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Osteoporosis is a condition that affects many of us. It gradually becomes more common as we age but can also occur in those who are younger with osteoporosis-associated conditions. But what can we do about it?

Firstly lets look at what osteoporosis is.

Osteoporosis is a condition that develops slowly over several years. It causes a weakening of bones and therefore an increased risk of fractures. Osteopenia is a decrease in bone mineral density that is not yet bad enough to be categorised as osteoporosis.

So what causes osteoporosis?

Although a loss of bone mineral density is common throughout life, one of the main factors that speeds this up is menopause. Unfortunately this means that women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

Other common causes and disorders linked to osteoporosis are:

  • Long term use of oral corticosteroids
  • A low body mass index
  • Heavy drinking/smoking
  • Genetics
  • Celiac Disease
  • Parathyroid conditions

So how is osteoporosis diagnosed?

A DEXA scan measures bone mineral density. Your results will then be measured against those of a healthy young adult and against someone of your own age. The deviation between the two will generate what is known as a T score.

Your T score results can be assessed as follows:

  • above -1 is normal
  • between -1 and -2.5 is defined as a decreased bone mineral density compared with peak bone mass
  • below -2.5 is defined as osteoporosis

So how is osteoporosis treated?

Many factors have been found to help those with osteoporosis:

  • Exercise
  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake
  • Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.

To read further about exercises that benefit those with osteoporosis, please go to the pinnacle posture blog located here:

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The operation to remove a cancerous testicle

The operation to remove a cancerous testicle – The surgeon’s view by Dr Ian Eardley, consultant urologist at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, Leeds.

“When a man has testicular cancer, almost always it is best to remove the whole testis. The operation is called “orchidectomy”.

“Orchidectomy in men with testicular cancer is a short surgical procedure that is usually performed under general anaesthesia. Most patients are able to go home on the day of surgery.

“The skin incision is a 10-15m incision in the groin, with the surgeon being able to access the spermatic cord through the incision. The testis lies in the scrotum, at the end of the spermatic cord, which contains several structures, most importantly the blood vessels that supply the testis. The cord is clamped before the testis is delivered into the incision. The cord is then divided between ligatures and the testis is removed and then sent to the laboratory so that the cells of the tumour can be examined. This may influence subsequent treatment. The wound is closed with sutures or clips.

“In some cases, if the patient wishes, a prosthetic testis can be replaced into the scrotum through the groin incision to give a better cosmetic appearance post operatively. Prosthetic testicles are the same shape and size of a testis and are made of silicone.”

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Remember, remember the fifth of November – Low fodmap parkin.

Parkin is a rich spiced cake from Yorkshire or Lancashire that is consumed during bonfire night. Are you unsure of what Bonfire night is? It is a festival in the UK marking the failure of a plot to blow up parliament by Guy Fawkes. This is celebrated by lighting bonfires and fireworks and making a Guy to collect pennies. If you want to know more then this short version of a video by the excellent Horrible Histories series is a great way to find out – tongue in cheek of course!



2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp mixed spice

100g dark muscovado sugar

175g golden syrup

175g black treacle

125g Margarine

100ml Lactose free milk

225g Doves Farm Gluten Free self-raising flour

200g Oats (contamination free if you have coeliac disease)



Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Add the egg to the milk and mix

Melt the butter and sugars in a pan until dissolved – cool a little

Mix the ingredients together

You are looking for quite a wet mix, add more lactose free milk if required

Place some baking parchment into a round tin 9 inch baking tin and grease the tin if needed. Or if you wish this can be used as a tray bake. Cook at gas mark 4.5 until a skewer placed in the cake centre comes out clean. Top with icing sugar and star shaped sprinkles to represent fireworks.


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talkhealth Allergy and Eczema research published in Daily Mail

In September we ran a survey to see if patients suffering with eczema are more likely to also have allergies or sensitivity to foods such as eggs, nuts, diary and wheat. The aim of the research was to find out ways to help patients manage the two conditions better and for more medical acknowledgement of the connection between the two. We were pleased to have the results published in a dedicated supplement within the Daily Mail. To see the full article please click here.

