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CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT AWARENESS WEEK –  7th -14th February – World Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is held on February 7tth – 14th. Multiple conditions present at birth, from mild to severe, affect a baby’s heart, its functions, but also blood flow. Every year, one in 100 babies is born with the condition. While critical cases can be deadly without treatment, some heart defecSponsored by the American Heart Association, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week encourages people to learn about congenital heart defects. And how commonly they occur, and how they can contribute to organizations researching into congenital heart defects.ts can be treated easily. The most severe ones can be detected during pregnancy or soon after birth.

NATIONAL HEART MONTH 1st– 28th February – National Heart Month is an annual event observed in the UK, which aims to raise awareness about heart diseases. It encourages people to think about the choices they are making within their lifestyle to keep their heart healthy. National Heart Month aims to help people understand what good mental and physical health means for the heart, and how to stay informed about the risks of heart-related conditions.

Currently, there are around 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases and 1 in 2 of us will experience a heart or circulatory condition during our lifetime.

However, making small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to your heart health, which in the long term could help reduce your risk of heart and circulatory related conditions such as diabetes, stroke, vascular dementia or heart disease.

TINNITUS AWARENESS WEEK – 7th – 13th February – Tinnitus Awareness Week is observed the first full week of February and the purpose of it is to educate the public about the symptoms of tinnitus and how it affects people. Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ear and 15 to 20 percent of people experience it. It’s not actually a condition, but a symptom of an underlying condition. These can be age-related, related to hearing loss, ear injury, or a circulatory system disorder. The symptoms include ringing, buzzing, clicking, roaring, hissing, or humming in the ear and it varies depending on the person.

RARE DISEASE DAY – 28th February – Rare Disease Day is the official international
awareness-raising campaign for rare diseases which takes place on the last day of February each
year. The main objective of the campaign is to raise awareness amongst the general public and
decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives.
Rare Disease Day was launched by EURORDISRare Diseases Europe and its Council of National
Alliances in 2008. RareDiseaseDay is the unique campaign hashtag for Rare Disease Day, be sure to use it your social media posts in help build momentum around the global campaign!

WORLD CANCER DAY – 4th February 2023 – is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). By raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalysing personal, collective and government action, we are all working together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for all – no matter who you are or where you live. 

Created in 2000, World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of our greatest challenges in history.

Each year, hundreds of activities and events take place around the world, gathering communities, organisations and individuals in schools, businesses, hospitals, marketplaces, parks, community halls, places of worship – in the streets and online – acting as a powerful reminder that we all have a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer.

TIME TO TALK DAY – 3rd February 2023 – Time to Talk Day is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in England, in partnership with Co-op. The campaign runs UK wide, with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and See Me in Scotland, Inspire and Change Your Mind in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales.

The day is all about creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health, by talking about it we can support ourselves and others. We aim to support communities up and down the country to have more mental health conversations than ever before. We know that conversations about mental health have the power to change lives. Our recent research shows how important open conversations in communities are to support everyone’s mental wellbeing.

Co-op are raising £8m for Mind, SAMH and Inspire to bring communities together to improve mental wellbeing. Along with delivering Time to Talk Day, these vital funds are providing new services in over 50 local communities across the UK to support people’s mental wellbeing. Time to Talk Day was launched in 2014 by Time to Change, a campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination, which was run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Dignity Action Day – 1st February, 2023 #DAD2023 is an annual opportunity for health and social care workers, and members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people who use care services.Dignity Action Day gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to upholding people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people receiving care. Dignity Action Day aims to ensure people who use care services are treated as individuals and are given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily lives.

February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month – You can get involved by spreading the word, hosting a Catch up with a Coffee, following us on social media and keeping the conversation going.  #KnowRaynauds

Up to 10 million people in the UK have a form of Raynaud’s and yet our research shows that nearly half of UK adults don’t know any of the signs of Raynaud’s disease. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to raise awareness.

