Migraine is a very common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men which usually begin in early adulthood.

The Migraine Trust is spreading the word about the need for better migraine healthcare and have launched their Migraine Awareness Week happening throughout 5th -11th  September.

What is a Migraine?

Typically a migraine is described as a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head which also brings sensory disturbances. Although there is no known cause, it is a severe and painful long term health condition that can result in episodes known as migraine attacks.

In addition to head pain, migraine attacks can also cause whole-body experiences. These can include problems with vision and sensitivity to light, increased fatigue and sensations of nausea with vomiting.

Stages of a Migraine Attack

Although they can be complex, having a good understanding of migraines can be helpful. By spotting the phases of migraine attacks, individuals can spot the warning signs and be better prepared.

Migraines can be difficult to predict however once they usually follow a pattern made up of four well-defined stages:

  1. Pre Headache: This first stage is often signalled by feeling tired, excessive yawning, food cravings, feeling irritable, stiffness along with feeling thirsty and passing increased amounts of urine.
  2. Aura: This second stage includes a wide range of neurological symptoms including visual disturbances, numbness and pins and needles, weakness, dizziness and speech and hearing changes.
  3. Headache: At this point, it is likely that moderate to severe head pain typically described as throbbing has developed. This pain can often worsen with movement and can sometimes lead to nausea and vomiting.
  4. Resolution/Recovery: Symptoms of this final stage are similar to that of initial onset and can take anything between a few hours or days to fully recover.

Treating Migraines

Although it is not well understood what causes the abnormal brain activity related to migraines, there are certain triggers that are believed to have an impact such as stress, skipping meals, low blood sugar, alcohol, hormonal changes in women and environmental factors such as light and temperature.

Simple steps to take that could help include ensuring you are getting adequate amounts of good quality sleep, exercise regularly, reduce screen time, opt for healthy diet choices and work to reduce stress levels.

Lifestyle Medicine

Here at The Mayfair GP, we have a strong focus on lifestyle medicine. If you would like more information, guidance and support in dealing with painful headaches or migraines, please get in touch to book a consultation.

There is no doubt that type 2 diabetes and weight are intrinsically linked. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will know that eating a healthy diet and maintaining an exercise regime are key to managing your condition.

In fact, recent studies have shown that by returning to a healthy weight and – crucially – keeping the weight off, you can actually put your diabetes into remission. This means you could come off your medication because your body is able to manage its insulin levels all by itself.

Type 2 diabetes

Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is present from birth, type 2 diabetes tends to appear later in life. It happens when the hormone insulin in your body stops working properly, leading to raised blood sugar levels.

While the symptoms of type 1 diabetes come on very quickly, with type 2 diabetes the onset is more gradual, meaning people often live with the condition for several years before being diagnosed.

There are several risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, including:

  • age of 45+
  • family history of type 2 diabetes
  • ethnicity
  • high blood pressure
  • being overweight

By far the most well-documented of these risk factors is being overweight, and whilst there’s not a huge amount you can do about your age, ethnicity or family history, controlling your weight can help to control your diabetes.

Achieve a healthy weight

It is always tempting to follow a diet that promises extreme weight loss in a short period, but if your aim is to lose weight and keep it off, slow and steady always wins the race.

Here at The Mayfair GP, we specialise in lifestyle medicine. We can offer practical guidance, tailored to your individual circumstances, on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. But here are a few key pointers that can work for everyone:

  • Follow an eating plan that works for you, that is low in saturated and trans fats, but contains all the major food groups, with a big focus on fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Eat three meals a day, with a small, healthy snack between meals if you’re hungry
  • Aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week. If you’re not used to an active lifestyle, start with a gentle stroll, and aim to increase the pace over time

A 30 minute walk whilst chatting to a friend can go much quicker than one spent alone and watching the clock! But if walking’s not for you, try cycling, swimming or maybe a team sport. There are plenty of activities to choose from, so keep looking until you find the one that’s right for you.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Because the symptoms tend not to come on so suddenly as type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be harder to spot. Here are some key things to look out for:

  • Needing to urinate more frequently, particularly at night
  • Being very thirsty
  • Feeling tired
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Itching
  • Increased appetite

If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be concerned that have type 2 diabetes. But if you get in touch with The Mayfair GP, we can organise blood tests to ensure a speedy diagnosis.

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us on 07568 369455.

A recent trial conducted by a Dutch research team found that the frequency of asthma attacks amongst asthmatics had significantly reduced.