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Vitamin B3 found in Marmite linked with preventing miscarriages

You may remember a few months ago the much hyped headline which stated that Marmite may be the key to preventing miscarriages and birth defects. Newspapers around the country jumped on the story branding it the new miracle cure. Results from a study by Australian scientists, have apparently shown that Vitamin B3 (found in Marmite) can cure deficiencies which cause miscarriages and birth defects. However, what are the facts, and is this #fakenews?

The researchers examined four families that each had a child with multiple birth defects, and carried out genetic sequencing.

“After discovering gene mutations that affected production of NAD, they looked at similar disease-causing mutations in mice and the effect that increasing vitamin B3 in the diet had on preventing malformations in developing embryos. The researchers studied the effect of vitamin B3 on developing mouse model embryos, with what they called ‘astounding’ results.”

Before the mother began to consume vitamin B3 regularly, the embryos were either lost through miscarriage, or the babies were born with quite severe birth defects. After the supplements were given, both miscarriages and birth defects were completely prevented, with all children born healthy.

This research however is not conclusive, as not all miscarriages and abnormalities occur because of the genetic mutation that reduces vitamin B3. To find out more about the NHS’s view on this story, read their article here.


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#TalkSchizophrenia Tweet Chat

On 10th October 2017, talkhealth and Janssen collaborated to run a tweet chat for World Mental Health Day focusing on Schizophrenia. Using the hashtag, #TalkSchizophrenia and #WMHD17.  Talkhealth, Janssen, members of the talkhealth community and other interested parties including MIND Herefordshire took part in a stimulating discussion of the stigmas of schizophrenia and mental health.


It is clear that many  do not know much about schizophrenia and this is one of the main reasons why people do not understand the illness. People who suffer with schizophrenia have to deal with misconceptions all the time.  Our aim was to find out why and how such issues around schizophrenia and the challenges mental health sufferers may face could be better helped.

We were delighted with the amount of participation and interest generated from the Tweet Chat.  Interestingly we trended in Belgium and reached over 45,000 people with our tweets during the chat and the build up to it. Over 60 tweets were exchanged during the course of the chat, including invaluable engagement from both bloggers, health care professionals and specialists in mental health. We hope to reach more for future Tweet Chats.

For those that took part in the chat, we would like to say a big thank you for your involvement. If you missed the #TalkSchizophrenia Tweet Chat, don’t worry – you can read the conversation by looking at our Storify of the chat – which contains highlights from the day including informative advice from twitter followers and Janssen. Why not follow us on Twitter for more Tweet Chats and join us in our forums to find support, and meet others to openly discuss your health concerns, issues and opinions!


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New Survey Reveals Stress is Main Cause of IBS

A new survey conducted by talkhealth1, on behalf of Enteromed, shows that stress, rather than food is the main cause of sufferers’ IBS – with 34% saying stress triggered their IBS. And almost 9 out of 10 (88%) said that their IBS stops them socialising at times. When asked about the effectiveness of the treatments they had tried, 86% said they had provided temporary relief, with only 14% saying they had improved their condition. The aim of this survey was to collect the latest data prior to large-scale clinical research on IBS-D and the effectiveness of Enterosgel in its treatment.

It is estimated that up to one in five people in the UK will develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) at some stage in their life. IBS can affect sufferers in various ways, with abdominal pain, bloating and bouts of diarrhoea or constipation the most common symptoms. It can be a source of great discomfort, embarrassment and unhappiness, turning holidays and everyday tasks into a struggle.

The IBS Survey for Enterosgel UK was carried out between Tuesday 4th July and Tuesday 15th August 2017. 568 people participated in the survey with 552 fully completing the survey.

Those who were living with IBS were asked to identify the three symptoms that impact them most on a daily basis: stomach pain and discomfort affected 82% (437 people), bloating (75%) and diarrhoea (64%). Over half of those with IBS had been diagnosed by a GP (57%), with 29% being diagnosed by a hospital specialist, and 14% self-diagnosing their IBS.

Stress and food were the causes that most participants felt triggered their IBS; stress 34% and food 28%. Nearly a quarter of people stated that they didn’t know what causes their IBS (22%).

