Eye test: Third of adults ADMIT being overdue for an examination

More than half (59 per cent) do not know what the pupil does and 42 per cent have no idea of the purpose of the retina.

The research, by online optical retailer Vision Direct, found two of the most common eye conditions were also a source of confusion.

Almost 1.8 million (4 per cent) believe hyperopia, far-sightedness, was a region in ancient Egypt while a similar number (4 per cent) thought presbyopia, short-sightedness, was a blockbuster sci-fi movie.

Well over 2 million adults (4 per cent) also wrongly claimed that epidexipteryx, a bird-like dinosaur, was an eye condition.

One in 20 (4 per cent) incorrectly believe that taraxacum - the Latin name for a dandelion - was a sight-affecting ailment. 

Our lack of knowledge when it comes to eye health isn't helped by irregular eye tests.

Of the 2,000 people asked, one in seven (14 per cent) haven't had a check-up in the last five years despite NHS guidelines recommending an eye test at least every two years.

The survey, to mark World Glaucoma Week (11-18 March) also found that many are unable to name common eye conditions.

The condition, of which around 480,000 are living with, means the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, has become damaged.

While there are no symptoms to begin with, it can develop over many years affecting peripheral vision first. 

If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to loss of vision.

Only 41 per cent could identify astigmatism as an eye-related condition.

While just a third (36 per cent) knew that macular degeneration affected sight.

Brendan O'Brien, of Vision Direct, said “It doesn't surprise us that many people are unable to name the most common eye conditions.

“However, in some cases, this lack of knowledge could be causing them to put off getting their eyes tested regularly.

“Getting your eyes checked is the only way to spot and manage these common conditions and getting to them earlier is vital.”



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UK weather WARNING: Freezing conditions and snow could trigger symptoms of deadly illness

Temperatures in Britain have taken a sharp dip this week and officials have warned the elderly and those with health conditions take extra care.

Bone-chilling winds sweep in from the Russian Arctic and snowfall has been almost constant in many parts of the country.

While the wintery weather conditions have sparked excitement among some people, the cold blast could trigger or worsen symptoms of certain illnesses and health conditions.

The NHS lists the illnesses and ailments common during cold weather, including influenza.

Flu can be a major killer of vulnerable people - people aged 65 andover, pregnant women and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are particularly at risk during winter weather.

This year, Aussie flu, the H3N2 strain of the flu virus, has been causing havoc in Britain, causing a number of deaths and hundreds of hospitalisations.

Symptoms are similar to those caused by normal flu but more severe, and include a sudden fever, aching body and loss of appetite.

The NHS says the best way to prevent getting flu is to have the flu jab or flu nasal spray for children aged two to 17.

The health body says: “The flu vaccine gives good protection against flu and lasts for one year.

“If you are over 65 or have a long term health condition, you are also eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which provides protection against pneumonia.”

Its top tip is to find out if you’re at risk of getting flu by asking your GP.

If you’re in a high-risk group, you should see your GP to get the vaccination.

The extreme winter weather, nicknamed ‘Beast from the East’, could also trigger symptoms of potentially dangerous condition hypothermia.

What causes hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when your body gets too cold and your temperature drops below 35C.

It can be caused by:

Inadequate clothing in cold weather

Falling into cold water

Getting cold in wet clothes

Living in a cold house

Being very tired and cold

How should you treat hypothermia? 



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Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms? This 28p supplement could help ease joint pain

Arthritis affects around 10 million people, young and old, in the UK.

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis, and symptoms include inflammation in and around the joints, warm, red skin over the affected joint, and weakness and muscle wasting.

While there is no cure, there are ways proven to ease pain and other symptoms in the form of supplements.

Scientific evidence has been carried out to suggest borage seed oil can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Borage seed oil, also known as starflower oil, is made from the seeds of the borage plant, a herb native to the Mediterranean region but grown in other countries, including the UK.

But how does it help improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

According to Arthritis Research, borage seed oil contains very high levels of two types of polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acids, 20 to 26 per centgamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linolenic acid (LA, which your body converts to GLA).

The charity explains: “GLA is an essential fatty acid that’s important for maintaining a joint’s cell structure and function. Your body converts it into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which regulate your immune system and fight joint inflammation.

“GLA might also suppress inflammatory responses by directly acting on some inflammatory cells.”

Borage seed oil, or starflower oil, is available to buy over the counter from pharmacies and health food shops in the from of capsules or bottled oil.

Starflower oil is available from Holland & Barrett - 50 capsules are £13.99.

Eating certain foods has also been proven to help ease joint pain.



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Cough - 10p a day supplements could relieve dry and chesty symptoms

Coughs usually go away by themselves within three weeks, according to the NHS.

The best way to get rid of a cough is to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and drink hot lemon with honey, it said.

A pharmacist can usually give you advice for treating a cough.

But, marshmallow root supplements could help to relieve signs of the condition, studies have claimed.

“For anyone suffering from a sore throat, cough or cold, marshmallow root can be taken orally to reduce pain, swelling and congestion,” said nutritionist Dr Josh Axe.

“Its antitussive properties and mucilage abilities allow it to decrease irritation of the throat, reduce swelling in the lymph nodes, speed up healing time and reduce aggravating dry coughing.

“This is exactly the reason that marshmallow extract is added to many cough syrups and throat lozenges.

“It’s one of the most effective natural cough remedies.”

Marshmallow root supplements could also suppress the urge to cough, studies revealed.

Try combining the supplements with other anti-inflammatory and antibacterial herbs for the best effect, said the nutritionist.

You could also treat a cough by taking some cough syrups and lozenges.

While they don’t work to get rid of the cough, they may help to suppress some of the symptoms.

See a GP if your cough has lasted longer than three weeks, the NHS advised.

Chest pain or unexplained weight loss are also signs that you should see a doctor about your cough.

Most coughs are caused by a cold or the flu virus.

You’re more at risk of developing a cough if you suffer from heartburn, allergies, or infections like bronchitis



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The magic vitamin that'll give you back your glow

Dementia diet - avoid these five foods to PREVENT Alzheimer’s disease

Dementia is the name given to a group of symptoms linked to a loss of brain function, according to the NHS.

The condition affects the way a patient speaks, thinks, feels and behaves.

Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, and difficulty finding the right words.

You could lower your risk of dementia by avoiding certain foods. The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) could help to prevent the condition, studies have claimed.

“The MIND diet is designed to prevent dementia and loss of brain function as you age,” said medical website Healthline.

“It combines the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet to create a dietary pattern that focuses specifically on brain health.

“Research has shown that following the MIND diet even a moderate amount is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The MIND diet encourages limiting your consumption of butter and margarine, cheese, red meat, fried food, pastries and sweets because they contain large amounts of saturated fat and trans fat.”

You should eat less than one tablespoon of butter or margarine a day, the diet suggests.

Limit your cheese consumption to less than once a week, and no more than three servings of red meat per week. That includes all beef, pork and lamb, as well as any products made from the meats.

Fried food should be avoided, with less than one serving per week.

Also, cut back on pastries and sweets, including most of the “processed junk food”. Eat these foods no more than four times a week.

There’s no certain way to prevent dementia, but some lifestyle changes can help to lower your risk of the condition.

Those most at risk of dementia are the elderly, and those with lower levels of education, the NHS said.

A diet high in saturated fat, salt and sugar can increase your risk of dementia.

Regular exercise may help to prevent a neurodegenerative condition, it added.



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Type 2 diabetes: Supplements containing this enzyme could help manage condition's symptoms

Supplementation with the co-enzyme Ubiquinone Q10 can “significantly improve” blood sugar control in Type 2 diabetics, as well as helping sufferers who take statins or have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to an article in The British Journal of Diabetes.

