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Tag : health

Turning the light on moles

Everyone has a mole or two. But what are they, where do they come from and can they be dangerous? We take a look.

Moles – known medically as naevi – are darkened patches of skin, which are nearly always brown in colour and usually found above the waist on sun-exposed parts of the body.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes – large, small, raised, flat, and hairy or smooth. The only consistent thing about moles is that everyone has them – most people average between 10 and 40 on their body – and they are nearly always harmless.

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Brain injury care: time for a rethink

Each year, more than a million people in the UK sustain some form of head injury. The majority recover while some have severe long-term problems. But experts warn that those in between are being neglected.

Any problems, however, are not always immediately obvious because 90 per cent of people make a good physical recovery. Once they are up and about, friends, relatives, loved ones and, sadly, medical and social services can often assume the problem is dealt with.

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Getting into hot water – jacuzzis, spas and your health

Water has been used for thousands of years to improve health and is now being rediscovered by doctors, sports players and stressed office workers as a terrific means of recuperation.

Healing with water, or hydrotherapy, has been around since records began. There’s evidence that people built water installations as early as 2400 BC. The Egyptians and Assyrians used mineral waters for their health. Most famously, the Romans were huge fans of water therapy, ranging from hot and cold water to steam rooms, but it was equally popular with the Japanese, Chinese and Greeks.

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Eye surgery: focusing on the risks

Laser surgery is sold as a modern, simple cure for sight problems. But Health Which? recently warned that some providers of the service are being less than honest about the procedure’s risks. What’s the story?

The magazine’s two most disturbing conclusions were that patients are often misled about the risks of the procedure, and that under-qualified surgeons carry out the operation.

But how risky is laser eye surgery, and how successful is it? Are surgeons offering this costly operation – prices range from £750 to £2,000 per eye – really misleading patients? And if so, what is being done about it?

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Why you need to “salt” out your diet

A recent study concluded that the majority of us consume double the recommended amount of salt. But is this important? Do we need to cut down on salt – and if so, how do we do it?

The survey by the Food Commission compared the amount of salt in four different types of processed food – white bread, crisps, baked beans and canned tomato soup – with levels in the same products in 1978. It was disappointed to find that, despite food industry claims to have reduced the amount of salt in products, levels had changed very little – and had even increased in some products.

Furthermore, a closer look at foods aimed at children revealed that many of them – including Burger King kids’ meals, Dairylea Lunchables and Teletubbies canned pasta – actually included more than the child’s recommended maximum salt intake in just one serving. In many cases, they were saltier than seawater.

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Coming in to bat – cricket as a fitness regime

Cricket may not be famed for its lithe, fit practitioners, as this joke makes clear:

Two men were discussing the importance of fitness in the game of cricket. Said one, “When I’m at the crease, my body is highly tuned and as taut as a bowstring. The bowler comes up, bowls, and my brain snaps out a command to my body to get quickly behind the line, raise the bat and execute a perfect stroke.”
The other man asks: “Then what happens?”
The first one replies: “My body says: ‘Who, me?'”

But the sport is actually an ideal way of building up your fitness, even if you are chronically unfit, say advocates. For example, as a fielder in an unusual position, you won’t be required to rush about all the time, but every now and again will need to chase after a ball and throw it back to the wicket. Then you will have time to recover while still remaining a vital part of the game.

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When dads want to play mum

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has just released a report that suggests men want to spend more time with their children than ever before. But are employers and the government standing in their way?

Men now take on about a third of all the childcare, according to the report, revealing an entirely different world to the traditional image of the husband dozing in front of the TV while his wife puts the kids to bed.

However, our culture of long working hours is preventing many dads from becoming more involved in their children’s lives, even though they want to be, the report argues.

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Addiction: is it in our genes?

Figures suggest that addiction causes 150,000 deaths in the UK each year, and researchers believe we may soon be able to pinpoint the genes responsible. But is it really all in our DNA or do we make a conscious choice to become an addict?

Ever since the 1600s when King James I recorded that the worst smokers were also the worst drinkers and that some people therefore had addictive personalities, scientists and doctors have tried to discover the cause of this kind of behaviour and find ways of preventing it from happening.

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Lupus – raising awareness of a difficult disease

An estimated 50,000 people in the UK, 90 per cent of them women, are suffering from a complicated and disabling disease called lupus. The problem is that many of them don’t yet know they have it.

Joint pain, fatigue, skin rashes, confusion, headaches, flu-like symptoms and chest pains can all be symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) to give it its full title. Unfortunately, they can also be symptoms of hundreds of other problems.

Doctors and researchers at the cutting edge are still trying to understand lupus and a range of new drugs are being developed to help those already suffering from the disease.

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Put your back into it – dealing with back pain

For many people a bad back is part of life. A staggering 80 per cent of us will have at least one day of extreme back pain in our lives and half of all adults in the UK get it badly every year.

But just because it’s common, it doesn’t mean it’s any less miserable. Everyday tasks can become a struggle and the constant nagging makes you tetchy at best and heavily depressed at worst. No wonder then the condition is one of the main causes of days off work.

Back pain is also extremely costly. An estimated 11 million working days are lost each year, worth £5 billion. There are 1 million people in the UK officially disabled with the condition, costing £140 million in GPs time, at least £500 million in NHS bills and £250 million spent on private healthcare.

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