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This page comprises mainly links to sites concerned with particular diseases but also deals with things such as painkillers. To see extracts from articles on various conditions see the next page
There are many reasons why you 'connected' folk might seek medical information on line - time, convenience, difficulty getting an appointment, not wishing to bother the GP with a small complaint, embarrassment etc. The top searches are said to be for skin complaints, muscles, joints and bones, digestive, colds/flu, anxiety, migraine, Pregnancy, Sexual health, infections and Nutrition. But, although there is lots of useful information on line, it is important to also seek the opinion of a medical professional. The advertisements at the top of this page MAY be useful but may also be trying to sell something. A first port of call should undoubtedly be the two NHS sites : NHS Choices) and NHS Direct See the links below. Beware of depending entirely on on-line information or 'escalating' a problem from one symptom to something worse (as we used to do when looking up the dusty old family medical encyclopaedia). But, after all that, it may be best to make an appointment.
A family doctor from Swansea describes how one of his patients was admitted
to hospital the day after his 100th with reduced movement of his right arm
that was attributed to a small stroke. "When he subsequently came
to the surgery, I was surprised that his right hand grip was as strong as
ever," he writes. Further careful examination revealed signs of repetitive
stress injury of the shoulder joint from having shaken so many well-wishers'
hands. He was, needless to say, delighted to hear of his much less serious
This reflects the more general hazard in this age group where an eminently treatable condition is misinterpreted as being due to some incurable "chronic degenerative" disease. Those with pain and stiffness in the joints may too readily be labelled as suffering from "arthritis" when a simple blood test would reveal the true cause to be polymyalgia, which responds almost miraculously to a small dose of steroids.
There are two government sponsored health sites : Health Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx / NHS Choices can give you the addresses of Doctors, Dentists, Hospitals and other services in your area. But I also found this the better of the two NHS sites with good videos of doctors explaining conditions (with subtitles for the deaf). Take a look at http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Backpain/Pages/Backpainhome.aspx, for instance, and click on the video.
and NHS Direct
Often the first port of call: The official Health Service website (in various languages) includes
Health encyclopaedia; Common health questions;
Find a local health service;
Mind & body magazine;
Send an enquiry
Useful links include Department of Health. Health and care in Northern
Ireland. National Library for Health; HealthSpace : A secure place on the
Internet where you can store all of your personal health information. It
also includes Choose and Book; NHS 24 (Confidential health advice and information
service for Scotland). NHS Direct Wales. NHS in England (Health information
for England only, including how to find a local service in your
Age Concern (now called AgeUK) on 0800 169 29 39 produce a book entitled "Feeling Good"
The Saga Magazine also has a very useful health section http://www.saga.co.uk/health/news/health-news.asp If this link has changed just visit www.saga.co.uk
BOOTS have a general site at http://www.webmd.boots.com/
A couple of useful government sponsored links about Carers and Care. Click on them to see details.
The Queen now dispatches, on average, more than a dozen 100 year Birthday telegrams a day, an almost twentyfold increase on the 200 a year when she first ascended the throne. The birthday itself will no doubt be a happy occasion, although it carries the risk of centenarian hand (or arm) syndrome.....
After a trial in Scotland, the facility to make an appointment with the doctor via digital TV is being introduced countrywide. Eventually, it should also be possible to order repeat prescriptions in this way. People who have cable, Freeview or Sky TV will be able to access this service via the 'Looking Local' portal.
For people who have to pay for prescriptions costs can mount up if they have to have quite a few. Did you know that you can get a PPC (Prescription Prepayment Certificate from the NHS. People who have to pay for more than 3 prescription items in 3 months, or 14 items in 12 months, could save money by buying a PPC. From 1 April 2008, the charge for a single prescription item is £7.10, whereas a 3-month PPC will cost you £27.85 and a 12-month PPC £102.50. The most convenient way to pay for your 12 month PPC is by Direct Debit meaning you can spread the yearly cost over 10 monthly installments. The site to contact is http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/1127.aspx (corrected)
Technology to assist people with special needs :
http://www.welcomemobility.co.uk A wide range of daily living aids
http://www.moreability.co.uk/ Provides bathroom equipment, making it easy to use, giving your freedom and dignity
Short sighted swimmers ! You can get corrective, non misting goggles for £5.99 See HERE (link too long to show here)
http://www.fireflymobility.com/ Firefly Mobility are online retailers to the UK, specialising in mobility equipment and daily livings aids, making life just that little bit easier
http://www.manageathome.co.uk/ Manage At Home are a UK based retailer of disability & mobility aids.
www.age-enable.com UK family run company providing useful products for the elderly to enable them to enjoy living independently at home and make senior living easier. From walking sticks to pill boxes, grab rails to shower stools. With free delivery on orders over £30.