The study comes in the wake of figures showing diabetes as the fastest growing health crisis in the UK with the number of sufferers doubling to 3.7 million in the last 20 years with a further 12.3 million at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The co-enzyme Ubiquinone Q10 is a vitamin-like substance which plays a vital role in the body’s energy supply mechanism, acting alongside enzymes converting fats and sugars into energy.

Heart and skeletal muscles have the highest energy requirements of all tissues and are particularly reliant on adequate supplies of Q10 as a result.

Ubiquinone Q10 is also an antioxidant, protecting cells from the potentially damaging effects of toxic free radicals, but production of Ubiquinone Q10 in the body declines with age and Type 2 diabetics are often found to have lower levels of the substance.

The British Journal of Diabetes piece on Ubiquinone Q10 and diabetes pointed to a number of different clinical studies which showed how Type 2 diabetes sufferers who took Ubiquinone Q10 supplements of between 100mg and 200mg a day over a two to three-month period saw their conditions improve.

The results included:

  • Significantly improved long-term blood sugar and blood pressure control 1
  • Significantly reduced glycated haemoglobon (HbA1c) levels, thereby reducing the risk of developing diabetes-related complications 2
  • Significantly improved fasting plasma glucose levels (a blood sugar level several hours after eating)

Dr David Mantle, author of the study in The British Journal of Diabetes, said: “The body of evidence pointing to the potentially beneficial effects of Ubiquinone Q10 supplements for Type 2 diabetes sufferers is substantial.

“As the article outlines, controlled clinical trials have shown significant benefits in blood sugar control and vascular function for Type 2 diabetics who have taken Ubiquinone Q10 on a regular basis.

“Ubiquinone Q10 is also generally well tolerated with no serious adverse effects reported in long-term use and its safety has also been documented in over 200 randomised controlled trials in a wide range of disorders.

“Taken together, these results are certainly something worth considering by Type 2 diabetes sufferers and healthcare professionals involved in treating and managing the condition.”

Dr Mantle, who is also a medical adviser at Pharma Nord UK, said for Q10 supplementation to be effective, it needs to be absorbed by the body – what is known as bioavailability.

For this he recommends Pharma Nord’s Bio-Quinone Q10.

The NHS recommends that if you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you should eat healthily, take regular exercise and carry out regular blood test to ensure your blood glucose levels stay balanced.

As type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, medication may eventually be required, usually in the form of tablets.

If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you should avoid eating this snack with your breakfast.



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Piles: This common cold symptom increases your chances of haemorrhoids - are you at risk?

Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are swollen blood vessels that are found inside or around the anus, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of piles include bleeding after passing a stool, and having an itchy bottom.

Having a mucus discharge after passing a stool may also be a sign of piles.

You could be more likely to develop haemorrhoids if you’re suffering a cough.

“There are certain situations that increase the chance of piles developing,” said medical website Patient.info.

“Possible causes of piles include heavy lifting or a persistent [chronic] cough.

“Some people may inherit a weakness of the wall of the veins in the anal region.

“The tissues in the lining of the anus may become less supportive as we become older.”

Most coughs are caused by a cold or flu virus.

The risk of becoming infected by a virus increases during cold weather.

That means coughs are more likely during freezing temperatures, and therefore haemorrhoids.

You could also be more likely to develop piles if you’re constipated, overweight or are pregnant.

See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of haemorrhoids, the NHS said.

The symptoms usually clear up by themselves. Alternatively, see a pharmacist for simple treatments that are available over-the-counter.

Some people with haemorrhoids are embarrassed to see their GP about piles.

But, doctors are very used to diagnosing and treating haemorrhoids, the NHS advised.



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Diabetes diet - AVOID eating this snack with your breakfast or risk high blood sugar

Diabetes type 2 affects about 4.6 million people in the UK.

The condition is caused by the pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin.

Without insulin, sugar in the blood isn’t converted into energy, causing high blood sugar.

Eating fruit-flavoured yogurts could spike your blood sugar, and should be avoided.

“Plain yogurt can be a good option for people with diabetes,” said nutritionist Franziska Spritzler.

“However, fruit-flavoured varieties are a very different story.

“Flavoured yogurts are typically made from non-fat or low-fat milk and loaded with carbs and sugar.

“In fact, a one-cup [245-gram] serving of fruit-flavoured yogurt may contain 47 grams of sugar, meaning nearly 81 per cent of its calories come from sugar.”

White bread, pasta and rice should also be avoided by diabetes patients.

They’re carbohydrate-rich, processed foods that could significantly raise blood sugar levels in type 1 and 2 diabetes patients.

Some fruit juices are packed full of sugar, and can have a similar effect on blood sugar as soft drinks, said Spritzler.

Other foods to avoid include honey, dried fruit, chips, and packaged snack foods.

You can prevent developing diabetes by eating a healthy, balanced diet, according to the NHS.

If you’re overweight, losing weight could help to lower your risk of the condition.

Diabetes patients are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

The condition is also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation, other than accidents.



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Daily dose of aspirin ‘beats diabetes and heart disease’

High blood pressure WARNING: Dr Hilary claims cold weather increases risk of heart attacks

This week’s freezing temperatures could cause high blood pressure, Dr Hilary Jones said on Lorraine, this morning.

Doctors have issued health warnings over the cold weather, and heart attacks are more common in snowy conditions.

Blood becomes thicker in cold conditions, which increases the blood pressure, Dr Hilary said.

The public must take care and look after themselves during the cold weather, he added.

“There are health hazards at the moment,” said Dr Hilary.

“Heart attacks are more common in cold weather. You see more people shovelling snow from their driveways.

“The blood becomes thicker, blood pressure becomes higher.”

“People with asthma, when they exercise in cold air, it can trigger an attack.

“They need to be very careful about wrapping up warm and putting a scarf over their mouth to warm the air.”

The cold weather can trigger certain health conditions, according to the NHS.

Colds, sore throats and norovirus are all more common during freezing temperatures.

The best way to prevent heart attacks in cold weather is to stay warm in your home.

Heat the main rooms you sue to at least 18 degrees Celsius, and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed, the NHS added.

High blood pressure affects more than 25 per cent of all UK adults.

The condition increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes.

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high is to have it checked.

All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.



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Nuts may hold key to beating colon cancer

Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and pecans. Peanuts are legumes.

The study followed 826 participants in a clinical trial for six-and-a-half years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy.

Those who regularly consumed at least two one-ounce servings of nuts each week showed a 42 per cent improvement in disease-free survival and a 57 per cent improvement in overall survival.

Senior author Professor Charles Fuchs, director of Yale Cancer Centre in the US, said: “Further analysis revealed that disease-free survival increased by 46 per cent among the sub-group of nut consumers who ate tree nuts rather than peanuts.”

Healthy Lead author Dr Temidayo Fadelu, a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US, said: “These findings are in keeping with several other observational studies that indicate that a slew of healthy behaviours, including increased physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and lower intake of sugar and sweetened beverages – improve colon cancer outcomes.

“The results highlight the importance of emphasising dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survival.”

The researchers said the study also highlighted connections between biological mechanisms that worsen disease – not just in colon cancer, but in certain chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes.

Many previous studies have reported that nuts, among other health benefits, may help to reduce insulin resistance, a condition in which the body has difficulty processing the hormone.

Insulin resistance leads to unhealthy levels of sugar in the blood and is often a predecessor to Type 2 diabetes and related illnesses.

Earlier research among patients with colon cancer has revealed worse outcomes among those with lifestyle factors that heighten insulin resistance, such as obesity, lack of exercise, and a diet with high levels of carbohydrates that quickly raise levels of blood sugar.

