Autumn has well and truly arrived here at talkhealth HQ, and the leaves are falling from the trees almost as fast as new health stories are being published in the media.
While focusing on the UK, British health journalists are increasingly looking at the global picture because many countries around the world are facing similar issues. Reporters are also taking more notice of important research projects. Here are several such stories from the past week:
Diabetes costing the NHS £1 billion per year
Diabetes has arguably become the biggest single health topic in the UK this year, appearing in the news on an almost weekly basis. This week the BBC reported that startling statistic that one in 20 prescriptions are now for diabetes. In total, this costs the NHS more than £1 billion per year!
“The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has doubled in the last 20 years, and it is responsible for 26,000 early deaths per year alongside serious complications such as blindness, amputation or stroke,” Robin Hewings, head of policy at the charity Diabetes UK, told the BBC. “This data shows that diabetes prescribing costs £1bn, but it is estimated that the total cost to the NHS is over £10bn a year, so the real price we have to pay for diabetes is not medications, but the devastating and expensive complications.”
Read the BBC’s article on diabetes.
State of the world’s health revealed in new report
A global survey claims poor diets were to blame for around a fifth of deaths around the world in 2017. High blood pressure and smoking were the second and third biggest risk factors.
In an article in the Guardian, Prof John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, who contributed to the research, said “A lot of these problems are potentially preventable: things like high blood pressure and smoking are still causing a massive burden of mortality and ill-health.”
“Globally, the leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease, with abnormal tissue growth including cancers in second place, and chronic respiratory conditions in third,” says the Guardian. “Among cancer deaths, lung cancer was the most common cause.”
Read more about this and see the league table of the biggest health risk factors, on the Guardian website.
Can running help prostate cancer treatment?
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has announced on its website that it is “investing £2.5 million in a unique new study to find out if long-term exercise can help tackle the side effects of prostate cancer treatment.” According to the NIHR, the five-year STAMINA study “will test whether a long-term supported exercise programme, included as part of NHS cancer care and delivered by commercial partners in the community, can help reduce side effects in men who have had androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) as part of prostate cancer treatment.”
Consultant urological surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Mr Derek Rosario, who is the Chief Investigator of the study, said, “We have shown that specific targeted exercise training significantly reduces many of the adverse effects caused by ADT as well as improving quality of life in these men.”
Visit the NIHR website for the full story.
talkhealth‘s free Online Clinic for prostate & testicular health is open until the end of Friday 16 November. Anyone can join to ask questions to our panel of medical experts.
Is singing good for Parkinson’s?
A pilot study in the US has seen promising signs that signing therapy could help reduce difficult-to-treat motor and mood symptoms associated by Parkinson’s disease, which affects around 10 million people around the globe. As the world’s population ages the number of people suffering from this progressive, incurable condition is rising.
Singing therapy might also work well as part of speech therapy and help patients to swallow better.
Read all about it on Medical News Today.
NHS outpatient service outdated
Did you know that there were 127 million outpatient appointments made in the UK last year? That’s almost five times the number of people who visit A&E. A new report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said “many appointments were unnecessary – and outdated, inefficient systems meant large numbers were missed or cancelled.” According to a BBC article, published today, 9 November a fifth of outpatient appointments in England are cancelled, or patients simply do not turn up.
“It’s an 18th Century system,” says the RCP’s Dr Toby Hillman, in the article. “It should not be beyond us to tackle this.”
Follow the story on the BBC website.
News from talkhealth
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Wherever you are in the world, enjoy the weekend!