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CHANGING LOCAL COMMUNITIES - PROMOTING A HEALTHY NATION

SUMMER 2013

www.mhealthylifestylemag.com

“Get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way”

Inside:

BE SUN AWARE

SICKLE CELL DISEASE

GET SCREENED NOW!!

British Association of Dermatologists


Do you live in the City of Sunderland? Are you 65 or over? Could you or someone you know benefit from our Wellbeing Service?

The Wellbeing Service is an innovative new service delivered to Older People in Sunderland. There may come a time when you need some extra help to stay in your own home and we can help you to do this. We have a dedicated team of staff to provide services that are specific to your needs. This may be for as little as a few days or until your individual needs are met. We work closely with a number of partner agencies to help you live the life you choose. The service can really make a difference by helping with:

Financial support & advice Social interaction within your community Access to equipment and adaptations Safety & security in your own home Mrs Grant said:

Additional benefits have meant no more scrimping and scraping and now having extra money to pay someone for things that really need doing.”

Mr Hutchinson said:

The service was brilliant! Very friendly and helpful. They couldn’t do enough for us!”

Mr Murray said:

I feel totally different – everyone listened and understood how I felt and found me what I needed. I’ve even joined a lunch and gardening club now!”


CONTENTS

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P E TOP ST A L THE

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COVER STORY

Be Sun Aware

Compare your Care

17 Do it in the Dark for Charity

PROGRAMME MANAGER Joojo Kyei-Sarpong 31 KENSINGTON HOUSE, SUNDERLAND, SR2 8HW w: www.mhealthylifestylemag.com e: contact.mhlm@gmail.com @Mymhlm Healtholympian Magaz

World Swimming Champion backs biggest

Charity Sea Swim in Europe

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Missing Medication

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12 Food Fighter

Follow us on:

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EDITOR Dr. Adjoa Kyei-Sarpong Design and Layout Kenteba Kreations

National Smile Month

Credit GENTOO Living British Heart Foundation Asthma UK Macmillan Cancer Support Change4Life British Dental Health Foundation British Association Dermatologist

18 Sickle Cell Disease

PUBLISHER

KENTEBA KREATIONS 31 Kensington House 12-14 Gray Road Sunderland, SR2 8HW contact.kenteba@gmail.com

ACCURACY OF INFORMATION: My Healthy Lifestyle magazine makes every effort to ensure that all information available in this magazine about our outfit, services and any products mentioned is accurate and up to date. Nonetheless, the information may be out of date as a result of continually development of Medical, commercial and legal practice. My Healthy Lifestyle magazine offer guidance and has been prepared for general interest only and are not a substitute for specific medical, legal or other professional advice and should not be read or used as such. For accurate up-to-date information, you should contact us and/ or your GP directly. All rights reserved. While every care has been taken in compiling the magazine to ensure that it is correct at time of going press, My Healthy Lifestyle Magazine assume no responsibility for any effects from errors or omissions.


By Joojo Kyei-Sarpong

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hen half of the year is spent enduring the cold and rain, it’s easy to fear that the sun will never come out again. But when the clocks turn back and the days suddenly seem to last forever, the glee on our faces tells it all. If only it would last forever! But somehow it never seems to last long enough and it’s over before we have the chance to fully enjoy it. But as precious as our summer months are, we still seems to substitute the sunlight and fresh air for the stale heat and artificial air conditioning of our homes, cars and offices, choosing instead to enjoy the sun on holidays abroad. But why not take full advantage of the home sunshine and get that holiday feeling by incorporating some outdoor activities into our day to day lives. It could be as

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simple as parking our cars and choosing to walk to work, the shops or the local pub. The month of May is recognised as National Walking Month so why not get on board with our campaign – ‘Step the Last Stop’. This health campaign has 3 main aims: 1. Encouraging those of us who normally commute by public transport to be more active by: • Getting off the metro or bus a stop early and walking the rest of the way home

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Getting onto the bus or metro a stop or two away from our homes or at major interchanges Walking to and from work two or three times per week for those of us who work locally.