Prof Fuchs said: “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviours that make you less insulin resistant – including eating nuts – seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer.

“However, we don’t know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.”

He said nuts also might play a positive role by satisfying hunger with less intake of carbohydrates or other foods associated with poor outcomes.

Dr Fuchs acknowledged patients may not be eating nuts owing to concerns about high fat content.

For example, a one-ounce serving of 24 almonds holds about 200 calories, including half a ounce of fat.

But he said: “People ask me if increasing nut consumption will lead to obesity. But what’s really interesting is that in our studies, and across scientific literature in general, regular consumers of nuts tend to be leaner.”

The study findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.



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High blood pressure – FIVE cooking tips to slash your hypertension risk

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects more than a quarter of all UK adults, according to the NHS.

Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on your blood vessels and vital organs.

The condition increases your risk of heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia.

But, you could lower your risk of hypertension by eating more fruit and vegetables.

“Eating more fruit and vegetables has been proven to help lower blood pressure,” said Blood Pressure UK.

“Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep your body in good condition.

“They also contain potassium, which helps to balance out the negative effects of salt. This has a direct effect on your blood pressure, helping to lower it.”

Get the most from your fruit and vegetables by following these tips.

Cooking

Even just by boiling your vegetables before dinner, you could help to lower your blood pressure.

“If you boil vegetables, use as little water as possible to help keep the vitamins and minerals in them,” said Blood Pressure UK.

The best way to cook your vegetables to lower blood pressure is to steam or bake them.

More vitamins and minerals are locked into the vegetables by cooking them this way, as opposed to boiling or frying them.

Shopping

When you’re at the supermarket buying your weekly vegetables, it’s best to avoid certain types.

“Don’t buy fruit and vegetable dishes that come with sauces.

“They often contain a lot of fat, salt and sugar.”

Eating

It’s best to mix up the types of vegetables you eat with your dinner.

“Vary the types of fruit and vegetables you eat.

“Each has different health benefits and it will keep your meals interesting.

“By eating a range of different vegetables, you’ll make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.”

Storing

The longer you leave vegetables before eating them, the more nutrients they lose.

“Try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables as soon as possible.

“They will lose their nutrients over time, so if you want to store your ingredients for a while, it is best to freeze them or buy frozen packets.”

Chopping

If you’re preparing dinner, but need one and a half onions, what should you do with the remaining half?

“Avoid leaving vegetables open to the air, light or heat if they have been cut.

“Always cover and chill them, but don't soak them because the vitamins and minerals can dissolve away.”



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Arthritis symptoms - FIVE ways to prevent and reverse joint pain

Arthritis can affect anyone of any age - including children, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, inflammation, restricted movement, and having warm, red skin over affected joints.

If left untreated, the condition can become debilitating.

While there’s currently no cure for arthritis, symptoms could be reduced by raising awareness of healthy habits, said Aetna International’s Director of Population Health, Dr Sneh Khemka.

“Arthritis is a tricky condition – it is difficult to predict the onset and severity of disease,” Khemka told Express.co.uk.

“There are over 100 forms of arthritis; some are genetic, for example rheumatoid arthritis; whereas others are related to age [degenerative], such as osteoarthritis.

“By improving management of arthritis in the community, we can empower patients and give them some of their independence back.”

Engaging with exercise could help to reduce symptoms, said Khemka.

Participating in aerobic activities, such as swimming and hiking, helps to keep joints mobile and strengthens the muscles around the joints.

Certain foods could help to fight inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids - found in oily fish and soybeans - can reduce swelling.

Cherries should be added to your diet, as well as citrus fruits, nuts, dairy products and garlic.

Also, losing weight could help to relieve some arthritis pain, Khemka said.

“Your spine, hip, knees and ankles support your bodyweight. By being overweight you put more pressure on these joints, and are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis.”

Sitting in the same position for long periods of time could increase your risk of joint pain.

If you work in an office, or just enjoy sitting on the sofa watching the television, it’s a good idea to stand up every 30 minutes, to prevent your body from locking up.

It’s also important to prevent excess strain on your joints, said Khemka.

If you’re lifting heavy objects, carry them close to your body, which will lower the strain on wrists and smaller joints.

“It is crucial we identify those at risk and intervene early on,” said the doctor. “If you do develop symptoms, make sure you see your doctor immediately.

“Arthritis is progressive. The longer you leave it, the more damage is done to your joints. Your doctor will help recommend treatments and exercises to preserve your mobility. Early detection is key.”



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Pancreatic cancer: THIS number of patients will not receive surgery, chemo or radiotherapy

Just a third will get the treatment that is most likely to keep them alive.

The crisis in caring for sufferers is laid bare today by Pancreatic Cancer UK which reveals those with more common types of the killer disease are twice as likely to receive life-extending or potentially life-saving treatments.

Analysis by the charity shows less than ten per cent of people with pancreatic cancer have surgery compared with almost half of patients with all common cancers.

They will today demand action to address the injustice.

TV and radio presenter Nicholas Owen, 71, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer, said: “I know only too well how much change is needed for all of us affected by this disease.

“My father died in 1981 and since then, there have been very few new treatments introduced and precious little progress in the way that people with the disease are cared for.

“That must urgently change, and I am very proud to be a part of a movement paving the way towards that.”

Pancreatic cancer claims the lives of almost 9,000 people in the UK each year. The charity is fighting to ensure more people struck down by the disease receive life-extending or life-saving treatments and more trials are performed to improve survival rates.

Eight in 10 sufferers are diagnosed at an advanced stage where life-saving treatment is not an option.

The call for action comes as the charity hosts a summit today showcasing innovative pancreatic cancer care from around the UK.

Chief executive Diana Jupp said: “Having a diagnosis is devastating for all patients, but seven in ten are then completely shattered by the news there is no way of treating their cancer.

“All they are offered is some relief for their symptoms, and they face an awful prognosis. We must now bring about a new dawn for people affected by the disease.

“More patients must receive treatment which will give them the best chance of living for longer, or surviving – and everyone diagnosed must receive the best possible treatment and care for them.

“To achieve this step change for people affected, we need patients to be diagnosed earlier and more treatment options for those who are diagnosed.”



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Dementia news: Your EYES could predict if you will develop symptoms

Researchers found people whose eyes show signs of small changes in blood vessels at the age of 60 may be more likely to develop thinking and memory problems by the time they are 80 than people with healthy eyes.

The study involved 12,317 people who took tests of memory and thinking skills at the beginning of the study, again about six years later and for a third time about 20 years after the first test.

A special retinal camera was used to take photos of the back of the participants' eyes about three years after the start of the study, when the participants were an average age of 60.

A total of 11,692 people had no signs of retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the retina, 365 people had mild retinopathy and 256 people had moderate to severe damage.

The researchers found that people who had moderate to severe retinopathy were more likely to have bigger drops in their scores on the memory and thinking tests over time than the people who had healthy eyes.

Study author Doctor Jennifer Deal, of Johns Hopkins University in the US, said: “Problems with the small blood vessels in the brain are likely as important a factor in cognitive decline as problems with larger arteries, but we don't have the ability to take pictures of these small vessels with brain imaging.

“Because the blood vessels in the eye and the brain are so similar anatomically, we hypothesised that looking at the blood vessels in the eye would help us understand what was happening in the brain.“

For the people with moderate to severe damage, their average scores on the tests declined by 1.22 standard deviation units over 20 years, compared to a decline of 0.91 standard deviation units for people with healthy eyes.

When the researchers adjusted to take into account people who had missed some of the thinking tests, they found that the difference between the two groups was equal to 0.57 standard deviation units.

Dr Deal added: “To put this in perspective, a previous study using the same methods found that the effect of diabetes on cognitive decline was equal to 0.21 standard deviation units.