The researchers hypothesised a number of possible reasons for this. Their main hypothesis was that asthmatics were more likely to be fearful of contracting COVID. So in strictly abiding by social distancing measures, their exposure to allergens in the air was greatly reduced.

However, there was also the possibility that the fear of contracting COVID was discouraging patients from reporting asthma attacks. Not only this, but they were missing an essential asthma review.

Asthma and COVID

Now that restrictions have largely been lifted in the UK, it is important that we prioritise any existing medical conditions. And asthma is no exception.

The researchers were at pains to point out that allergic asthma is not a risk factor for a severe COVID infection. So fear of catching the virus should not keep you from attending vital medical appointments. Especially when they help to keep your condition under control.

Asthma in hot weather

As temperatures soar, we could see a sharp rise in the number of allergic asthma attacks reported over the coming weeks. In addition, our exposure to allergens in the air might be increased.

But the timing of the relaxation of COVID restrictions is another factor. Whilst asthma is often thought of as a winter illness, hot weather can in fact be just as much of a risk.

The reasons for this are not entirely understood, but two possible explanations are:

  • higher levels of pollutants in the air, triggering allergic asthma attacks
  • when you breathe in hot air, it can cause the airways to contract

Book an asthma review

The hot weather and the removal of social distancing measures might be having an impact on your asthma. So above all, we recommend that you book an appointment to review your condition and medications.

Here at The Mayfair GP, we specialise in lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle medicine looks at small changes you can make to the way you live your daily life that will improve your overall health and wellbeing. Conditions like asthma can benefit hugely from some relatively minor lifestyle changes.

For more information, or to book an appointment to discuss your asthma, please contact us.

Most years, infection rates for common childhood illnesses, like colds and flu, follow a very predictable pattern. The first flurry begins in September, when schools go back after the summer break. Then as the temperature drops the numbers go up, reaching a peak in around January or February.

Normally, when the sun comes out and children are spending more time outdoors, rather than together in centrally-heated rooms, infection rates start to fall. So by the summer they’ve slowed down to a tiny trickle.

2021, however, is something of a special case. Across May and June, Accident and Emergency staff across the UK were reporting a dramatic rise in the number of children being brought in for treatment. So, what should you do if your child gets sick?

No cause for alarm

A total 23,661 children attended A&E in May – the highest number for years. But hospital reports state that more than 70% of those patients were able to wait to see a doctor. So their attendance at A&E was unnecessary.

The appearance of cold and flu-like symptoms in a child at this time of year can be worrying. And particularly in light of rising Covid infections. But experts say the best course of action in the first instance is to book an appointment with your GP, or call 111.

We can help when your child gets sick

Here at The Mayfair GP we offer comprehensive paediatric care as part of our private GP services.

We know that when it comes to your child’s health, you need help and reassurance as quickly as possible. With this in mind, we offer telephone consultations as well as home visits, to ensure that you don’t need to wait to be seen.

We are highly experienced in treating common childhood illnesses, as well as rarer and chronic conditions.

Lifestyle medicine

We can advise you and your child on small lifestyle changes that you can make to your everyday life to offer the best protection against illness. This can range from dietary changes to exercise, to making sure you are getting enough sleep, and everything in between.

The Mayfair GP is available 24/7 offering private GP appointments for children, from ages 0-18. Your child’s health is our priority and we will work with you as a family to ensure that we support you in every aspect of looking after your child’s wellbeing.

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us.

Have you heard of sarcoma? Could you spot the symptoms? According to a YouGov poll conducted in April 2020, 75 per cent of people in the UK are unsure exactly what sarcoma is. And even amongst those who did know, less than half could identify the key symptoms.

The charity, Sarcoma UK, wants to change that and raise awareness of sarcoma in the UK.

What is sarcoma?

Sarcoma is a relatively uncommon form of cancer – about 15 people per day get diagnosed with sarcoma in the UK.

Sarcomas can affect either bone or soft tissue and can occur on any part of the body. They are most common on the arms, legs and trunk.

How to recognise a sarcoma

There are two main types of sarcoma, and the signs and symptoms are different for each:

Soft tissue sarcoma

These can appear in any soft tissue – fat, blood vessels, muscles, cartilage, tendons or ligaments.

Depending on how deep in the body the sarcoma is, a soft tissue sarcoma may not present with symptoms to begin with. The first sign is usually a swelling or lump in the affected area. This could be painless, or may have some pain associated with it.