Sufferers were asked to consider how their IBS affects them, by answering yes or no to a series of statements.88% said that ‘my IBS stops me from socialising at times’. Over three quarters of people felt that their IBS stopped them from being effective at work at times and over half had taken time off work due to their IBS. 67% felt that their IBS affected their relationships at home. And 20% had had symptoms that required them to be admitted to hospital due to their IBS.

Participants were asked what treatments they had already tried prior to completing the survey; antispasmodic medicines (40% – 214 people), and probiotics (20%) were the most commonly used. However, when asked about the effectiveness of these treatments, 86% stated that the treatments provided temporary relief and only 14% said that the treatments they had tried had actually improved their condition.

Enterosgel has been available in Europe for more than 20 years, where no systematic side effects have been reported. It is an innovative drug-free intestinal adsorbent that has been introduced to the UK for IBS sufferers three years ago, as an alternative to medications.

Enterosgel is an organic mineral gel proven to adsorb bacterial toxins including E-Coli and C Difficile2. This breakthrough gut treatment tackles the causes of gastrointestinal disorders. It has been scientifically developed to attach or bind to toxins, allergens, pathogens and viruses in the gut. Gut nasties are gently and effectively expelled from the body, helping towards treatment of diarrhoea, allergies and IBS and protection of the intestinal wall.

This oral suspension is free from gluten, sugar and preservatives. It does not take away beneficial substances and is suitable and safe for long–term use and alongside with other treatments.

David Willson comments, “I’ve been using Enterosgel on and off for most of 2016. There are no side-effects at all. It’s not like Imodium, which I don’t like to use, as I don’t think that you should be holding bad things in your body when your body needs to expel them. Enterosgel helps you get rid of them naturally in a gentle way by taking away the bad things as it travels through the body. And it’s even more effective than the silica gel I took.”

Enterosgel® is available over the counter in pharmacies and health stores in 225g tubes, 90g tubes and a box of 10x15g sachets, retailing from £12.80 at pharmacies and health stores, Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy, Holland & Barrett, DayLewis and Superdrug or on-line at

Report for Enterosgel UK, IBS Survey, July – August 2017 conducted by talkhealth Partenrship Ltd
2 Dr Carol Howell, ‘Enterosgel removal of Cdiff toxin B and Endotoxin’, School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, 2017.

Content supplied by Enteromed

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Record low sales of antibiotics for use in animals

There’s much in the press about antibiotic resistance and rightly so. Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to modern medicine with estimates suggesting it could be responsible for ten million deaths per year by 2050 and cost the global economy $ 100 trillion(1).

Defra, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, have reported a fall in sales of antibiotics for use in animals of 27% since 2014 which means their commitment to the UK Government has been met 2 years early.

This is an important step in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Although the biggest threat to human medicine is the mis-use of antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria originating in animals are contributory factors.(2)

Defra Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, Lord Gardiner, welcomed the report’s findings:

“The UK is at the forefront of global efforts to tackle antibiotic resistance. The fact we have overtaken our target two years ahead of schedule demonstrates our commitment to preventing the inappropriate use of antibiotics and shows our approach is working.

Our farmers and vets must be commended for setting an excellent example for others around the world to follow, upholding the UK’s position at the forefront of international efforts to keep antibiotics available for future generations.

Now we must continue making progress and set our sights on reducing use even further. Ambitious specific reduction targets in different sectors will be yet another positive step towards safeguarding antibiotics.”

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“Drug resistant superbugs are not just a problem confined to human health—it is an issue that spans humans, animals and the environment, so we must take a One Health approach to address it. If we act in isolation, we will fail.

This is a commendable achievement from our agricultural and veterinary sector to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics. It shows the entire world what can be done when we join forces and work with focus and passion.

But we cannot rest on our laurels. This progress demonstrates the commitment is there, but we need to build on this momentum and continue to do more, in every sector, and in every country, to stay ahead of superbugs.”


talkhealth Blog

What is Stress – The Stress Response

We all experience stress on a daily basis, it is completely natural and that being the case, we can’t stop it, however, we can stop it in its tracks and reduce our stress triggers.

