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Are we living in a Modern Stress Epidemic? 

This April is Stress Awareness Month

For the next 30 days charities, healthcare professionals, wellbeing coaches and more will be raising awareness of the causes and cures for the increasing epidemic of stress and anxiety in modern life.

A recent study by the Mental Health Foundation found that 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

A third more women than men experienced overwhelming feelings of stress. Over 80% of 18-24 year olds suffered mental health issues at some point over the last 12 months.

Male suicide is still the leading cause of death for men under 50.

So, yes, it would be fair to say that stress and anxiety levels are approaching epidemic proportions.

What is Stress?  

Stress is difficult to define, but is generally your body’s response to difficult, challenging or even threatening situations.

In fact, there are times when we need stress to keep us safe or motivated – like when we’re giving a lecture or going for a job interview. Short periods of feeling stressed can keep our minds alert and even help us to accomplish difficult tasks.

BUT when stress is experienced long-term it becomes a problem, and that’s when it begins to impact negatively on your day to day life and becomes harmful to your health.

Feeling Stressed can Harm your Health

Stress can be a risk factor in developing high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart problems. It can also impact on other physical conditions like migraines, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep and digestive problems. So it’s crucial to recognise the symptoms of stress as early as you can and to seek help and take steps to manage the anxiety and symptoms you’re feeling.

Simple Steps to Easing Stress

  1. Relax

    – not an easy thing to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed, but seeking out guided relaxation techniques with concentration on controlling your breath, and easing tense muscles can help to get you started.  There are many recommendations for meditation and relaxation Apps and classes online.

  2. Exercise

    – Finding time and motivation to exercise can seem like an indulgence you can’t afford, especially if you feel overwhelmed by your workload. However, many people find that regular exercising works to alleviate the crowded thoughts in their head and improve sleep quality.  Even just going for a brisk, 30 minute walk a few days a week can help to clear your mind.

  3. Take Care of You

    – invest in yourself, whether that be scheduling 20 minutes a day to read your favourite book, paint, reconnect with a friend or family member.  Do whatever feels like you have treated yourself to some ‘me time’.

  4. Diet

    – Food and nutrition play a really important part in your mental wellbeing so make sure to cut out or down on your caffeine and alcohol intake. Eating foods like bananas, oily fish, dark chocolate and nuts have been shown to compliment stress management techniques.

  5. Seek Help

    – When stress starts to negatively impact your life beyond self help, it’s time to visit your GP. They can refer you to appropriate counselling like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or prescribe medication.

 

This April we at Mediworld will be stepping up and encouraging people to talk about stress, anxiety and mental health. By supporting each other and bringing these silent issues out into the open we hope that we’ll all be playing our part in helping to curb the stress epidemic sweeping the modern world.

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Treatments for 3 Common Running Injuries

We regularly help runners with supports and products to get them through times of injury. Here are the most common runners’ injuries we see and what you can buy to treat them.

Running can be one of the best forms of exercise. It’s tough and it can hurt but over 2 million people here in the UK lace up their trainers and go out for a run each week.

But whether you run 5k or marathons and beyond, unfortunately, injuries are an all too common occurrence.   

1. Knee and Ankle pain

Hip, knee or ankle pain is the bug bear of almost every runner.

Runners Knee is a common problem and can be associated with kneecap alignment, tendonitis or general knee strain.  If the pain is more of a niggle than disabling, a simple, elasticated knee support or ankle strapping like this can offer improved mobility and prevent further injury.

If you need some more serious support specifically around the knee and ankle joints then a bio magnetic knee brace or bio magnetic ankle support could provide you with great back up.  These braces have strategically placed magnets that help to reduce pain and inflammation.

Magnetic products have been used successfully for many years as a drug-free, non-invasive treatment for pain and swelling by increasing blood flow and triggering the nervous system to help decrease pain.

2. Shin Splints

Shin splints aren’t actually a diagnosis, they’re more a set of symptoms which anyone who’s suffered from them will tell you are very painful indeed.  Shin splints are often caused by having tight calf muscles and weak shin muscles, and regular running on hard surfaces can put added strain on the shins.

Alleviate shin splint pain by elevating your foot and using an ice pack like this for ten to fifteen minutes every four to six hours.  Take some time off running and have lots of rest. Meanwhile invest in a hand-held infra red massager to release those tight calf muscles and use a shin support which will provide compression and increase blood circulation around the area to speed up recovery.