2. Encourage those of us who normally drive to work to ditch the car in exchange for public transport and follow the same suggestions mentioned above 3. Getting active at work by taking a walk during our lunch breaks and using the stairs instead of the lift. Even though walking might seem mundane at times, it is well recognised to be just as healthy as running although less tiring and can be incorporated into our day to day activities, making it much more feasible for those of us who are busy or just don’t fancy putting on the running shoes. It is recommended that we all try to walk 10,000 steps per day and since most of us walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps every day anyway, taking part in the Step the Last Stop campaign will make that goal possible. While taking part in this campaign, the briskness of our walking is crucial as we want to make sure we get the most out of it. According to the Department of Health a 60kg individual would burn the following amount of calories in 30 minutes: 1. 75 calories when M Y

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strolling at 2mph 2. 99 calories when walking at 3mph and 3. 150 calories when fast walking at 4mph Most of us can’t really tell if we’re walking at 2, 3 or 4 mph but there is an easy way to judge our pace, that is if we are walking fast enough that we can talk but not sing we’re probably walking at least 4 mph. In addition if you’re really keen you can pick up a pedometer which will tell you not only how fast you’re walking but also how many steps you’ve taken. Pedometer apps can now be downloaded on most smartphones. The enormous health benefits of regular walking range from toning our muscles to reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, stroke and many others. Please remember that if you happen to suffer from any chronic health problems and intend to start walking, please see your doctor for advice regarding whether it is safe for you to do so and how to go about it. But if you are ok to walk, get your loose clothing and walking shoes ready to Step the Last Stop and make every day an active day!

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alf of Britons think that their skin is darker than it actually is, putting them at risk of developing skin cancer, according to new research by the British Association of Dermatologists. The statistics are being released to mark the start of Sun Awareness Week on Monday May 6th, and to launch the 2013 Be Sun Aware Mole and Sun Advice Roadshow supported by sun protection and skincare brand, La Roche-Posay. 1,350 people attending the organisation’s 2012 Mole and Sun Advice Roadshow were asked about skin cancer and sun safety. Only 50 per cent of people correctly identiďŹ ed their own skin colour, which was then assessed by a Dermatologist, from a list of options, with 48 per cent thinking their skin was darker.

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The survey also found that the desire for tanned skin is increasing, despite public health warnings against sunbathing. 62 per cent said that they found tanned skin more attractive than paler skin, compared to 56 per cent of people responding to a similar survey by the association five years ago. The results revealed that younger people are less knowledgeable about some aspects of skin cancer than older generations, despite increased education on the disease in recent decades, which was not available to older generations, and on-going campaigns targeted at younger age groups. A third (32%) of people in their twenties perceived a tan to be a sign of good health compared with 21 per cent across all age groups. Three times more men than women incorrectly believed that a base tan will protect against sun burn and sun damage (65 per cent of men compared to just 22 per cent of women). In fact, a base tan only provides very minimal protection and is actually a sign of ultraviolet (UV) damage. 80 per cent of people infrequently or never check their skin for signs of skin cancer, despite this being the UK’s most common cancer type. Furthermore, 69 per cent admitted they have no idea what to look for even if they were to check their skin.

However, not knowing the signs of skin cancer is not the only obstacle to early diagnosis. Only half of respondents (50%) are happy to show a skin issue to their doctor, with the remaining half citing embarrassment, lack of time, fear of wasting the doctor’s time, not liking going to the doctor and fear of skin cancer as possible barriers. Twice as many women than men said they are afraid to waste the doctor’s time, and three times as many women are embarrassed to go to the doctor with a skin issue. Despite persistent health warnings, sunbathing is still the most popular bronzing option with 54 per cent sunbathing abroad and 35 per cent sunbathing in the UK. There was also a high level of confusion about what to look for in a sunscreen and the difference between a product’s UVA rating and Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Only 38 per cent of respondents knew that the SPF is what predominantly protects against sunburn, and only 39 per cent realised that it is a product’s UVA protection, rather than SPF, that prevents against skin ageing. A recent rise in moisturisers featuring SPF is believed to have led to this misconception, as people assume the added SPF properties will prevent wrinkling, when in fact it is UVA protection - often not included in these moisturisers that performs this function.

