Health Notes

What’s Causing My Daughter’s Meltdowns?

may-27-health-notes

Q: My teenage daughter has mood swings with tearfulness and irritability, as well as bloating and breast tenderness before her period. Could it be premenstrual syndrome? Our GP is dismissive.

A: Those symptoms are common to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In fact, more than 150 psychological, behavioural and physical symptoms have been identified, according to the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome (NAPS ). The most usual are listed in the box below.

No one will experience every symptom, which may vary from cycle to cycle. Although the exact cause has still to be identified, experts agree the key factor is the rollercoaster of hormones during the monthly cycle. Read More…

The Natural Remedy To Help Ease Colic

health-notes-14jan-18

Q: Is There Anything Natural To Help A Colicky Crying Baby?

A: Some evidence points to targeted probiotics being helpful in this common condition. A recent article in The Journal of Pediatrics says ‘a sudden explosion of studies’ indicate that an imbalance of bacteria in the infant’s gut may lead to inflammation, causing colic and crying. A small trial showed Bio-Kult Infantis (£11.95 for 16 sachets) significantly reduced symptoms and daily crying time, compared to a placebo. The product may also help infants and children with other tummy troubles, as well as those suffering from eczema.

Read More…

How To Beat The Winter Blues

health-notes-sad

Q: As the evenings draw in and it’s dark when I get up, I notice that my energy levels dip and I want to eat more – usually carbs, which is unlike me – and sleep more. Does this mean that I have seasonal depression? If so, what can I do about it?

A: Full-blown seasonal depression affects eight per cent of people in the UK during winter, according to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA, sada.org.uk). Unlike other forms of depression, ‘people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) tend to sleep more, eat more and gain weight’, explains Dr Norman Rosenthal (normanrosenthal.com), the psychiatrist who first described and named SAD in the 1980s. Read More…

When Weight Loss Is A Problem

when-weight-loss-is-a-problem-health-notes

Q: My elderly mother, now living on her own, is losing weight rapidly as she doesn’t have to cook for my father any more. Can you suggest simple ways of helping?

A; About one in ten people over 65 in the UK are malnourished but 88 per cent of people do not recognise the most common signs. In December 2014, the I-CARE Checklist (below) was launched by Abbott Nutrition (which makes prescription supplements for elderly patients) with the support of the Patients Association (PA) to raise awareness of the risks. PA chief executive Katherine Murphy said: ‘As families get together, it’s an ideal time to identify early signs that things may not be quite right, using this practical tool.’

Read More…

Breathe In, Bliss Out

breathe-sarah-stacey

Most people I know have moments when they think, ‘Stop the world, I need to get off…’ Six years ago, high-powered businesswoman Veroniek Vermeulen was so disturbed that ‘corporate life was leading [her] rather than vice versa’ that she took a sabbatical and travelled to Nepal to seek inner peace.

En route to learning meditation at a monastery, however, Veroniek got diverted by paragliding. By a twist of fate, the helicopter pilot who took her up the mountain was a Buddhist who taught her the basic principle of meditation – a simple breathing exercise. ‘So meditation got me anyway,’ she chuckles.

For the first time, Veroniek felt that she truly experienced being in the present and feeling happy within herself. ‘It wasn’t to do with things such as a new dress or a promotion. I just felt happy.’ The next three years passed in a bewildering parallel life where global business was interspersed with visits to different monasteries to learn more about meditation. ‘I would come back feeling amazing, but within weeks the glow had gone.’ Read More…

DLUX 1000 Spray

vitamin d

VITAMIN D

As the strength of sunlight fades, boost your vitamin D levels with a supplement. This essential hormone is synthesised in the skin by UV light but many of us have low levels, particularly during winter. Vitamin D is vital for strong bones and teeth, as well as influencing many other functions, including immunity and mood. Choose a product with vitamin D3, such as Better You DLux 1000 Spray.


GETTING TO SLEEP

If you go to sleep easily but tend to wake in the early hours, don’t fret. Bi-or poly-phasic sleep – sleeping in chunks, in other words – was the norm until the advent of electric light. According to neuroscientist Professor Gaby Badre, ‘Sleep is a cyclic phenomenon and waking during the night is natural, although we are not always aware of it. In fact, four to five hours of continuous sleep in the first part of the night covers our need for deep sleep. But to feel refreshed – with enough REM sleep (the dream period) – we generally need seven to eight hours in total. The essential point is the amount of sleep we have over 24 hours.’

You can add shorter chunks when you go back to sleep in the early hours and by napping after lunch. ‘We have a natural dip in alertness between 1pm and 4pm. But don’t nap for longer than 20 minutes,’ he counsels, to avoid feeling groggy afterwards. Read More…