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Our Latest Blogs

Operation Transformation The million pound challenge is for everyone

September 21, 2016

 

How is yours going?

Did you watch Operation Transformation back in January this year when we were told of the million pound challenge that the country was going to undertake.  You may have had great intentions yourself at this time and started with a good burst of energy – after all New Year, New beginnings….a new healthier you!

Many of us, however, heard about that challenge and didn’t feel the need to take part but listened to Prof. Donal O’Shea, leading obesity expert in Ireland and agreed that something had to be done because if we did not we would be ‘fatist nation’ by 2030.

Last week we saw five celebrities taking on an operation transformation three-week challenge and if you watched their first week’s results you will have seen that they had great success.   This latest return to the challenge now reminds the nation of what we had started in early 2016.   For all the people who intended to get healthier and take on a challenge to lose a few pounds – how did you get on?  We have a recorded loss of 100,000 pounds which is good but is an indication that not everyone has participated!

Balance for a healthier you

Most of us would like to be healthier, perhaps lose a few pounds and feel better in ourselves.   What usually happens is that when we decide it’s time to make a change in our daily food consumption and exercise regime we plan a severe change to our ordinary routine.  This is unsustainable and it usually has an end date as we plan these changes for a number of weeks and we really can’t wait to get back to ‘old habits’.  In the Nutrition Clinic at Whelehans we suggest small changes in your daily routine that will add up to big results over time.  We discuss your lifestyle, family commitments, dislikes, intolerances, habits, history and everything in your day which affects your food choices and exercise.

Think of what your body needs.

We should never do anything shocking to our bodies – never cut out a food group such as carbohydrates or eat protein in excess.  We need a varied balanced daily diet which includes protein, carbohydrates, fats (limited saturated fats), fruit, dairy products, vegetables and water to ensure that we are getting all the nutrition our bodies need.   We need to eat regularly to help our metabolism work efficiently ensuring we get the energy our bodies require to function properly.  It is important to eat a breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks every day with nutritious and filling food choices. 

Temptation everywhere!

It is the sugary snacks and unhealthy choices we make most days that is causing us to gain weight as many of us are simply overeating.  Food is for energy and we should be eating each meal to fill us until the next one but we have acquired many bad habits which we need to address.  We are surrounded with sugary and fatty foods which is a huge challenge but these foods will cause imbalance within our bodies and provide zero nutrition for us. There are so many better choices we can make.

Be positive and start your transformation today - the time for change is now – contact me, Caroline Masters, today on 086 3994615 or email nutrition@whelehans.ie or call Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St Mullingar on 044 9334591

Whelehans nutrition service is a friendly, flexible and affordable service offering one to one consultations with follow up programmes and weekly monitoring.   Suitable for men, women and children.                   

Living with Arthritis: Don’t Delay to see your doctor

September 13, 2016

Ask your Pharmacist  - Eamonn Brady 

 Because arthritis can get worse if left untreated, you need to see your doctor as early as possible to get a proper diagnosis. This will help you understand your arthritis and develop a plan for managing it. Early diagnosis and treatment will mean you can get early treatment to prevent serious irreversible joint damage and will limit the effects of arthritis on your life and help you stay active and independent.

 

What to expect when you go to the doctor?

When you first visit your doctor, you will be asked a number of questions about your symptoms including:

  • How long have you experienced pain?
  • Which joints are affected?
  • When do you experience pain and what seems to cause it?
  • What makes the joint feel better or worse?
  • Does anybody else in your family have arthritis or joint pain?

 

What are the different types of tests?

There is no single test for arthritis, and diagnosis can be complicated. Your doctor will ask you about the difficulties you’ve been having, examine your joints and skin, test your muscle strength and take a full medical history. They may then refer you for tests to get a better picture of what is going on.

 

These may include:

  • A rheumatoid-factor test which tests for an antibody that is found in most people who have rheumatoid arthritis. If the test is negative, your doctor may want to repeat it 6 months to a year later. However, you can have a negative test but still have rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Anti-CCP, which stands for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, is a blood test which helps your doctor confirm a diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis.
  • Blood tests such as the Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which measure the level of inflammation in your body.
  • Other blood tests and a urine test to make sure that you are otherwise healthy before you are put on medication.
  • Synovial fluid analysis - to rule out other diseases.
  • X-rays, ultrasound and MRI scans - to help your doctor determine the degree of joint and bone damage and to measure the progress of your disease.