http://www.stairliftexperts.co.uk/ Comparison site for these important items
http://www.stairliftadvisor.co.uk/ Get free help and advice about buying a stairlift.
http://www.clarriotsmobilityonline.co.uk/ Low prices on mobility scooters, wheelchairs, grab rails, adjustable beds, recliner chairs, bath lifts, incontinence pads, dressing aids, pressure relief, overbed tables, medication dispensers and much more.
www.bentleyfielden.co.uk Providers of Wheelchairs and Wheelchair Ramps UK-wide
www.medicalert.org.uk A MedicAlert member is issued with a bracelet showing any medical conditions. Phoning an emergency number a doctor would get full details of the conditions, drugs and next of kin. Initially £25 plus the bracelet cost of £19.95. 0800 581 420. Some people can get it free or subsidised
http://www.bromakin.co.uk/node/98 make electric wheelchairs and this attachment for your wheelchair :
http://www.aacawareness.org This is ISAAC which is the International Society for Augmentative Alternative Communication (!) They try to help develop alternative ways for disabled people to communicate
and http://www.fastuk.org Foundation for Assistive Technology
It is similar to http://www.communicationmatters.org.uk and
GENERAL HEALTH SITES
ISABEL Diagnostic System http://www.isabelhealthcare.com/home/system_faq. This is available mainly to medical practices for a fee. It has proved very successful in suggesting possible illnesses based on the symptoms and a vast database of information. As a Careers Advisor I was accutely aware that no human could possibly hold in his head all the various factors that could lead to a reasonable suggestion of an occupation. The same applies to doctors and the sooner all doctors have this program at their fingertips the better !
Yoga and Exercise www.moveitorloseit.co.uk 0800 612 0450 (Julie Robinson)
http://www.allergyuk.org Allergies, which are becoming more common these days
How long will you live ? An Insurance company calculator http://media.nmfn.com/tnetwork/lifespan
Microsoft Health Vault www.healthvault.com Store your records, trace your weight progress etc. A lot of selling, American style
http://my-health-info.style.uk.msn.com/MSN/Default.aspx A useful Body Mass Index calculator at Health Vault above
http://www.healthtalkonline.org/ Discussion forum on many health matters
Cosmetics A video warning about what is in them : http://www.theecologist.org/tv_and_radio/tv/655871/the_story_of_stuff_cosmetics.html
My daughter sells cosmetics which are guaranteed to be safe for your skin. Profits all go to the charity she upports. See http://oliver.myarbonne.co.uk/
Medicines (in collaboration with the NHS) see www.medguides.medicines.org.uk
Best Health Site. Search the site for best treatments
www.maketimeforhealth.org (Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health)
http://www.expertpatients.co.uk/ Expert patients are people living with a long-term health condition, who are able to take more control over their health by understanding and managing their conditions, leading to an improved quality of life.
http://www.treatmentabroad.net/ If you want to check out the cost of surgery or dental treatment abroad.
http://www.privatehealthcareguide.com/ Private Health Care Guide. This covers all types of private health related services.
http://www.drfosterhealth.co.uk/ and http://www.drfosterhealth.co.uk/hospital-guide/
http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/default.jsp Although I bet most of my 'bits' are pretty worn out I always carry a Donor Card with me and have registered with the Organ Transplant folk here. You never know, they might find something useful ! Sorry about the gall bladder. It is already taken.
Tesco are introducing a £10 in-store health test : weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of diabetes. The pharmacist may give advice after the half hour test. Available at Chichester, Horsham, Shoreham-on-sea and Crawley
Alphabetical List of Conditions and sites Incomplete.
http://www.foodforthebrain.org/content.asp?id_Content=1820 This site has a useful test which rates your ability to remember things. If one gets a particularly low score they suggest that you get your level of checked. They recommend a vitamin B supplement to help ward off Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or full blown Alzheimers Disease (AD). They sell the supplement as well as a test kit. But, in general, I feel that they are doing a good job in this difficult area. I have to admit my score was 47 which, at 80, just about scrapes home. But I never had a memory, anyway. It is one reason I am fond of computers !
DEMENTIA FRIENDS http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ Join a group trying to help people with dementia. Receive training
ARTHRITIS www.arthritis.org/ http://www.arc.org.uk Arthritis research. http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/
ATAXIA www.ataxia.org.uk 0845 644 0606
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION (uneven heartbeat) http://www.atrialfibrillation.org.uk 01789 451837
BALANCE http://www.balancetraining.org.uk/fallsAdvice/index.jsp Advice about practicing balance from Southampton University
BLIND RNIB.org.uk Royal National Institute for the Blind. RNIB (blind, shop) See also Eyesight below
BLOOD PRESSURE Http://www.bpassoc.org.uk/BloodPressureandyou/Thebasics/Whatisnormal
BLOOD Hereditary Haemochromatosis Excess iron in the blood. For symptoms see http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/h/hemochromatosis/symptoms.htm#symptom_list Haemochromatosis due to frequent transfusions is another matter.
