Monday, 4 September 2017


Last week there was an alleged sonar- health-attack on US Diplomats in Havana which left them deaf.  Its media exposure was in keeping with what’s become an increasing trend. Health scares are full of the ingredients of any good story - apparent “factual” statistics, human interest and gory drama.

Matt Dawson, ex-England Rugby captain, caught Lyme disease from a tick bite in a London Park. The effects were so severe he had to have heart surgery. Doctors initially missed out on diagnosing a disease which is more widespread than many think. So if you go down to the woods today where deer have been and get close to the ferns you may be attacked by a tick. If you develop a rash that looks like a target or if you feel tired, fevered and with a headache check it out. You could develop joint aches, swellings or, like Matt, worse.

Health attacks are easy to empathise with. Just writing this has made me feel a little unwell. But they also leave me confused.

Recent stories which endorse or contradict previously accepted wisdom include dismissal of the need to eat your five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables … recent medical research says three is plenty.

Have you been to the dentist recently? Are your gums bleeding? If so you are 70% more likely to get dementia. (That was a Times front page scare recently.) Do you take statins?  Good news less likelihood of a stroke; bad news you may get crippling joint pains. According to Dame Sally Davies our Chief Medical Officer we should drink tea and cut out wine because of its clear link to cancer. Fact: if you are teetotal you have a one in ten chance of getting cancer but if you drink a bottle of wine a day that increases to one in seven. Cheers.

White bread and sugar are now the killers worse even than ISIS. Coffee is great. Fat is good. Pile on the butter and live a happier life. Not sleeping well? Maybe it’s because you’re stressed and worried about your health. The news I have will make your sleeplessness worse.

If you can’t sleep it may mean you’re about to have a stroke, heart attack or some dreadful disease.
Or not … I suspect that people who suffer such medical problems may well have had sleeping problems but that there’ll be many who can’t sleep and are fine. All fish swim but not everything that swims is a fish.

But there’s one medical issue that one in fifteen of us suffer from and are going to get these symptoms lashing them in the next months - Seasonal Affective Disorder. Symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, withdrawal from society, appetite problems and a lack of energy. It’s now being taken seriously and you can get help.

Like bright lighting, blazing fires, hot soup and robust stews, being cosy.  Enjoy winter. Don’t let it make your life a misery. Don’t be sad.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Richard, love your sceptical analysis of so-called health scares. But your list of remedies has a major omission - a bottle of good red wine. Maybe a decent fully leaded Chateauneuf du Pape, to wash down your robust stew.