So much healthcare advice is available that it can hard to know what to believe, especially on the internet.
As qualified, experienced, healthcare professionals you can trust us to bring you reliable advice.
Embodying our “Pharmacy for the body, mind and soul” vision we have incorporated some information on alternative medicines and therapies....take a look and contact us if you would like any further information.
Acupuncture... Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.
Blood pressure... Your heart pumps blood around your body to deliver energy and oxygen. A certain amount of pressure in your blood vessels is needed to do this.
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It is often seen as a form of alternative medicine, although it is used in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK.
It is based on scientific evidence that shows the treatment can stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue, which results in the body producing pain-relieving substances, such as endorphins. It is likely these substances are responsible for any beneficial effects seen with this form of acupuncture.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or "life force", flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced "chee").
Acupuncture practitioners use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions.
It is often used to treat pain conditions such as lower back pain and headache, but is also sometimes used in an attempt to help people with conditions ranging from anxiety to infertility.
Acupuncture is occasionally available on the NHS, although access is limited. Most acupuncture patients pay for private treatment.
If you have further questions regarding acupuncture, speak to our pharmacist.
However, if there is too much pressure in your blood vessels, it puts extra strain on your arteries and heart, which can lead to serious conditions.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two figures:
• systolic pressure – the pressure of the blood when your heart beats to pump blood out
• diastolic pressure – the pressure of the blood when your heart rests in between beats, which reflects how strongly your arteries are resisting blood flow
For example, if your GP says your blood pressure is "140 over 90", or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
A reading over 140/90mmHg indicates high blood pressure (medically known as hypertension), which should be confirmed by tests on separate occasions to reach a diagnosis. A blood pressure reading below 120/80mmHg is considered to be ideal.
People with a blood pressure reading below 90/60mmHg are usually regarded as having low blood pressure.
Patients can take steps to maintain ‘normal’ blood pressure, however if you are diagnosed with high or low blood pressure and would like more advice about medications or things you can do to help yourself, contact our pharmacist.
Complementary medicine... Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are treatments that fall outside of mainstream healthcare.
Vitamin D... Vitamin D has several important functions. E.g. It helps to regulate the amount of nutrients in the body that are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy: Calcium and Phosphate.
These medicines and treatments range from acupuncture and homeopathy to aromatherapy, meditation and colonic irrigation.
There is no universally agreed definition of CAMs.
The availability of complementary and alternative treatments on the NHS is limited. Some, such as acupuncture, may be offered by the NHS in some circumstances.
Although "complementary and alternative" is often used as a single category, it can be useful to make a distinction between complementary and alternative medicine.
This distinction is about two different ways of using these treatments:
• Treatments are sometimes used to provide an experience that is pleasant in itself. This can include use alongside conventional treatments, to help a patient cope with a health condition. When used this way, the treatment is not intended as an alternative to conventional treatment. The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says that use of treatments in this way can be called "complementary medicine".
• Treatments are sometimes used instead of conventional medicine, with the intention of treating or curing a health condition. The NCCIH says that use of treatments in this way can be called "alternative medicine".
In most cases, the NHS does not offer patients complementary or alternative treatments.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain and tenderness as a result of a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight on our skin. The vitamin is made by our body under the skin, in reaction to summer sunlight. It is also found in a small number of foods. Good food sources are:
• oily fish – such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
• fortified fat spreads
• fortified breakfast cereals
• some powdered milks
Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy balanced diet and by getting some summer sun. Groups of the population at risk of not getting enough vitamin D are:
• all pregnant and breastfeeding women
• babies and young children under the age of five
• older people aged 65 years and over
• people who are not exposed to much sun – such as people who cover up their skin when outdoors, or those who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods
• people who have darker skin, such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin
If you are worried that you may need vitamin D supplements- or any other Vitamin supplements, please call and speak to one of our team.
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Echinacea... Echinacea is a herb. Several species of Echinacea plant are used to make medicines.
Flu... Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. it can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually begin to feel better within about a week.
Medicines are made from the leaves, flower, and root of Echinacea plants.
there is some scientific evidence that echinacea can reduce the symptoms of cold or flu if started when the symptoms are first noticed and continued for 7-10 days. Echinacea does not prevent colds or flu.
Echinacea should not be given to children under 12 years old.
You can catch flu – short for influenza – all year round, but it's especially common in winter, which is why it's also known as "seasonal flu".
It's not the same as the common cold Flu is caused by a different group of viruses and the symptoms tend to start more suddenly, be more severe and last longer.
Some of the main symptoms of flu include:
• a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
• tiredness and weakness
• a headache
• general aches and pains
• a dry, chesty cough
If you're otherwise fit and healthy, there's usually no need to see a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms. The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Simple pain killers can be taken to help lower fever and treat aches and pains.
For further advice on what you can do for flu, call and speak to our pharmacist.
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Generalised anxiety disorder... Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a long term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.