Bone sarcoma

Unlike other cancers, which start elsewhere and spread to the bones at a later stage, bone sarcoma originates in the bone. Usually, the first sign is pain in the affected bone – often the longer bones of the arms or legs.

Diagnosing sarcoma

Early diagnosis is key to treating sarcoma. Once sarcoma has been diagnosed, referral to a specialist treatment team needs to happen as quickly as possible. The good news is that survival rates for sarcoma are improving in the UK. The reason for this is rapid diagnosis and specialist treatment.

Sarcoma can be difficult to diagnose, so a series of different tests is often needed to verify the diagnosis. These can include:

  • Clinical examination – assessing any external signs
  • Scans – to see what is happening inside the body
  • Biopsy – removing part of the suspected sarcoma for analysis
  • Bone scan – for bone sarcomas

It is vital if you have concerns about sarcoma that you see a doctor with the knowledge and capacity to diagnose you and provide referral to a specialist quickly.

Here at The Mayfair GP, we have access to state-of-the-art health screening equipment. We have links to some of the top specialists in the country, meaning we can get you the treatment you need, quickly.

For more information about sarcoma, visit the Sarcoma UK website.

If you are concerned that you have sarcoma, book a consultation with The Mayfair GP. Call 07568 369 455‬ or email info@themayfairgp.com.

July is ‘Good Care Month’, and after the year we’ve had, we thought it was time we give some consideration to the carers themselves.

For many people care is a career choice, but for thousands of others it is something that has been thrust upon them. When a loved one becomes ill or less able to look after themselves, we can find ourselves taking on more and more responsibility.

And while you may adapt to the situation happily and without complaint, it is important that you also take the time to look after yourself.

Physical fitness

According to a recent research project conducted by Carers UK, many carers report that they would like to do more physical activity but find it hard to fit it in.

At The Mayfair GP we are passionate about lifestyle medicine and the benefits it brings. Physical activity has a huge positive impact on both our physical and mental wellbeing.

Here are some ways that you can increase your fitness without neglecting your duties:

Walk more

If you have a tendency to drive to shops or doctors appointments, why not take the time to walk occasionally? It might not always be possible or convenient, but a walk can raise your heart rate and lift your spirits, and the fresh air will help too.

Even just a turn around the block will make a difference. If it’s possible to take the person you care for with you, then the change of scene will do you both some good.

Make fitness part of your routine

You don’t have to get up at 6am for a run to make exercise work for you. Even if you only get half an hour to yourself mid-morning, there are short Youtube fitness videos that you can do. And you can put your feet up for ten minutes.

Make the most of what you’ve got

Gym memberships can be expensive, and so can home exercise equipment. But you can get the same effect without the hefty price tag, just by being a bit resourceful.

Got a couple of cans of beans in the cupboard? Use them as weights for strength training. A dressing gown cord can make a great yoga band! It’s all about adding a bit of resistance so your muscles have something to work against.

Looking after yourself matters

When you’re caring for someone else it’s easy to forget about your own needs. You may push them so far down the list of priorities that you may as well have forgotten them. But remember: the stronger and fitter you are, the better carer you will be.

Increasing your strength and stamina through physical exercise now will only make things easier. Especially as the physical demands of caring become more challenging.

If you care for a family member, and you feel like you need support, call us to make an appointment on 07568 369 455‬ or email info@themayfairgp.com‬.

For more information on how you can improve your health and wellbeing through lifestyle choices, visit our lifestyle medicine page or get in touch!

After more than a year of being pretty much contained between the same four walls, more and more of us are beginning to consider venturing abroad once more.

But what do we need to do to ensure that we can do so safely, without endangering ourselves, other travellers or the people of whichever country we choose to visit?

Whether you wish to travel for leisure, or for work – there is a requirement for COVID testing before you travel.

Follow the guidelines

The first and most important step is to keep up-to-date with the government’s COVID travel guidance. Whilst this can change, if you are booking ahead then it might be sensible to look for a country that has remained fairly consistently on the ‘green’ list, to avoid disappointment.

Get tested

Wherever you are travelling, the airline is likely to request that you can provide evidence of a negative COVID test.

This may seem like a hassle, but if you consider that you will be confined in a plane breathing the same air as a few hundred other people, you might feel reassured to know that every one of them has tested negative for COVID before boarding that flight.

The COVID PCR fit-to-fly certificate

However, to prevent NHS COVID testing centres being awash with eager travellers, these are still reserved for people who are actually experiencing symptoms.