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Association of Dermatologists said: “It is a concern that so many people think their skin is darker and tans more easily than is actually the case, as these people are likely to be spending longer in the sun than they should. I think this could be contributing to the increasing numbers of skin cancer cases I see in my clinics. We also need to address the misconception that a base tan is a good way of protecting against sunburn as this view is still very prevalent among men in particular.” Managing Director of La RochePosay, Yannick Raynaud, said: “La Roche-Posay is delighted to be supporting the British Association of Dermatologists with their 2013 Be Sun Aware Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow. These statistics show that there is still a huge need to raise awareness about the need for sun protection and to educate the public about what to look for in a sunscreen and the difference between a products UVA rating and SPF. Our objective is to help raise awareness of the need for protection and decrease the risks associated with exposure. ” 181 of the 1,350 people attending the 2012 roadshow were advised to seek further advice from their doctor.

Dr Bav Shergill of the British M Y

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British Association of Dermatologists

SKIN A GUIDE TO CHECKING YOUR

Most skin cancers can be cured if detected early. The best way to detect skin cancer is to check your skin regularly, about once a month. You should examine the skin all over your body, from top to toe. Look out for moles or patches of skin that are growing, changing shape, developing new colours, inflamed, bleeding, crusting, red around the edges, particularly itchy, or behaving unusually.

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Look in a mirror and carry out a full upper body examination, checking your face, neck and chest right down to your hips. Ask a friend or family member to check your scalp, ears, back and all of the areas you can’t easily see yourself.

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Check your arms and elbows, including underarms and both sides of your hands.

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Examine all of your lower body, checking your legs front and back, your feet, soles and even between your toes.

IF IN DOUBT, CHECK IT OUT!

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You should tell your doctor about any changes to a mole or patch of skin. If your doctor thinks you have a skin cancer or is not sure, they can refer you for free through the NHS to see a skin cancer specialist, usually a Consultant Dermatologist, who is an expert in diagnosing and treating skin cancer.

www.bad.org.uk | 020 7383 0266 Registered Charity No: 258474

© 2013


SKINDEX British Association of Dermatologists

Pale skin, burns very easily and rarely tans. Generally have light coloured or red hair and freckles.

Fair skin that usually burns, but may gradually tan. Some may have dark hair but still have fair skin. Skin that burns with long or intense exposure to the sun but generally tans quite easily. Olive-coloured skin that tans easily, but could possibly burn with lengthy exposures to intense sunshine. Usually have brown eyes and dark hair. Naturally brown skin, with brown eyes and dark hair. Skin darkens easily with sun exposure and only burns with excessive exposure to the sun. Black skin with dark brown eyes and black hair. Skin very easily darkens on exposure to sun and would very rarely, if ever, burn. The images shown here are for illustration purposes and are not intended to be exact representations of the different skin types described.

Not everyone’s skin offers the same level of protection in the sun. That’s why you need to know your ‘skin type’. It can help give you an idea of how much care you need to take in the sun. Your skin type cannot be changed and does not vary according to how tanned you are – it is determined by your genes.

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NEVER LET YOUR SKIN BURN, WHATEVER YOUR SKIN TYPE!

www.bad.org.uk | 020 7383 0266 Registered Charity No: 258474

© 2013


British Association of Dermatologists

SAVE OUR

SKIN SLIP ON A SHIRT

Protect your skin with clothing, and don’t forget to wear a hat that protects your face, neck and ears and a pair of UV protective sunglasses.