Hypnotherapy... Hypnotherapy is a type of complementary therapy that uses hypnosis, which is an altered state of consciousness.
Generalised anxiety disorder
People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include feeling restless or worried and having trouble concentrating or sleeping.
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can help ease your symptoms.
There are also many things you can do yourself to help reduce your anxiety, such as going on a self-help course, exercising regularly, stopping smoking and cutting down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink.
Hypnosis is widely promoted as a treatment for various long-term conditions and for breaking certain habits
Hypnosis must be used with skill and care, as adverse events, including the implantation of false memories, may occur.
The British Society of Clinical Hypnosis can help in finding a registered practitioner Both competence and ethics are essential.
Examples of conditions amenable to treatment include:
• Smoking cessation.
• Weight control.
• Irrational fears and phobias.
• Stress management.
• Compulsive behaviour.
• Anxiety and panic attacks.
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Iron deficiency... Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the blood.
Jaundice... Jaundice is a term used to describe the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.
Iron is used to produce red blood cells, which help store and carry oxygen in the blood. If you have fewer red blood cells than is normal, your organs and tissues won't get as much oxygen as they usually would.
Iron is found naturally in certain foods, but in conditions where people do not get enough iron from their normal diet for their body's needs, an iron supplement may be useful.
Good sources of iron include:
• dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale
• iron-fortified cereals or bread
• brown rice
• pulses and beans
• nuts and seeds
• meat, fish and tofu
• dried fruit, such as dried apricots, prunes and raisins
The most common symptoms of Iron deficiency anaemia include:
• tiredness and lack of energy (lethargy)
• shortness of breath
• noticeable heartbeats (palpitations)
• a pale complexion
See your GP if you experience symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia. They should be able to diagnose the condition using a simple blood test
If you are worried and want more advice, then please call us.
It's caused by a build-up of a substance called bilirubin in the blood and body's tissues. Bilirubin is a normal body chemical but can build up to abnormally high levels in various diseases.
The most common signs of jaundice are:
• yellowing of the skin, eyes and the lining of the inside of parts of the body, such as the mouth and nose (mucus membrane)
• pale-coloured stools
• dark-coloured urine
If you become jaundiced you should see your doctor. there are various causes. Some are more common than others and some are more serious than others. It is vital to obtain the correct diagnosis, as the treatment and outlook (prognosis) can vary greatly, depending on the cause.
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Vitamin K... Vitamin K has several important functions. For example, it is needed for blood clotting which means it helps wounds heal properly.
Lactose intolerance... Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body has difficulty handling lactose.
There's some evidence that vitamin K is also needed to help keep bones healthy.
You should be able to get all the vitamin K you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
Any vitamin K your body doesn't need immediately is stored in the liver for future use, so you don't need it in your diet every day.
Vitamin K is found in:
• green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and spinach
• vegetable oils
• cereal grains
You should be able to get all the vitamin K you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take vitamin K supplements, don't take too much, because this might be harmful.
People with this condition may get diarrhoea, stomach pains and bloating if they drink milk or eat dairy products. Some people are born with a tendency to develop lactose intolerance; others get it as a result of gastroenteritis or chemotherapy. The treatment is mainly to avoid lactose.
The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be similar to several other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), so it's important to see your GP for a diagnosis before removing milk and dairy products from your diet.
If your GP thinks you are likely to have lactose intolerance, they may then suggest avoiding foods and drinks containing lactose for two weeks to see if your symptoms improve.
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Mental health... One in four people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem each year.
Natural remedies... As more and more articles appear on the news regarding natural and herbal remedies and treatments, many people are more curious about them.
Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health disorder in the UK.
Mental health problems include social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction to drugs and alcohol and personality disorders. Mental illness and psychological disorders have good treatment options with medications, psychotherapy or other treatments.
Many people see this as a taboo subject and are afraid to talk to anyone about it,
if you are concerned about this please call us so we can help you find the right treatment or put you in touch with some one who can help.
ItThe celebrity world is obsessed about the latest natural remedy/cure and many articles are written to encourage their use.
Herbal remedies are medicines made up of plants, trees or fungi. However, being "natural" doesn't necessarily mean they're safe for you to take.
Herbal remedies, just like pharmaceutical medicines, will have an effect on the body and can potentially be poisonous.
They should therefore be used with the same care and respect as pharmaceutical medicines.
If you're consulting your doctor or pharmacist about health matters, or are about to undergo surgery, always tell them about any herbal medicines you're taking.
For more advice regarding natural remedies or treatments please speak to our pharmacist.
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Omega 3... Omega 3 fatty acids are important for the maintenance of good health.
Probiotics... Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts promoted as having various health benefits, including preventing and treating a range of conditions.
They can be found in oily fish eg fresh tuna, mackerel and herring. Omega-3 fats are ESSENTIAL fatty acids, this means that they must be obtained from food or other external sources as the body can not make them.