 

Educate yourself about your condition

Whelehans Pharmacy, in conjunction with Arthritis Ireland (Westmeath Branch) are hosting a Rheumatoid Arthritis Information on Tuesday Oct 12th at 6:45pm in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar. Admission is free.

The guest speaker for the evening will be an expert in this field, consultant orthopaedic surgeon from Midland Hospital Tullamore, Killian O’Rourke, MD FRCS (Ortho). Dr O’Rourke will give first hand information on the condition along with tips on what you can do to help you help yourself including information about surgery and aftercare for those thinking of going down this line. He will take questions from attendees.

Chartered physiotherapist Kevin Conneely MISCP of HealthStep Physiotherapy Mullingar will discuss the role of physiotherapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), such as the benefits of manual therapy, the importance of a tailored and comprehensive exercise program.  The final speaker will be pharmacist Eamonn Brady MPSI who will discuss the medication used to treat and control Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Thank you to Arthritis Ireland for some statistics and information used in this article. Check www.arthritisireland.ie or Locall 1890 252 846 for more information

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans or log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Part1

September 23, 2016

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to info@whelehans.ie

 

Arthritis is a general term used for the condition; however there are over 100 types of arthritis. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is one of the most debilitating forms of the condition.

 

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Stiffness, especially in the morning is a classic symptom of RA, this stiffness often reduces during the day (for osteoarthritis, the symptoms tend to get worse as the day goes on). The hands, wrists, feet, ankles and knees are affected in over 80% of cases.

 

It can be difficult to diagnose RA because many other conditions may make the joints painful. Symptoms are a good indicator of the condition. However X rays of joints and blood tests such as testing for the presence of a “rheumatoid factor” or an “anti-CCP antibody” can be more conclusive in diagnosing the condition.

 

Doctors consider if you have four are more of the following symptoms, you are likely to have RA:

  1. Morning stiffness in affected joints lasting at least one hour
  2. Soft tissue swelling of at least 3 joint areas
  3. Swelling of finger, hand, or wrist joints
  4. Symmetrical swelling (ie) equal both sides
  5. Rheumatoid nodules (fleshy lumps that usually appear on hands, feet and elbows)
  6. Presence of rheumatoid factor (rheumatoid factor is an auto-antibody which shows up in blood tests and it an indicator of arthritis)
  7. Erosion of bone which shows up in X-rays, particularly in hand, wrist or feet joints

 

Other symptoms

Up to 30% of patients may present with non-arthritis type symptoms without obvious joint swelling such as malaise (general feeling of being unwell), weight loss and myalgia (muscle pain). Depression can be a feature of RA. RA is associated with increased rate of heart disease and there is evidence of increased mortality rate from heart related problems in RA patients.

 

Causes

The exact cause is unknown but there is a genetic link as RA tends to run in families. RA is three times more common in women than in men. It's common for the symptoms of RA to improve during pregnancy - this suggests that hormones and the immune system may be involved in triggering the condition. Obesity and smoking can be factors. The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis being almost twice as high in smokers compared to non-smokers. For reasons unknown, RA onset is twice as common in winter than in other seasons.

Educate yourself about your condition

Whelehans Pharmacy, in conjunction with Arthritis Ireland (Westmeath Branch) are hosting a Rheumatoid Arthritis Information event on Wednesday Oct 12th at 6:45pm in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar. Admission is free.

 

The guest speaker for the evening will be an expert in this field, Consultant Rheumatologist from Midland Hospital Tullamore, Killian O’Rourke MD MSc FRCP FRCPI. Dr O’Rourke will give first hand information on the condition along with self-help tips including information about surgery and aftercare for those thinking of going down this line. He will take questions from attendees.

 

Chartered physiotherapist Kevin Conneely MISCP of HealthStep Physiotherapy Mullingar will discuss the role of physiotherapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), such as the benefits of manual therapy, the importance of a tailored and comprehensive exercise program.  The final speaker is pharmacist Eamonn Brady MPSI who will discuss medication.

