Diabetes Prevention Week: Know your risk

About 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. It can come on slowly, usually over the age of 40. The signs may not be obvious, or there may be no signs at all, therefore it might be up to 10 years before you find out you have it.

That’s why it’s very important to know the risk factors. You can find out your risk with our Know Your Risk tool or you may be eligible for a free NHS Health Check, so you can do something about it. 

Your risk increases with age.You’re more at risk if you’re white and over 40 or over 25 if you’re African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian. You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is two to four times more likely in people of South Asian descent and African-Caribbean or Black African descent. You’re more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight, especially if you’re large around the middle.

To read more about this and check your risk, go to: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/preventing-type-2-diabetes/diabetes-risk-factors

Is healthcare on the brink of a global workforce crisis?

KPMG Global Chairman for Healthcare Dr Mark Britnell, cautions how healthcare is “on the brink of a global workforce crisis” – how prepared is the healthcare sector for these shortages?

London 20 March 2019 – A shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030 will have a devastating impact on the world’s healthcare sector unless swift action is taken, KPMG Global Chairman for Healthcare Dr Mark Britnell has warned. Is this just the beginning of a global workforce crisis?

“Overcoming the health worker deficit and looming staffing crisis presents the single biggest challenge for healthcare during the next decade,” he said yesterday at the launch of his new book Human: Solving the Global Workforce Crisis in Healthcare.

Healthcare is one of the largest sectors and employers in the world, worth over $9 trillion USD (~€7.9 trillion EUR) globally and consuming an average 10 per cent of a country’s GDP. However, according to Britnell, it simply does not have enough staff to care for patients anymore, and if swift action is not taken, we will soon be engulfed in a workforce crisis with severe implications on a global scale.

To read more about this go to: https://www.healtheuropa.eu/global-workforce-crisis/90846/

Celebrating international women’s day

International women’s day is a day of celebration and reflection on progress made to promote and protect women’s equality and human rights. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. The Declaration laid down a pathway for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Over the past 20 years, governments have taken steps towards implementing the commitments made in Beijing. Overall progress has been made in reducing maternal mortality and, to a greater extent, infant mortality and morbidity rates. Progress accelerated with the launch of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health in 2010.

To read more about this on the WHO website, go to: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/news/womenday/en/

Eye damage: can heavy smoking impair vision?

Researchers have taken a closer look into eye damage, by understanding the detrimental effects of what chronic smoking can have on spatial and colour vision.

Appearing in Psychiatry Research, the research has found that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can cause eye damage.

An estimated 34.3 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To read more about this go to: https://www.healtheuropa.eu/eye-damage/90344/

The study included 71 healthy people who smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their lives and 63 who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day, were diagnosed with tobacco addiction and reported no attempts to stop smoking.

World Cancer Day: action for protection against cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is among the most common types of cancer affecting women in the WHO European Region, with 69 000 new cases and 30 000 deaths estimated for 2018 alone. Yet unlike most other types of cancer, it is vaccine-preventable.

On World Cancer Day, WHO/Europe aims to raise awareness that timely vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) in combination with regular screening for cervical cancer is the best way to protect girls’ futures from this tragic disease.

Success in controlling cervical cancer requires action by individuals, health-care professionals and policy-makers at national and global levels to ensure that everyone has easy access to the facts, the vaccines and the screening they need.

To read more about this go to: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cancer/news/news/2019/2/world-cancer-day-action-for-protection-against-cervical-cancer

Migrants at ‘low risk’ of passing disease to host country residents: WHO report

European residents are at “low risk” of contracting communicable diseases such as TB or HIV from migrants, although the latter group is more likely to fall victim to such illnesses, according to a World Health Organisation report.

“Infections in those migrating have minimal public health implications for most host populations in the WHO European Region,” the report’s authors wrote. “The unprecedented arrival of large numbers of refugees and migrants into the EU/EEA since 2010 has not been associated with significant infectious diseases outbreaks.”

Poor living conditions in their home countries, coupled with a lack of vaccination and the stress and trauma that can be associated with moving country, mean that refugees and other migrants are at greater risk of falling victim to some infections. And even with conditions they are no more likely to contract than permanent residents – such as cancer – migrants are more likely to die because they are often diagnosed later, the report concluded.

To read more about this go to: https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/21/migrants-at-low-risk-of-passing-disease-to-host-country-residents-who-report

Toxins discovered in babies’ nappies

A variety of potentially toxic substances, including the widely-used but controversial weed-killer glyphosate have been found in babies’ nappies. According to France’s national health agency Anses, some of the chemicals exceed safety levels. Anses said its nappy tests were the first of their kind in the world.

Deputy Director of Anses, Gerard Lasfargues, said: “We found a dozen substances which went over the permitted threshold. Those substances have either to do with perfume which the industry intentionally adds in nappies, primarily for marketing reasons, or substances which appear during the manufacturing process of the nappies.”

The study has prompted a quick response from the French government which has given manufacturers 15 days to come up with an action plan aimed at getting rid of the toxic substances. But it urged against panic.

Read more about this at: https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/24/toxins-discovered-in-babies-nappies

European Union history in the making with legalising medical cannabis

Laying the groundwork for legalising medical cannabis, the European Union is beginning to outline a harmonised set of laws across Europe.

Medical cannabis is inching its way into the European Union agenda as legislators prepare to funnel cash into research of the drug and begin laying the groundwork for a harmonised set of laws across Europe. In late 2018, health committee politicians in the European Parliament, voted to approve a draft resolution on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and now the proposals are going to become a concrete motion.

To read more about this go to: European Union history in the making with legalising medical cannabis

NHS Long-term plan – “This is not about miracles”

The NHS Long-term plan is set to save almost half a million more lives with practical action and investment in treatments – but we must be wary of EU pressures.

With the Government announcing additional funding for NHS England, this means the NHS can plan to make the public health service fit for the future of patients, families and staff. Responding to the announcement of the NHS Long-term Plan, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, comments on the positive impact of the long-term plan and warns to beware of over-promising.

According to NHS England, the blueprint to make the NHS fit for the future will use the latest technology, such as digital GP consultations for all those who want them, coupled with early detection and a renewed focus on prevention to stop an estimated 85,000 premature deaths each year.

Source: NHS Long-term plan – “This is not about miracles”

The state of health in the EU

Every two years, the OECD prepares an assessment of the state of health in the EU for the European Commission. The latest report has been published and includes statistical indicators for 35 European countries, as well as two cross-cutting chapters on EU political priorities: promoting mental health and reducing inefficient spending. The report shows stalled increase in life expectancy in many EU Member States, marked by persistent and large inequalities in health gains.

Since a steady 2-3 year life expectancy increase between 2001-2011, improvements slowed down to just half a year between 2011-2016. The progress is slower in the Western European countries. People with a low level of education can expect to live six years less than those with a high level of education. “These gaps largely reflect differences in exposure to risk factors, but also indicate disparities in access to care.” In 2017, health spending accounted for 9.6% of GDP in the EU as a whole, up from 8.8% in 2008 but slightly down from the latest estimates of 9.9%. After years of cuts in healthcare budget devoted to prevention (with a post-economic crisis dip 2008-2012), between 2012-2016, an average of 2.5% of total health expenditure was spent on preventive measures. It is still way below the 2004-2008 levels of 4.7%.

Evidence is presented for strengthening prevention and health promotion measures; prioritising effective and people-centered health systems; improving access to health care; and building more resilient health systems.

To read more about this on the European Commission website, go to: https://ec.europa.eu/health/state/glance_en