SEEK OUT SHADE Step out of the sun before your skin has a chance to redden or burn. Keep babies and very young children out of direct sunlight. When the weather is warmer, spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its brightest.

SLAP ON SUNSCREEN When choosing a sunscreen, look for: • High protection SPF (minimum SPF 30) to protect against UVB rays from the sun, which cause sunburn. • The UVA circle logo and/or 4 or 5 UVA stars, to protect against UVA rays, which cause skin ageing and sun damage. Apply plenty 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapply every two hours and straight after swimming and towel-drying.

DON’T GET CAUGHT OUT, NEVER LET YOUR SKIN BURN!

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Not everyone’s skin offers the same level of protection in the sun. If you are pale skinned and burn easily you are at greater risk and need to take extra steps to protect your skin from sunburn and sun damage.

www.bad.org.uk | 020 7383 0266 Registered Charity No: 258474

© 2013


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Missing Medication by James Slack MPharmS

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ome of the most common queries a pharmacist receives are about missing medication or not taking it at a particular time. It is thought that approximately 80% of people have at some point missed a dose of their medication1 and there are some important points to consider when such an issue arises. Unfortunately there is no definitive answer due to the many different types of medication, doses and reasons for their use. So generally what should you do if you do miss a dose? DOs: •

Contact your GP or pharmacist for advice (particularly if you’ve missed more than a whole day’s medications) Look in the patient information leaflet which is supplied with your medication. This sometimes (but not always) gives advice on what to do about missed doses. Seek specific advice for epilepsy drugs, oral contraceptives (time of missed doses vary), warfarin, insulin, methotrexate, cancer drugs and immune therapy drugs (such as transplant rejection drugs)

DO NOTs: • Double your next dose of medication if a dose is missed •

Take your medication if you are unsure whether you have already taken it

Generally if a drug is only taken once a day, it is usually fine to take up to 2 hours later than usual as long as the next dose is not due within a few hours. However when your dose is more regular (three or four times a day) you should always check with your GP or pharmacist, as it is usually better to wait until your next dose and continue as usual. Taking certain tablets too close to one another may increase the drug’s side effects making it very important to check with a healthcare professional. This is of particular importance if you have taken a medication and have vomited within a short space of time; in this instance always phone for advice. It is important to remember this is only a general guide and each case will vary. I would always advise to check with a GP or pharmacist who can advise you there and then as to what steps to take. If you find you are missing doses regularly, there are many ways in which you can simplify the way you take medication and your GP or pharmacist can help you find the method that will work best for you. M Y

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A WAISTLINE AT A TIME

By Tanya Oliver-Grieves

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efore I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to share my story, experience and knowledge about my battle with obesity and eating problems. I am Tanya Oliver-Grieves and I offer advisory services in the fitness industry to individuals who desire to beat their habits, change their lifestyle and shed a few pounds. THE BATTLE I’ve been there, tried and tested almost everything out there!

As I mentioned, I suffered from obesity, was out of control and had many complications both physically and psychologically. As different things were happening in my life I started gaining weight and gradually over time got bigger and bigger. Then I fell pregnant and started a family! My focus shifted away from myself and to my family, but as my body got bigger I became extremely unhealthy and my fitness level was near zero. In the end I reached a whopping size 26 and weighed well over 19 stone! I found it difficult to climb the stairs without becoming short of breath. M Y

My motivation, self-esteem and confidence hit rock bottom. THE JOURNEY I started my weight loss journey trying slimming pills, fad diets and juice diets - basically anything I thought might help me lose weight. From time to time I did lose weight, but as soon as I stopped the diet or regime I was on the weight just piled back on. My eating habits became erratic and I fell into a cycle of binge eating which then lead to physical and psychological illness. Because I was going to any extreme to lose weight I became very ill and even

