Tag: Lifestyle

Omeprazol use causes concern

Overuse of Omeprazol sparks GP concerns
 
Doctors in Spain have warned against ‘excessive and inappropriate use’ of the stomach-protector pill Omeprazol, saying it can lead to infections in the digestive system, reduced absorption of vitamins and even cancer of the oesophagus and stomach. One in three patients who take Omeprazol regularly should not be doing so, GPs reveal.
Although prescriptions for it have not increased in the last few years – quite the opposite, says digestion specialist Dr Mercedes Ricote – it can be purchased over the counter, leading to many taking it without medical advice.
Dr Ricote, of the Digestion Working Group wing of the Spanish General Practitioners’ Society (SEMERGEN), says Omeprazol is one of the most-consumed anti-acid drugs in Spain, both as a treatment for stomach acid itself, or taken prior to doses of other medication which can cause nausea and burning.
According to the ministry of national health, nearly 54.4 million boxes of Omeprazol were sold on prescription in 2013; then 53.6 million in 2014 and 52.3 million in 2015, showing that although fewer GPs are advising patients to take it, the drug is still being taken ‘excessively’.
“The point of Omeprazol is to protect the stomach against harsh medication, but the general public uses it because they believe it makes them feel better or that it stops the side-effects of drugs altogether,” Dr Ricote explains.
“Some mistakenly take it as a solution for stomach acid, and many even do so to avoid feeling bloated and full before a heavy meal or drinking session – which is definitely not what it’s for.
“It’s not designed to be used as an occasional treatment for one-off incidences of acid; it is for when the patient suffers acid two or more days a week, and in that case, it will be prescribed as part of a continual treatment programme and only when your GP sees fit.”
Omeprazol abuse alters the Ph balance in the digestive system, which can lead to infections such as salmonella, cause severe diarrhoea, and prevent crucial vitamins – particularly B12 – from being absorbed.
Also, patients who buy it over the counter to treat stomach acid instead of seeing their doctor are, effectively, delaying diagnosis of the real cause of their discomfort – which, although rare, could be as severe as gullet or stomach cancer, Dr Ricote warns.
“Although not a frequent side-effect, overuse of Omeprazol can lead to magnesium and calcium levels dropping – especially if it is taken for a long time – and this can be so severe as to lead to risks of fractures.
“We’ve seen patients who have used the drug to excess and suffered broken hips, wrists and even vertebrae as a result.”
Dr Ricote says GPs need to try to ‘educate’ patients about the correct use of Omeprazol and pharmacists should quiz customers about why they are buying it to ascertain whether they really need it.
 

Ask Sara

Ask Sara
Our relationship expert answers your questions

Feelings for old flame
Out of the blue, an ex boyfriend from my past contacted me on Facebook.  All the old feelings I felt for this guy have returned.  He dumped me all those years ago for another woman – the one he married.  I suppose I shouldn’t have encouraged the exchanges of conversations, but I did and now I am confused about my feelings for him.  Before he got in touch, I was happy with my husband, and we have children together.  He is divorced and has no ties.
Cultivating relationships on social media can be quite seductive, and can put otherwise happy relationships under threat.  You say you never doubted your relationship with your husband before this ex got in touch?  You risk losing your happy marriage if you don’t sever ties with this man.  Your behaviour may have changed, and it is possible your husband may suspect something.  You also say this ex boyfriend dumped you to marry someone else.  Is this man really what you want?  He got in touch with you again only after his divorce.  Please do some hard thinking about how you proceed.
I can’t live like this
My wife and I have been married for three years.  Our relationship has been heading downhill since we wed.  She rarely wants to be intimate, and that side of things has been very infrequent.  I’ve talked to her about it, but she says we are different in that respect, and she doesn’t need it.  Now she has said she wants a baby, ‘to bring us together’ and I am against it.  I don’t think a child will mend things between us, and I think I will regret being tied down for the rest of my life.  I have remained faithful to my wife but she doesn’t understand that that part of my life is vital to me.

Bringing a child into an unhappy relationship is never a good idea.  If you can’t patch things up and get your libidos in tune, then the relationship is heading for the rocks.  I would recommend counselling if you feel you want to try to save the relationship.  Otherwise, if your heart really is not in your marriage, then you should consider going your separate ways.  Either way, talk things through with your wife.
 
Write to Sara in confidence.  A pseudonym will be used if you wish.  Sara reads all letters and can give a personal reply.  Email your question to sara@costablancapeople.com or Sara is available for private consultations, telephone 650 054 467.

