Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014. Raise awareness by sharing this Spina Bifida facts. #SBFacts #AsecondforSB

Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014 #SBFacts
Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014 #SBFacts

Spina Bifida Awareness Month 2014. Raise awareness by sharing this Spina Bifida facts. #SBFacts #AsecondforSB

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2014 – Get informed!

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2014
Mental Illness Awareness Week 2014
Next week sees Mental Illness Awareness Week being celebrated around the world. Even though its origin is in America. We thought it would be useful to share a bit more information about the week so you can get involved.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) share “Oct. 5-11 is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). It is an important opportunity to learn the symptoms of major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other conditions. It also is an opportunity for conversations about mental health care, helping to end the silence that often exists. ”

They go on to say “One in four adults experiences a mental health problem ever year. One in five children and teens also experience serious emotional disorders. One-half of cases of chronic mental illness begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters by age 24.”

Highlighting the problem of diagnosis NAMI suggest “Early identification and treatment can make a big difference for successful management of an illness and; recovery. Yet only one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with mental illness receive treatment. One reason is that symptoms may not be immediately recognized. Another is that stigma –and silence–surrounding mental illness that discourages many people from seeking help. Still another is lack of access to mental health care.”

Please remember “No one should have to confront mental illness alone. Know where to find help in case it is ever needed. Most people start with their doctor, who may refer them to mental health professional.”

If you want more detailed background that this mental health factsheet will prove very useful.

Health Literacy Month – Why do Health Literacy Heroes matter?

Health Literacy Month
Health Literacy Month
I spent 30 seconds a couple of days ago reading an article on social media and something called social business. I gave up when I read the following line where they tell us that ” we’ve educated over 60,000 social media professionals and launched comprehensive onboarding for enterprises around the globe”. Now I have no idea what this means. I assume it has something to do with sailing but otherwise I’m at a loss. If you think you know please can you add a translation in the comments box.

What is even more confusing was that the article claimed to be about social marketing but used a terminology which , it strikes me, totally hides and meaning.

To be fair it really does not matter what sort of language people when they are selling thing like cell phones or online newspapers. But when it comes to health it really really does matter.

Which is why I was delighted to discover that this month is Health Literacy Month. Created by Ms Helen Osborne in 1999 who says “Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information.”

Ms Osborne continues “The theme for Health Literacy Month 2014 is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” It’s about taking action and finding ways to improve health communication. Health Literacy Heroes are individuals, teams, or organizations who not only identify health literacy problems but also act to solve them. You can help by recognizing and cheering on those you consider as  Health Literacy Heroes. Click here for more information plus tools to help.”

As regular readers of this blog know health information and medical education is one of the big areas covered by this blog. And I often state how disappointed I am with massively funded organisations and their inability to produce anything a normal person can understand. Or they demonstrate a total lack of understanding of how digital information can be shared.

So part of the point of this blog is a cry from the heart asking people who write stuff about health to write so we can understand it. You are not writing for automatons with MBAs but for people like me.

Yo find out more about Health Literacy Month please check out their website here.

If you do have any suggestions for Health Literacy Heroes please share them in the comments section below and I will take sure that Ms Osborne sees them!

Thanks in advance!

Breast Cancer Awareness – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please like and share this graphic to spread awareness of the month!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014

Please like, share and tweet this brilliant breast cancer awareness butterfly!


#urticariaday2014 International Urticaria Day – find out more about hives and Urticaria to help us promote awareness

Wednesday October 1st , next week, sees International Urticaria Day. So we thought it would be a good opportunity to raise awareness of the condition here at PatientTalk.Org.

More and more people react to everyday situations with an itchy rash and wheals (swelling on the skin). This condition is called hives or urticaria.

International Urticaria Day was created by UNEV (the Urticaria Network e.V.) and the DAAB e.V., two organizations both based Germany. Both organisations aim to improve conditions for people with urticaria and other allergies. The purpose of International Urticaria Day is to raise awareness of this debilitating disease. Educational events for healthcare professionals, people with urticaria , the media and the public will be taking place in Germany and throughout the globe . To obtain more information about local events and to show support, visit www.urticariaday.org and follow the chat on Twitter #urticariaday2014. The Twitter handle is @urticariaday so please follow for more information.

In fact, 1 in 4 people is affected by urticaria. Symptoms are typically present for a few days or weeks –this is called acute urticaria. However, the disease lasts longer in many individuals. In Germany alone, over 1% of the population suffer from chronic urticaria. Which is a very high prevalence. It should be noted that women are affected twice as often as men and the incidence in children requires more research. In some cases it may well be an allergic reaction.

The diagnosis and treatment of chronic urticaria is tough . Only some varieties of urticaria have a known cause. These often takes months to identify and treat appropriately. Regardless of the type of urticaria a person may have, the signs and symptoms are the same – namely itching, redness, hives and/or swelling of the skin (angioedema). Effective treatments are now available more are being investigated. Urticaria is, typically, treated by dermatologists and there are specialized centers that cater of those with severe forms of the disease.

If you have or currently suffer from urticaria it would be great to hear from you please feel free to share your story in the comments section below.

In particular we are interested in the following questions:-
a) What were you earliest symptoms of urticaria?
b) How long did they last for?
c) What treatments for urticaria did you receive? How effective were these treatments?
d) How easy was it to get diagnosed with urticaria?
e) What one bit of advice would you give to somebody who has just been diagnosed with urticaria?

Thanks very much in advance!