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ended up in hospital on a few occasions. But this didn’t frighten me. Instead I just accepted that this was the way it was going to be forever. THE INSPIRATION The day came when something clicked! As my little boy was starting to walk and pull himself up on the couch I had an awful thought - what if he fell, how would I get up to catch him? Even worse, what if I fell and landed on him? I realised I couldn’t even run around and play with him. I suddenly thought to myself: “Tanya you need to do something”. This was my main inspiration to start changing my life! THE CHANGE As I had no confidence to go out, I educated myself over the internet and I chose to buy myself a ‘Wii Fit’. I started by just changing small parts of my lifestyle and nutrition and encouraging myself to exercise,

even exercising in the garden so no one could see! I set myself little goals and tasks and found that the more exercise I did, the better I felt. My mood changed and as the weight slowly started to come off my confidence in turn started to grow. Feeling uplifted, I then decided it was time for more! I took things further by enrolling on a full time course to learn about how the mind and body worked. I wanted to know the answers to the questions I used to ask myself and be able to respond to how I treated myself. I was particularly interested in hormonal balance and behavioural therapy and did lots of research and personal experimentation in this area. Having a better understanding of these things had a significant effect on my health and nutrition and gave me confidence, selfesteem and great balance in life.

people I can’t put a figure to it. My area of expertise is in helping individuals who want to lose over 5 stone in weight. The approach I use involves implementing strategies and methods to manage the individual’s diet while acquiring a lifestyle of improved nutrition, fitness, physical and above all mental health which ultimately influences the way we see our bodies. So here goes the phrase I love, “the better you feel in yourself, the more you start to take care of yourself’’. Watch out for my next article in the Autumn issue. Any questions in the meantime, I’m always happy to help. CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION www.tanyaolivergrieves.com

THE HELP These personal experiences have enabled me to help so many M Y

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alone. Whilst research has come a long way, so many people still need help. This is why I’m lending my support to this year’s BHF Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim and encouraging people to sign up now for this fantastic sea swim challenge. Swimming is a great way to have fun and get fit and healthy at the same time and you’ll be raising money for a great cause too.”

Keri-Anne’s Top Five Swimming Tips 1- Find a training buddy. Swimming is so much more enjoyable with training buddies. When I go training there are 22 of us. I love being there with them; it makes me want to train harder! 2- Eating properly before and after training will help you to recover quicker and get your body ready to train and race. I would always eat two slices of toast before my morning session and a banana after the session. 3- If you are using a wetsuit make sure you have a ‘trial’ run in it, even if it’s at your local pool. The wetsuit can restrict your shoulder movement and will feel really strange but if you go into your race knowing what it will feel like, you’re a step ahead! 4- If you are a beginner and this is your first swim, stick to the back or the sides of the racing pack. If you are an experienced swimmer, then get stuck in at the front and give it your best shot! 5- On race day if the water is cold, I would urge you to fully submerge yourself before the race so that your body can adapt to the new temperature. If you can get in the water (not for very long) as close to your race as possible, when you get back in, it will feel warm!

World swimming champion backs biggest charity sea swim in Europe

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wo-time World 10km Open Water Champion and Olympic silver medallist, Keri-Anne Payne, is lending her support to the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Bournemouth Pier to Pier swim. The biggest charity sea swim in Europe is back for its 23rd year on 14th July. The

swim will see thousands of swimmers take to the English Channel to swim 1.4 miles from Bournemouth to Boscombe pier to raise money to fund vital research projects in the fight against heart disease.

To find out more about the Bournemouth Pier to Pier swim or to register for the event itself, visit bhf.org.uk/pier2pier. For media enquiries, contact Claire Ingram on 020 7554 0140 or at ingramc@bhf.org.uk For more information on the BHF, visit bhf. org.uk

On supporting the BHF, Keri-Anne says: “Heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer - I didn’t realise that and I’m sure I’m not M Y

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COMPARE YOUR CARE

ore than 5.4 million people in the UK are living with asthma. With the right care and management, people with asthma can live full and active lives. But every day, more than 200 people are hospitalised because of an asthma attack. Three of these people will die. The vast majority of these asthma attacks could have been prevented.