Too many people just live with Raynaud’s without knowing what it is and how they can manage the symptoms better.  For roughly 300,000 of them it’s a sign of an underlying condition.  So we don’t want people to ignore it any more.  By sharing your stories of what it is like to live with Raynaud’s we are encouraging others to take action.  

Les lived with Raynaud’s for over 50 years without knowing what it was – he found out after taking our online test, that’s why he put together this video below to help us raise awareness. 

Wear Red Day – February 3rd 2023, Support Children’s Heart Surgery Fund on the first Friday in  February and help children and adults born with congenital heart disease.

Your fundraising will help fund ground-breaking new equipment, resources, training and research as well as support for children and their families whenever they need it. It’s so easy to take part, all you need to do is wear red!

Show your support of congenital heart disease and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund by wearing something RED on the first Friday in February! Sign up and receive your free, digital fundraising pack!

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is back 27 February-5 March 2023 – Whether they’re battling an eating disorder, or supporting someone who’s struggling – we’re there with people affected, every step of the way.

From our Helpline to our online workshops and chatrooms, our services help make sure no one feels alone in their recovery journey. So this Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we’re asking you to pair up with a pal and fundraise with someone by your side.

National Wear Red Day – Sunday 26th February – The first Friday in February (February 3) is National Wear Red Day. On this day, which is considered American Heart Month, everyone across the country dons the color red in order to raise and spread awareness in hopes to help eradicate heart disease and stroke in millions of women all over the nation. So put on your reddest red — whether it be a lipstick, a pair of pants, or your favorite hat — and paint the city red. In line with other heart and soul related themes of the month, National Wear Red Day brings awareness to women’s heart health. Women have been the heartbeats of the home since the beginning, playing multiple roles as mothers, daughters, sisters, counselors, providers, and protectors. Women shoulder more responsibility now in and outside the home than ever before. In kind, they need more support in nurturing themselves as deeply as they nurture their families and communities. National Wear Red day is a beautiful first step in giving women the world over the critical heart health information and services they need and deserve.

Source: Dignity Care Raynauds Awareness Wear Red Day Beat Eating Disorders National Today International Days Days of the Year Twinkl British Heart Foundation Tinnitus UK Rare Disease Day World Cancer Day Time to Talk Day

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Diet and pain levels have long been known to go hand in hand. Whether you have an issue that can be set off by a certain ingredient, or you’re dealing with an illness that causes chronic pain no matter what, good eating habits can help to balance things out. However, how deep does this link really go? What does your diet really do to change the way you experience chronic pain? Let’s go into some further detail about this below. 

Anything with Inflammatory Qualities Could Cause Issues

Certain foods can be inflammatory in nature. Now usually this wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but if you experience chronic pain for any reason, an inflammatory ingredient can make the pain worse and/or last longer. Inflamed joints, inflamed muscles, an inflamed digestive system – the list goes on and on. 

But the more you know now about what foods cause inflammation, the more you can eat the other way. There are plenty of anti-inflammatories on the market, including spices like turmeric and simple healthy ingredients like tomatoes. These can easily be added to most meals, and can have a positive effect on your pain levels going forward. 

Snacking on Sugary Items Could Cause Sensitivity 

Sugar is just another ingredient for most people. But if you have a disorder that revolves around the way your hormones release, eating too much sugar on a daily basis can make you more sensitive to your symptoms. More often than not, this includes pain.

In moderation sugar isn’t all that bad. However, it’s easy to snack on processed foods with a high sugar content without realising it. But if you like sweets and chocolate and would find it hard to erase them from your diet, you could try out a bag of something like Delta 9 THC Gummies. We all love chewing on that kind of gummy texture, but a variety like this could also help fight the pain you’re feeling. 

Always Do Your Own Research

It’s always important to delve into research of your own when concerning a topic like this. The things we eat, and the conditions we live with, can affect two people very differently. So when it comes to applying ideas like those above to your own life, always take things with a pinch of salt. 

Get to know the ins and outs of food and how it affects pain in your own time. Talk to your doctor, talk to the people in a support group you might be in, and look up studies yourself. It’s up to you what goes into your diet, but when you’re not sure about the potential effects, you can end up doing yourself more harm than good. 