“If our study results can be confirmed, differences in retinal integrity could provide reasonable estimates of how much small blood vessel damage in the brain is contributing to cognitive decline.”

Shel said one limitation of the study, published online by the journal Neurology, was that photos were taken in only one eye.



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What is psoriatic arthritis? FOUR signs that you have the painful joint condition

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that develops in some psoriasis patients, according to the NHS.

It’s a long-term condition that gets worse over time.

It’s believed to be caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue, just like in psoriasis.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are similar to both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

“See your GP if you experience persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints – even if you haven't been diagnosed with psoriasis,” said the NHS.

“If you've been diagnosed with psoriasis, you should have check-ups at least once a year to monitor your condition.

“Make sure you let your doctor know if you're experiencing any problems with your joints.”

Signs of psoriatic arthritis can include painful joints or swelling.

Inflammation and restricted movement could also be symptoms of the painful condition.

Some patients experience more extreme symptoms than others, the NHS said.

There may also be times when symptoms improve - known as remission.

Similarly, they could also get worse during certain periods, known as flare-ups.

There’s currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis.

But, certain treatments may help to relieve symptoms and slow down the condition’s progress.

Psoriatic arthritis patients are more likely to develop some other conditions, including cardiovascular disease.

You can lower your risk of these conditions - and reduce your arthritis symptoms - by maintaining a good balance between rest and exercise, and by losing weight if you’re overweight.



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Should you take fish oil while pregnant? What is the benefit of fish oil capsules?

Eczema risk was reduced by 22 per cent in children whose mothers took a probiotic supplement between 36 and 38 weeks of pregnancy.

Adding beneficial bacteria to the diet during the first three to six months of breastfeeding had the same effect.

The findings come from one of the biggest investigations of maternal diet and childhood allergy ever undertaken.

Scientists pooled data from more than 400 studies involving 1.5 million mothers and their children.

While clear benefits were seen from fish oil and probiotics, there was no evidence that avoiding potentially allergy-triggering foods such as nuts, dairy produce and eggs during pregnancy had any effect.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Boyle, from Imperial College London, said: "Food allergies and eczema in children are a growing problem across the world.

"Although there has been a suggestion that what a woman eats during pregnancy may affect her baby's risk of developing allergies or eczema, until now there has never been such a comprehensive analysis of the data.

"Our research suggests probiotic and fish oil supplements may reduce a child's risk of developing an allergic condition, and these findings need to be considered when guidelines for pregnant women are updated."

Allergies to foods such as nuts, egg, milk or wheat affect around one in 20 children in the UK.

They are the result of the immune system overreacting to harmless substances, leading to symptoms such as rashes, swelling, vomiting and wheezing.

Eczema, also thought to involve an overactive immune response, affects around one in five children in the UK and causes dry, cracked and itchy skin.

People who suffer from eczema are also more likely to have allergies.

More work is needed to understand how fish oils and probiotics may protect against allergies and eczema, according to study co-author Dr Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, also from Imperial College.

She said: "Despite allergies and eczema being on the rise, and affecting millions of children, we are still hunting for the root causes of these conditions, and how to prevent them.

"This study has provided clues, which we now need to follow with further research."

The new findings appear in the latest issue of the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

Previous studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may help to dampen down an overactive immune system.

Probiotics, taken in the form of capsules, a powder or a health drink, contain live bacteria that may influence the natural balance of microbes in the gut.

Scientists have linked the disruption of naturally occurring gut "flora" to allergy risk.

Commenting on the research, Seif Shaheen, professor of respiratory epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, said: "More definitive answers on the possible role of maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation in the prevention of childhood allergic disease can only come from further large trials, which follow up the children to school age.

"If such trials are big enough they may be able to identify particular subgroups of mothers and children who would benefit most from these interventions."



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Heart attack WARNING: Women of THIS shape 'are more at risk'

Researchers found that while general obesity and obesity specifically around the abdomen each have 'profound' harmful effects on heart attack risk in both sexes, women were more negatively impacted by higher waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio than men.

The researchers said the findings suggest that the differences in the quantity and distribution of fat tissue not only results in differences in body shape between women and men, but may also have implications for the risk of a heart attack in later life.

The study involved nearly 500,000 British adults aged 40 to 69.

Study lead author Doctor Sanne Peters, Research Fellow in Epidemiology at the George Institute for Global Health at Oxford University, said: "Our findings support the notion that having proportionally more fat around the abdomen - a characteristic of the apple shape - appears to be more hazardous than more visceral fat which is generally stored around the hips, i.e. the pear shape."

She said further research on sex differences in obesity may yield insights into the biological mechanisms and could lead to sex-specific interventions to treat and halt the obesity epidemic.

One in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050.

Being obese puts people at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain cancers.



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Brain cancer warning - why you should never ignore feeling sleepy

Brain cancer is caused by cells multiplying in an abnormal way, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of the condition are caused as the tumour takes up space inside the skull.

The signs can develop over a period of time, and patients may not show any symptoms to begin with.

But, you should see a GP if you’re feeling persistently drowsy.

“Some symptoms of a brain tumour are very general and lots of other medical conditions can cause them,” said Cancer Research UK.

“It's unlikely to be a brain tumour, but always get your symptoms checked out.

“You might find you feel drowsy or you are sleeping more. You might be falling asleep during the day.”

The NHS added: “See your GP if you have the above symptoms, particularly if you have a severe and persistent headache.”

Other signs of brain cancer include persistent headaches and seizures.

You should also see a GP if you have progressive weakness, vision and speech problems, and paralysis on one side of the body.

Persistent nausea and vomiting may be signs of the deadly disease.

If your GP can’t identify a cause of the symptoms, they may refer you to a neurologist for further tests.

More than 9,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours in the UK every year.

About half of all primary brain tumours are cancerous, the NHS said.

You’re more likely to develop the disease is you’re exposed to high levels of radiation.

Losing weight could help to prevent brain cancer, said Cancer Research UK.



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Eczema cream WARNING: Do NOT use this herbal treatment - NHS claims ‘more harm than good’

Eczema is a common condition that can make the skin become dry, itchy and cracked, according to the NHS.

Patients usually have periods where symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods of particularly bad episodes - known as flare-ups.

You can help to relieve the dry skin condition by avoiding triggers, and by using moisturising creams.

But, you should avoid using Yiganerjing Chinese Medicine Cream, as it contains undisclosed steroids and anti fungal ingredients, the NHS and government urged.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) - a government division - has acted to stop the sale of the cream.

Yiganerjing Cream contains the steroid clobetasol propionate, which is the active ingredient in prescription-only medicines for eczema and psoriasis.

Creams contains steroids could be sued sparingly, as as directed by a doctor or pharmacist, the MHRA said.

“The sale of potent steroid creams directly to the public is illegal for good reason,” said MHRA Manager of the Medicines Borderline Section, Dr Chris Jones. “If used without medical supervision these medicines can be dangerous.

“Steroids must be prescribed by healthcare professionals who follow strict criteria when prescribing them and monitoring patients using them.

“They can suppress the skin’s response to infection, can cause long-term thinning of the skin, and if applied long term over a wide area, particularly in babies and children, can cause other medical problems.

“Our advice to anyone who is using Yiganerjing Cream, particularly on young children and babies, is to discontinue use immediately.”

There are topical corticosteroids and emollients available that could help to relieve the symptoms of eczema.

See a GP if you have symptoms of eczema, the NHS said.

Symptoms include itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red skin.

Some patients may have small patches of dry skin, while others may have widespread inflamed skin all over the body.

Eczema often occurs in people that get allergies, have asthma or hay fever.