 

To be continued….next week I will discuss treatment of RA.

Skin care “The Ten Commandments” 

September 15, 2016

The do’s and don’ts of skincare

1. “Thou shalt not go to bed wearing make-up.”

Because the skin will become dehydrated and the pores blocked; eye make-up can also irritate the eyes during sleep by particles getting into the eyes. Not removing make-up at night means the skin has not been moisturised and nourished with night cream.  It also ruins your pillowcase

2.  “Thou shalt not use face wipes daily.”

Because they do not clean the skin effectively and can cause dryness and irritation. Never use around the eyes as continual use can cause wrinkles as some wipes contain quite harsh ingredients.

 3. “Thou shalt always moisturise daily (containing a sun factor.)”

All skin needs to replenish moisture daily.  By not applying moisturiser daily, the skin becomes very dehydrated, dull, dry, and lifeless and shows signs of ageing very quickly.  Products containing a sun protection factor are vital to stop UV damage to the skin.

4. “Thou shalt not use a mascara over 3 months old.”

Every time you use your mascara and take the wand out of the tube it comes in contact with the air and possible pollutants. These can build up over time in the mascara tube and cause eye irritation and infection.  Also never use a mascara belonging to someone else as cross infection can occur.

  1.  5. “Thou shalt not use any old cleanser to remove eye make-up.”
  2. Because the skin around the eye area is so delicate, regular facial cleansers can be too harsh, rich or astringent which can cause puffiness.  Always use a specially formulated cleanser for this eye area

6.  “Thou shalt not use a body exfoliator on the face”

  1. The exfoliating beads in a body product are designed for the skin on the body only.  These beads are not suitable for the facial area as they would be too large and rough for the more delicate skin on the face and could cause severe redness and irritation. This is not to even mention the environmental damage these beads do to our oceans etc.

  2. 7.  “Thou shalt not squeeze spots”

    Squeezing spots can ruin your skin. It can cause permanent damage, scarring and discolouration. It can also push the sebum deeper into the skin follicle and cause infection.

  3. 8. “Thou shalt not mix powder and cream products”

    Cream and powder just don’t mix. If you try and put a powder blusher over a cream foundation it will not be a good look! It will cake and look smudgy.  The same applies to putting a cream product over a powder.

  4. 9. “Thou shalt not use any type of tissue to remove make-up.”

    It is very important to remove make-up with the appropriate product.  It is pointless using a really good cleanser and then using toilet tissue or extra-strong tissue to remove it with.  Using harsh tissue destroys the texture of the skin. Only ever use facial tissue, good quality cotton wool or pad, or a cellulose sponge.

  5. 10. “Thou shalt not use soap as a cleanser.”

  6. The PH level in soap is too high for facial skin and upsets the natural PH balance in the skin.  This causes excessive dryness, flaking and patchy skin. Always use a cleanser suitable.

Written by Lorraine Murphy, Beauty Consultant at Whelehans Pharmacy Mullingar. For skincare and makeup tips and advice including free consultations, call in to Whelehans or call us at 04493 34591 or check www.whelehans.ie

Benefits of exercise for arthritis

September 15, 2016

Research shows that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for arthritis.

Physical activity helps broadly in two ways.

Improving symptoms

Firstly, exercise will help your arthritis by: (1) decreasing the pain in your joints and muscles (2) maintaining and increasing the flexibility of your joints and muscles (3) strengthening muscles - this will help take the load off your joints, and make the joints more stable (4) decreasing or relieving muscle tension - tension adds to the pain of arthritis and in the long term can lead to poor posture and joint deformity (5) improving your posture and balance - this will take weight off affected joints, and reduce your risk of falling.

 

Improving overall health

Secondly, regular exercise will improve your overall health. This means you will be able to do more in life, feel more in control of your arthritis and be better able to manage pain. In particular, exercise will: (1) improve your heart and lung fitness (2) help control weight and reduce body fat - this will also reduce the load on weight-bearing joints such as feet, knees and hips decrease stress (3) strengthen bones (4) improve your sleep (5) decrease fatigue and tiredness (6) create a feeling of general well-being (7) Improve mood

 

Types of exercises that are beneficial for arthritis

Not all forms of exercise are appropriate for every kind of arthritis. Before you start to exercise, it is important to ask your doctor, physiotherapist and healthcare team to help you develop a programme that will suit your type of arthritis, general health and lifestyle.

