December 22, 2019
There’s so much conflicting health advice out there, it can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to looking after yourself.
14 Important Health Lessons We Learned In 2019
Of all the health stories we’ve reported on in 2019, there are a fair few important lessons we’ve learned, or been reminded of, that we’d think you’d like to know, too.
From knowing which pill to take for what pain, to always taking vitamins with food – here are 14 lessons that could inspire you to live a better 2020.Related... 5 Festive Things That Could Give You The Seasonal Sniffles 1. Movement can help ease acute back pain.Back pain is the leading single cause of disability in the UK, which means a hell of a lot of people are struggling. While there are many causes, it’s often because of an issue with the ligaments or tendons in the back.For years, people were led to believe bed rest would sort it out. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Laura Finucane, a consultant physiotherapist specialising in spinal conditions, told HuffPost UK that for people with acute back pain (which lasts less than six weeks) “motion is lotion”.Remaining active can “turn down” the intensity of pain you’re feeling, while staying still reinforces the thought process that movement is bad, which can “turn up” the intensity of pain, she said. This advice is echoed by the NHS, too: “One of the most important things you can do is to keep moving and continue with your normal activities as much as possible.” 
Read more about how movement can help ease back pain.2. There’s no scientific cure for a hangover. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, according to science, there’s no one-size-fits-all cure for a hangover. We don’t know what causes a hangover yet, said Alexis Willett, author of Drinkology: The Science of What We Drink and What It Does to Us, so how are we supposed to “cure” it?
That said, there are a number of things alcohol researchers rely on to get them through the morning after boozing: plenty of water, stocking up on B vitamins and making sure they’ve got some electrolyte sachets knocking about. Also, did you know the colour of your drink could impact the severity of your hangover? Yeah, us neither. 
Read more on how alcohol experts handle their hangovers.3. Cholesterol should be on your radar, whatever your age.It might seem like something you don’t need to worry about until you’re retired, but cholesterol should be on everyone’s radar, according to charities. Currently, people under 40 only have their cholesterol levels checked when they go for blood tests, usually as a result of illness. But Chris Allen, head of healthcare for nationwide cholesterol charity Heart UK suggests “you don’t need to wait until you’re 40 to get it checked”.
His comments came after a study suggested people as young as 25 should have their cholesterol levels checked. One argument for testing people earlier is that artery clogging could be prevented, said Barbara Kobson, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation. “It can take many years for arteries to fur up in response to a high level of ‘bad’ cholesterol. If people as young as 25 get their levels checked and they’re found to have high cholesterol, they can be started on medication and other risk factors can be addressed by their GP.”Find out more about cholesterol and how to lower it.4. Eye yoga can help with visual fatigue.Computer eye strain is a very real issue for people who are glued to screens day in, day out. Symptoms include headaches; sore, tired or itchy eyes; difficulty focusing; blurred or double vision; and increased sensitivity to light.
So what can you do about it? Let us introduce you to eye yoga: look to the left, hold the position, repeat looking right. Look up, hold the position, repeat looking down. Repeat four times, closing your eyes and relaxing in between. Try doing this a couple of times a day. 
The 20:20:20 rule may also help with visual fatigue. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye. Make it your mission to look after your peepers in 2020.
Read more about how to reduce computer eye strain.5. Vitamins should be taken with food.Ever felt like you needed to throw up after taking a vitamin tablet? You’re not overthinking it – it’s often to do with how they’re absorbed into the body.Vitamin C tablets are the worst offenders when it comes to making people nauseous, or even physically sick, after taking them, according to pharmacist, Anshu Kaura. This is because they’re quite acidic. “Once vitamin C is consumed, you can get that build-up of acid in the stomach,” she told HuffPost UK.
What’s the key to avoiding that sickly feeling, then? It’s quite simple: eat. “Taking vitamins with or after food in general is a good idea, to minimise stomach-related side effects, unless the product information suggests otherwise,” said Phil Day, superintendent pharmacist for Pharmacy2U.
Read more about why vitamins make you sick.6. Skin cancer is probably more common than you think.You might think it won’t happen to you if you don’t live in a hot country, but skin cancer is actually one of the most common types of cancer in the UK. The best way to prevent it is to protect your skin from UV rays – and yes, that means wearing sun cream when you’re outside in the UK, not just on holiday. Wear SPF30 sunscreen with 4/5 UVA stars when outside and don’t forget to put cream on your eyelids, too. 
The British Skin Foundation urges people to check their skin regularly (once a month) so it’s easy to detect any changes. Enlist the help of family or friends for hard-to-see areas of the body or use a full length mirror. Whatever you do, don’t be complacent. Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.Find out how to spot skin cancer.7. Ultra-processed food is pretty bad for us.Eating more ultra-processed food can increase a person’s risk of dying early, three studies have now found. These are foods that have undergone multiple processes, which result “in little, if any, intact whole foods being present”.
These foods include things like soft drinks, sweets, biscuits, crisps and ready meals. So maybe try to cut down on those and focus on a healthy, balanced diet in the New Year and beyond.