Healthcare professionals have a vital role to play in recognising who is at risk, supporting people to manage their condition and helping them when they are having an asthma attack. Asthma UK has launched its Compare Your Care campaign, to coincide with World Asthma Day on Tuesday 7 May 2013. Asthma UK is asking people with asthma around the country to rate their care through an online survey, in order to better understand the level of care people are receiving. You can rate your care today and help build a picture of how asthma

at least once a year. These can help you understand your ‘triggers’ and how best to avoid them.

is treated across the UK by taking Asthma UK’s Compare Your Care survey. Visit www.asthma.org.uk/ compareyourcare.

What should you expect from your asthma care? • Effective management of asthma should include a written asthma action plan from your GP, which can help you keep your asthma well controlled by giving you guidance about what action to take when your asthma symptoms change. People without an action plan are four times more likely to end up in hospital because of their asthma. • People with asthma should also have their inhaler techniques checked regularly to make sure they are using them effectively. • Everyone with asthma should have an asthma review with their doctor or asthma nurse M Y

Asthma: the facts • 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12). • More than 1,100 people lose their lives to asthma in the UK each year • An estimated 75% of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable and the majority of deaths from asthma are preventable. Need advice? Asthma UK is the UK’s leading asthma charity. We want to live in a world where asthma is no longer a daily battle for some and where no one dies from the condition. The Asthma UK Adviceline offers independent advice about asthma for anyone worried or who would like to talk confidentially to a specialist asthma nurse. It is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm on 0800 121 62 44.

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he BHF’s London to Brighton Night Ride, the biggest night riding event in the UK, is back for its second year. Following its hugely successful first year, the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) London to Brighton Night Ride, supported by Santander, is back and calling for cyclists to get on their bikes and pedal for pounds this July. In 2012, around 5,000 riders made the 60 mile journey through starlit countryside from Clapham Common in London to Brighton’s seafront, raising over £700,000 for the charity - making it the biggest night riding event in the UK. The London to Brighton Night Ride, the tougher big brother of the BHF’s iconic London to Brighton Day Ride, will be taking place from 11pm on Saturday

all of the boxes!”

13th July 2013 and money raised from the ride will go towards the BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, funding vital research that could help to bring hope to millions of people worldwide suffering from heart failure. Ali Rulton, Event Organiser for the BHF said: “The event last year exceeded all of our expectations; thanks to everyone who got on their bikes and raised so much money for our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, which is bringing us ever closer to finding a cure for heart failure. “Cycling is more than just a commute to work; it’s a great way to have fun and get fit and healthy at the same time. So, not only will you get a great workout from this ride but you’ll be doing something challenging and inspiring at the same time. It ticks M Y

Registration is now open for the ride and entrants are encouraged to sign up now to avoid disappointment, as places are strictly limited. Entry fees are £35 and individuals or teams can enter. All abilities are welcome, although training beforehand is strongly recommended. Register online now at bhf.org. uk/l2bnight or email the team at nightride@bhf.org.uk or call 0300 456 8355 for further information.

For further information, please contact Claire Ingram on 020 7554 0140 or ingramc@bhf.org.uk

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WHAT IS THE

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NATIONAL SMILE MONTH N

ational Smile Month is the UK’s largest oral health campaign. This year it kicks off on 20th May and finishes on 20th June. Right at the heart of it you’ll find three key messages that can go a long way to improving oral health. They are: • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. • Visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend

Sounds simple? You’d think so, but there’s evidence to suggest not everyone keeps to these three most basic of messages. National Smile Month is a great opportunity for those who don’t to take stock of their oral health habits, and a great opportunity for those who do to pass the message onto others. Organised by the British Dental Health Foundation, National Smile Month was established in 1976. Now

into its 37th year, the campaign has helped to change the oral health landscape of the UK.