Express.co.uk has approached Yinganerjing Chinese Medical Cream for comment.



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Arthritis pain - add this 41p vegetable to your shopping list to prevent joint pain

Arthritis is a common condition that can cause joint pain and inflammation, according to the NHS.

Other symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, restricted movement and muscle wasting.

Some treatments and therapies could help to ease arthritis pain.

But, eating more broccoli could help to prevent and reduce arthritis symptoms, scientists have claimed.

Eating broccoli could lower the risk of developing joint pain, according to scientists from the University of East Anglia.

The cruciferous vegetable contains the compound sulforaphane, which was revealed to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

But, the researchers found the compound could get into joints in sufficient amounts to reduce arthritis pain.

The findings could help the UK’s eight and a half million osteoarthritis patients, the scientists added.

“Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability,” said researcher Ian Clark.

“It is a huge health burden but a huge financial burden too, which will get worse in an increasingly ageing and obese population such as ours.

“As well as treating those who already have the condition, you need to be able to tell healthy people how to protect their joints into the future.

“There is currently no way in to the disease pharmaceutically and you cannot give healthy people drugs unnecessarily, so this is where diet could be a safe alternative.”

The arthritis-fighting compound sulforaphane is also found in Brussel sprouts and cabbage.

Eating more vegetables could help to prevent arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

“Try adding broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale or cauliflower to your salad or stir-fry,” the foundation said.

You could also prevent arthritis by eating more omega-3 fatty acids and by losing weight, if you’re obese.



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Diabetes type 2 - 88p a day natural supplements ’SLASHED’ woman’s high blood sugar

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that affects about 3.7 million people in the UK.

The condition is caused by the pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body not reacting to the hormone.

A lack of insulin lowers the amount of sugar that the body takes from the blood, leading to high blood sugar.

But, CuraLin supplements significantly lowered one patient’s blood sugar, it has been claimed.

Maureen Kersley, 72, was diagnosed with diabetes after a routine health check.

She was prescribed diabetes medication to bring her blood sugar down, but it caused unwanted side effects, Kersley said.

But, CuraLin supplements helped to reverse the condition, she added.

The supplements use all-natural ingredients, and are available from 88 pence a day.

“During a routine check with my GP, they uncovered that my HbA1c [glycated haemoglobin] was showing that I had diabetes, as it was well beyond the pre-diabetic level,” said Kersley.

“As soon as I was told, it felt like a death sentence as I know of all the symptoms it can lead to.

“I tried to manage my blood sugar levels with my diet alone; I generally eat well and don’t have a lot of sweet things but I still found it hard to keep my blood sugar levels down which made me nervous.

“I found Curalin on Facebook and it has changed my life already, in just a matter of weeks. I tried the first week trial pack and noticed almost straight away that my fasting blood sugar levels dropped from 8 or 9 down to 6.9.”

The dietary supplements, which aren’t a substitute for conventional treatment, combines traditional ingredients from across the world.

Ingredients include bitter melon, alma, turmeric, and fenugreek.

CuraLin presents an “amazing opportunity” to lower costs of managing diabetes on the NHS, said Kersley.

You could lower your risk of diabetes by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and by losing weight if you’re overweight.



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Freezing weather means we're set for worst winter deaths crisis in DECADES

And people with health conditions including heart problems and asthma have been warned to take care and stay indoors as temperatures plummet.

Campaigners fear this winter could even bring "unprecedented numbers" of deaths amid forecasts of severe cold weather into mid-March.

Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said: "Last year's excess winter death figures were pretty horrendous even though it was a relatively mild year.

"With a cold spell like this the risk is this number will rise if people, especially the elderly, do not take great care. We could be facing unprecedented numbers this year."

Last year saw 34,300 excess winter deaths in England and Wales caused by slips, falls and illness, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In the winter of 2014-15 there were 43,900 deaths, the highest number since 1999-2000 when there were 48,400.

Latest PHE figures reveal there have been 150 new admissions to intensive care units with influenza since mid-February.

More than 750 people were reported as being in hospital with the flu, including the deadly Australian strain, last week.

Dr Richard Pebody, PHE's acting head of respiratory diseases, said: "We have seen significantly more deaths than we'd usually expect to see this winter, particularly in over-65s in England.

"The very cold weather some areas have seen since Christmas and the strains of flu circulating this winter are likely to be important contributing factors.

"These both tend to affect the elderly and those with underlying conditions."

Charities have warned people with health problems to take extra care over the next few weeks.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director for Age UK, added: "Simple precautions such as wrapping up warm when going outside, sleeping with the windows closed at night and having plenty of hot food and drinks throughout the day can help keep these risks at bay."



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High blood pressure - add this 59p juice to your morning routine to SLASH your BP

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about one in every four UK adults, according to the NHS.

Hypertension puts extra strain on blood vessels, which deliver oxygen to vital organs.

The condition increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and vascular dementia.

But, you could lower your blood pressure by drinking more pomegranate juice, studies have claimed.

Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which could help to reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.

Nutritionist Dr Josh Axe said: “Pomegranates have been shown to prevent and naturally treat everything from inflammation and high cholesterol to high blood pressure and hyperglycaemia.

“The juice of pomegranate seeds contains different types of antioxidants and bioactive polyphenols that have been reported to promote cardiovascular health, including healthy blood pressure levels, through several mechanisms.”

The best pomegranate juice is 100 per cent pure, he added.

The “powerhouse” fruit juice could also help to reduce arthritis symptoms.

Pomegranate seeds could reduce the onset of collagen-induced arthritis, studies revealed.

Some scientists have also claimed pomegranate can lower the risk of breast and prostate cancer.

Other reported benefits of the fruit juice include improved memory, better heart health, and a better resistance to bacterial infections.

The only way of knowing if you have hypertension is to get your blood pressure checked, the NHS said.

All adults should get their blood pressure checked at least every five years.

You can check your hypertension risk by seeing your GP, or some local pharmacies.

Lower your risk of high blood pressure by losing weight if you’re overweight, doing more exercise, and cutting back on salt.



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Early dementia signs - these symptoms could indicate that you're at risk of Alzheimer's

  • Dementia signs can be difficult to spot in its early stages
  • Small mistakes while carrying out everyday tasks could be a sign of condition
  • Mood changes, being repetitive and a decline in navigational skills could indicate early dementia
  • About 850,000 people have dementia in the UK

Making small mistakes while completing everyday tasks could be a very early sign of dementia, scientists have revealed.

Accidentally leaving a teabag in a mug of coffee, or checking the fridge for milk that’s already on the side, could be a sign that cognitive ability was already fading, according to a US study.

Future Alzheimer’s disease patients could miss out vital steps of everyday tasks, while those diagnosed with other types of dementia struggled to sort steps into the right order, the study found.

Other early signs of dementia include a decline in navigational skills, changes in mood, and being repetitive.

“Early on, we can look at very subtle errors called 'microerrors’,” said Dr Tania Giovannetti, author of the study.

“If you have more of those, then you are more vulnerable to decline in future.”

Declining navigations skills, or how people find their way around, was another early sign of the condition, a separate study revealed earlier this year.

Some key structures of the navigational network in the brain were sensitive to ageing and pathological factors, said the researchers from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Quick changes to mood or behaviour could also be a warning sign for dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International.

Depression could also be a sign of the condition.

“Everyone can become sad or moody from time to time,” said Alzheimer’s Disease International. “A person with dementia may become unusually emotional and experience rapid mood swings for no apparent reason.

“Alternatively a person with dementia may show less emotion than was usual previously.”

Dementia patients may also repeat something they’ve said before.

Repeating a word, question or activity could be an early sign of the condition, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

One in 14 people over 65 will develop dementia, figures have shown. One in six over-80s will develop the condition.

