DOCTORS have revealed their secret health hacks, ranging from what kind of foods we should be avoiding, to how to tackle high blood pressure.
The health hacks provided by a group of doctors cover teeth, feet, nutrition, blood pressure, medication and varicose veins.
By way of the media, social circles and professionals, we’re handed endless bits of medical advice, leaving us unsure of what’s most worth following.
Speaking to the Mirror, the doctors whittled down their advice, to share with us the 10 best recommendations and suggestions they make to their friends.
1. Blood pressure
Brits whose doctors want to prescribe medication to reduce blood pressure are encouraged to ask for Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) where blood pressure is measured at intervals over 24 hours at home first, advises Professor Gareth Beevers, from Blood Pressure UK. ABPM is the “gold standard” of blood pressure measuring and gives far more accurate readings than a single measurement at the GP’s.
Another option was to buy your own monitor making sure you are recording the results.
Make sure the machine is endorsed by the British and Irish Hypertension Society and ask your practice nurse or pharmacist for guidance on using it correctly.
Podiatrist Heena Patel suggests we should be treating our feet like our face.
Invest in a rich foot moisturiser and use it every day, she said. Cracked heels can be painful, and cracks in the feet were a danger zone where infections could enter the body – especially for those with diabetes.
Drinking water helps maintain the elasticity of the skin on the feet as well as your face, Patel said.
Sally Rayment, restorative dentist at the Implant Centre Hove, said amalgam fillings should not be replaced over cosmetic concerns.
Replacing them can trigger problems if the nerve becomes compromised.
Dr Mike Dow, psychotherapist and author of The Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory And Joy In Just 3 Weeks, advised that we shouldn’t take unnecessary medication.
Many of us take over-the-counter drugs – including aspirin, antibiotics, asthma medications, ibuprofen, and steroids – that we don’t need.
They can deplete B vitamins (essential for boosting mood and energy) and may increase inflammation in the brain, causing it to age more rapidly and think less clearly.
5. Varicose veins
‘Don’t ignore aching legs,’ warns Professor Mark Whiteley, Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Director of the Whiteley Clinic.
WHile 30% of adults have varicose vein problems in their legs – only half of them can actually see the problematic veins on the surface.
For the other half, the veins are a hidden problem which can flare up later in life.
These can result in aching legs, swollen ankles, phlebitis, eczema, red or brown stains on the ankles, or leg ulcers.
No doctor or nurse can say you don’t have ‘hidden varicose veins’ until you have had a duplex ultrasound scan.
A Consultant Gastroenterologist’s top tip was to try new foods.
Dr Anton Emmanuel, from University College Hospital, said around 60 per cent of Brits ate the same foods each day.
However healthy the food was, it wasn’t good for our guts, he said.
The digestive system required a range of food to absorb the wide variety of nutrients and minerals we need.
The next piece of advice would help your pocket more than your health; Sunil K. Kochhar, Consultant Pharmacist for Dear Pharmacist, said we should not be paying more for brand-name painkillers.
There was a notion that named brand products are better or ‘you get what you pay for’, she said.
But in fact, you’re usually paying more for the colour and style of packaging.
All products, branded or generic, have to be manufactured by law to the same minimum standard.
Brits should be wary of sepsis, says Dr Ron Daniels BEM, intensive care consultant and Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust.
If you (or a loved one) have the symptoms of an infection and feel worse than you have ever felt before, ask your GP or hospital doctor if it could be sepsis.
If you’re at home, consider dialling 999 and getting straight to A&E. A difference of just one hour in receiving treatment can mean the difference between life and death.
Gary Trainer, a leading expert in back pain, advised against running.
The human body is designed to walk, he said, and to run only occasionally when the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism kicks in. The compressive force and wear and tear on the lower spine and joints simply wears everything out faster.
Trainer suggested interval training was a good way to get one’s heart rate up; building up from a fast walk to a light jog, then a slow run and back down again.
‘Health Coach’ Olly Leicester said we should ignore any claim on the front of the packet.
Phrases like ‘sugar-free’, ‘vegan’, ‘gluten-free’ only tell you what is NOT in the product, not what IS, he said.
In contrast, the ingredients list on the back of the packet is what you need to read.