Tennis Star Andy Murray Joins Fight against Killer Disease

malariaBritish tennis star Andy Murray is used to facing battles on the tennis court and has begun one this week, as he bids to reclaim a Wimbledon crown he won so famously back during his highly successful period of 2012-13, when he also captured Olympic Gold.

However, one major, global battle that the World number 2 has been proud to join is the fight against the deadly malaria disease.

In 2013 Medical Specialists® Pharmacy reported how Murray had lent his support behind the non-profit charity organisation Malaria No More in a bid to raise both awareness and monetary donations to help the cause, such as funding for vital malaria treatment and mosquito nets.

This year, Murray will be proudly wearing the Malaria No More logo on his sleeve, showing his huge devotion to fighting a tropical disease that is present in around 100 countries worldwide and placing 40% of the world’s population at work.

According to the World Health Organization, about 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria. Moreover, in 2015, there were roughly 214 million malaria cases and around 438 000 people died from the disease. Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 60% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2000. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Murray gave a passionate account of why he is working with the charity and gave a harrowing account of the very real and serious risk to life that malaria poses to millions of people worldwide.

“There’s no tournament on earth like Wimbledon and, after winning here three years ago, I’m looking forward to returning with the home advantage and the incredible support of my fans, and giving it my best shot.

“This year I’m proud to be wearing Malaria No More UK’s logo on my sleeve. I’ve supported the charity’s work to end malaria deaths for seven years now. Two things compelled me to get involved: firstly the devastating impact of malaria on children. This disease claims a young life every two minutes, yet it is preventable and it costs less than a pack of tennis balls to treat and help save a life. As a new dad this really hits home. You can’t help but imagine how different things would be if you lived in parts of Africa where malaria is the number one killer of young children in your community. It’s unthinkable, yet every day more than 800 children lose their lives because of a mosquito bite. In this day and age, this should not be happening.

“I was also attracted to the malaria campaign because of its single-minded focus, raw ambition and drive to achieve the goal to end malaria deaths in our lifetime. These are qualities that I admire and identify with. With the malaria fight – and from my personal experience – resolute commitment and persistence deliver results.

“For malaria, there’s been record progress to save lives, with child deaths slashed by more than half, saving more than six million lives between 2000 and 2015. That’s more than the entire population of Scotland! This progress is thanks to increased financial commitments and global efforts, supported by UK leadership, which have allowed more prevention (including mosquito nets) and better diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

“I was really interested to hear in April the World Health Organization announce that the European Region hit its 2015 target to wipe out malaria. It’s hard to picture malaria across Europe, but only a hundred years ago you were at risk of catching the disease in nearly every country in the world, so this is huge progress. It gives me hope for the future – we really can be the generation to make malaria no more.

“This September will be a big milestone for the progress to continue as countries will make their pledges to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the world’s biggest funder of programmes to fight and end these three preventable killers. With renewed commitment and enough funding, eight million more lives could be saved by 2020. I hope all countries, including the UK, will show continued boldness and leadership with strong pledges to save lives.

“In the fight against malaria, when funding has been reduced or stopped many countries have seen the disease return with a vengeance. We cannot afford to stand still or let any ground slip when so many lives and futures are at stake.

“Ending malaria is an incredible and achievable goal that we can all get behind – join me and support Malaria No More UK so that one day in our lifetime no parent anywhere will lose their son or daughter to a preventable disease like malaria. Donate to save lives at malarianomore.org.uk/donate.”

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Experts warn humid weather is catastrophic for hayfever sufferers

hayfeverIf you’re waking up to tears flowing this morning, there’s a chance it might not necessarily be because of England’s inevitable and embarrassing exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland – it could be your hayfever symptoms flaring up.

The recent random mix of sunshine, rain and increasing temperatures might be great for those trying to grow their garden plants or crops, but unfortunately its bad news for hayfever sufferers, with health experts warning that the pollen season will be getting longer.

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Obesity crisis means 40 million Brits could be overweight by the year 2035

obeseFuture generations could be faced with severe health problems and shorter lifespans if action is not taken now to tackle an obesity crisis that is threatening to spiral out of control, according to a new report.

The Obesity Health Alliance has estimated that about 40 million adults in the UK could be classed as overweight or obese within 2 decades, with over 7.6 million new cases of disease by 2035. Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of between 25 and 29.9, whilst obese is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more.

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Selling unlicensed and counterfeit drugs lands Tooting man with 3 year prison sentence

counterfeit drugsMedical Specialists® Pharmacy cannot stress this enough; crime does not pay. Maybe it will pay initially, in the form of illegal gains made from unsuspecting customers, but criminals will inevitably always get caught and stopped dead in their tracks.

This has been proved truer than ever this week with reports that a man from Tooting has been heavily sentenced after being found guilty of importing and selling unlicensed erectile dysfunction medicines, hair loss medicines, and money laundering.

The 47-year-old man was handed a sentence of 3 years in prison for money laundering offences, in addition to 12 months for selling unlicensed medicines, with the 2 sentences to be served concurrently.

The man had previously admitted his guilt relating to offences under medicines, trade mark and money laundering legislation at Southwark Crown Court on 13th May.

After Investigators from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) conducted an investigation into the man  – known as ‘Paul K’ – they found clear evidence that ‘K’ had laundered more than £114,000.

‘K’ was found to be the main culprit in a massive conspiracy to receive and supply unlicensed medicines and spread the illegal funds from this endeavour around the UK.