Studies have looked at their possible benefits in people with heart disease and high cholesterol. However there is no current evidence to support the use of supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Fish oil supplements (also called Omega-3 supplements) are not suitable for everyone. If you are considering taking these or want more advice, please feel free to call
They are usually eaten in yoghurts or taken as food supplements, and are often described as "good" or "friendly" bacteria.
Probiotics have become popular in supplements and as food ingredients with perceived benefits, most often used to promote healthy digestion. They are thought to help restore the natural balance of your gut bacteria when it has been disrupted.
There is some evidence to suggest they may help in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance and antibiotic associated diarrhoea.
There is some evidence that probiotics can affect immune response, and therefore could have potential benefit in any number of clinical scenarios.
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Questions... Many people visit their doctor, nurse or pharmacist and they often have questions they need answering.
Reiki... Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that is also said to promote healing.
It is It is important that you get the best out of every consultation with your health professional, and so here at Alphabet pharmacy, we encourage you to ask questions if you need to.
If you have appointments scheduled that you are worried about, write down your questions and take them with you. If you leave an appointment and then have questions- then contact the health professional and ask.
We may not have all the answers right away, but we will do our best to find them for you!
Remember- there’s no such thing as a ‘daft question’! Your health is important to you – and us here at Alphabet Pharmacy.
It is It is based on the idea that an unseen life force energy flows through us and that blockages occur to the flow of this energy when we are stressed. Reiki is based upon a holistic view of promoting whole-person (mind-body) health, and shares similar principles to the World Health Organization's (WHO) definition of health, namely, 'Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'.
Reiki involves a 30-60 minute session with a reiki therapist where you sit or lie down and the practitioner gently places their hands on or just above your body in a sequence of positions that cover the whole body. Used in tandem with conventional medicine as part of a palliative care plan, it can help patients to relax and cope better with the side effects of medical treatment.
Reiki treatment is available in some hospitals, NHS community services and support groups.
You can get more information about Reiki from the Reiki council UK
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St. John's Wort... St. John's Wort is a herbal treatment that some people take for depression. It's available from health food shops and pharmacies.
Turmeric... Turmeric is becoming an increasingly popular supplement for a range of conditons.
St. John's Wort
There's some evidence that it may help mild to moderate depression, but it's not recommended by doctors. This is because the amount of active ingredients varies among individual brands and batches, so you can never be sure what sort of effect it will have on you.
Taking St John's wort with other medications, such as anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, antidepressants and the contraceptive pill, can also cause serious problems.
You shouldn't take St John's wort if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as we don't know for sure that it's safe.
Also, St John's wort can interact with the contraceptive pill, reducing its contraceptive effect.
If you want more information please speak to our pharmacist.
It has been used for many thousands of years in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine for conditions including heartburn, diarrhoea, stomach bloating, colds, fibromyalgia and depression. Followers of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine also sometimes apply turmeric to the skin for ringworm and infected wounds as it's said to have anti-bacterial properties.
Turmeric is the root stalk of a tropical plant that's part of the ginger family. One of the main components of the spice is a substance called curcumin which has potentially healing properties. While turmeric has a long history of health giving properties and there have been many hundreds of studies into its effects on a wide variety of ailments it can't be regarded as a magic cure. A growing body of research supports the notion that one such compound, curcumin, can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. One study found curcumin was more effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis than prescription anti-inflammatories.
Talk to your GP or Pharmacist before using turmeric supplements if you have any medical conditions, or taking any medication
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Understanding... We want you to get the best out of your medicines. Understanding them and how to use them is the first step.
Vitamins and minerals... Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly.
We are here to talk to you about any new or existing medications you take and to offer you support and advice when we can.
Our Pharmacist has many years experience in pharmacy, and is happy to be of any assistance she can. If you have a question – we’re here to help.
Vitamins and minerals
Most people should get all the nutrients they need by eating a varied and balanced diet, but if your diet is deficient in one area, you may want to consider using a supplement. It is important to state, however, that taking the same supplement over a long period of time could be harmful.
Although there is a huge range of supplements available, most of us wouldn't need them if our diets were both healthy and balanced. Eating the right amounts of the right foods would help to ensure our bodies remain healthy, which is far more preferable than taking artificial supplements.
Certain groups of people may need to take vitamin or mineral supplements if they are at risk of being deficient, or depending on what stage of life they are in. Pregnant women should take folic acid for the first 12 weeks, which can help prevent neural tube defects, and they should also take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is also recommended for children between six months and five years, and people over the age of 65, as well as those who aren't exposed to the sun very often and people of African or Asian ethnicity due to their darker skin.
Children between six months and four years should also be given supplements for vitamins A and C, as they may not be getting what they need from their diets at this stage of their life.
It's easy to become overwhelmed when looking at the dietary supplement shelves of a health food shop or even your local supermarket. So if you think you need to take vitamins, please speak to our healthcare team for more advice.
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