Life After Liver Transplant Surgery and A Diabetes Diagnosis

Life after Liver Transplant Surgery and A Diabetes Diagnosis

Tony West

Tony West

Staying positive when you’re affected by a serious illness isn’t easy. But Tony West, 52, does just that. Tony was diagnosed with a rare liver disease in 1988 which led to a liver transplant. Then, in 1992, he found out that he also had Type 1 diabetes. Read his story below.

Living with Autoimmune Hepatitis

Tony’s life took a dramatic turn after returning from a holiday in the Far East.

“I was jaundiced and feeling very unwell, so the doctors knew roughly what the problem was. However, it took them a while to establish what type of Hepatitis it was as there are five strains and my symptoms didn’t fit any of them neatly. After a few tests and medical history check, they diagnosed it as Chronic Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) which is a fairly uncommon form.

“Doctors don’t know for certain what causes AIH, but they believe it’s due to white blood cells attacking the liver cells. My symptoms included feeling tired all the time, losing weight and feeling sick after eating anything, but you can also get joint pain, abdominal pain and unusual blood vessels showing up around your body.” Read more

Can a Gluten and Dairy Free Diet Help Autism?

Can A Gluten Free Diet Help Children with ASD?

A silhouette of a child with symbolic autism puzzle pieces

 

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders that affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact socially with those around them.

Some parents have found that putting their child on a gluten and casein free diet has helped to improve the behavioural problems children on the autism spectrum often have. Although some clinical studies have been done, there is not enough evidence to medically support the claim at the moment. However, going gluten and dairy free does have potential health benefits, so it may be worth a try.

As with any dietary change, we recommend speaking to your doctor or nutritionist beforehand.

What are Gluten and Casein?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat-based products like bread, pastries and other baked goods. Ingredients like barley, rye and oats contain other gluten-like substances that some people will be able to tolerate and others may not. Some people have an autoimmune condition triggered by gluten, known as coeliac disease, but there are also people who have a milder sensitivity to it. Read more

Detoxification and Boosting Energy Levels in the New Year

Detoxing and Boosting Your Energy Levels in the New Year

Angela Loftus

Angela Loftus

Angela Loftus is a registered Nutritional Therapist and focuses on the links between good nutrition, lifestyle factors and overall wellbeing. Read her tips on how to detox and boost flagging energy levels in the New Year.

The festive season can be a fun yet exhausting time. The combination of late nights, overindulging in food and alcohol can really knock your health and energy levels right off course. It’s important to be aware of what we can do to boost your energy levels by ensuring optimal detoxification and this January is a great time to start!

Keeping detoxification at the forefront of your mind will help you be ready for everything that 2016 brings.

Signs of compromised detoxification include:

  • flagging energy levels
  • mood swings and irritability
  • brain fog
  • digestive and/or skin complaints

Optimising your health by choosing detoxifying foods and making healthy lifestyle choices may be just what you need after the indulgent festive season! Read more

Volunteer Bike Couriers Deliver Blood and Medical Supplies

Blood Bikes: These Motorcyclists Save Lives

If you’re a motorbike enthusiast and want to help save lives, consider becoming a blood biker. The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes was set up over 40 years ago to help the NHS transport urgently needed blood, patient notes and medical supplies out of hours.

Cornwall’s Motorcycle Heroes

Cornwall Blood Bike's motorcycles

Cornwall Blood Bike’s motorcycles

Ian Butler, 51, is a submarine project engineer by day and has been an active member of Cornwall Blood Bikes for a number of years.

“I first heard about Cornwall Blood Bikes in February 2014, when I was watching an episode of Emergency Bikers. There was a two minute slot on the UK’s Blood Bike set up. It featured the Western group operating around Bristol, but it really caught my interest and the next morning I went on the internet to find my nearest group.

“I wasn’t getting out on my bike very much, once every 2 weeks or so, and being ex Royal Navy, the team structure really appealed to me. It was also an excuse to go on the Advanced Biking Course.” Read more

How to Manage Your Allergies at Christmas time

Dealing with allergies over Christmas

Christmas is nearly here! Although most people will be looking forward to mince pies, log fires and a glass of fizz, allergies can make it more difficult to enjoy. Here are some helpful tips on how to manage you or your child’s allergies, so that you can stuck into Christmas with everyone else.

Christmas Tree Syndrome

Child celebrating Christmas with a treeAlthough the name sounds comical, Christmas Tree Syndrome is a real illness that can really put a downer on your Christmas celebrations. It’s a respiratory condition caused by mould spores that thrive in the damp conditions evergreen trees grow in. Once brought inside, a warm house and central heating give the perfect environment for these spores to multiply.

During the festive season, people are more likely to keep doors and windows closed and have large groups of people in the house. This, coupled with small children and pets brushing against the tree, can spread spores to other rooms. Even wreaths or live foliage can produce a similar effect.