MHRA officials had successfully seized dangerous unlicensed and counterfeit drugs in 2011 and 2012, which resulted in a painstaking operation to trace ‘K’ and the group he was leading.

MHRA’s Head of Enforcement, Alastair Jeffery said:

“This case shows how organised criminal networks use sophisticated methods to import and supply counterfeit medicines from overseas.

The group conducted an international operation to make money from unregulated products, and laundered over a hundred thousand pounds in the process.

We have tirelessly tracked and monitored the group, demonstrating our determination to prevent them from recklessly endangering the safety of others.

Unlicensed products are a serious safety risk to the public, and you should not let criminal enterprises play the lottery with your health. Visit your GP if you need treatment, and obtain prescription and pharmacy medicines from a legitimate high street store or online pharmacy.

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8 Tips for Boosting General Health and Wellbeing

healthOn the whole, Britain has been basking in glorious sunshine now for the last month – except for the odd few typical days of British heavy rain. With summertime usually comes a nationwide health kick. Perhaps it is to fit into those skimpy healthy clothes and look better on the beach, or maybe the sun just improves peoples’ moods to the extent that it provides a motivational spur to change lifestyles for the better.

Whatever it is, summertime is commonly the time of the year when people make positive changes to their general health, whether it be dietary or simply getting out the house more and going for walks in the sunshine.

With this in mind, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy have decided to run through some tips for improving general health and wellbeing, which everyone can use as a starting point for long-term health benefits.

. Become more active

Great weather means more people will have the urge to get out the house and move about. Keeping fit and active is great for your waistline and general appearance, but exercise is great for the heart too. Previous studies have suggested that 7 in 10 of us are not engaging in physical activity and thus are increasing the risk of heart disease. Keeping active helps to lower blood pressure; a risk factor for heart disease, boosts good HDL cholesterol that is responsible for moving fat away from arteries and back to the liver for processing, and will help to improve circulation by stopping blood clots from forming which can cause a heart attack or stroke. A brisk walk for 30 to 40 minutes completed 3 times each week should ease cardiovascular risk.

. Consider a Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet has repeatedly been linked to huge health gains such as ideal for weight loss, reducing the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as being beneficial for the skin with various anti-aging boosts.

The diet is usually comprises of a daily consumption of plenty of fruit, vegetables, beans (legumes), grains, pasta, olive oil and nuts. It also contains moderate amounts of chicken and fish, with a small amount of red wine allowed as this has been shown to boost the health benefits of the diet, helping to thin the blood safely while providing its benefit through the antioxidant resveratrol.

. Cut down on salt intake

A diet high in sodium can lead to serious health problems. Sodium increases blood pressure as it causes the body to keep hold of excess fluid and blood volume increases, creating an added burden on the heart with increased pressure in the arteries. It is generally recommended that an adult should not consume more than 6g/1 teaspoon of salt each day. Certain foods are high in hidden salts and you should try to limit how much of them you eat. These include: baked beans, canned vegetables, cheese, crisps, pizzas and ready meals.

. Drink more water

Everyone needs to be getting 6 to 8 glasses of fluid per day and water is an essential part of your diet as well as being an incredibly healthy and inexpensive way of quenching your thirst. It contains zero calories or sugar, meaning it will not damage the teeth. Try to avoid empty calories from fizzy drinks, energy drinks or juices with added sugar. Not everyone enjoys plain water, so try sparkling water or add a slice of lemon or lime, or adding no-added-sugar squash.

. Eat plenty of fruit and veg

It’s recommended that we eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, comprising of a wide variety as they contain different combinations of vitamins and minerals. Fear not though, it is actually easier than it may sound. Merely a 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit juice or smoothie counts as 1 portion, with vegetables cooked into dishes – i.e. into bolognaise sauce – can also count. Chopping up fruit to put on top of your morning cereal is another quick and easy way to bolster fruit intake.

. Get enough sleep

Past studies have shown that the gap between getting just enough and too little sleep may have a negative impact on a person’s health, mood, weight, and even their sex life. The majority of adults require about 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep each night, on a regular schedule. Those finding it hard to get enough sleep should alter their routine to accommodate for sleep. It isn’t just important to get a certain number hours of sleep, the quality of sleep is vital too in order to feel rested when you awake.

. Limit alcohol intake

Drinking more than the recommended units of alcohol per day (3-4 for men, 2-3 for women) can have a detrimental impact to your heart health. Excessive alcohol can raise the quantity of a type of fat in the blood known as triglycerides and also lead to abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and obesity. Excess weight may then even cause type 2 diabetes. For those concerned that they are drinking too much and want to reduce their alcohol intake, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy can provide alcohol dependency treatment Selincro (nalmefene) to suitable patients.

. Stop smoking

Smoking damages the lining of the arteries, limiting the space for blood to travel through. The carbon monoxide in cigarettes also reduces the amount of oxygen able to get to the heart and other areas of the body, forcing the heart to work much harder to supply the body with the oxygen it requires. The dangers of smoking are further explained on the British Heart Foundation’s website, but remember that smokers are at double the risk of suffering a heart attack compared to those that have not previously smoked, and smoking is the primary reason for a wide range of different types of cancer. Smoking cessation treatments such as Champix can help people quit smoking for good and reduce the risk of cancer and major heart problems.

We hope these 8 tips get you on the road to a healthier lifestyle which will both boost your energy, but also cut the risk of developing serious health problems in the future. Obviously, there are countless ways to improve health and wellbeing, but at Medical Specialists®, we believe that sustaining these 8 factors are particularly vital for your long-term general health.

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