By 2025, it’s estimated that the number of people with dementia in the UK will reach one million.



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Irritable bowel syndrome - FIVE natural ways to cure IBS constipation and stomach pain

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the digestive system, according to the NHS.

It’s usually a lifelong problem, and can have a big problem on a patients’ everyday life.

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but the pain may be linked to spasms in the bowel.

You could get rid of IBS pain by adding these five natural remedies to your diet.

Probiotics could help to promote healthy bacteria in the gut, and may help to reduce symptoms.

“Try probiotics for a month to see if they help,” said the NHS.

You’ll want between 50 to 100 billion units every day, a nutritionist claimed.

Also, try taking digestive enzyme supplements before meals.

The supplements could help with nutrient absorption, and may ease stomach pain.

L-glutanamine supplements may help to relieve signs of IBS too, according to medical website Healthline.

“Tissues in the intestine use this amino acid as a fuel source to function well,” it said.

“L-glutamine may help people who experience these symptoms regularly, or who’ve received an IBS diagnosis.

“In some instances, it’s believed that IBS itself could be the result of an L-glutamine deficiency.”

One and a half cups of aloe vera juice may help to heal the digestive system, said nutritionist Dr Josh Axe.

If the juice isn’t for you, you could also try taking 1,000mg of fish oil supplements everyday.

It’s believed fish oil can reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the world - about 10 to 15 per cent of people have the condition.



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Rheumatoid arthritis: Could SCORPION VENOM provide surprise relief?

Dementia WARNING: This daily habit could raise risk of developing condition

A study by researchers at Oxford and Cardiff found drinking just three and a half glasses of wine a week is enough to raise the risk of dementia.

A study of more than 13,000 adults is the largest of its kind to show the link between even low levels of alcohol intake and damage to the brain.

Both men and women who drank just over one unit of alcohol a day suffered a decline in brain function over four years.

One unit of alcohol equates to one measure of spirits, half a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer.

Now researchers are calling for a “discussion” over whether Government guidelines of 14 unites a week should be lowered for older adults.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists are set to publish a review into the harm drinking causes to over-60s. It will be released next Wednesday.

Authors believe 14 units a week is an “unsafe” level for many older adults because of the increased risk of dementia and other illnesses, according to the Daily Mail.

Professor Simon Moore of Cardiff University said: “We’re drinking ourselves to stupidity. If you want to remain healthy in your later years you should really minimise how much you drink.

“If you’re planning on drinking more than ten grams a day (1.25 units) you’re increasing your risk of dementia. If, for example, last week you were drinking on average ten grams of alcohol a day, about a bottle of prosecco that week, but then next week you increase that to two bottles of prosecco, you’re putting yourself at significant risk.”

There are 61,000 new cases of dementia every year, and no cure. Study authors claim alcohol is contributing to the skyrocketing rates of new cases.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Public Health, followed 13,342 adults aged 40 to 73.



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Ten foods to make your tummy happy

'I was like a balloon': Amanda Barrie on the mystery allergy that could kill her

Leukaemia symptoms - what is the aggressive blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia?

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a cancer of the white blood cells, according to the NHS.

The cancer is very aggressive and usually requires immediate treatment.

The condition is caused by stem cells producing too many young white blood cells.

The white blood cells aren’t developed enough to fight infections, and leads to a decrease in red blood cells.

“It's not clear exactly why this happens and, in most cases, there's no identifiable cause,” said the NHS.

“However, a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing acute myeloid leukaemia have been identified.”

You’re more likely to develop the condition if you’ve had chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

If you’ve been exposed to high levels of radiation, or the chemical benzene, you could be at risk.

“The symptoms of AML usually develop over a few weeks and become increasingly more severe.

“See your GP if you or your child have the symptoms.

“Although it's highly unlikely that AML is the cause, these symptoms need to be investigated and treated promptly.”

Pale skin, fatigue, breathlessness and a fever are all signs of the blood cancer.

Other symptoms include weight loss, frequent infections, easily-bruised skin and joint pain.

“In rare cases of AML, the affected cells can spread into the central nervous system,” said the NHS.

“This can cause symptoms such as headaches, fits (seizures), vomiting, blurred vision and dizziness.”

About 2,600 people are diagnosed with AML every year in the UK.



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This Morning’s Dr Chris urges people to get diabetes tests - cases double in 20 years

Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time, according to This Morning’s Dr Chris Steele.

The number of diabetes cases have doubled in the UK over the past 20 years, it was revealed by charity Diabetes UK.

Almost four million people have the high blood sugar condition.

But, Dr Chris urged the public to get checked, as more than one million aren’t even aware they have type 2 diabetes.

“What concerns me is there’s one million without diabetes and they don’t know they have it,” said Dr Chris.

“The interesting thing about this is that people aren’t too concerned about diabetes.

“The think ‘it’s just a bit of sugar in the blood’.

“Working from the top down, you could lose your sight, have heart attacks, gangrene, kidney transplants…”

Diabetes UK called for stricter restrictions on junk food and advertising to slow down the condition’s rise.

“Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time; and the fact diagnoses have doubled in just 20 years should give all of us serious pause for thought,” said the charity’s Chief Executive Chris Askew.

“Both type 1 and type 2 are serious conditions that can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease if people don’t receive a timely diagnosis and begin receiving the right care.”

About 90 per cent of all diabetes cases are type 2, the NHS said.

Signs of the condition include feeling very tired and passing more urine than normal.

Unexplained weight loss and having an unquenchable thirst are also symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

See your GP if you’re worried about diabetes symptoms.

Early diagnosis is crucial, as it will get progressively worse if left untreated.



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What cough do I have? Signs of dry, chesty, tickly and mucus coughs - and how to treat it

Coughs are usually caused by a cold or flu infection, according to the NHS.

They could also be caused by smoking, heartburn, or some respiratory health conditions.

There’s normally no reason to see a GP, and the cough clears within three weeks.

But, with so many different types of cough, each with different treatments, it’s best to know what type of condition you have.

Dry cough

A persistent dry cough can be painful and intense.

It may even cause patients to avoid coughing, because they’re afraid of the pain that follows.

“A dry cough can be felt in your throat rather than in the chest, as opposed to the chesty and mucus coughs,” said cough medicine manufacturer Benylin.

“Dry coughs are caused by an inflammation of the upper airways.”

There’s usually no phlegm with dry coughs.

Some dry cough medicines help to suppress the coughing mechanism, while helps the patient to feel better.

Dry, tickly cough

A dry, tickly cough can feel uncomfortable and irritating.

It may feel as if someone is tickling your throat as you’re talking.

“The irritated area in the throat produces a tickly sensation causing you to cough.

“A sore throat can also be experienced with a dry & tickly cough, as the constant coughing may irritate the throat.”

Cough mixtures help to soothe the irritate area of the throat, relieving the tickling sensation.

Chesty cough

“When you’ve got a chesty cough it can feel tight as if someone was squeezing your chest too hard,” said Benylin.

“Chesty coughs are caused by a build-up of phlegm in the lungs and result in chest congestion.”

The cough can be caused by dusty, bacteria or viruses entering the lungs and causing an infection.

Cough medicines help to loosen phlegm in the chest, making it easier to cough up.

It also contains a decongestant, which relieves the feeling of being tight-chested.

Mucus cough

“When a wet mucus cough sits on your chest it feels heavy as though an octopus is weighing down on your chest,” said Benylin.

“When you get a cold, more mucus is produced to trap the viruses or bacteria.

“This mucus can gather in the respiratory system and a cough reflex is triggered to help remove it.”

You can loosen mucus in the chest by taking some mucus cough remedies. Loosening the mucus makes it easier to cough up.