Reactions to the spores vary but can include coughing, wheezing, sore itchy eyes, a runny nose and laboured breezing. To minimise the amount of spores you come into contact with, always wash down your tree before bringing it inside. It can help to leave bringing in the tree until the last minute too – having it inside your house for over two weeks creates the perfect breeding ground and can give you the strongest reaction. If you chose an artificial tree, wash it down before using and again before packing it away for next year. Read more

A Charity Event Comes out Kicking for Epilepsy Action

Don’t Let Epilepsy Hold You Back

Andrew and his family at an Epilepsy Action stand

Andrew and his family at an Epilepsy Action stand

Andrew Jackson’s story is inspiring – not the 19th century US president, but a courageous epilepsy sufferer from Lincolnshire. Despite his condition, Andrew is a black belt in taekwondo, a fundraiser for Epilepsy Action and a proud father.

If you’re living with epilepsy or supporting someone who is, read on to find out how he does it.

Watching Out For The Warning Signs

Andrew, 39, developed epilepsy aged 2 years old after contracting measles. Over the years he’s learnt how to manage his condition, but it hasn’t been an easy journey. His seizures range from absences to multiple fits in a row without regaining consciousness – a condition known as status epilepticus.

“I’m one of six children and one of my brothers also has epilepsy. Another brother had childhood epilepsy but he stopped having seizures when he was about ten years old, so I think my family has a genetic predisposition to the condition.

“I take a variety of medications on a daily basis to deal with my epilepsy. I set an alarm to remind me, but I generally remember and have been self-medicating for years. My medication can have side effects such as making my hands shake, and one can make you very tired if it’s not taken at the same time each day.

As well as taking medication, recognising things that can bring on a seizure is important. Andrew knows that stress and extreme tiredness are triggers for him. Read more

Does Sugar Cause Diabetes and Other Health Issues?

Health Impacts of Too Much Sugar

You‘ve probably seen headlines and articles saying that sugar is a cause of the rise in cardiovascular diseases and obesity levels in the UK, but what exactly about this innocent looking substance is so harmful to our health? And what health conditions is it actually linked to?

sugar on spoonWhat Is Sugar?

Sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. Fructose is broken down in the liver, whereas glucose is digested in the stomach and requires insulin to metabolise it properly.

Naturally occurring sugar is found in all fruits, vegetables and dairy foods, but in relatively low quantities. In these foods it is accompanied by vitamins, antioxidants, water and fibre, all of which have health benefits. Processed sugar doesn’t have any of these added nutrients, proteins or fats, and is just pure energy, which is why you get an initial boost but then a come-down shortly after eating sugary foods. Read more

Road Safety Week: Promoting Cyclist and Pedestrian Safety

Road Safety Week 2015

Britain’s roads are some of the safest in the world, but sadly, accidents do happen. Every day. That’s why road safety charity Brake started Road Safety Week.

family cyclingBrake work with local councils and communities to make streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike, and offer support to victims of road accidents.

Founded in 1997, Road Safety Week works with schools, organisations and communities to raise awareness of road safety and share simple steps that everyone can take to prevent accidents. Organisations such as nurseries, youth clubs, local businesses, sports clubs and local authorities often get on board with the initiative.

This year’s event runs from 23rd-29th November and the theme is Drive Less Live More, with a focus on the benefits of cutting down the amount of driving you do. These benefits include:

  • reducing pollution
  • saving money on fuel costs
  • supporting public transport
  • burning calories through exercise such as walking or cycling
  • making streets safer by removing extra vehicles

Read more

AF Association supports Medical ID for AF Aware Week

Atrial Fibrillation a Common Heart Disorder

A volunteer carrying out the simple pulse check for AF

A volunteer carrying out the simple pulse check for AF

AF or ‘atrial fibrillation’ is the most common heart rhythm disorder, which occurs when chaotic electrical activity results in the heart pumping too fast, too slow or irregularly. It affects over one million people in the UK alone, and if left undiagnosed and untreated it can lead to serious complications including stroke, heart failure and even death.

Every 15 seconds someone suffers an AF-related stroke – AF is the single biggest risk factor for suffering a deadly or debilitating stroke. For individuals with the condition, the risk of suffering a stroke is increased by nearly 500%.

However, many of these devastating strokes can be prevented, as AF can be detected cheaply and easily with a manual pulse check. Read more

Living with a Latex Allergy: Symptoms and How to Manage it

Living with a Latex allergy

latex gloveAround 1% of the population are thought to have a latex allergy, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The allergy usually develops over time, so it’s useful to understand the causes and symptoms – especially if you’re a nurse or work in another profession where you need to wear latex gloves.

Our handy guide explains from common triggers to how to manage the condition.

What is Latex Allergy?

A latex allergy is caused by the body’s reaction to certain proteins found in natural rubber latex, which is a liquid derived from rubber trees. These proteins are also found in other plants and certain tropical fruits, such as avocado, banana, kiwi, passion fruit and melon.

Individuals can get a reaction either through direct contact with latex products, such as rubber gloves and balloons, or through inhaling latex particles that come from these products. Common items that produce a reaction also include rubber bands and condoms. Read more