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likely to delay dental treatment due to cost.

The proportion of the population with no natural teeth in England, Northern Ireland and Wales has fallen to just six per cent in 2009. In 1978, the figure was as high as 37 per cent in Wales. The majority of adults (71 per cent) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now free of visible dental decay on the surfaces of their teeth. In 2009, two thirds (66.6 per cent) of children aged 12 were found to be free of visible dental decay. In 1973, this figure was less than 10 per cent. It’s not all smiles, however. Research has shown oral health problems persist, with many people overlooking the value of good oral health. More than a third of adults are M Y

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More than half of the UK workforce isn’t allowed to take paid leave off work to visit their dentist. 60 per cent of people aged 65 and over regret not looking after their teeth earlier in life. In 2013 National Smile Month has once again teamed up with three giants of oral healthcare to deliver a campaign to remember. We are delighted to stand alongside Wrigley, Oral-B and Listerine who are helping to make everyone smile in 2013 with their generous charitable support. Getting involved in the campaign couldn’t be simpler – submit your interest in taking part and we’ll send you lots of great information, including five free smileys on a first-come first-serve basis!

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S I C K L E

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Sources: www.patient.co.uk, sicklecellsociety.org WHAT IT IS There are many misconceptions about what sickle cell disease is, including that it is a form of leukaemia, cancer or that it is caused by white blood cells eating up red blood cells. This is not the case, so what is it? Sickle cell disease (sometimes called sickle cell anaemia) is an inherited disease characterized by the presence of abnormal crescent-shaped red blood cells instead of the regular almost doughnut-shaped cells (this shape is known as a biconcave disc). One of the primary functions of red blood cells (RBCs) is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. When RBCs are carrying oxygen they maintain their normal healthy shape. The problem arises when they offload their oxygen. When not carrying oxygen, healthy red blood cells maintain their normal shape, however diseased cells assume an abnormal crescent shape. These abnormal cells stick together and become rigid,

unlike normal RBCs which are flexible and can bend easily. Because of their shape, sickle RBCs can’t squeeze through small blood vessels as easily as normal cells. As a result they can clump together and block small blood vessels, preventing oxygen being carried to the tissues supplied by these vessels. This in turn can lead to severe pain and damage to vital organs. CAUSES Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder caused by a change (or mutation) in the genes which tell the body how to make the protein haemoglobin (Hb) which is a vital component of RBCs. Sickle cell disease is a ‘recessive’ disorder. This means that in order to get the disease you need to have two altered haemoglobin genes (SS), one inherited from each parent as illustrated in the diagrams that follow. If you only inherit one abnormal gene, you will have sickle cell ‘trait’(HbS), which is a much milder form of the disorder. The first diagram shows that for a couple who both have the sickle M Y

trait, there is a 25% chance of having a child with normal RBCs, a 50% chance of having a child with the sickle cell trait and a 25% chance of having a child with sickle cell disease.

Alternatively when someone who has sickle cell trait has a child with someone who has the disease (SS) there is a 50% chance that the child will have sickle trait (HbS) and a 50% chance that it will have the disease.

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For a couple where one partner has normal haemoglobin (HbHb) and the other partner has sickle cell trait (HbS), the probabilities for the children would be a 50% chance of having an unaffected child and 50% chance of having a child with the sickle cell trait.

The last scenario to consider would be a child from a couple in which one has normal haemoglobin (HbHb) and the other has sickle cell disease (SS). In this scenario all the children will be carriers of the sickle cell trait (HbS).