3. Foot Injuries

Arch pain, or a burning sensation under the arch of the foot, is another common complaint in runners. Often badly fitting footwear is to blame so it’s always a good idea to have your running shoes specially fitted or invest in an adaptive ARCH PAD which controls the position of the foot and prevents arch pain. A foot insole like this can help absorb shock, reduce friction, and improve overall foot comfort.

If you’re suffering heel pain when you run, you may have Plantar fasciitis – a syndrome of heel pain due to inflammation of the thick ligament of the base of the foot. A tight, inflamed plantar fascia can cause more permanent pain when you’re walking or running, and it can often lead to the formation of a heel spur. Using a heel support will help to reduce the impact on joints and vertebral column, lessening the strain on ligaments, muscles and Achilles tendon.

 

Always seek advice from you GP or health professional if you’re worried about a running injury.

Mediworld UK – with over 45 years in healthcare supplies and provision, we can advise on the best products for your support, recovery and general wellbeing.

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Treating Swollen Ankles

Our feet and ankles swell up from time time, that’s a fact of life. But if persistent swelling occurs it could be a sign of something more serious.

Here’s how to deal with those sore, swollen feet and legs.

What Causes the Swelling?

Sudden swelling or inflammation in the ankles (or feet and legs) is usually a result of a build-up of fluid in these areas caused by a number of different lifestyle and medical factors. It’s usually referred to as Oedema.  The usual causes are:

  • standing or sitting in the same position for too long
  • eating too much salty food
  • being overweight
  • being pregnant
  • taking certain medicines – such as some blood pressure medicines, contraceptive pills, antidepressants or steroids

 

 

But other, more serious factors, can cause sudden inflammation in the ankles, feet and knees, and should always be checked out by your GP.

  • an injury (e.g. strain or sprain)
  • an insect bite or sting.
  • problems with your kidneys, liver or heart
  • a blood clot or an infection.

 

What you can do to Ease Swelling

Hopefully the swelling should go down all by itself but there are a few things you can do to ease the discomfort and help get those fluids moving back around the body.

Lying down with your feet on a good, supportive foot pillow is a great place to start. For swollen knees you could try one of these knee pillows.

 

Try doing some gentle exercise, like walking or cycling to get the blood flowing.

Maybe try a at home pedal exerciser or exercise bands for a bit of extra movement.

Wear comfortable shoes without heels that don’t pinch or go above the ankle. Better still, get yourself a nice pair of slippers.

If the symptoms don’t improve

After a few days or if the selling gets worse the NHS recommendation is to consult your GP.

For all your Medical and Homecare supplies give us a call at Mediworld. 

We have over 40 years experience in medical, surgical and home health supplies and we’re always on hand to chat if you need support or advice.

Boost your Self Esteem after a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Dealing with a Breast Cancer diagnosis can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem.  But there are some simple ways to keep your mental and physical health in shape while undergoing treatment.

Cut yourself some slack

Okay, first things first. A cancer diagnosis is tough. It’s overwhelming on both your physical and mental health. So, expect to hit some low periods. However, don’t forget that this is normal. Tough times will come but giving yourself a hard time for feeling low won’t help. Be mindful of the fact that you’re going to be riding a bit of a wave and try to show yourself nothing but compassion. Self-care and positivity will get you a long way.

Set yourself a challenge

With so much focus on your diagnosis, treatment schedules and the changes to your body it can be difficult to imagine putting your mind to a project that doesn’t involve the Big C. But setting yourself a small challenge to focus on can be a fantastic way to keep your mind active and engaged. How about taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill? Your mental health will thank you and you’ll give yourself an opportunity to congratulate yourself for something you’ve achieved.

Look after yourself

It goes without saying that you should focus on eating as well as you can. Seek out good advice on nutrition and exercise regularly – even just a brisk walk will help. The connection between physical wellbeing and good mental health is proven, so take any opportunity you can to get outdoors, breathe in some fresh air and get those endorphins flowing.

 

Get support when you need it

There are so many fantastic charities and organisations who are ready and willing to help you through this. Why not reach out on social media to others in the same situation? Or look for local support groups, some of which might be run within your own treatment centre. Don’t forget that your nursing/consulting team and GP will be able to put you in touch with local counselling and psychology services too.

 

This week’s blog is inspired by the fabulous people over at Breast Cancer Care – a community of nurses, volunteers and people affected by breast cancer who’re working to make sure everyone diagnosed with breast cancer gets the support they deserve.

Here you can read their full article on life after a breast cancer diagnosis.

 

Mediworld – Medical Equipment and Homecare suppliers.