Firstly, lets look at what’s going on in the body.

When we are under pressure or stressed the brain will send a signal to your adrenal gland to produce adrenalin and cortisol.

Adrenalin makes your heart rate and lung capacity increases in order to send more blood and oxygen to your arms and legs so they can react faster in this, fight or flight response.

Cortisol is also released, which feeds your body with extra energy that is reserved for danger situations, which is of course what the stress response is designed for. Cortisol regulates the blood sugar levels and acts as the bodies’ natural anti-inflammatory.

This natural process is because the brain has a pre-set programme to survive and so it will do everything it can to keep you safe. The brain has no idea if you will be harmed or not, but as we are just animals by nature the only things to cause us harm, when we were living as cave people, would be a predator.

During this response the body produces extra energy that is stored away for such a time as fight or flight, you may feel like you’re full of energy, shaking or feeling a change of temperature?

What happens to our bodies when we are stressed?

If you experience stress multiple times a day then you may feel like you’re losing concentration, feeling tired, perhaps a loss of appetite – The body isn’t interested in the digestion of food during the stress response so digestion is decreased and this is why you may feel sick or want to go to the toilet, sometimes the body may want to evacuate what is in the stomach to make its job of surviving much easier.

Typically chronic stress would lead to weight loss while weight gain would be the result of minor stress.

The brain is not required to be intellectual in an uncomfortable situation so you may feel that you can’t think straight. If a starving lion was sat in front of you licking its lips because it hasn’t eaten in a week, why would you care about your works deadline, shopping, an exam?

What causes stress?

These days, it is the simple things in life that cause stress in a persons life; work targets, driving/traffic, your misbehaving teen, relationships, unexpected bill, exams etc. etc… your brain and central nervous system doesn’t know the difference between real physical harm or a mental or emotional threat to your self, and it’s how you as an individual cope with that response that is critical to understanding how to make improvements and changes.

So if we can experience these situations in the mind then we can change the experience by changing the way you think about things that would cause you stress by using some great techniques like NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Hypnotherapy.

talkhealth Blog

Type 2 diabetes costing NHS £8.8bn each year

It is estimated that 600,000 people in the UK have Type 2 diabetes but have yet to be diagnosed. Including the undiagnosed, that’s around 4 million people in the UK alone. And since 1996, the number of people with diabetes has doubled making this one of the fastest growing diseases. And yet for many it is completely preventable.

Lack of awareness and screening have been partly to blame. And that’s not just lack of awareness amongst the general public. GPs need to be more attentive to the risk factors amongst their patient population including signs of high blood pressure, patients who are overweight or obese, as well as being more aware of susceptible groups such as men, young people and those of minority race or ethnicity. It is clear that the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes is increased by being overweight. And the problem is being felt across the NHS with costs associated with diabetes care reaching a staggering £8.8bn every single year. This isn’t sustainable long-term.

1 in 4 people are totally unaware they have diabetes; there needs to be more education around the condition and the association of co-morbidity; complications such as foot amputation, kidney disease, stroke and heart attack are just a few.

NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK have launched the Healthier You: Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) designed to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in higher risk groups by offering dietary and exercise advise. UK  coverage, however isn’t likely for another 3 years, so clearly there is still a long way to go.

Diabetes is a serious condition and if it’s not diagnosed or poorly managed it can lead to significant health problems and ultimately death. Someone with diabetes is likely to have a reduced life expectancy too.

There are some symptoms to look out for, and anyone experiencing any of these should consult their GP:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • going to the toilet for a wee frequently especially at night
  • feeling very tired
  • loss of weight or muscle bulk
  • itching around the penis or vagina – frequent episodes of thrush
  • wounds, cuts and grazes healing slowly
  • blurred vision

For more information about all types of diabetes, take a look at the talkhealth Patient Journeys:


Diabetes Research

talkhealth will be launching a diabetes research survey to find out more from members and visitors about their experience of diabetes and knowledge around the condition. If you’d like to take part in this research, please comment below (we will post a link to the survey once it’s open) or email


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