Read more about ultra-processed foods.8. Feminine washes are a waste of time.Soaps, shower gels and sprays marketed for “feminine hygiene” are not only a waste of money, they could also damage your vulva and vagina, according to gynaecologist Dr Jen Gunter. “Many of them actually have scents in them. Your vulva skin is more sensitive to irritation, and fragrance is a very common trigger for irritation,” she told HuffPost UK. “Also, some women are using these products internally, because we don’t use the right language – we don’t say ‘vagina’ and ‘vulva’ – it’s evolved into this catch-all grey zone. If you use them internally, you can damage your vaginal ecosystem – your good bacteria.”
Find out what else you shouldn’t be putting anywhere near your vagina.Related... How To Get Through Work If You've Had A Terrible Night's Sleep 9. Constipation is a big problem in Britain.Constipation cost the NHS £162m in 2017-18 – so yes, not being able to poo is a pretty big deal for a lot of us. But sadly, we’re too embarrassed to seek help – and that’s where the problem lies. Dr Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist at University College Hospital, told HuffPost UK: “[Constipation] is a silent symptom – something that’s slightly embarrassing, a bit of a taboo. We don’t talk about it much at all and the problem grows. Rather than something that’s nipped in the bud and dealt with sooner rather than later, it becomes a more chronic issue.”
Chronic constipation is the label given when symptoms persist for several weeks or longer. In some cases, if people don’t seek help, it can go on for years and be linked to haemorrhoids or a higher risk of bowel cancer. But there are things you can do if you’re having issues with your bowels, involving your diet, physical activity and toilet routine. 
Find out more about constipation and how to poo better.10. You shouldn’t take antibiotics for a cold, flu or sore throat.Antibiotic resistance is a very real and growing concern in the UK. Latest data from Public Health England shows there were an estimated 61,000 antibiotic resistant infections in 2018 – a 9% rise from the previous year. That’s equivalent to as many as 165 new antibiotic resistant infections every day in England. This isn’t helped by the fact people are taking antibiotics for illnesses they don’t need them for, therefore increasing their resistance to the drug.If you have any of the following ailments, you shouldn’t be taking antibiotics: cold, flu, cough, fever or high temperature, bronchitis, some ear infections, and a sore throat. Antibiotics are appropriate for urinary tract infections, strep throat, bacterial sinusitis, bacterial ear infection, bacterial chest infections and cellulitis and infections of the skin.
Read more about when to take antibiotics.11. We all need to chill out a bit when it comes to sleep.Earlier this year we asked experts how much sleep we should be getting – and it would appear the answer is: stop stressing out so much about it. Andrew Bagshaw, co-director of the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Human Brain Health, told us that while sleep guidelines are useful, there comes a point when obsessing over it can make things worse – especially if you can’t get eight hours. 
“One of the issues people with insomnia have is a concern about their sleep and whether they will be able to sleep tonight, and that’s detrimental to them achieving it,” he said. “So I think, in a way, having an explicit ‘you should be aiming for eight hours’ can be unhelpful if you’re taking it too seriously.”“Some people need more, some people need less,” he added. “It’s about you as an individual getting to grips with what you need.”
Read more about healthy sleep habits.12. Stress can manifest in physical ways.Many of us are aware of the impact stress can have on our mental health – an inability to think clearly, anxiety, feeling irritable or impatient, anger and racing thoughts – but we tend to think less about the physical impacts. “I don’t think people are aware [that stress] can cause physical symptoms,” therapist Beverley Hills told us. “I always ask people how they are feeling physically, what’s hurting them in their body.”
It turns out there are quite a lot of physical symptoms associated with stress – stomach upsets, spots, heart problems (such as palpitations) and issues with blood pressure are just some.
Find out how stress might be impacting you – plus what to do about it.13. You’ve probably been taking the wrong painkiller for your pain.Pain is a given and, at some point in your life, you’re likely to find yourself reaching for the paracetamol or ibuprofen. For some, this is a more frequent occurrence than for others. But are you reaching for the right one?There are three main types of painkiller people can buy without a prescription: ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin. They all reduce pain and fever, but some are better at treating certain ailments compared to others.
Paracetamol, for example, is good for colds, flu, sore throats, headaches and toothache; ibuprofen is better for joint and muscle pain (including back pain), sprains, injuries, migraines and period pain. 
Read more about which pill you should take for what pain.14. There’s a reason why people gain weight as they get older.It’s no secret that as we age, it becomes harder to keep the weight off. Research from Sweden found that “lipid turnover” – the rate at which lipid (or fatty acids) in the fat cells is removed and stored – decreases during ageing. This makes it easier to gain weight, even if the amount we eat and exercise stays the same.Scientists analysed the fat cells in 54 men and women over an average period of 13 years. In that time, all subjects – regardless of whether they gained or lost weight – showed decreases in lipid turnover in their fat tissue. Those who didn’t compensate for that by eating fewer calories gained weight by an average of 20%. Previous studies have shown that one way to speed up lipid turnover – and thus slow down weight gain – is to exercise more.
Read more about the weight study.Related... We're Millennials And We Have Rheumatoid Arthritis – This Is What It Feels Like This Is What It's Like To Fear Going To Bed Parents, Here's Why You Shouldn't Freak Out If Your House Isn't Squeaky Clean
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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