CANCER www.cancerresearchuk.org www.macmillan.org.uk Help with cancer, including financial help. http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/ The various cancer screening programs
CARE http://www.caredirections.co.uk Carehomes.net: Nursinghomes with websites (by area)
COELIAC DISEASE. Intolerance to wheat, barley and rye www.coeliac.org.uk
RNID, Now called Action on Hearing Loss They do a hearing test if you call 0845 600 55 55 or Click HERE
HARD OF HEARING: Visit
http://www.amplifon.co.uk/ for hearing
tests, hearing aids and hearing accessories
Deafness My own page on this subject . See also http://www.workingwithouthearing.com/s/stories.htm for encouraging stories of people who have found work despite their deafness
www.deafnessresearch.org.uk Good site, will email news to you.
National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) 0808 800 8880 www.ndcs.org.uk
HEARING DOGS Free to people with severe deafness. www.hearingdogs.org.uk 01844 348100
http://www.hearingdirect.com. Provide in the ear and behind the ear digital hearing aids at reasonable prices. They give a 30 day money back guarantee
http://www.ascenthearing.co.uk/ Ascent not only provide hearing aids but their site enables you to test your hearing and has clear videos describing the various hearing aids and their development
DEMENTIA : see Alzheimer's above
DEMENTIA CARE www.thegoodcaregroup.com Looking for dementia care in the UK can be difficult at the best of times. The Good Care Group aim to make this transition into care easier, offering a alternative to live in care homes.
DRUG USE Government infornation site on all drug and alcohol problems
ENDOMETRIOSIS. Cells growing outside the womb during the monthly cycle, causing pain and tiredness. The cause is often not spotted by the GP.
Laser Eye Surgery Risks Online guide about laser eye surgery in the UK.
www.optimax.co.uk for permanent contact lenses.
Treatmentsaver.com is an innovative health care comparison website for laser eye treatment, cosmetic surgery and dental clinics throughout the UK
Vitreous Detachment. PVD. This is an eye condition common in older
people. The vitreous in the eyeball shrinks and can cause various
GAMBLING www.gamblingtherapy.org and www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk help with a gambling addiction
(British Heart Foundation) and
http://www.my-blood-pressure.com/ Keeps track of, and displays, blood pressure readings. You can input directly via a USB port from the BP monitor, or manually. There is a 30 day trial and buy it on the net for £13.
HEART LUNG FOUNDATION (Good health, diet, recipe site)
HIP and KNEE REPLACEMENTS www.hipandkneenetwork.co.uk (impartial)
LIVER www.britishlivertrust.org.uk. British Liver Trust
LUNG www.lunguk.org (their anti smoking campaign)
MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE (MND) And a daily blog by an inventive sufferer http://www.dmarkcato.com/
National Osteoporosis Society
NARCOLEPSY http://www.narcolepsy.org.uk/ Sudden attcks of sleepiness
PAIN and see below for painkillers
Posture (Standing) Slide show
Posture Back Pain
SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder http://www.sada.org.uk/ The effect of lack of sunlight
articles about posture and pain
Computer neck Just my own opinion on this, which deals with computing related neck pain.
There is another good video showing suitable exercises at Chiropractic UK
BACK PAIN According to the Mature Times paper this is affects over a quarter of the adult population. They suggest
Don't slouch. Poor posture puts a strain on your lower back
Use correct lifting and moving techniques
Exercise regularly to keep muscles strong and flexible
Maintain a proper body weight to avoid straining muscles (and joints)
When doing daily activities try to rotate tasks to avoid repetitive
As a fellow suffer, I cannot agree more with these comments. The worst thing, I find is to slouch on sofas (and in a computer chair). Sofas are designed for only one size of person, who appears to have very long legs, so the average person sits in a curved position (unless they put two or three cushions behind them). With regard to exercise my doctor (who suffers likewise) suggests that one uses certain floor based exercise techniques and gave me a leaflet and what to do. When my back pain eases I promise to start them !
