Goodbye….

 

goodbye

It is with a sad heart that I write this entry, as this will be my last blog on this site.

It is something I have been toying with for some time now — whether to continue this blog or not.

However, it is becoming increasingly more evident that shutting down this blog is the right thing to do. My workload is such that I really have trouble devoting proper time to this site. And with personal projects (I’m writing my first novel!) that I need to spend time on, I simply can’t do this blog justice anymore.

I’d like to thank you for following me and hope that you’ve found some of the information on this site helpful.

I’m still very much dedicated to happy, healthy living and hope you continue your journey in living the happiest, healthiest life possible.

If you’d like to follow me, feel free to jump on over to my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/WriteToThePointCommunications/

You can also follow my other blog about writing (and there may be a bit of health content too), at my website Write to the Point Communications.

Once again, thanks for your support.

All the best in health and happiness.

Nerissa xx

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Women’s Health: What women worry about most

Women's Health Week 2016

Women can be good talkers, but when it comes to women’s health, we often don’t take the time to ask questions, seek out credible information and work on a sound plan of action.

As a result, many women have many fears and unanswered questions regarding their health.

 

Women’s Health Survey

Earlier this year, the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health talked to thousands of women across Australia to find out their greatest health fears and concerns. The result: a comprehensive survey that offers unique insights into women across the nation. It’s the only one of its kind in Australia.

The survey found the top five health concerns for Australian women are:

  • Weight management (23 per cent)
  • Cancer (17 per cent)
  • Mental and Emotional Health (15 per cent)
  • Menopause (9 per cent)
  • Chronic pain (8 per cent).

 

Women’s Health Week 2016

The survey is one of the largest national surveys in Australia with over 3,200 women and health professionals taking part. The unique insights gained through the survey have formed the basis for the annual Women’s Health Week, running from 5-9 September, 2016.

This is a week dedicated to all women across Australia, to focus on health, learn more and take action.

This year’s theme is Am I Normal?

It’s a question every woman asks at some stage of her life. During the five days of Women’s Health Week, topics will focus on:

  • Monday: What’s normal?
  • Tuesday: Body image – you are your own worst critic
  • Wednesday: Healthy weight – know the three Ss
  • Thursday: Mental health – what can you do?
  • Friday: Let’s talk about sex

This free, online health event will provide practical tips, resources and tools, as well as motivating videos and health advice from the experts.

To be involved, simply head over to the Women’s Health Week website, and subscribe.

And as a way to support the event, Write to the Point Communications will be bringing you a host of content specifically surrounding women’s health. To ensure you don’t miss a post, “like” us on Facebook, and subscribe to all notifications.

Further information about the event can be found at Women’s Health Week.

The health benefits of FebFast

Health benefits of Feb FastIf you’re one of the many who have signed up for FebFast this year, then you are probably counting down the days until your ‘fast’ is over.

FebFast is the great Australian ‘pause for a cause’. Participants choose to quit alcohol or sugar for the month of February in an effort to raise funds to support youth programs across the country. In addition to raising funds, many Australians use this as a kick-start to a healthier version of themselves.

Whether you have chosen to give up alcohol or sugar for the full 29 days (that’s right, it’s a leap year!), no doubt you will feel challenged along the way.

During these challenging times, it may help to think about the health benefits of giving up alcohol or sugar.

Health benefits of a month without alcohol or sugar

According to the FebFast website, most participants feel healthier after a month without booze or the sweet stuff. They report sleeping better, having increased energy levels, are more productive at work, and of course, save a great deal of money!

In particular:

  • 62 per cent lose weight
  • 81 per cent save money and invest it in something like a holiday
  • 86 per cent become more aware of how alcohol and sugar impact their health
  • 60 per cent are more productive at work, enabling them to have more time with their family and friends
  • 44 per cent sleep better, thereby gaining more energy

Health Benefits of Feb FastBacked up by research

The above claims are not without scientific backing. A pilot study by University College London found that participants who abstained from alcohol for one month had reduced blood pressure and improved cholesterol and insulin resistance. This in turn leads to better live health and a reduced risk of developing diabetes. [i]

A further study from the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital found that children who gave up sugar for nine days exhibited significant health changes. These included a drop in blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin, as well as improved liver function.[ii]

So the next time you find it hard to resist reaching for a beer, or downing a chocolate bar, remind yourself you are not only contributing to a good cause, but doing something positive for your health.

For further information visit the FebFast website.

References:

[i] Andy Coglan, Our liver vacation: Is a dry January really worth it?, New Scientist  published 31 December 2013; accessed 5 February 2016, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129502-600-our-liver-vacation-is-a-dry-january-really-worth-it

[ii] Juliana Bunim, Obese Children’s Health Rapidly Improves with Sugar Reduction Unrelated to Calories, University of California San Francisco, published 27 October 2015; accessed 4 February 2016 https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/10/136676/obese-childrens-health-rapidly-improves-sugar-reduction-unrelated-calories

 

Alzheimer’s and dementia — the differences explained

Dementia or Alzheimer's DiseaseThe terms Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are often used interchangeably. However, both terms refer to two different things.

What is dementia?

Dementia is the overall term for several symptoms related to a decline in cognitive (thinking) skills. Dementia is known as a symptom of disease, and not a normal part of ageing. There are over 100 diseases that cause dementia.

