29 September – World Heart Day

imageWorld Heart Day was founded in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.

World Heart Day is an annual event which takes place on 29 September every year. Each year’s celebrations have a different theme, reflecting key issues and topics relating to heart health. 2014’s theme is creating heart-healthy environments (see below).

Together with World Heart Federation members, World Heart Day spreads the news that at least 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) could be avoided if four main risk factors – tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol – are controlled.

The success of World Heart Day depends on the proactivity of organizations from around the world to help spread awareness of CVD, the world’s number one killer.

Staying Healthy on Your Next Business Trip

shutterstock_53695795Business travel can be tough. You’re sitting on long flights, drinking too much coffee, suffering from jet lag and, not to mention, experiencing the stress of always “being on” and representing your company throughout your trip. It can all take a toll on your body and health.

In fact, researchers have found that business travel was linked to increased health risks including obesity, high blood pressure, and increased cholesterol. They also found that the more time people spent on the road for work, the greater those risks became.

Business travel by itself isn’t necessarily linked to these health issues. But the prolonged periods of inactivity, such as downtime at the airport or skipping the gym; decreased sleep from difficulty sleeping in different environments, late nights or time zone changes; elevated levels of stress; and dining out on bad foods, all add up to be the real problem with business travel.

Here are some measures you can take on your next business trip to make sure you stay healthy, sharp and refreshed.

On the airplane
When the flight attendant offers you a drink, choose water over soda and alcohol. You can also pick up a healthy snack in the airport before you board, like a pack of almonds, trail mix, or fruit. Avoid poor circulation from sitting for a long time by trying to get up and walk around at least once every two hours to keep your blood flowing.

At your hotel
Try squeezing in some time for physical activity. Find out if your hotel has a fitness facility. It will be easy to fit in time for exercise if you’re only an elevator ride away from the gym. If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness facility, ask if they have established a relationship with a club where hotel guests can go for free or pay a nominal fee. Or you can even squeeze in an exercise routine in your hotel room. Check your schedule for meetings and appointments to plan your workout time.

At a restaurant
When you’re out to eat for business lunches and dinners, try to employ the same healthy eating habits you have at home. When ordering your meal, ask for dressing on the side; request that your food be baked, broiled or grilled; load up on fresh steamed or lightly sautéed veggies; and stop eating when you’re full, regardless of whether there’s still food on your plate. If you’re dining at a chain restaurant, check out their nutritional information online to find out what your healthiest option is.

You should also try limiting alcohol, since it tends to be high in calories. Try sipping on club soda or diet-friendly choices like wine and light beer.

Before you leave
You can plan on staying healthy during business travel before you even leave. Visit your doctor about six weeks before you leave to see if you need any immunizations or vaccinations – some vaccines don’t reach their highest level of protection until about six weeks after you get the shot. If you’re due for any medical or dental checkups, try scheduling them before your trip. In case your doc does discover a problem, you’ll be prepared for your trip with medications you may need.

You should also find out if your current health insurance will cover a visit to a doctor while you’re in another country. If not, you might want to look into getting travel health insurance in case you do happen to get sick on your trip.

Overall, planning ahead and making good choices will help you stay healthy no matter where you have to travel for business. Doing so is the key to a successful and productive trip that might even be enjoyable too.

Source : the healthytravelbog.com

 

ALC Health’s “Huggie” joins the MacMillan Coffee Morning at the Sunborn Yacht Gibraltar

HuggieFriday (26th) saw  St. Nummos Life Host the MacMillan Worldwide Coffee Morning at Sunborn Yacht in Gibraltar where ALC Health’s “Huggie” was raffled as one of the event charity prizes.

Dressed in his best ALC Health t-shirt, “Huggie” proved to be  popular guest and is now on his way to a new home.

Reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and we have learnt a lot about this debilitating disease in the last few years. Here’s what we know exactly writes expathealth.org

Alzheimer’s disease is still somewhat of a mystery, but researchers are working hard to find answers and a cure for this highly damaging condition. Around the world, an estimated 36 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a number predicted to triple by 2050 as the population ages and people live longer. The risk of getting it increase with age, especially after 65.

Alzheimer’s is the number one form of dementia. According to WHO, dementia is a “syndrome characterized by disturbance of multiple brain functions, including memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgement.

What can I do about it?

Alzheimer’s Disease International recently published a new report – Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors – examining the proven risk factors of this disease and stating the best behaviour to adopt in order to lower your risk.

Contrary to popular belief, dementia doesn’t usually run in the family. True, there are some cases in which Alzheimer’s disease has appeared in several generations, which shows that it can sometimes be inherited – this is mostly the case for people who develop it quite young (before 50).

Here are the typical symptoms of dementia. Please note that you should always consult a medical professional, and not diagnose yourself.

  • Regularly forgetting recent events, appointments, names and faces
  • Regularly misplacing items
  • Problems finding the right words
  • Confusion about time of day
  • Mood or behaviour problems, lack of confidence
  • Disorientation, especially away for familiar places and getting lost
  • Reduced judgement, such as sense of danger

In the last few years, we have discovered ways to help avoid dementia by exercising and leading a healthy life. In many cases, regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of dementia by 50%.

Also, it seems that being active and having lots of interests or hobbies is very beneficial. The Alzheimer’s Society has a few tips to help reduce the risks.

