Self-care

Helping you to help yourself

Managing a long-term condition can be hard work, but we want to help you do just that, so we’ve compiled some hints, tips and advice to assist you in coping with everyday life.

We are also keen to help you avoid having to manage a long-term condition, so have also included prevention advice, as well as tips on how to avoid other common problems or deal with them.

If you don’t find what you are looking for here, please try www.nhs.uk

Coping with coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the UK and worldwide, and is responsible for more than 73,000 deaths in the UK each year. Around 2.3 million people live with CHD in the UK and around two million are affected by angina, which is the most common symptom of coronary heart disease. There are things you can do to keep your heart healthy and to look after yourself if you are affected by coronary heart disease.

There are also things you can do to prevent heart disease, such as keeping to a healthy weight and giving up smoking. There is no doubt that you will need to make lifestyle changes if you are given CHD as a diagnosis.

Prone to falls?

More than 30 per cent of adults aged over 65 have one fall each year, with many of those people having to go to hospital.

There are things you can do to reduce your risk of having a fall, including making changes to your home and doing exercises to improve your strength and balance. We run a Falls Prevention Service, which helps people understand what changes could be made and how exercising can make all the difference.

To start with, you may want to find out how much at risk you are. There are things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.

If you have a fall, it’s important to keep calm. If you’re not hurt and you feel strong enough to get up, don’t get up quickly. Roll on to your hands and knees and look for a stable piece of furniture, such as a chair or bed.

Hold on to the furniture with both hands to support yourself and, when you feel ready, slowly get up. Sit down and rest for a while before carrying on with your daily activities.

If you’re hurt or unable to get up, try to get someone’s attention by calling out for help, banging on the wall or floor. If possible, crawl to a telephone and dial 999 to request an ambulance.

Try to reach something warm, such as a blanket or dressing gown, to put over you, particularly your legs and feet. Stay as comfortable as possible and try to change your position at least once every half an hour or so.

You may find the advice from Age UK helpful on preventing falls; NHS Choices also has lots of tips too.

Eating healthily can help

Obesity causes lots of health problems, as well as making people feel sluggish and short of energy. Eating well also helps the body’s natural defences and, while not a guarantee of good health, is certainly a useful starting point.

We have lots of useful about being a healthy weight and the difference it can make to your everyday life, including a get food smart page with several recipes and videos.

It can help to understand the food groups, what processed food actually is and learn how to read a food label, so you can be really sure of what you are buying and eating.

More tips and advice:

Th eatwell plate can help you plan your diet, so it’s worth knowing all about it.

You may also find the Sustainable Food Trust’s advice on how to eat well without spending a fortune useful.

British Nutrition Foundation tips.

Advice from the British Heart Foundation.

 

Have a problem with incontinence?

Incontinence can be embarrassing, but help is at hand. According to one expert, almost half of all people with incontinence wait at least five years before they get help – and that’s too long.

We have our own continence service that provides advice, support and information to people with this condition.

It is important to get proper medical help if you are suffering from incontinence. Your GP may carry out different tests for urinary incontinence and for bowel incontinence. It is a condition that many people learn to manage.

More tips and advice:

Common treatments and useful tips from Age UK.

Advice from the Bladder and Bowel Foundation.

 

The importance of good nutrition

Good nutrition is important for all of us, especially those who are recovering from an illness. Making sure you eat a balanced diet is a great way to improve your general health and wellbeing.

Eating the right foods can help make a change to your lifestyle. We have teams who offer advice on nutrition in a clinic setting and out in the community too. However, if you think you would like to find out more, we have collected some useful information for you.

More tips and advice:

Learn about nutrition and malnutrition.

Why it’s important to eat the right foods.

Get the right vitamins and minerals too.

Pressure ulcers and prevention methods

Pressure ulcers are sometimes known as bedsores or pressure sores and are caused when an area of skin is placed under pressure. 

It is estimated that just under half a million people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer in any given year. Treatment for pressure ulcers is improving all the time and our community nurses are skilled at preventing them.

People most at risk are those with an underlying health condition, those over 70 and those who are in a wheelchair all day or in bed for a long period. Here are some useful tips for preventing pressure ulcers:

  • Check for signs of pressure damage every day. If skin is darker, redder or more sore than usual do not continue to lie or sit on that area and contact your community nurse.
  • Move regularly to relieve pressure on areas of skin that might be at risk of developing pressure ulcers. If you have restricted mobility, make sure you change your position as frequently as possible throughout the day.
  • Stay hydrated; water is essential for preventing pressure ulcers and healing skin.
  • There are types of pressure relieving equipment that can help to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers developing.

NHS Choices has more information on pressure ulcers and how to prevent them, as well as an explanation about how they are treated and potential complications.

Seasonal self-care advice

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, we all get seasonal ailments that can be quite debilitating – from winter colds to summer fevers, there are many things that we can do to prevent some common conditions and to know what action is needed if we do succumb.

More tips and advice:

Colds and flu can trigger asthma; find out what Asthma UK has to say and how you can live with asthma in cold weather.

Winter is also prime time for Norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug; it’s a particularly nasty bug but you can look after yourself.

Older people, young children and babies tend to be more vulnerable in extreme weather conditions, so it’s worth knowing what you can do to keep your body healthy during the winter months.

Summer poses its own challenges, with sunburn and heatstroke just two of the threats to our health. Staying hydrated is a good start to staying well when it gets very hot.

It’s nice to see the sun, but heatwaves can be dangerous, so make sure you protect your skin and eyes, try to stay cool and avoid heat exhaustion. Keep a careful eye on older people, young children and babies.

 

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