The craze for vitamin supplements – have you swallowed it?

vits ih
There is seemingly no one who is not susceptible to the vitamin hype. I see it all in my practice, from 60 year-old women who have seen an ad for a new wonder supplement to treat osteoporosis, to 30-something men who think popping pills is the answer to male pattern baldness, or teenagers who think taking their vitamins is the fastest route to clearer skin or a richer tan. Then there’s the dangerous notion that somehow getting vitamins from pills can be an adequate replacement for a healthy diet. The vitamins people take are just as varied as those who take them. In 2013 ConsumerLab, wh...

Just how dangerous are antibiotics?

antibs blog
Collectively, the world is consuming more antibiotics than ever before. In the biggest study of its kind into antibiotic consumption, published in 2014, researchers at Princeton University found that use of the drugs had increased by 36% in a decade. What is behind this increase – and what kind of effect is it having on our health? To be clear, there are certainly times when antibiotics are absolutely necessary – in the treatment of serious bacterial infections for instance – and it is almost impossible to overstate the positive impact they have had in treating what were once fatal condi...

Heart failure in the young – a growing health concern

February is traditionally the month for love – that is, for expressing your love to your partner on Valentine’s Day. But there is also another heart-shaped theme taking place in February in countries around the world that aims to remind us of just how important our cardiovascular health is. That's right, it's Heart Month. An idea instigated in response to the stark fact that cardiovascular disease (CVD), more commonly known as heart disease, is the world’s number one killer. The risk of CVD increases with age and, indeed, heart attacks and other symptoms of the disease are generally ...

Does exercise really lift our mood?

nm run
It’s an uncomfortable truth, but there’s no escaping it: Most of us aren’t getting enough exercise. The latest figures from America’s National Center for Health Statistics show that less than half (49%) of American adults do the recommended amount of aerobic physical activity (30 minutes of moderate exercise most days) while only one-fifth (20.9%) meet the recommended level of both aerobic physical and muscle-strengthening activity (strength training two to three days per week). Of course while America is a useful guide, this is by no means a US-centric problem – these figures are very ...

Why physicians need to be good nutritionists

novamed blog
You are what you eat, as the old saying goes. But what does this mean when it comes to your health? There is ample evidence that the food we consume is a major factor in our risk of developing a wide range of medical conditions, including the biggest killers: Heart disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Obesity is a global problem but it’s of particular concern in the UAE. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the obesity rate in the UAE is double the global average. Further research shows that 66% of men and 60% of women in the UAE are obese or overweight. And the two pri...

What keeps us looking young? Let’s start with these five things

younger blog
We may all be guilty of looking through our social media feeds and being – shall we say – a little surprised by how our old school friends look. Some seem to be aging so quickly, and others have managed to hold on to their youth. Whether you end up age 50 looking as if you’re 25 (or vice versa), it’s not simply down to lady luck. It is now widely agreed that the aging process can move at completely different speeds from person-to-person. A study by Duke University in North Carolina – one of many conducted into this phenomenon – set out to determine the ‘biological age’ of a group of subj...

A natural approach to dealing with allergies

Allergies are everywhere. They are the most frequent complaint I see among my patients, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) claims that around 20% to 30% of the global population suffer from some form of allergic disease. There’s no doubt we have a major problem with them here in the UAE. A paper published by the World Allergy Organization (WAO) looked at a small study of UAE residents and found the condition to be present in 7% of subjects – of which only 39% sought treatment. Meanwhile, it has been reported from consultants at the Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah that this figure ...

The very real connection between inflammation and mental health

Imagine having a condition that makes you age faster, impairs your quality of life, raises your risk of a long list of serious physical illnesses, and may even threaten your mental health. Such a condition exists and it’s not uncommon – I see it on an almost daily basis. I am talking about inflammation. Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about the sort of inflammation you get when you cut or injure yourself, or catch a cold. That sort of inflammation, known as acute, is an extremely important part of our natural defence mechanism. When our immune system senses a threat, such as bacteria or vir...

Testing for prostate cancer: When to start and how often to do it

How often should you check for prostate cancer? Affecting only men, it is a slow-growing and often symptomless disease that occurs in the small, walnut-sized gland located beneath the bladder. Figures from the US suggest around one in seven men will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. And while we say it affects only men, it of course has an impact on families. Perhaps the biggest tragedy of prostate cancer deaths is that in most cases they could have been avoided if the patient had presented early. So this article applies to female readers as well: To be extra vigilant and ensure th...

How routine retinal exams can save your eyesight

“To see or not to see?” may have been a better question for Shakespeare to ask the world some 450 years ago. It after all only takes a few moments considering life without sight to motivate one to do everything they can to protect their vision. Yet many of us don’t make a concerted effort to really take care of it. According to findings from the industry body Optician (in conjunction with the College of Optometrists) more than one in 10 adults have never had an eye test. What’s even more worrying, in my opinion, is that I am almost certain that the majority of those who have had an eye...

Reducing heart attack risk with an EBCT scan and chelation therapy

Heart attack. Two words that everyone knows.  Today, we’re going to focus on the many factors that are within your control to reduce heart attack risk – from basic lifestyle adjustments to chelation therapy – as well as how you can actually assess your risk level with Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBCT). But first, a quick overview from the American Heart Association: ‘A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow can slowl...

Nine important hormones and their role in your body

women hormones
While many people have a basic understanding of their body's hormones, the vast majority don't realise just how complex the hormonal system is, and how much of "us" they govern. That's everything from your sex drive to energy levels to sleep patterns to mood and beyond. Indeed, hormones affect your skin health, your muscle tone, and your overall appearance. They play a role in whether you age quickly or slowly. Imbalance can lead to serious illness, including cancer and diabetes. Hormones influence just about every cell, organ, and function of your body, and they are one of the key reasons ...