There are also treatments to slow down Alzheimer’s, but nothing yet on how to interrupt or reverse the process.

Training your brain

If if are mentally very active, you have a better chance of maintaining your cognitive and thinking skills. Training your brain can support the growth of nerve cells and increase communication between brain cells, which in turn will reduce mental decline.

You’re never too old to learn, and if you want to help reduce your risk of developing dementia, you should start new routines when you hit 40. Don’t think of it as something else to add to your schedule, but try to find things you enjoy doing. The possibilities are endless:

  • Find a hobby: start painting, carpentry, pottery or knitting for instance.
  • Play board games and do crosswords.
  • Start keeping a journal or writing a book, and read different things.
  • Do new things: try a new cooking recipe every week, meet new people, join a club or do volunteer work.
  • Always wanted to play an instrument or learn a new language? Now is the time!

And let’s face it, half of these don’t even require spare time, which means you don’t have to wait to be retired.

Here’s a list of possible brain games to do online. Diversity is the key. And remember: brain exercise is the most painless type of exercise there is!

Curry spice ‘helps brain self-heal’

A spice commonly found in curries may boost the brain’s ability to heal itself, according to a report in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy.

The German study suggests a compound found in turmeric could encourage the growth of nerve cells thought to be part of the brain’s repair kit.

Scientists say this work, based in rats, may pave the way for future drugs for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.

But they say more trials are needed to see whether this applies to humans.

Source BBC News

West Africa Ebola deaths pass 3,000

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has passed 3,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

The latest figures indicate that more than 6,500 people are believed to have been infected in the region.

Liberia is the worst affected country, having recorded around 1,830 deaths linked to the latest outbreak.

Source: BBC World News

ALC Health supports the great Macmillan coffee morning with cakes galore

IMG_090455555Yesterday saw ALC Health’s UK Head Office turn into a magical bakers shop with an amazing display of cakes and biscuits home baked by our more creative and talented colleagues as part of Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

ALC  was delighted to be able to join thousands of other people across the UK who have been holding coffee mornings to raise money for those living with cancer by raising desperately needed funds to support the valuable work and support given by the Macmillan Trust.

Cancer is the toughest fight most of us will ever face. and as treatments improve, more and more people are living with cancer in their daily lives. The money raise at this and other events held nationwide will help make sure no one has to face cancer alone, from the moment they’re diagnosed, through treatment and beyond.

Well done to everyone involved and for helping to replace those extra pounds lost a few weeks ago.

Where to live – the 10 healthiest cities

Copenhagen makes it into CNN’s top 10 healthiest cities table.
Perhaps it is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a healthy environment, but a healthy life is certainly possible when living in a metropolis. According to CNN, large cities such as New York, Singapore and even the capital of Cuba, Havana, belong in the top 10 world’s healthiest cities.

Even though basic needs such as air and water are often of lower quality in urban areas, there are other factors such as the quality of life amongst citizens, healthy habits and the city’s facilities that make them beat other (smaller) cities in the rankings.

Some of the cities on the list, which was published by CNN recently, are not much of a surprise: Vancouver has been voted the best city to live before, and a Scandinavian city such as Copenhagen is likely to have a good healthcare system.

More unexpected is the ranking of New York, a city with such a high population density and endless avenues full of noisy traffic. One of the things that made New York deserve a place on the list is the smoke (or more the fact that there is so little), as the number of smokers in the city has reduced massively the past few years due to strict anti-smoking laws.

Another interesting city on the list is Havana. With a life expectancy that is just as high as in the United States, and an infant mortality rate that is even better, it is remarkable that the Cuban government spends just 4.4% of the amount spent by the US government on health care per citizen.

Apparently the Havanian secret is prevention: an intensive vaccination program and regular free health screenings in local clinics. In addition, where people in most large cities tend to have a more individual mindset, the citizens of the Cuban capital are taught to look after each other.

The key to these results is to look further than just the health care system. Culture seems to be important: the way people behave, the way they make decisions and their habits all affect health. In Copenhagen only 2% of people work 40 hours per week. The average there is 37 hours for full time jobs, which is significantly lower than, for instance, an average of 42 hours per week in the United States. Instead, people in Copenhagen spend time with their families or join sport activities.

The world’s 10 healthiest cities according to CNN:

Copenhagen, Denmark
Okinawa, Japan
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Vancouver, Canada
Melbourne, Australia
New York, USA
Jonkoping, Sweden
Havana, Cuba
Singapore
Napa, USA

Less than a week to go to the COVER excellence awards

We’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to vote for us in this year’s COVER Excellence Awards, where we have managed to be shortlisted in no less than five separate categories.

Thank you again and as you can imagine we’re keeping everything crossed !

The staff and directors
ALC Health

Ebola death rates as high as 70% – WHO study reports

New figures suggest 70% of those infected with Ebola in West Africa have died, higher than previously reported, says the World Health Organization.

Ebola infections will treble to 20,000 by November if efforts to tackle the outbreak are not stepped up, the UN agency has warned.

In the worst case scenario, cases in two nations could reach 1.4 million in January, according to a US estimate.

Experts said the US numbers were “somewhat pessimistic”.

The world’s largest outbreak of Ebola has caused 2,800 deaths so far, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria were “pretty much contained”, said the WHO.

SOURCE BBC world news