Three pieces of health news:

Risk of blindness in older women

A condition called ‘giant cell arteritis (GCA) is the focus of an article in the Guardian, which raises concerns that this condition, which affects older women, is resulting in un-necessary blindness, because it is not being treated properly. The condition affects thousands of people every year, and is an inflammation of the blood vessels.  The Guardian describes it as follows:

It often starts with terrible headaches and scalp tenderness, and sometimes with disturbance in the eyes. The cause is abnormally large cells that develop in the arteries, most commonly in the temporal arteries on the side of the head. As the inflammation moves up the head, the jaw can become severely stiff. If the inflammation goes higher, it can press on the optic nerve at the back of the eye, causing permanent sight loss or even complete blindness.

The correct treatment is to give a patient with the recognised symptoms an immediate high dose of steroids to bring down the inflammation and protect their eyesight. Blood tests should be taken and the patient referred very quickly on a fast-track system to a rheumatology hospital department, ideally on the same day, but definitely within three days so that diagnosis can be confirmed and treatment started. If a patient has suffered any sight loss, they should be referred the same day to hospital. But this is often not what happens.

Older women going permanently blind because of a lack of the proper treatment and awareness. The guardian article can be read in full here, and the charity for the disease is here, where you can find information to support those with the condition, as well as information for medical professionals and others working with older people.


The Hygiene Bank – Bude

CRCC is in the process of establishing the Bude Hygiene Bank, part of a national chain of similar resources.  Their Facebook page can be found here and they can be contacted at

The Facebook page explains what a hygiene bank is:

Sadly, there are too many people in today’s society who are forced to make a decision between buying food or hygiene products. We believe that this is a decision nobody should be forced to make. Cleanliness is a basic human need and is so closely related to the way we feel about ourselves – to not have hygiene items severely compromises an individual’s dignity and impacts on mental wellbeing. We are hoping to improve the situation for as many people as we can in our beautiful part of the country.

At present, there are four drop off points – Bude Primary Academy – Infant and Junior sites, Budehaven Day Nursery and The Gregson Centre. They are collecting all sorts of hygiene items, for adults and children, as evidenced by a photo of donations recently received.

various hygiene products from tothpaste to smapoo, and nappies to sanitary towels, donated to Bude Hygiene bank

CRCC are hoping to set up more of these and make links with Charity Partners – those organisations that approach with requests on behalf of those in need. The national Hygiene Bank Website can be found here, for more information. The Hygiene Bank Cornwall is coordinated by Alison Marsh


NHS Health apps

Did you know the NHS has an extensive library of apps, covering every possible healthcare related thing that you could possibly need an app for?

You can find an app for diabetes, learning disabilities, memory loss, pregnancy and baby, mental health and first aid, to give just a few broad areas, and many of them are free.

Have a look and see if there’s something that you could use, or refer people to that you work with.  NHS Apps Library website.