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.
A new survey suggests why people in deprived communities have higher levels of alcohol-related ill health than people in non-deprived communities despite drinking the same amount of alcohol.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showing that alcohol-related deaths have increased for the second year running, highlighting the need for effective policies to regulate the 24 hour availability of cheap, heavily marketed drink, particularly in our supermarkets and off-licences.
More and more nurses in primary care are involved in monitoring international normalised ratio (INR) levels and advising patients on warfarin doses as anticoagulation clinics move out of secondary care and into primary care. In this article we explore why warfarin is prescribed, how to monitor patients on the drug and what to look out for in terms of interactions with prescribed medicines, over-the-counter drugs and foods. We also need to be able to advise on lifestyle interventions that go hand-in-hand with taking warfarin.
This month’s Back to Basics feature is a useful wallchart showing estimates of alcohol content and calorie counts of typical alcoholic drinks. Many people forget the considerable calorific content of drinks and are unaware of how much pure alcohol they are consuming. Having these facts to hand are useful for the patients we see in practice and for our own healthy living!
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is now classified using a combination of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and proteinuria measured by albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR). The aim is to more accurately define each patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease and worsening CKD, and to ensure that patients are monitored appropriately.
Colder days and longer nights are reminders that the annual winter flu season is here. It's important to offer flu vaccination to vulnerable patients (young children, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions) to help prevent serious complications. This Back to Basics will help you to make sure that your practice is offering the right flu vaccine.
This Back to Basics feature is a wallchart describing the functions of a healthy liver – the largest organ in the body. It carries out more than 500 tasks essential for life. This wallchart accompanies details on the new NICE guideline on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
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.