In this article, you can find information on the following health-related topics: stroke, hormones, women’s health, water, and sugar.


Stroke is one of the most common causes of death and the leading cause of irreversible disability in adults. From economic point of view, costs of stroke treatment are becoming a serious problem: Stroke costs the UK 7 billion pounds each year (there are 150.000 strokes per year, which means someone suffers a stroke every 5 minutes). The problem not only affects the NHS, but most of all it directly affects stroke sufferers and their families. Your everyday costs increase (household costs, transport and specialist care costs), and one needs to remember that people who suffered a stroke are unable to return to work for a long time (or cannot return to work at all).

In Southampton there are 400 strokes a year, and at present there are 3000 people in our city in need of rehabilitation and treatment following a stroke.

The Stroke Association’s mission is to prevent strokes and reduce their effect through providing services, campaigning, education and research.

FAST stroke prevention educational program has recently been quite popular in media. 

Its main purpose was to improve knowledge on 4 main stroke symptoms and warning signs:

F (face)– Does one side of the face droop?
A (arms) – Is one arm weak or numb?
S (speech)  – Is the speech slurred?
T (time) – Time is critical.

If you notice any of the symptoms, Call 999 immediately for specialist medical help.

Remember! Stroke requires immediate medical intervention; quick action helps prevent further brain damage of stroke sufferers and will contribute to their full recovery; not taking appropriate action can cause irreversible health effects.

Blood pressure

Checking your blood pressure regularly is one of the main factors of stroke prevention.  Stroke association encourages people to monitor their health through ‘know your blood pressure’ campaign. You can buy a blood pressure meter in order to check your blood pressure at home, you can also use a blood pressure machine at your GP surgery or ask your GP or a nurse to check your blood pressure during your routine medical appointment. A normal blood pressure reading can range from 120/80 to 130/90. As shown on the following diagram, blood pressure may raise to 160/100 which requires a medical check-up and treatment. If your blood pressure reading is higher than that- it can be life threatening! Please remember to check your blood pressure regularly!

How HORMONES affect your body?

We still don’t know much about hormones although they play a vital role in our bodies. Endocrinology is quite a new branch of study (approximately 150 years old), therefore the phenomenon of hormonal links and functioning of all hormones in our body is not completely discovered. It is said that there are approximately 1000 hormones in the human body, and until now scientists have managed to test the functioning of only 100 of them.

Women’s health – Cervical screening

Nowadays cervical screening testing programmes are widely used and available for free.

In the UK every woman aged between 25 and 64 years receives an invitation letter to have cervical screening tests in the surgery they are registered with. (It is very important to inform your GP about change of home address as your health records will need to be updated). Although people are kept informed about preventive healthcare and importance of cervical screening tests, many women are still avoiding smear tests,  and this kind of approach increases the risk of potential health problems in the future. The language barrier is probably one of the reasons why migrant women don’t attend their screenings. These women would often choose a more expensive and more time consuming method of arranging a cervical screening test- they either travel to their country of origin or contact a private clinic providing professional gynaecological services in their native language. What is more, understanding the results of cervical screening tests is often a problem- a problem caused not only by the language barrier, but also (as for example in case of Polish women) by a different system of interpreting test results. Leaflets/bulletins provided by the NHS for women can help you understand the above mentioned terminology. Many leaflets have been translated into different foreign languages.  


According to a well-known saying, life on earth would be impossible without water. However in our everyday life we don’t think about that until (due to engineering works) we are left with no water at home; in our everyday life we don’t share the worries of drought-hit farmers, facing poor harvests. And yet! Although we have an easy, everyday access to water (tap and mineral water), we still don’t stay hydrated enough, we often go for unhealthy soft drinks such as coca-cola or artificial fruit drinks, fuelled by extremely high rates of added sugar.


Many of us cannot imagine a day without adding sugar to their tea or coffee, having a piece of chocolate, a waffle, a piece of yummy cake, or without having ice-cream on a very warm day. It is a habit in Poland to have dessert after dinner, this is what we were used to in our family home, in school canteens, on camps and school trips. It would all be acceptable if the amounts of sugary treats we eat are not too high. We often don’t realise that food producers add sugar to almost all products in order to improve their taste. Thinking that we are eating quite healthily, we don’t read food product labels.