Who gets sickle cell disease? In the UK, about 12,500 people have Sickle Cell Disease. It is more common in people whose family origins are Afro-Caribbean, Asian or Mediterranean. It is rare in people of North European origin. On average, 1 in 2,400 babies born in England have Sickle Cell Disease, but rates are much higher in some urban areas – up to 1 in 300 in some places. Sickle Cell Disease is now one of the most common inherited conditions in babies born in the UK. All babies born in the UK will have a blood test when they are 5-8 days old called the Guthrie screen (or ‘heel prick’). Currently this screens for 5 inherited disorders including Sickle Cell Disease. This newborn screening programme enables early detection of children who are affected by the disorder and prompt management. However caring for a child with sickle cell disease can present many emotional and psychological challenges, therefore preparation is extremely important. People who are M Y

carriers of the sickle cell trait may not have any symptoms, therefore being screened for the disorder before getting pregnant (especially if you fall into one of the high risk groups) will enable your doctor to counsel you about the chances of your child being affected and preparing you for some of the challenges that you may face if your child is affected. Knowledge is power, so prepare and empower yourself by getting screened today. For further information about Sickle Cell Disease, use the links below and speak to your GP if you would like to be screened. Sickle Cell Society Promotes awareness and information about sickle cell disease. www.sicklecellsociety.org The NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme This website contains information about sickle cell disease and trait, and about the tests that are offered at different stages of life. Web: www.sct.screening.nhs.uk

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S T O R Y

Melanoma

Case Study

Female diagnosed and treated for a melanoma on her ankle following a visit to the British Association of Dermatologists’, Free Mole & Sun Advice stand at Latitude Festival in July 2012 44 years of age, lives in Kent Married with a 14 year old son Works in the City as a Head of HR

I

went to the stand at Latitude Festival last year. I had noticed a mole that has changed shape and gone much darker. My sister encouraged me to go over so I did and I was promptly seen by a Doctor called Dev. He looked over the mole and advised me to go and see my GP as soon as I could. He gave me a referral sheet and explained to me about the 2 week NHS process to be seen in cases like mine. His tone told me that I should take this seriously. Duly concerned I booked to see my GP who concurred and I was referred to Medway Maritime Hospital. I was seen by a Dermatologist within 2 weeks who agreed that the mole had to be removed. This duly happened a

week later. I was advised that I would hear from the hospital with the results once they had assessed what had been removed in 6 weeks. When a letter arrived 5 days later I sensed that something was wrong. So when I saw the Specialist it was no real surprise that it was indeed cancerous and that a further wider excision was required to ensure that all cancerous cells had been removed.

the Doctor on the stand and the advice he gave me. Furthermore the NHS was outstanding in their treatment of me. It certainly was a wake-up call for me and I urge anyone who can get checked to do so. I was lucky as mine hadn’t spread but given where it was it wouldn’t have been much longer.

As this was on the pivot of my leg/ankle I was referred to a specialist Skin Cosmetic Surgeon at East Grinstead. They removed significantly more than before and it took a while to be able to walk properly again as I had to protect the skin grafts. I cannot be more grateful to

Kimberley Carter British Association of Dermatologists kimberley@bad.org.uk 0207 391 6084

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For more information and interviews please contact:

Nina Goad nina@bad.org.uk 0207 391 6094

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VICTIM

DON’T BE A

SICKLE CELL IS REAL

GET TESTED! START FAMILY LIFE WITH A HEADS UP

N ORTH EAST

Sickle Cell &Thalassaemia

FAMILY SUPPORT GROUP ...you are not alone


No mums. No dads. No brothers or sisters. Not your next-door neighbour or the lady from the corner shop. No grandmas. No grandpas. Not the chap from the chip shop or the noisy lads at the back of the bus. Not your best mate. Not a single stranger. No one whatsoever. No one should face cancer alone. Text TOGETHER to 70550 and donate £5 so we can be there for everyone who needs us.

Texts cost £5 plus your network charge. We receive 94p of every £1 donated in this way. Obtain bill payer’s permission first. Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604). MAC14175_0413


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