Beating the winter blues

Use nature to keep well this winter

Beating the winter blues
With the change in weather comes the inevitable coughs, colds and sore throats of the winter months. These herbs can ease the symptoms and some may help prevent illness altogether. According to leading herbalists using teas, extracts and supplements from  natural-foods stores will help keep us fighting fit over the festive season.
Echinacea
A go-to herb for colds, this plant (Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia) may help support your immune system to fight viruses. The root, leaves, and flowers are all medicinal.
How to use: Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tincture (herbal extract) every two hours until symptoms are gone. Echinacea also comes in tea blends
Elderberry
The classic form for elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a tasty syrup: European studies have shown it to be helpful for seasonal flus (talk to your doctor before using it for H1N1, or swine flu).
How to use: Follow package directions for the syrup at the first sign of symptoms.
Elderflower
The flower form of the elder plant (Sambucus nigra) can induce sweating, which may help reduce fever.
How to use: Look for elder in cold formulas. To make a tea, pour boiling water over a teaspoon of dried elderflower. Steep 10 to 15 minutes then strain. Drink up to three cups per day. Or make a tea that combines elder, echinacea, and a pinch of peppermint.
Ginger
A cup of tea made with ginger (Zingiber officinale) can help ease congestion and warm the body, which helps your system fight infection. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good sore-throat remedy, too.
How to use: Simmer fresh or dried ginger for 20 minutes; strain and add a touch of honey and a squeeze of lemon, if desired. Incorporate ginger liberally into stir-fries and soups.
Thyme
Loaded with antibacterial compounds, fresh or dried thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a cold-season powerhouse.
How to use: Use fresh or dried thyme in stews and soups. To make a steam, pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a pinch of fresh or dried thyme, turn off heat, and create a tent by draping a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe in steam for five minutes.
Eucalyptus
With antibacterial and expectorant properties, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) can loosen congestion and help you breathe easier.
How to use: Pour near-boiling water into a pot. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, turn off heat, and drape a towel over your head and the pot. Breathe for five minutes. Safety note: Do not use essential oils internally.
Eleuthero
Also known as Siberian ginseng, this well-studied herb (Eleutherococcus senticosus) can help your body resist the effects of stress and boost your immune system.
How to use: Take in tincture or capsule form, or make an immunity chai by blending eleuthero with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain; drink two to three cups daily.
Sage
Common culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) can help to ease sore throats and dry up sinuses.
How to use: For a sore throat, make a strong tea by pouring 4 ounces of water over 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh sage. Cool to room temperature. Gargle until the mixture is gone. Repeat three times daily. For drippy sinuses, drink a cup of regular-strength sage tea.
Licorice
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has immune-boosting and throat-soothing properties that make it an excellent addition to cough and cold formulas.
How to use: For coughs, make a tea that combines mullein leaf with a pinch of licorice. People who have high blood pressure should avoid this herb
Skin therapy
Dry and flaky skin is a common complaint in the winter time. Cold, dry winter air sucks the life out of silky, smooth skin. There are many lotions and moisturisers, but most come with a hefty price tag. Natural home remedies are not only cheap, but also quite effective in nourishing and hydrating dry skin back to a healthy state.
Olive oil contains many antioxidants and healthy fatty acids that are good for your skin. It can soothe and condition dry skin all over your body.

About a half an hour before taking a shower, rub some olive oil on your hands, legs and other areas with dry skin and massage lightly. Take a shower and then apply a light moisturizer.
Mix two tablespoons of olive oil, four tablespoons of fine brown sugar, and one tablespoon of honey. Rub this homemade scrub on your dry skin using light, circular motions for a few minutes. Take a shower and then apply a light moisturiser.

Honey is considered one of the best natural moisturisers loaded with antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. It helps lock in moisture to make your skin extra soft and smooth. Plus, honey has many essential vitamins and minerals that help improve your skin’s health.

Before taking a bath or shower, rub honey all over your body and leave it on for five to 10 minutes. Repeat daily to enjoy well-moisturised skin.
Mix honey and olive oil with brown sugar and gentle rub in circles onto your face as a exfoliating scrub.

Yogurt is an excellent skin-hydrating agent. Plus, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help soothe dry and itchy skin. Also, its lactic acid content helps get rid of any germs or bacteria that may cause dryness or itchiness.

Apply fresh yogurt on your hands, face and legs and gently massaging it into your skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then take a bath or shower. The mild exfoliating action of yogurt will remove dry skin and leave your skin refreshed. Do this once every day for irritated skin conditions.
Mix one-half cup of yogurt and three tablespoons of mashed or blended papaya. Stir in a few drops each of honey and lemon juice. Apply it on your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off with cold water. Do this once a week for added hydration.

Coconut oil is really good for treating dry skin. It has a good amount of fatty acids that make up for any loss of moisture from the skin.

Liberally apply warm coconut oil all over your body before going to sleep. Wash it off in the morning. Do this daily to make your skin soft, smooth and silky to the touch.
Or apply coconut oil on your dry skin after you take a bath or shower. When the skin is warm and supple from your bath, coconut oil is more readily absorbed.

Avocado is packed with fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that help improve skin from the inside and out. The high vitamin A content helps in skin maintenance and repair to restore smooth skin.

Mash the pulp of an avocado into a smooth paste. Rub the paste all over your dry skin. Let it sit on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse it off with cold water. Repeat the process once a day.
Mash one-half of a ripe avocado and stir in one-half cup of honey. Apply the mixture on your dry skin and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. Apply this hydrating face mask once or twice a week but not more often than that as it may cause breakouts.
You can also drink a glass of an avocado smoothie daily to increase your intake of healthy fats that will help keep your skin hydrated and moisturised.

You can also use oatmeal to moisturise and relieve dry skin. The high protein content in oatmeal leaves a protective barrier on the skin, which prevents water loss and helps maintain moisture. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are good for the overall health of your skin.

Pour one cup of plain oatmeal into your bathtub filled with warm water. Add a few drops of lavender oil. Soak in the bath water for 15 to 30 minutes. Enjoy this soothing bath once a week.
Make a face mask by mixing one mashed ripe banana with one cup of ground oatmeal and then adding a little bit of lukewarm milk. Apply this smooth mixture on your dry skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water. Use this face mask once a week.

 
 
 

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