This week in health – 14 September 2018

You might agree that health seems to have suddenly become a more popular topic than ever in the media, with breaking news stories almost every day. Here are a few that caught our attention here at talkhealth in the past seven days.

Half of all employees affected by poor mental health

Mental health charity Mind claims that today around 50% of workers in Britain are suffering from poor mental health, and only half of them have spoken to their employee about the issue. Mind surveyed 44,000 people and found that employees choose to hide their problems because of job insecurity, fear and shame. The charity estimates that a staggering 300,000 people lose their jobs every year due to their mental health problems. The issues are often complex but poor relationships with both line managers and colleagues, and workload cause the most damage to employees’ mental health.

The BBC’s Health section has the full story.

Ageing population changing England’s health challenges

Public Health England has published a detailed report into the health of the nation. The population is growing and growing older – but it’s not necessarily getting any healthier. That’s partly because rates of dementia, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems are increasing. The good news is that the number of strokes and heart attacks have reduced, as has the number of smokers.

While men and women are living longer – over 1.3 million people are now 85 years of age and older – the downside of this is that people are generally living through even more years of ill health.

“The challenge now is for the NHS to respond to this changing landscape and to focus on preventing as well as treating the conditions which are causing the greatest disease burden across our nation,” says Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England. “In many ways it needs to respond more quickly than any time in its history.”

You can read more details in the BBC article.

Politician loses seven stone and reverses type 2 diabetes

You may have missed the inspiring personal story of Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson. In his interview with the Guardian, Mr Watson, who was 22 stone at his heaviest, revealed that he has dropped weight so quickly since last year that one of his colleagues had to donate clothes to him. Although he admits it’s taken him 25 years to control his weight, the reversal of his type 2 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with in late 2015, has been rapid – it’s taken just over a year. According to the article, 3.7 million people in the country have diabetes, which the politician says costs 10% of the NHS’s budget.

Are you getting enough iron?

If you’re feeling tired or short of breath it may be because you need to consume more iron.
Dr Michael Mosley, of Trust Me I’m a Doctor, writes that “iron-deficiency anaemia is the world’s most common nutritional disorder” in his article on the BBC News website. He explains that our bodies do not produce iron so we need to eat foods that contain it or have been fortified with it, such as some breads and cereals. Great natural sources of iron include vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, watercress and cauliflower, nuts and seeds, and red meat. However, we don’t absorb iron as easily from some foods as we do from others. Taking vitamin C helps us absorb more, so drinking orange juice helps, but drinking coffee significantly reduces our uptake.

News from us

We round off this week with some news from talkhealth… We’re delighted to welcome two mental wellbeing experts, Teyhou Smyth and Jayne Ellis, to our amazing team of bloggers. You can meet all our bloggers online.

At talkhealth we’re always on the look out for real-life case studies. If you’re willing to be interviewed by a journalist or editor of a health publication by phone to discuss your issues and any treatments you are currently taking, or have taken in the past, and the results then please complete our Patient Case Study Questionnaire.

Want to continue the conversation? Pop over to the talkhealth forums.

Wherever you are in the world, have a great weekend!

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