A quick glance at some statistics shows that:

  • by 2050, around 900,000 Australians are expected to suffer from dementia
  • each week 1,800 new cases are diagnosed, with this expected to increase to 7,400 by 2050
  • dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia
  • 30 per cent of people over 85 years have it
  • there is no cure for dementia.

 Those with dementia can display a range of symptoms including, gradual loss of memory, problems with reasoning or judgement, disorientation, difficulty in learning, loss of language skills, and a reduced ability to perform everyday tasks.

Sufferers may also display changes in their behavior. They may become agitated, anxious, aggressive and may even suffer from delusions or hallucinations.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a the most common cause of dementia. Pronounced AHLZ-hi-merz, this progressive disease of the brain was first described in 1906 by German physician Dr Alois Alzheimer.

There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease — is the most common type of Alzheimer’s and usually occurs over the age of 65.
  • Familial Alzheimer’s disease — this is rare and is caused by a genetic mutation. Symptoms often appear from the age of 40 or 50 years.

Dementia or Alzheimer's diseaseWhile the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet known, scientists believe that it may be caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time.

Can Alzheimer’s disease and dementia be prevented?

While not all cases of Alzheimer’s disease are preventable, there are some risk factors. Some of them you can control and some of them you cannot.

Uncontrollable risk factors:

  • Age — your risk increases with age
  • Genetics — some forms of Alzheimer’s are related to genetic risk

Controllable risk factors

  • Brain activity — challenging your brain with mentally stimulating activities is associated with a lower risk, as is participating in social activities and being connected with others
  • Diet — a healthy diet (with low to moderate alcohol intake), is associated with better brain health
  • Physical activity — regular exercise promotes brain health and reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia
  • Weight — being obese in midlife increases your risk
  • Heart risk factors — untreated high blood pressure and a history of high cholesterol is associated with a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes — developing type 2 diabetes midlife increases your risk
  • Smoking — smoking (including passive smoking) puts you at a higher risk

Get an early diagnosis

There is no doubt receiving a diagnosis of dementia can be difficult. However, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the easier it is for the patient and family to accept and begin to make plans for the future.

If you are concerned that you or a family member are showing signs of dementia, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

 

Further information: Alzheimer’s Australia.

Raise a glass – to your kidney health

Kidney HealthWhen was the last time you thought about your kidneys?

Any day is a good day to think about them, however today (12 March) is World Kidney Day — a day devoted to raise awareness of how important our kidneys are to overall health.

What do kidneys do?

Your kidneys play a vital role. Bean-shaped and about the size of your first, these two organs are located near the middle of your back, just below the ribcage.

As well as forming part of our urinary system, our kidneys perform a host of other functions. For example:

  • They remove waste from the body and eliminate it in the urine
  • Over a day, your kidneys filter around 200 litres of blood and produce between one and two litres of urine.
  • They regulate the body’s fluids and maintain the perfect electrolytes, ensuring the health of every organ in the body.
  • They produce a number of hormones that stimulate the production of red blood cells, help control blood pressure and convert inactive vitamin D to a form the body can use.

Who would have thought they could do all of that?

How to keep your kidneys healthy

Our kidneys work hard all the time. Ensuring they function properly is key to maintaining good health. Here are the things you can do to keep yours in tip-top condition:

  • Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be active for more than 30 minutes on most days
  • Eat a balanced diet low in saturated fats
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Manage your diabetes (if you have it).

Drink water for kidney healthYou should also have regular kidney function tests if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Obesity
  • One of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease
  • You are of African, Asian or Aboriginal descent.

So on World Kidney Day, raise a glass….of water….and drink to your kidney health.

Further information

World Kidney Day

Kidney Health Australia 

Cooking at home is the secret to a healthy weight

cook at home to lose weightNew research, published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, shows that cooking at home more often means Australians will ‘up’ their fruit and vegetable intake, helping win the war on weight.

The research, involving more than 1,300 people, found those who spent the most time preparing and cooking meals ate more fruit and vegetables and spent less money on food away from home, compared with those who spent the least amount of time in the kitchen.

“Given more than nine in 10 Australians don’t eat the recommended five serves of vegetables a day, and 63 per cent of adults are overweight or obese, and that number is rising, this is important research,” said Clare Collins, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) and professor in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle.

Professor Collins said the quality of your diet is a good way of predicting weight, and healthy habits, such as eating more vegetables and less fast food, are linked with more time spent preparing and cooking food at home.

The research comes as the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) celebrates Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (AHWW)  from 16-22 February, which encourages Australians to cook at home as a way to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

“Other studies show that when we eat out we tend to have bigger portions, choose higher-kilojoule foods, and eat more saturated fat, salt and sugar. And research shows that regularly eating meals away from home is linked with the risk of becoming overweight or obese,” said Professor Collins.

When it comes to weight loss, Professor Collins also encourages Australian to be realistic, aiming for a drop of around half to one kilogram a week, to be as active as possible every day, and to take on eating habits that can be kept up over time.

Healthy Weight WeekWhat you can do

  1. Take part in Australia’s Healthy Weight Week cooking challenge by cooking seven meals in seven days
  2. Download your free copy of Everyday Healthy: Seasonal, Fresh and Tasty cookbook
  3. Seek the advice of an Accredited Practising Dietitian to make healthy changes to your diet.

For further information including the AHWW pledge campaign and home cooking challenge, plus nutrition tips, recipes and details of the more than 460 AHWW events being held across the country,  visit www.healthyweightweek.com.au

Based on a press release from the Dietitians Association of Australia 16/2/15