Our eating habits will affect us in many different ways. When you’re someone living with chronic pain, the things we eat will cause this symptom to be at different levels on different days. So check out what you’re eating and always do your own research.

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There are certain items I could not live without that help ease my pain. What are yours?

Mine are the following…

1.My electric heat pad – I keep it upstairs and use it daily even throughout the summer months. The heat helps ease my muscle pain more than ice so I use it when I rest in the afternoon and when I wake in the morning and also if pain wakes me at night. My heat pad – I’ve had a number of them that I use so much they wear out but my latest one from Sweet Dreams Electric Heat Pad is therapeutic, soothing pain relief for arthritis, tension, stomach and back pain. I bought mine from Amazon which was £29.99

2. My V Pillow – I started using a v pillow after my second cervical neck surgery as I had to wear a collar for a short period and I found the v pillow was something that I could lie on and be comfortable. They don’t have to cost the earth. This one from Amazon is perfect for only £12.99 and includes a pillowcase. I cannot get off to sleep without my v cushion as I can get into a much more comfortable position with this to read before I go to sleep.

3. Invest in a Sciatic Pain Relief Cushion. I couldn’t manage to go out in my car or to work at my desk without my sciatica cushion which I have written about before. The Sciatic Pain Relief Cushion is simple to use. Safe and easy to apply regularly to give sciatica pain relief. When sciatica strikes the simplest things in life can be the hardest things to do. The Sciatic Pain Relief Cushion is a class 1 medical device designed to alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve while sitting to help with sciatica pain relief. The cushion provides the nerve space and time to heal. By placing the cushion on your seat every time you sit you are able to stretch your sciatic nerve whilst reducing the increased pressure the nerve experiences during sitting. This cushion is specifically designed for people who have sciatica pain symptoms that are particularly aggravated or exacerbated while sitting or seated. It is easy to use, safe and specifically designed for sciatica pain relief. From £31.50.

4. Wearing proper footwear is another essential thing for me and should be for anyone suffering from lower back pain. If I don’t wear my Joya Shoes I find the pain comes back much quicker even during my walk as ordinary soles pick up every stone and lump in the ground whereas the Joya Shoes support your ankle and it has such a deep sole you feel like your floating. Joya Shoes explain ‘supports the natural movement process and encourage active walking. Joya shoes also promote healthy posture, which provides relief to the back and joints and can also reduce and prevent back and joint pain.’ Tina II Black:

Lush and sleek lace-up sneakers. A tasty combination of full-grain leather and sparkling suede with a touch of silver. Implemented with the Joya Active sole technology that guarantees an ideal combination of cushioning, rebound and stability. For fashionable people always on the move who never compromise on comfort.

From £169.95

5. Acupressure Mat and Pillow – the Eco Yoke Acupressure Mat & Pillow from Yoke Wellness has become part of my pain relief regime. I use it most afternoons when I go for my rest and find it completely relaxing and beneficial for my pain. It leaves me feeling relaxed and comfortable. the mat is designed on the premise that ‘Self Care us Soul Care’ and is made of 100% biodegradable packaging. It has eco-friendly coconut fibre filling and the mat has 7000 ergonomic spikes for activating tension release and to help you unwind and release any body tension. You can stand on it for energising power, sit on it during relaxation or lie on it to feel a full body release. You will then soon feel the muscle tension melt away and is a great product for headaches, stiff neck, back pain, fibromyalgia and insomnia. So, a real all-rounder. It costs £27.49

6. My Kindle – Reading something nice or informative takes you away to another place for a while. You can now get free book downloads from Amazon and other sites so you do not even need to leave your house to buy a book. I cannot remember the last time I actually bought a book. There are also online Book Reading Groups. Reedsy has a list of 15 of the best Online Book Clubs you can join. Try and allocate at least half an hour of your day to just sit and read a book be it on your Kindle or other Ipad. I prefer a Kindle as its much lighter. I got mine from Amazon which was £39.99