Did you know that Heat Therapy stimulated blood flow, helping to decrease stiffness and relax sore muscles. Cold Therapy (the frozen peas technique) works by lowering the temperature of the skin, helping to reduce swelling but also numbing the nerve endings. For sudden muscle strains the suggestion is RICE Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The frozen peas should be applied for 20 minutes every few hours. Compression is done with an elasticated bandage. After two days move to massaging with and external pain relief product e.g Ibuprofens, Transvasin Heat Rub or Spray (or if you can't stand the strong smell try Lloyds Cream)
http://www.thepcrf.org/ Another Prostate cancer site
http://www.yourprostate.eu/ Ask questions confidentially
SAD www.sada.org.uk People who suffer from insufficient sunlight in winter
SLEEP www.circlecity.co.uk (Sleep and apnoea problems)
SNORING www.britishsnoring.co.uk sell various pieces of equipment.. even ear plugs! But you can also complete the Epworth Sleepiness scale questionaire
www.stopsnoring.co.uk. have some ideas, too. But see also CircleCity above. http://www.snoremenders.co.uk/
STROKE. Very good PDF download from the Milton Keynes Hospilal HERE
Swine 'flu rates increase during the winter. If you get swine 'flu you will be able to get Tamiflu from the surgery via a nominated helper. There is also a full page description including all the MYTHS about Swine Flu HERE
THYROID http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperthyroidism www.thyroiduk.org.uk (many case studies)
PAINKILLERS. These facts are quoted directly from the Good Health section of the Daily Mail (the only bit I read apart from the Financial section !) As with my financial page I claim no special knowledge.
Recent studies have shown that many well advertised brands have precisely the same make up as their less expensive alternatives e.g Tesco Paracetemol - 15p. Another study suggests that continual use of painkillers can have an adverse effect e.g. on migraine and suggested an occasional break from them.
Paracetemol : (Branded names : Panadol and Hedex) Tablet, capsule, syrup. It numbs the point of pain, such as a cut, and blocks the formation of prostoglandins, which are responsible for pain and inflammation. For headache, toothache, backache. Used for children in syrup form. Best if you suffer from stomach irritation, so better if you have ulcers. Will not reduce swelling in arthritic joints.
Ibuprofen : (Nurofen, Cuprofen) Tablet, capsule, syrup, cream and gel. The last two are for muscles and joints. Joint, muscle and dental pain. Can reduce swelling and lower temperature. It is a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, blocking chemicals produced by the body as a response to pain. Read the instructions/consult doctor, especially if you have high blood pressure, kidney or liver problems, stomach ulcer or other digestive problems.
Codeine : Related to Morphine, blocking pain receptors found in the ends of nerves, stopping pain from reaching the brain. Good for one-off pain relief e.g. tooth extraction, menstrual pain. Some people may experience constipation.
Aspirin : (Disprin, Aspirin Clear). Often combined with other tablets such as Anadin. Sometimes coated, partly to protect the stomach from irritation but also to release more slowly. Use for pain relief, reduce inflammation and joint pain, cold and 'flu (lowers temperature). Use soluble aspirin in a gargle for throat infections. Use as a 'one-hit' drug for headache or toothache (but note the bleeding effect) rather than for a continual problem. In low doses can prevent clots and strokes - but consult the doctor. Like Ibuprofen it numbs the point of pain, such as a cut and blocks the formation of prostoglandins, which are responsible for pain and inflammation. it also breaks down platelets in the blood, making them less likely to clot. Can irritate the stomach causing stomach ulcers and bleeding. It can have a serious side effect in younger children and should not be given to them except under medical supervision. Can also trigger asthma attacks and some people are allergic to it. So avoid if subject to asthma, have stomach problems or are taking other anti-coagulants. Don't take before of after surgery (because of the increased bleeding) and do not continue for more than two days unless on doctor's advice.
All the above section re painkillers is quoted directly from the
Daily Mail Health pages. I claim no special knowledge.
Aspirin. A study showed that people who routinely take Aspirin are more likely to suffer stomach and brain bleeding, although the benefits for people who have heart trouble or a stroke can outweigh the risk. See Daily Mail article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2190294/Aspirin-Experts-reveal-taking-aspirin-day.html
HEALTH INSURANCE A friend said that it is a shame that he cannot afford health insurance just at an age when he is likely to need it ! Worth a look at www.amii.org.uk (Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries) to find a specialist Financial Advisor who can help you through various possibilities. They are quite thin on the ground and you may have to increase the search area to 25 miles. There are BUDGET PLANS, which cover in-patient, day patient and possibly limited out-patient treatment. Some may limit the number of approved hospitals. STANDARD PLANS will cover Out-patient treatment but still may have a financial limit. Some may offer private ambulance services. COMPREHENSIVE PLANS will, in addition, cover other benefits such as Optical and Dental treatment and private GPs. You may be able to keep costs down by taking a higher excess e.g. agreeing to pay the first £500 of costs may reduce the premium by 40%. You can assume that pre-existing conditions are likely to be uncovered, as will conditions which have no known cure, such as diabetes and asthma.
As well as the 'flu jab it is recommended that the over 65s get an anti pneumonia jab at the doctor's. Just ask. A pneumococcal infection can cause septicaemia and meningitis as well as breathing difficulties
Medical advances come thick and fast : The following page (click Here) concentrates upon articles extracted from newspapers and magazines dealing with drugs and procedures, some of which are still in the early stages of development but which, nevertheless, may give hope to some people who are suffering.
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