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Suffering with heartburn? Apple cider vinegar could cure your condition

Heartburn describes the burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach acid moving up the throat - known as acid reflux - according to the NHS.

The condition can cause an unpleasant taste or bitter fluid at the back of the throat.

Bad breath and chest pain are also signs of heartburn.

But, taking apple cider vinegar everyday could prevent heartburn, according to nutritionist Cassandra Burns.

“Contrary to what you may have thought, it’s more common to have too little stomach acid than too much,” said Burns.

“Having low stomach acid can cause many of the problems that people associate with indigestion, including burping, nausea and even heartburn symptoms.

“Taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water before a meal can help to balance stomach acid levels.

“However, do not try this if you are already taking a prescribed medication to reduce stomach acid.”

Certain foods could also increase your risk of heartburn symptoms.

Red wine, cheese, oranges, peppermint and nuts could all trigger the condition.

Alcohol irritates the stomach by increasing the amount of acid it produces, and can make heartburn significantly worse.

It also makes it easier for the acid to reflux back into the gullet, causing irritation.

You can ease heartburn symptoms at home by eating smaller, more frequent meals, the NHS said.

Raising one end of your bed, by putting something underneath the mattress, could also help to reduce symptoms, as it prevents stomach acid from travelling up the throat.

Speak to a pharmacist if you keep getting heartburn.

Some medicines, known as antacids, may help to relieve the symptoms



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Postcode lottery: Some women are twice as likely to die from breast cancer

Analysis shows how inequalities in diagnosis and treatment are potentially putting thousands of lives at risk.

The crisis last night sparked calls for health bosses to urgently address geographical variations in services across England.

The damning report, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer, said: “Our inquiry has uncovered a concerning postcode lottery in screening uptake, early diagnosis and access to breast cancer services across England. This variation in NHS services can have a devastating impact on patients’ lives and must be addressed.”

All women aged 50 to 70 are invited for routine mammograms every three years as part of the NHS screening programme.

About a third of all breast cancers in the UK are diagnosed this way, with the programme preventing 1,300 deaths each year.

But research shows attendance has declined in all areas of the country except London over the past decade, with “significant disparities” across England.

The proportion of eligible women screened in the past three years in Leicestershire passed 80 per cent last year, while in Blackpool it was 55.4 per cent.

The report also reveals that breast cancer is diagnosed much later in some areas, potentially reducing a patient’s chances of survival.

The variation ranges from 61.9 per cent diagnosed early (stage 1 and 2) in NHS Gloucestershire to 88 per cent in NHS Rushcliffe in Notts.

Some 90 per cent of women who have breast cancer diagnosed at stage 1 survive for five years compared with 15 per cent who have it diagnosed at stage 4.

At a local level there is a huge disparity in death rates, ranging from a high of 31.9 per 100,000 people before the age of 75 in Newark and Sherwood, Notts, to national low of 13.3 per 100,000 in Tower Hamlets, east London.

Meanwhile, 13 per cent of UK breast radiologist posts remain vacant and a further 20 per cent of these specialists are due to retire in the next five years.

In some areas almost a third of women have to wait longer than a fortnight to see a specialist.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “This crucial report highlights geographical variation in NHS breast cancer services on a worrying scale. It shows many women are missing out on the best care this country has to offer and this is totally unacceptable.

“We urge NHS England and Public Health England to take immediate action to help prevent more breast cancers, detect the disease earlier and ensure all women receive fair access to the care, treatment and support they need.



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Diabetes toll has doubled to 3.7m in two decades

Experts say 3.7 million are blighted by the illness – an increase of 1.9 million since 1998 – and they fear it is only the tip of the iceberg.

A further 12.3 million are at increased risk of lifestyle-driven Type 2, a preventable but deadly condition caused by the UK’s obsession with sugary snacks.

The epidemic last night prompted Diabetes UK to call for stricter restrictions on junk food advertising and a clampdown on supermarket price promotions.

Chief executive Chris Askew said: “Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time; and the fact diagnoses have doubled in just 20 years should give all of us serious pause for thought.

“Both Type 1 and Type 2 are serious conditions that can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease if people don’t receive a timely diagnosis and begin receiving the right care.

“We want the Government to recognise the seriousness of the growing crisis, take action to help those at increased risk, and help us turn the tables on this devastating condition.”

Type 1 sees the body automatically destroy its own insulin-producing cells but Type 2 is largely brought on by chronically unhealthy lifestyles.

The number of people diagnosed with both types has increased by almost 100,000 in just a single year, rising from 3,590,501 to 3,689,509.

The charity estimates there are one million people who have diabetes but are not aware of it.

It means 25 per cent of the UK population has, or could develop, the debilitating illness.

Diabetes now costs more than £10billion a year to treat – 10 per cent of the NHS budget.

Bradford has the UK’s highest prevalence of diabetes with one in 10 living with the condition. The national average is 6.6 per cent.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “For at least the last decade successive governments have been repeatedly warned the disease, triggered by obesity, could bring down the NHS. For the last 20 years no serious strategy has been produced to tackle it.”



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Prostate cancer symptoms: Six factors that can increase the risk of the deadly disease

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and because it develops slowly there may be no signs you have it in the early stages.

Symptoms often become apparent when your prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine form the bladder to the penis - the urethra.

Many men could confuse an enlarged prostate with one of the symptoms of prostate cancer. (/life-style/health/920784/cancer-symptoms-signs-prostate-diagnosis-enlarged-treatment)

It’s not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, according to the NHS, but a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.

These include:

Age - risk rises as you get older and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age.

Ethnic group – prostate cancer is more common among men of African-Caribbean and African descent than in men of Asian descent.

Family history – having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer under the age of 60 seems to increase the risk of you developing it. Research also shows that having a close female relative who developed breast cancer may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.

Obesity – recent research suggests that there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer.

Exercise – men who regularly exercise have also been found to be at lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

Diet – research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer. There is evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

The health body adds: “In addition, some research has shown that prostate cancer rates appear to be lower in men who eat foods containing certain nutrients including lycopene, found in cooked tomatoes and other red fruit, and selenium, found in brazil nuts.

“However, more research is needed.”

National treasure Stephen Fry revealed on Friday he has been battling prostate cancer.

He revealed the shock revelation in a 12 minute video uploaded to Twitter, where he also said he underwent an operation in January. 

So what are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

The NHS lists the following:

Needing to urinate more frequently, often during the night

Needing to rush to the toilet

Difficulty in starting to pee (hesitancy)

Straining or taking a long time while urinating

Weak flow

Feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully

Do you have to have a rectal exam to check for prostate cancer? 



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UK weather WARNING: Snow and freezing temperatures could trigger this painful condition

Temperatures in Britain have taken a sharp dip today and officials have warned the elderly and those with health conditions take extra care.

The outlook for the weather this week shows temperatures struggle to get above freezing as bone-chilling winds sweep in from the Russian Arctic.

While many will be excited over snowfall in parts of Britain, the cold blast could cause people with arthritis to feel as if their joints are more painful and stiff.

There’s no evidence that changes in the weather causes joint damage, but the NHS offers one explanation and a top tip to avoid such a feeling.

The health body says: “Many people get a little depressed during the winter months, and this can make them perceive pain more acutely.

“Everything feels worse, including medical conditions.”

Daily exercise can boost a person’s mental and physical state.

Swimming is ideal as it’s easy on the joints.

Freezing temperatures could also triggers symptoms of Raynaud’s disease in some people.

This is a common condition that makes your fingers and toes change colour and become very painful in cold weather.

The NHS explains on its Choices website: “Fingers can go white, then blue, then red, and throb and tingle. The small blood vessels of the hands and feet go into spasm, temporarily reducing blood flow to your hands and feet.”

