As this is my last health column, I’d like to leave readers with some great health tips that nurses and patients have shared with me. Then pick ‘n mix from their advice to shape your own New Year Health resolutions.
Karen’s more or less beaten her diabetes by controlling what she eats. Her advice is ‘to look at the calorie content of all the food you’re tempted to buy and in particular the sugar content.’ She’s changed the type of bread and treats she buys now, lost some weight with healthier foods, and her diabetes control is almost perfect – so her GP told her last week. She doesn’t need any medication now.
Rob had heart surgery 14 years ago when he had an aortic valve replacement. He feels as fit now in his early 70s as he did in his 40s. He puts that down to lots of regular exercise, walking the dog several times a day and opting for a healthy diet. He says another reason he feels so well is that now he’s retired he’s his own boss rather than when he was working in the building industry and being ordered to travel to different sites and do challenging jobs with too little support. He never smoked cigarettes, but used to have friends who did- they’ve died now!
Ian has finally got over his long standing depression and anxiety and has been off all treatment for six months. He’s in a pressurised job but copes with it well. His secret? He says it’s down to his ‘sleep hygiene’. He now goes to bed about 10pm everyday and gets up at 6am or a bit later at weekends. The regular eight hours sleep has made all the difference. When he wakes up, he’s ready for the day and gets up full of gusto. He drinks very little alcohol now too.
Anne’s tips are about taking control of your life, as she struggled with depression and stress for several years, then lost her job. Her main focus is on healthy eating. She’s lost four stone in weight over the last nine months and is back to normal now after all the comfort eating she did when she was under strain. She advises others to make healthy eating a hobby until it becomes an automatic part of their daily life. She only goes shopping for food after she’s eaten a meal so she’s not tempted to buy chocolate or crisps to snack on. Anne still keeps a food diary of what she’s eating to keep her on the straight and narrow (that’s her waist!).
And finally, Cath, a senior health service manager who has a long standing debilitating condition herself, has this advice for everyone: ‘Do not take good health for granted. All too often you can suddenly receive life changing news which means that you are reliant upon our excellent NHS services to maintain your quality of life. If so, follow their advice and work hard to stay well.’