on their weekly shop than ever before. How can we provide patients with tips on eating healthily on a tight budget?