Wednesday, 19 September 2012

If you can read between the lines, you can save a life.

Last week was suicide prevention week. Scotland's suicide rates are higher than anywhere else in the UK. This means two people a day in Scotland die from suicide. Choose Life is Scotland's suicide prevention strategy aimed at reversing this trend.

The new awareness campaign is all about "Reading between the lines" and encourages people to look out for signs that a friend or family member is struggling and talk to them about how they feel as a first step. The bottom line is:

If you are worried that someone is suicidal, ask them. It could save their life.

Most people thinking about suicide will try to let someone know. The key to helping is watching out for the warning signs and knowing what to do to help. There are several signs to watch out for and remember everyone is different so if you are concerned, the best thing you can do is be there to listen.

Someone you know may be at risk of suicide if they:

  • appear stressed, anxious or depressed
  • don’t seem to be coping with any problems they may have
  • are distracted, moody or withdrawn
  • show marked changes in their eating, sleeping or drinking habits.

You can help:

  • take all signs of distress seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life
  • ask the person about what’s troubling them
  • listen carefully to what they have to say
  • let them know you care
  • encourage the person to make an appointment with their GP or to call a helpline such as Breathing Space or Samaritans.
If it feels right, ask if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought in their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to say, ‘Yes, I am’ and acknowledge they need help.

I know of two people who have died from suicide. I don't know whether this campaign would have changed the outcome for them, but having seen the devastation caused to family and friends left behind I feel that if another life could be saved by spotting a person in distress and asking the right questions that has to be a good thing, doesn't it?
  • Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 (24 hours at weekends, Fri–Mon 6pm–6am and Mon–Thurs 6pm–2am)
  • Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Dieting and Downton Abbey

I never thought I would use dieting and Downton Abbey in the same sentence and particularly not as a blog title*. Bear with me - and it might start to make sense.

Sunday evening sees the return of the blockbuster show. Series three follows the Crawley family and their servants into the early 1920s, as they all try and put the hardships of the Great War behind them. Gripping stuff, I'm sure. The first two series had a reported 5.5 million viewers per episode and it has its own wikipedia page. To put it simply - It is MASSIVE!!!!

Any marketing department who wants  to launch its television advertising during the series premier of a blockbuster show must think it has a winning product and so we arrive at XLS Medical.
XLS Medical claims to help you lose three times more weight than diet alone. Now this is a big claim. Its nearest rival Alli came off prescription a few years ago and has at best a claim to double your weight loss. Not to mention the unpleasant side effects (diarrhoea) from Alli and the fact that a manufacturing issue has left it unavailable for months and this seemed like an ideal product to add to our weight management service at Barnton Pharmacy.

So, in the interests of providing a personal recommendation, I started taking it myself.

It was time to admit defeat. My second son was six months old and the baby weight was not shifting.....mainly due to too many latte and cake mornings with my mummy friends. In truth I hadn't fully lost the baby weight since my first son!

It ought to be simple and we all know the principles: eat less and move more and you will lose weight. In practice it is harder. There is a toddler and a baby who leave food and I hate waste so I pick at there plates. My partner and I both love our food and will often make something the recipe claims will feed four -  but rarely does in our house! And because of aforementioned baby, toddler, partner (and dog) I no longer have time to go to the gym!! I didn't like the fact that all my clothes were getting tighter and I don't want to buy a new wardrobe in THAT size.

I'm 10 days in to my new regime of healthy eating and XLS medical and so far so good - I've lost four pounds. I know that isn't masses but its a start and it is certainly the kickstart I needed.

The benefits of the tablets which need to be taken after every meal are that you really do not feel hungry. If anything I feel quite bloated. I need to remember this and stop eating when I feel full rather than when the plate is empty.
There are no unpleasant side effects so far.
The hard bit is remembering to take the tablets.

Alongside a massive marketing campaign XLS medical have celebrity endorsements and a great website which will support you with meal plans and recipe ideas as well as an online weight tracker.

XS medical is available at Barnton Pharmacy as part of our weight management service and we will even weigh you every week to help keep your weight loss on track. Pop is to ask me how it is going and find out what we can do to get you on the right plan for you.

*I should point out that I have never watched it and don't intend to start now!!!!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

My diabetes, my way

"Chat, click, call" is a new diabetes awareness campaign.

Launched by the Scottish Government and Diabetes UK Scotland in August this campaign aims to empower people with diabetes to be well informed in the management of their condition.

Three resources are available to diabetics:

Talk to your pharmacist about your medication, general advice about diabetes and also about blood glucose monitoring.
If you are unsure about whether you should be monitoring or need help with your meter, come and see us.

All people with diabetes can access their diabetes related data online.
I think this is a massive step forward and should help those people that want to be involved in their own care to do so.
I wonder how long before all of us will be able to access our own clinical data online?

The final strand of the campaign reminds people with diabetes about the Diabetes UK Scotland Careline which can be access by calling 0845 120 2960. A call to the care line will give you information and support and allow you to share your experiences with others.

These are excellent resources for people with diabetes in Scotland.

Remember that at Barnton pharmacy we are here to help and we also offer a diabetes screening service. Call 0131 339 3449 for more information.