This week has been a bit of whirlwind to be honest; so many things seem to be happening that I’m full of nervous energy which I’m trying to channel into some sort of productivity! We found out we’ve been shortlisted for The Best Fitness Blog at the Cosmo Blog Awards 2015 which came as a complete an utter surprise. Bex and I can’t quite get our heads around it – we’re so happy to have been shortlisted and for Twins in Trainers to have been recognised by such an established magazine. The next thing to worry about is what to wear to the awards night! I feel a shopping trip coming on…
Amidst the excitement I seemed to forget there’s something pretty big happening before then. Next week I’m off to trek Mount Kilimanjaro as the expedition medic of a trip organised by Action Challenge. I’ve got my Tanzanian visa, finished my immunisation schedule and contacted the members of the team I’ll be trekking alongside to introduce myself as their doctor for the week. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it- it’s a huge challenge in itself without the responsibility of being the group doctor too but I’m reminding myself to be confident in my abilities! I’ve been swatting up on all things altitude sickness related so I’m sure they’ll be some future posts on this for anyone who’s thinking of taking on a similar challenge!
But back to the essence of this post, here’s a recap of all the interesting health related content I’ve read this week.
Feel free to share your comments or thoughts below!
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY
October 10th marked Mental Health Awareness day, which I admit I meant to feature on the blog but just didn’t have the time to write a quality post that would do the day justice. Instead I’ve found some great articles from across the internet which highlight why this is such an important day. One in four adults and one in ten children will suffer from a mental health problem each year but despite this there is still a huge stigma attached with mental health illnesses. This year the aim of the Mental Health Awareness Day was to raise awareness to ensure that people with mental health problems can live with dignity.
This great post by Tayana Simons in the Huffington Post discusses the ongoing problem with disclosing mental health problems in the workplace. Unfortunately a stigma still exists around mental health which can make it hard for people to confide in their employer. She discusses her own experiences and encourages people to be upfront about their illness.
During my reading I came across The Recovery Bag Project, founded by Polly Roger. Again published in the Huffington post she gives a frank account of what it’s like to live with a severe mental illness and how this lead her to found The Recovery Bag Project, essentially a bag which contains items to distract and help you through a point of crisis. It seems like a great idea and most definitely a worth while project to support.
SHOULD WOMEN ABSTAIN FROM ALCOHOL DURING PREGNANCY?
The current guidelines for drinking alcohol during pregnancy are slightly ambiguous. Although it’s advised to completely abstain while trying to conceive and during the first trimester of pregnancy, the guidelines state that after this period drinking small amounts of alcohol does not appear to be harmful. A small amount is one or two units, once or twice a week. I think it’s the phrase “does not appear to be harmful” which causes the problem. It lacks certainty making it hard for doctors to reassure it’s OK and for pregnant ladies to make an informed decision. The problem is that most studies are performed retrospectively, essentially asking people to recall how much they drank in pregnancy which is inevitably unreliable and it’s also difficult to know what problems were specifically caused by alcohol rather than anything else.
In the BMJ this week they were debating this very topic. The YES contingent of the debate argued that alcohol is not essential for the pregnant woman and given there is no threshold that’s known to be completely safe it should be completely avoided. They also raised the point that a lot of people aren’t sure what a unit of alcohol is which could lead to drinking too much.
The NO contingent argued that women are intelligent and autonomous and are capable of making a decision on the evidence provided and shouldn’t be advised to avoid it just because there is confusion about how many units there are in a drink.
Respecting women’s autonomy is essential and I think each woman needs to make a decision which they feel comfortable with. As for what I advise, I think honesty is the best policy. I’m happy to explain the guidelines and the problems with them. I can’t guarantee that alcohol isn’t harmful, even in small amounts, so I’d have to go with the YES contingent.
SHOULD YOU BOTHER WITH SPORTS DRINKS?
This article from The Guardian is definitely worth reading if you tend to indulge in sports drinks and snacks. It essentially highlights that for most people investing in drinks such as Lucozade simply isn’t necessary and may even stop you losing weight (if that’s your goal) because they can be highly calorific. I admit- sometimes I like a protein shake just because it tastes good, not because I actually need it!!
THE JUNIOR CONTRACT ROW
Unfortunately nothing has been resolved in the junior contract row and are considering strike action. This article articulately explains why doctors are preparing to strike. There will be a demonstration in Parliament Square at 2pm on October 17th if you’d like to support the cause. Find you more about it here.
That’s all for this week! Feel free to share your thoughts below 🙂
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BELOW- THANK YOU!
- BMJ 2015;351:h5232