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HEALTH AWARENESS DAYS/WEEKS AND FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER…

September is a busy month for health awareness events. Here is a list of just a few of them…

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY – 10th September – Every year organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.

The latest suicide statistics showed that in 2018, in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, more than 6,800 people died by suicide. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy.

And we know that suicide is preventable, it’s not inevitable. But not being okay is still widely stigmatised. And governments can still make better, more ambitious plans to prevent suicide.

Every year The Samaritans campaign with over 70 other suicide prevention and mental health groups under the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA).

Together, they ask governments in the UK and Ireland to make suicide prevention a priority and help raise awareness about how we can each support each other better.

This year’s theme, which will be the theme until 2023, is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’, which aims to empower people with the confidence to engage with the complexity of ‘hope’.

For ideas on how to support World Suicide Day head over to The Samaritans website.

PAIN AWARENESS MONTH – 1st – 30th September – The theme for Pain Awareness Month 2022

The World Health Assembly (WHA) – a subsection of the World Health Organization (WHO) – has declared September Pain Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to raising public awareness and understanding of pain. Many organisations around the world contribute, including the U.S. Pain Foundation, the International Pain Foundation and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

During September, the U.S. Pain Foundation will be sharing 30 stories of people living with pain over 30 days, while the AMTA has posted resources to inform people of the role of massage therapy in pain management strategies. Here at Pain Concern, we will be posting regularly on social media.

Everyone can play a part during this month by using the hashtag #PainAwarenessMonth.

You can also get involved by ‘liking’/‘following’ Pain Concern on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date and share the cause.

MIGRAINE AWARENESS WEEK – 5th – 14th September – While there is an increasing awareness of migraine and understanding of what it is, not many would disagree that there needs to be more awareness and understanding of how migraines seriously impact lives, with too many people not fully realising what it is like to live with this condition.

Migraine Awareness Week is a moment in the year when everyone affected by migraines and everyone working to help those affected work together to raise the profile of migraine as a complex neurological condition and dispel any ideas that it is ‘just a headache’.

They say that an estimate that as many as 25 million working days are lost each year to migraine, and research suggesting this is only going to get worse as our working population ages, it is an important health and wellbeing conversation for employers to be embracing.

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AWARENESS WEEK – 13th – 19th September – Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week (RAWW) is an annual campaign created by NRAS to raise awareness of the condition and eliminate misconceptions by educating and informing friends, family, and employers of those with RA and the general population about what rheumatoid arthritis truly is.

Since the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) was founded in 2001, one of our key aims has been to increase public understanding and awareness of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as distinct from other forms of arthritis. Whilst we have come a long way, there still remains a significant challenge in clarifying the misconceptions based on RA.

In 2013, NRAS started a campaign called Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week (RAAW) to raise awareness of the condition and eliminate these misconceptions by educating and informing friends, family, employers of those with RA and the general population about what rheumatoid arthritis truly is. RA is very different to osteoarthritis (OA) in that it can strike at any age over 16. It is an auto-immune disease, which is a key differentiating factor to OA and means that in addition to joints, it can affect internal organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes. There are very serious consequences to late diagnosis or lack of targeted appropriate treatment.

KNOW YOUR NUMBER AWARENESS WEEK – 5th  – 11th  September – the biggest blood pressure testing awareness event. Every September, volunteers give free blood pressure checks to thousands of passers-by to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Know Your Numbers! Week reaches those who have high blood pressure and don’t know it, so they can get the treatment and support they need to bring it under control.

Hundreds of organisations take part, setting up Pressure Stations in public places across the UK. From hospitals and health centres to offices, car parks and supermarkets. Even the Royal Albert Hall. Take a look at the highlights from past campaigns.

2022 sees the 22nd anniversary of Know your Numbers! Week. We are planning to mark this milestone with a new theme and activities and look forward to working with you on Know your Numbers! Week 2022.

Know Your Numbers! Week 2022 is taking place from 5-11 September. We won’t be offering free pressure checks in our community Pressure Stations again this year, but we will still encourage the whole of the UK to Know Their Numbers! We will build on our campaigns from the last two years as we get the nation to take up home monitoring. Save the date and register to take part.

The theme for 2022 is: Measure. Modify. Manage.

WORLD LYMPHOMA DAY – 15th September – World Lymphoma Awareness Day is held on 15 September every year around the world. Since its launch in 2004, it has been a day dedicated to raising awareness of lymphomas, cancers of the lymphatic system. 

In 2022, they are calling for improvements when it comes to diagnosing, treating and tracking lymphomas:

  • We Can’t Wait any longer to address the ways the pandemic has affected people living with lymphomas. This includes delayed access to treatment and care, hesitancy in seeking medical care, delays in diagnoses and an increased mental health burden to people living with lymphoma and caregivers.
  • We Can’t Wait any longer to track lymphoma subtypes. When we track subtypes, locally and globally, we will understand the actual disease prevalence and outcomes and improve patient care and research.

Check back soon to learn how to get involved in the 2022 campaign.