How can you prevent it?



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Keep your skin healthy with these amazing super food tips

Pain when you poo? You could have haemorrhoids and should see a GP

Haemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen blood vessels found in or around the anus, according to the NHS.

They’re very common, and almost half of all people develop piles at some point in their lifetime.

The condition can cause bleeding after passing a stool, an itchy anus, or a mucus discharge after using the toilet.

But, you should see a GP if you’re experiencing pain while passing a stool.

“In many cases, haemorrhoids don't cause symptoms and some people don't even realise they have them,” said the NHS.

“Haemorrhoids aren't usually painful, unless their blood supply slows down or is interrupted.

“See your GP if you have persistent or severe symptoms of haemorrhoids. You should always get any rectal bleeding checked so your doctor can rule out more potentially serious causes.

“Speak to your GP if your symptoms don't get better or you experience pain or bleeding.”

A tenderness or pain during bowel movements could be a sign of piles.

Other signs include a painful swelling or lump near the anus, and having a lump hanging down outside of the anus.

The symptoms of haemorrhoids often clear up by themselves, the NHS said.

Some simple treatments, available at your local pharmacy, could help to get rid of piles.

If you do see a doctor, they’ll diagnose haemorrhoids by using a quick internal examination.

There’s no reason to be embarrassed by piles. It’s a very common condition, and GPs are used to diagnosing it.

You can lower your risk of haemorrhoids by increasing the amount of fibre in your diet.

Delaying going to the toilet increases your risk of piles, as it can make stools harder and drier, which may lead to straining when you do go to the toilet.



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Diabetes type 2 - FIVE signs that you may have high blood sugar and should see a GP

Diabetes type 2 is caused by the pancreas not producing enough of the hormone insulin.

Without enough insulin, sugar stays in the blood and isn’t converted into fuel for the body.

Having high blood sugar levels can lead to hyperglycaemia, a condition that triggers the main symptoms of diabetes.

These are the five main diabetes symptoms that you should be aware of.

“If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, talk to your doctor,” said medical website Healthline.

“They may recommend that you be tested for diabetes, which is performed with a basic blood draw.”

Blurred vision

Hyperglycaemia can cause the eyes’ lens to become swollen.

A swollen lens leads to blurred vision.

“Getting your blood sugar under control can help correct vision problems,” said the medical website.

“If blood sugar levels remain high for a long time, other eye problems can occur.”

Frequent urination

Seeing as glucose isn’t converted into energy, and remains in the blood, more fluid is forced from cells.

That means more fluid is delivered to the kidneys, which makes patients urinate more frequently.

Urinating more often could also lead to dehydration.

Feeling very thirsty

While everyone becomes thirsty if you haven’t had enough water, diabetes patients suffer excessive thirst, even after drinking lots.

As the body urinates more frequently, your tissues become dehydrated quicker.

“Increased thirst is another common diabetes symptom. The more you urinate, the more you need to drink, and vice versa,” said Healthline.

Infections that keep coming back

Small cuts and sores may take longer to heal in diabetes patients.

High blood sugar makes it harder for the body to heal injuries.

Open sores are more likely to develop infections.

Feeling very hungry

If the body isn’t producing enough insulin, or the body isn’t reacting to the hormone, glucose stays in the blood and isn’t converted into energy.

“This lack of energy causes an increase in hunger,” said Diabetes.co.uk.

“Simply eating will not get rid of the hungry feeling in people with uncontrolled diabetes, as this will just add to the already high blood glucose levels.”



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Arthritis pain? Eating these nuts could relieve your joint pain

Arthritis affects about 10 million people in the UK, according to the NHS.

Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, muscle wasting and having warm, red skin over affected joints.

Regular exercise and watching your weight could help to prevent arthritis.

Eating nuts could also help to relieve joint pain, said Aetna International’s Director of Population Health, Dr Sneh Khemka.

“Arthritis is a tricky condition – it is difficult to predict the onset and severity of disease,” said Khemka.

“There are over 100 forms of arthritis; some are genetic, for example rheumatoid arthritis; whereas others are related to age, such as osteoarthritis.

“We can tackle arthritis by raising awareness of the symptoms and encouraging the adoption of healthy habits to help tackle these early and prevent disability.

“Nuts, including peanuts, walnuts, pistachio nuts all contain immune boosting vitamin and minerals and are beneficial to weight loss.”

Some nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats, protein and antioxidants.

Peanuts have the most protein, and they could help to lower heart disease risk, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Walnuts are packed full of omega-3, and may reduce inflammation linked to arthritis.

Almonds, flaxseed and chia seeds could also help to relieve arthritis symptoms, the foundation said.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet could lower your risk of flare-ups, the NHS said.

If you’re overweight, losing weight can help you to copy with arthritis-related joint pain, it added.

Keeping active can help to reduce and prevent pain. It could also reduce stiffness, increase muscle strength and boost your range of movement.

Some painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could be used to treat arthritis.



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Erectile dysfunction - a few portions a week of this £1.50 fruit could prevent impotence

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition that usually affects men over 40 years old, according to the NHS.

The condition, which is also known as impotence, describes a failure to maintain an erection.

It could be caused by stress, tiredness, some medications, or drinking too much alcohol.

But, you could lower your risk of erectile dysfunction by eating more strawberries, a nutritionist has claimed.

Eating more foods that are rich in flavonoids could prevent impotence, research has revealed.

Strawberries are packed full of flavonoids, and are the ideal food for lowering the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Nutritionist Cassandra Burns said: “Exercising more and eating the right foods, such as strawberries can help to increase the blood flow, which can assist in combating against erectile dysfunction.”

The nutritionist’s comments came after a study revealed the link between flavonoids and erectile dysfunction. It claimed the foods, combined with exercise, could lower the risk of the condition by as much as 10 per cent.

Researcher Aedin Cassidy, from the University of East Anglia, said: “Flavonoids are present in many plant-based foods and drinks including fruits, vegetables, tea, herbs and wine.

“Men who regularly consumed foods high in these flavonoids were 10 per cent less likely to suffer erectile dysfunction.

“In terms of quantities, we’re talking just a few portions a week.”

You could also lower your risk of impotence by cutting out smoking, or by losing weight.

You should see a GP if you have long-term problems with erectile dysfunction, as it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

The doctor will carry out basic health checks, and while examine the genitals to rule out any physical cause of impotence, said the NHS.

The condition may be caused by a narrowing of blood vessels in the penis, or by high blood pressure.

About one in 10 men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.



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UK weather WARNING: ‘Beast from the East’ may cause heart attacks - how to avoid condition

Heavy snow and blizzards could be a result of the forecasted freezing temperatures in the UK this week.

A flurry of snow could cause major disruptions for travellers, warned BBC Breakfast’s Carol Kirkwood, as frost and ice sweeps the country.

But, some health conditions could be triggered by cold temperatures, the NHS warned.

Deadly heart attacks could be caused by the freezing temperatures, it said.

“Heart attacks are more common in winter,” the NHS said.

“This may be because cold weather increases blood pressure and puts more strain on the heart.

“Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it's cold.”

The public have been warned to stay warm in their homes as temperatures drop below 0°C (32°F).

The best way to prevent heart attacks during the cold weather is to make sure your home is heated to at least 18°C (64°F), the NHS said.

“Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed,” it said.

“Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.”

Keeping warm could also prevent Raynaud’s phenomenon and flu.

Heart attacks are a serious medical condition, where the supply of blood to the heart is blocked.

Symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath, chest pain and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety.

You can lower your risk of the condition by losing weight if you’re overweight, or by regularly exercising.

Adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.



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