Generally, you will need to do a mix of three types of activities:

  1. flexibility exercises
  2. strengthening exercises
  3. aerobic exercises.

Examples of exercises that are good for arthritis

There are many activities that can be beneficial for people with arthritis. The best activities are those you find enjoyable and are convenient. Low-impact exercises, with less body weight or force going through your joints, are usually most comfortable. Examples of low-impact activities include:

  • walking - a simple way to increase fitness
  • exercising in water, such as hydrotherapy (with a physiotherapist), swimming or water exercise classes
  • strength training
  • tai chi, yoga and pilates – good for flexibility and strength, as well as relaxation and stress management
  • cycling
  • dancing - excellent for flexibility and fitness and also helps build stability in the joints
  • chair-based exercises.

 

Hydrotherapy or “water exercise” is a popular exercise for people with arthritis. The buoyancy of the water takes pressure off painful joints and you may find you can move more freely than you can on land. Warm water can also be soothing for sore muscles and stiff joints

 

How Ireland ranks for exercise?

Many of us perceive Ireland to be a very sporting nation with a thriving GAA and the popularity of team sports like rugby and soccer. Since the slowdown in the economy, we have seen more interest in sports like running, triathlons and cycling as people have more time on their hands and turn to sport to escape the doom and gloom of the recession. However the facts don’t stand up to this perception; we do not rank high when it comes to exercise and obesity.  According to a 2012 study in the The Lancet, a leading medical journal, Ireland is the seventh worst country in the world for exercise. Perhaps even more worrying, the study showed that Irish people exercise less than Americans, dispelling the myth that Americans have a bigger obesity problem than us. The study found that 53.2 per cent of Irish people fail to do sufficient exercise, compared to 40.5 per cent in America. It found that among Europeans, Greeks, Estonians and the Dutch are the most active. Malta (71.9 per cent) and Serbia (68.3 per cent) had the highest levels of inactivity amongst adults in Europe. The study concluded that lack of exercise is killing as many Irish people as smoking.

 

Local Physiotherapy service

Chartered Physiotherapist Kevin Conneely MISCP runs HealthStep Physiotherapy Service in the therapy rooms at Whelehans Pharmacy in Mullingar. Kevin has experience treating a wide variety of musculoskeletal issues including acute and chronic sports injuries, repetitive strain and postural problems, spinal dysfunctions and pregnancy related issues.

Kevin is trained in orthotic and insole prescription and is also a Dry needling practitioner. Kevin has undertaken post graduate training in assessment and treatment of orthopaedic and arthritic conditions with the Irish society of orthopaedic medicine and has been working in private practice in Ireland since 2013. Contact Kevin at 087 4626093 or healthstepphysio@gmail.com to make a booking

Educate yourself about your condition

Whelehans Pharmacy, in conjunction with Arthritis Ireland (Westmeath Branch) are hosting a Rheumatoid Arthritis Information on Tuesday Oct 12th at 6:45pm in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar. Admission is free.

The guest speaker for the evening will be an expert in this field, consultant orthopaedic surgeon from Midland Hospital Tullamore, Killian O’Rourke, MD FRCS (Ortho). Dr O’Rourke will give first hand information on the condition along with tips on what you can do to help you help yourself including information about surgery and aftercare for those thinking of going down this line. He will take questions from attendees.

Chartered physiotherapist Kevin Conneely MISCP of HealthStep Physiotherapy Mullingar will discuss the role of physiotherapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), such as the benefits of manual therapy, the importance of a tailored and comprehensive exercise program.  The final speaker will be pharmacist Eamonn Brady MPSI who will discuss the medication used to treat and control Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Thank you to Arthritis Ireland for some statistics and information used in this article. Check www.arthritisireland.ie or Locall 1890 252 846 for more information

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans or log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591.