Migraine Awareness Week

This is the first time I have ever posted one of my Dates of Note after the week in question has actually started. The reason for that is simple: I have had migraine on and off for the past fortnight and didn’t remember to check my sources in time. Ironic, huh? This week (1st to the 7th) is Migraine Education – Migraine Awareness Week. I like to think I’m reasonably organised, or at least that I give you the impression I am, and this really does prove the point about how debilitating migraine can be – on a sample of one, admittedly.

Unfortunately, I know how she feels
Unfortunately, I know how she feels

I’m not going to make this a long piece, as I’m sure many of you have experience of migraine, either yourself or in someone close to you. I was first diagnosed when I was 15 – to save you the maths, that was around 45 years ago. Since then I’ve had several migraines a year apart from one blissful period in my 20s when I went three years without one, and foolishly hoped I was somehow ‘cured.’ Not so. And the older I get, the more migraines I have and the longer they seem to last! Five or six a year isn’t uncommon, and they now linger for up to three days instead of just the one when they first started.

I hope you follow the link above, which takes you to the Migraine Trust’s website. The Trust organises this week as a means of educating people about migraine, and their website has a lot of helpful information and links. In particular, it might help those who say they have a migraine when it is actually a bad headache: believe me, there is a difference and you’ll know it if you suffer migraine!

And I always give you a link to the NHS website which is also a very good source of information.

Please support the week if you can, or at least take a little time to understand more about migraine and its effects on people.

In the flat above
A neighbour

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and explain to the people in the flat above why I don’t appreciate them ignoring their dog when it is barking incessantly.

World Hepatitis Day

Hepatitis logo-monkey

I said last week that there were several of my Dates of Note coming up. Here’s the next one: World Hepatitis Day, which is tomorrow.

WHD_EN_Poster_08World Hepatitis Day was launched by the World Hepatitis Alliance in 2008 , and is one of only four official World Health Organisation disease-specific days each year. It takes place on 28th July every year and provides an international focus for patient groups and people living with viral hepatitis, or Hep B and Hep C as you may have heard them called. There are two main themes for World Hepatitis Day 2013: ‘This is Hepatitis. Know it. Confront it,’ which has been used since 2010, and ‘See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil’, as shown by the three wise monkeys above. The first theme and the supporting posters are intended to shock us into a greater understanding of hepatitis, while the second relates to an old proverb, which basically means that people deal with problems by refusing to face up to them. The symbolism here is that hepatitis is still a widely ignored disease. Since the launch of World Hepatitis Day thousands of events have taken place around the world, which have generated much interest, but much still needs to be done to educate about an illness which is much more common than I thought, until I did a little research for this piece.

WHD_EN_Poster_06Hepatitis can lead to further illnesses, including liver disease and even cancer. I was horrified to find that nearly 500 million people worldwide have either chronic hepatitis B or C. This is much higher than the prevalence of HIV or any cancer, but awareness is incredibly low and the majority of those infected are unaware that they have the disease – statistics show that only about 12% know. More than 1 million people are affected every year, of whom 90,000 are classed as chronic. These figures scare me! I think we all need to learn more.

If you missed the link earlier on, you can find the official World Hepatitis Day 2013 page here. And as ever, the NHS website gives you lots of information.

Men’s Health Week

The latest in my series of Dates to Note starts tomorrow – Men’s Health Week runs from 10th to 16th June.

Maybe some things are too difficult to admit after all!
Maybe some things are too difficult to admit after all!

This would have been a no-brainer for me to include, even without the theme chosen for this year. Roughly half of us are men, I think, and quite a few of the rest have links with men, don’t you? So it could be said that issues around male health affect virtually all of us. This year’s theme is ‘The way we feel’: the event is led by the Men’s Health Forum and aims to tackle stigma in men’s mental health and promote mental well-being and help-seeking in men. As they say on their website, 75% of suicides are by men, 73% of people who go missing are men, yet we are notoriously bad at admitting to ourselves and our loved ones that we may be ill and might need some help, whether that be physically or mentally. I know from my own experience how damaging that can be: perhaps if I’d been more aware of my own depression much earlier I could have got help a lot sooner, and may not have been off work for so long. Who knows, but I use my own example as encouragement to you all to come clean with yourselves!

So please, do visit the Men’s Health Forum site and take a little time to read what they have to say – you won’t be wasting your time, as they cover a wide range of male health matters and you never know when you may need some independent advice.

As usual, if you’d like to know more about mental health issues the NHS website is an invaluable source.

Take care of yourselves and those around you.