EUROPEAN MOBILITY AWARENESS WEEK – 16th – 22rd  September – is the European Commission’s flagship awareness-raising campaign on sustainable urban mobility. It encourages behavioural change in favour of active mobility, public transport and other clean, intelligent transport solutions. The annual theme for 2022 is ‘Better connections’. Find out more about this year’s theme, here

With more towns and cities joining each year, the campaign continues to drive Europe, and beyond, toward sustainable urban mobility. Explore past campaigns, mobility actions and news via our website and learn how your community can participate!

BALANCE AWARENESS WEEK – 18th – 24th  September – While most people may not be familiar with the word “vestibular”—a system in your inner ear that sends signals to your brain to tell you where you are in space—many of us have likely experienced the awkward, sometimes even scary feeling, when we momentarily lose our balance.

Whether it comes on gradually over time or all of the sudden, bouts of dizziness, vertigo, and nausea can make many of life’s routine tasks virtually intolerable. Everyday life – from getting around your house to grocery shopping—becomes a progressively challenging obstacle course to navigate.

That’s why VeDA pioneered Balance Awareness Week (BAW) in 1997—to shine a light on invisible balance disorders. When everyone is more aware, we can better understand the vestibular patient experience and be empathetic to those who need our support—family, friends, co-workers, and neighbours. While many balance disorders are incurable, faster and more accurate diagnosis, along with effective coping strategies, can greatly improve quality of life for those who suffer with these invisible chronic illnesses.

Join VeDA this September 18-24, 2022 for Balance Awareness Week, and together we can support people struggling with dizziness, vertigo and imbalance on their journey toward a life rebalanced.

ORGAN DONATION AWARENESS WEEK – 19th – 25th September – Organ donation is when you decide to give an organ to save or transform the life of someone else.

You can donate some organs while you are alive, and this is called living organ donation. However, most organ and tissue donations come from people who have died.

This year Organ Donation are asking everyone to go pink for the week! Whether you bake a pink cake, wear pink socks, paint a pink unicorn or drink a pink drink we want to see what you get up to.

Remember to use #organdonation and tag us @nhsorgandonor so they can see your brilliant efforts!

WORLD REFLEXOLOGY WEEK – 19th – 25th September – World Reflexology Week takes place every year in the last full week in September.  It is about promoting reflexology and raising awareness of reflexology to the public on a global level.  At the AoR they always have members across the UK who run events offering taster sessions of reflexology; either for free or for a small donation.

Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary health therapy that can be effective in promoting deep relaxation and wellbeing; by reducing stress in people’s lives can be key in optimising good health and building resilience. It is a touch therapy that is based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body and reflexologists work these points and areas.

However reflexology is viewed, there can be no doubt that what it does provide is a period of time for relaxation where the client has one to one attention and supportive touch in an empathetic listening environment. Reflexology can be used safely alongside standard healthcare to promote better health for their clients.

WORLD ALZHEIMERS MONTH– 1st-30th September – World Alzheimer’s Day takes place on 21 September and is part of World Alzheimer’s Month. This year, we’re talking about the power of knowledge. World Alzheimer’s Day is an international campaign to raise awareness and highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia. It is an opportunity for people and organisations to demonstrate how we can overcome these issues and help people live well with dementia.

By learning more about dementia and understanding changes in memory and behaviour, you and your loved ones can feel empowered to reach out for the help and support you need. World Alzheimer’s Month is a global opportunity to raise awareness around, educate, encourage support of and demystify dementia.

The theme for World Alzheimer’s Month in 2021 is ‘Know dementia, know Alzheimer’s’.

Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. To tackle this global dementia challenge we need to work together, and to collaborate and share best practice with one another.

This is why Alzheimer’s Society has committed to work with partners on global research and campaigning, as well as sharing our learning, best practice and experience with one another.

This World Alzheimer’s Month, they are encouraging everyone to learn more about dementia. They have factsheets and booklets about dementia available to read online, download or order to your door.

You can also download our publications catalogue (PDF) for full details of all their print publications, accessible resources and practical tools.

WORLD HEART DAY – 29th September – World Heart Day is an opportunity for everyone to stop and consider how best to use heart for humanity, for nature, and for you. Beating cardiovascular disease (CVD) is something that matters to every beating heart.

Use Heart means to think differently. To make the right decisions. To act with courage. To help others. To engage with this important cause. The heart is the only organ you can hear and feel. It is the first and last sign of life. It is one of the few things with the potential to unite all of us as people.

For Every Heart involves the use of “FOR” and swings the focus from the actions themselves to the beneficiaries of the actions, allowing for wider application of the campaign while also making it more personal. We want World Heart Day messages to reach as many individuals as possible to help achieve cardiovascular health for every heart. For more details on World Heart Day head to the World Heart Day website.

Source: The Samaritans Pain Awareness Health Watch Hertfordshire NRAS UK Blood Pressure UK Lymphoma Coalition European Mobility Week Vestibular Organ Donation NHS AOR Alzheimers UK World Heart Day

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WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CAUSE OF A FIBROMYALGIA FLARE-UP?…

What is the biggest cause of a Fibromyalgia flare-up? Well, apparently it’s The Weather – which I am sure most of us knew that anyway. The UK is experiencing the second heatwave of this summer and I know I am suffering at the moment. How about you?