If you need a test in order to travel, you will need to visit a specialist provider who can produce a COVID PCR fit-to-fly certificate. You will need to show this when checking in to your flight. This generally needs to be carried out within the 72-hour period before your flight. However, this can vary depending on the airline or the destination you are travelling to.

Where can I get my fit-to-fly certificate?

Here at The Mayfair GP we are on the government’s list of providers for private COVID testing. We offer the mandatory day 2 and 8 PCR testing as well as the day 5 test-to-release scheme. We can also provide you with a COVID PCR fit-to-fly certificate.

The Mayfair GP uses UKAS-accredited laboratories and our fit-to-fly certificates are valid for international travel.

How long will it take?

We know that most people don’t have a lot of time to spare in the run-up to a holiday. But we can offer all our patients home visits, so we can arrange to do the test at your home. We then get it couriered to the lab, while you get on with your packing. There are a selection of different test times ranging from 3 hours * to 24 hours. Contact us for more information.

We can also offer testing on your return to the UK, allowing you to return to normal life secure in the knowledge that you are fit and well.

To summarise we are currently offering the following:

  1. Fit to Fly – turnaround times from 3hours to 24hours* different pricing for both
  2. Day 2 and 8 mandatory testing for amber list countries + people who have not had both vaccines by the NHS
  3. Day 5 Testing – test to release only
  4. Day 2, 5, and 8, testing package – for amber list who have not had both vaccines
  5. Day 2 testing – GREEN list
  6. *Day 2 testing – amber list + have been fully vaccinated by the NHS (more than 14 days ago) – *effective from 4am 19th July

To book your COVID PCR fit-to-fly test and for further information and exact pricing, email us at info@TheMayfairGP.com.

It might be tempting to rest on your laurels when it comes to the flu. With a nationwide lockdown in place for much of the past year, winter 2020/21 saw a surprising drop in the number of flu cases across the country, and indeed the world.

However, with things opening up and people spending more time socialising with others, there is a real chance of a surge in flu cases this coming winter. In fact, some experts are concerned that this year may be worse than ever, as our immune systems lack recent exposure to the virus.

Nobody wants to start thinking about the winter months just yet. However, when it comes to protecting yourself from viruses like flu, it’s important to make changes early.

Here at The Mayfair GP, we have a firm belief in lifestyle medicine. Here are some lifestyle medicine tips that will have a direct, positive impact on your health, and will help you to avoid flu.

Boost your immune system

So what can you do to help improve your chances of fighting off the flu this year? Well the good news is that if you start now, there are lots of small changes you can make that will help to boost your immune system, and keep you fighting fit.

Diet

We all know that eating well plays a vital role in keeping us fit and well, but did you know it can also help to keep your immune system in shape? Here are our top tips for foods to eat to fight off flu:

Citrus fruits – most people know that eating citrus fruits like oranges and lemons helps to top up our vitamin C levels. However, what you might not realise is that because our body cannot produce or store vitamin C, you need to be eating these fruits on a daily basis to see an effect. So if you can eat an orange a day between now and the start of the flu season, you should be A-OK. Other vitamin C-containing foods include red bell peppers, broccoli and spinach

Garlic – as well as making savoury dishes taste divine, garlic is also great for your immune system. Experts think its infection-fighting value comes from having a lot of sulphate-containing compounds, like allicin

Almonds – almonds contain a high level of vitamin E, which is great at keeping your immune system in good working order. Unfortunately vitamin E is fat soluble, which means it needs to be eaten with fat in order for your body to absorb it properly. Almonds are a particularly good way of getting vitamin E into your diet, as they also contain lots of healthy fats

Other lifestyle medicine tips

Whilst eating a diet rich in the foods above will go a long way towards improving your immune system, there are some other things you can do to help things along:

  • Stop smoking – smoking lowers your immunity, increasing your risk of contracting viruses like flu (and being sicker with them when you do)
  • Drink less alcohol – reducing your alcohol consumption will improve your overall health and leave your body stronger to fend off illness
  • Get more sleep – if you can try to get a full seven to eight hours’ sleep most nights, this will help you to avoid illness. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived are more susceptible to viruses

For more information about Lifestyle Medicine, or to book an appointment to discuss how it can work for you, please contact us.

Cervical Screening Awareness week falls on 14th to 20th June this year, and it’s now more important than ever that women ensure they are up to date with their screening.

The pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives, but arguably the impact on healthcare has been the most concerning. Many people missed the opportunity for early diagnosis of a problem when appointments were cancelled during the worst phases of the pandemic.

Don’t panic!

When caught early, cervical cancer is one of the more treatable cancers. A smear test checks for any changes in the cells of the cervix that might suggest cancer will occur.

So long as you are reasonably up to date with your screenings, it is highly unlikely that missing one during the pandemic means that any abnormality will be so advanced that it is not easily treated.

However, it is important that you attend a cervical screening as soon as possible to put your mind at rest.

What is a cervical screening looking for?

What we are looking for in a smear test is not cervical cancer itself, but signs of a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This infection can, in some cases, be a precursor to cervical cancer.

HPV is actually very common, and most people will contract it at some point in their lifetime. Even if you don’t have many sexual partners. So even if HPV is found during your smear test, this doesn’t mean that you definitely have cervical cancer. But it will give doctors a head start in treating you if there is a problem.

Celebs get on board

International fashion brand Misspap has joined the fight against cervical cancer. It has launched a campaign to promote Cervical Screening Awareness Week.

The DON’T MISS YOUR PAP campaign features celebrities including Katie Price and Hollyoaks’ Sarah Jayne Dunn. It also includes a specially designed underwear set, with a poppable crotch to make smear tests easier. And 100 per cent of profits from the campaign will be donated to Eve Appeal. A charity devoted to gynaecological cancer research.

Book your cervical screening today

If you are keen to book your cervical screening appointment ASAP, The Mayfair GP can offer cervical screening in a comfortable, discreet environment.

We have access to sophisticated and accurate diagnostic tests. In the unlikely event that your results reveal any abnormality, we can perform further investigations quickly and thoroughly. If required, we can also refer you for a consultation with a specialist.

To book a cervical screening, please contact us at The Mayfair GP by calling us on 07568 369 455‬ or email info@themayfairgp.com.

With the increased availability of lateral flow tests and more than 50 per cent of the population having received at least one dose of vaccine, you might be forgiven for thinking PCR testing for COVID is now a thing of the past.

However, much as we would all like to think that the end is in sight, there are still some very valid reasons why widespread PCR testing will be necessary for a while yet:

1. Confirming new cases

Whilst lateral flow tests are a useful tool – particularly for picking up asymptomatic cases – they are not as reliable as PCR tests, so if you have symptoms of COVID, including:

  • a new, continuous cough
  • fever
  • loss of taste and/or smell

Then you should seek a PCR test immediately. In fact, if you have tested positive on a lateral flow test, you should also have a PCR test to confirm the result.

This will make certain that you get the right treatment, should treatment be necessary, as well as ensuring that government figures for new cases are accurate.

2. Slowing the spread

If your own health concerns aren’t enough to sway you towards having a PCR test, consider the wider benefits: the greater the number of undiagnosed cases in the community, the quicker the virus will spread.

So for every COVID case that is confirmed and in isolation, think of the number of additional cases that can be avoided. It is no exaggeration to say that by having a PCR test you could be saving someone’s life.

3. Assessing our progress

“Do we want to know how well vaccines are working? We’re going to have to test,” said David O’Connor, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
“How are we going to know whether the variants are more contagious? We’re going to have to test.
“How are we going to know if the vaccines are effectively controlling the variants? We’re going to have to test.”

As a nation, we have been through a lot over the past year, and all in the name of conquering this virus. Without accurate, up-to-date information about the number of cases, how do we know if our efforts are working?

Preventing the next pandemic

With new variants emerging all the time, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that we will ever be completely free from COVID. And that means we’re going to have to learn to live with it. In order to do that, however, we need to keep a close eye on its progression and find out:

  • How well are new variants responding to the vaccine?
  • How quickly does each variant spread?
  • Are some variants more deadly than others?

“It becomes less about trying to interrupt the transmission of the disease and more about understanding, where is the virus?” says Dr Jennifer Nuzzo, head of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security. “What are we missing? And, you know, what could be coming down the road?”

So if we want life to return to some form of normality and stay there, PCR testing looks like it is here to stay.

The Mayfair GP aims to make the PCR test process as convenient as possible and can offer a mobile service, so we can come to you to do the test. We courier the test to the lab, so we can get the result to you as quickly as possible.

We also offer testing for recent arrivals to the UK – both the mandatory day 2 and 8 testing, and the 5-day test to release scheme.

To book a PCR test, please get in touch via email at info@themayfairgp.com or call us on 07568 369 455.