Fibromyalgia flare-ups are a temporary increase in the number and/or intensity of symptoms.  A flare-up can be different from person to person, but for many, it means severe pain, with little to no let-up. A flare-up likely includes debilitating fatigue, even to the point of feeling weak and unable to stand or walk for much length of time. Luckily, worsening symptoms usually have a distinct cause, and with the right approach, they can be treated directly and effectively.

Get to the bottom of intensifying fibro fatigue and discomfort before you try to treat it. Some flare-ups can last a few days to a few weeks and there are a number of causes for them.

Temperature makes a difference in how we feel with Fibro but it can also affect other musculoskeletal disorders. Colder weather seems to make symptoms worse whereas a climate where the temperature remains warmer seems to be less painful for Fibro sufferers.

Arthritis Foundation writes that “People with fibromyalgia do not all experience flares the same way,” Dr Clauw says. “A good way to explain it is that every person with fibromyalgia has their Achilles heel – their ‘thing’ that really gives them trouble. When their fibromyalgia worsens, that particular thing really gets bad.”

There are obviously many other triggers that can create a flare-up which include – physical or psychological stress, hormonal changes, travelling, changes in treatment, diet or poor sleep.

There are five “major weather factors” that can affect our bodies. They are temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation and wind. We may not be able to control what the weather does, but we can take some steps to try and head off a #fibro flare before it occurs when it is time for a seasonal change.

Researchers have been unable to determine why the changes in weather affect sufferers, however, there are some possible explanations. Firstly, changes in temperature can affect sleep patterns. Getting plenty of sleep is really important if you have fibromyalgia, and even small shifts in your sleep pattern can aggravate the condition. Secondly, as the seasons change, the amount of light you are exposed to can throw off your circadian rhythm (body clock), making you feel low and more tired than usual. Lastly, there may be a connection between low temperatures and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which appear to be connected to pain intensity.

Make a note in your diary of a particular treatment that helped or medication or piece of equipment like a tens machine that helped. Knowing that there is something you can do, use or otherwise for your flare-up, will get you through the worst days and back to controlling it as you normally do.

Do not push yourself. Go slow. Be gentle with yourself. If you can’t do the laundry for a few days, that’s okay. Also, if you can’t get the house cleaned this week, that’s okay.

If you have to cancel plans, that’s okay, do not feel guilty about it. Treat yourself the same way you would a friend that was going through a hard time.

Source: Arthritis Foundation

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SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BEST COLOURS TO HELP YOU SLEEP…

Lack of sleep can cause stress, lack of coordination and agility, weight gain and poor judgement. They also say that we need a full night’s sleep to function correctly and even that sleeping may help you lose some weight! Now, researchers are careful to note that oversleeping has been linked to various medical problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

When we’re sleeping, our brains are actively working to process the information from the day into our long-term and short-term memory. Good sleep not only helps our bodies and minds to rest and repair, but it also allows us to perform better too. Many of us have watches that tell us how well we slept and you can become quite obsessed with how many hours of good sleep you have had.

People with pain also feel less control over their sleep, worry more about lack of sleep affecting their health and exhibit greater sleep sensitivity. They’re more likely than others to say environmental factors make it more difficult for them to get a good night’s sleep. These factors include noise, light, temperature, and their mattresses alike, suggesting that taking greater care of the bedroom environment may be particularly helpful to pain sufferers.

I have covered many different ways to help us sleep which include the best teas to drink for a good night’s sleep, vitamin d deficiencies, the best oils to help you sleep and the best type of pillow to help you sleep plus the best Sleep Aids to Help You Sleep. However, I have never covered what colour helps you sleep.

According to Homes & Gardens, sleep experts all agreed that light blue is the best colour for the bedroom to help you sleep. Light blue is associated with calmness and serenity – meaning it is the best color for promoting a peaceful night’s sleep. Studies have also shown that households with blue bedrooms sleep the best when compared to any other colour.

Blue can reduce muscle tension and pulse, it can calm the mind, and normalizes breathing. Soft and light blue colors are non-stimulating, which can help your body produce melatonin. It brings to mind visions of the sky and ocean which immediately makes you feel relaxed.

Our Sleep Guide writes that certain colors, like red for example, can increase our adrenaline and heart rate. Making us anxious and energized. Not a feeling many of us want before we try to drift off to sleep. While other colors, like blue, offer a more serene feeling that calms us and makes us feel more relaxed. Which is exactly what we would want before trying to sleep.

Yellow is the second best color to choose for sleep. And you can definitely wake up happy to yellow, sunshine walls. A light yellow is the best type to go for or a more neutral green shade, like sage. This green helps create a peaceful feeling that is airy yet tranquil. Allowing you to feel balanced and refreshed, which is great for falling asleep and waking up.

Silver is another color. Apparently sleepers in a silver room got 7 hours and 33 minutes of sleep. Silver is a great color if you like more neutral colors, but still want to get some peaceful rest. Soft, natural pinks offer a delicate wall color that is also comforting.

Source: Homes & Gardens Our Sleep Guide Back Pain Blog