health

The importance of blood donation

Blood donation is one of the most important necessities in a hospital. Donated blood has many uses. It can be used in standard procedures or it can be used in ambulant help. Even though it’s on of the biggest necessities a lack of blood donors still occurs in many different countries.

Why is it important to donate blood?
It’s used in many surgeries, even in accidents people are often in need of blood which is provided by blood donors. Due to various reasons people don’t want to give blood or they’re not allowed to give blood. This can cause a lack of blood donors and therefore a deficit in blood supplies. Giving blood keeps the chain going and is therefore important!

Who can donate blood?
People aged 17-66 and have a BMI within range can donate blood. Before the blood donation you’ll see a doctor who will ask you some questions about your health. This is to make sure that the blood you’re donating is ‘clean’.
There are a lot of rules that need to be taken into account before giving blood. Depending on where you’re giving blood you’ll be able to check the conditions online.

Note: if you’re not able to donate blood, you might still be able to donate blood plasma as it doesn’t contain red blood cells. Blood plasma is then used to treat people with coagulation diseases.

Where to donate blood? 
There are donation centers where you’ll be able to donate blood. You could also donate blood to a local hospital.
In America there are two main blood donation centers the ‘American red cross’ and ‘America’s blood centers’ where you can donate blood. In the U.K. the blood donation happens via NHS.

I hope that I’ve informed you about blood donation. As usual make sure to check with your GP before donating blood. This is to make sure that you’re not harming yourself or someone else by donating.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you’ve donated blood before in the comments down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

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World mental health day

It’s world mental health day and I thought it’d be nice to talk about mental health today as a lot of people struggle with mental health. I would like to emphasize that I’m not a professional (yet) so if you’re having any health issues I’d advise you to see a GP.

There are a lot of mental disorders. The biggest issue medics are facing is that diagnosing mental disorders is difficult because there’s still a lot about the human brain that we don’t know about.

It should be no surprise to you but mental health for example depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia actually affects millions of people all around the world. Mental health is very diverse and there are a lot of different disorders. Did you know that 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 teenagers(!!!) will experience some kind of mental health problem during their life. In Britain. Mixed anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders.
I decided that it might be interesting to leave a blogpost I read today. It’s written by Katie Conibear who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She has a great blog which you can see here.

What I loved most is that you can get involved with some amazing fundraisers and activities that the mental health foundation organizes. I thought it would be best to leave a link to both – American and English – foundations. You can find a lot of information on their sites AND you can find out how you can make a difference!

United Kingdom
The United States
Also check out Twitter!

It’s time to change the mentality we have when it comes to mental disorders and illness and I hope that this post is a step in the right direction.

UPDATE: I’ve read some amazing posts since it is world mental health day and I’m going to share a few below hoping that they might help you!
Tips & advice 
Tips to help yourself or others
A playful article about crafting
Poetry
And more poetry
Sean’s testimony

Lots of love!
-A doctor in spe

30 day cold shower challenge

The 30 day cold shower challenge has become of the most popular challenges of the summer and since there are quite a few benefits related to this challenge I too decided to take the plunge. Here’s what you need to know about it

The cold water challenge tells you to take a cold shower every day for a month. It’s said that taking a cold showers has a lot of benefits to it like improving productivity, improving your immune system, reducing blood pressure and speed up healing.

Hot-vs-cold-shower-Infographic

Infographic from punditcafe

A few tips before you start
-Don’t take a shower every day. Taking a shower every day also means waisting a lot of water, instead take a shower every other day.
-Stand in the shower and let the cold water flow instead of waiting outside your shower until you have enough courage to go in. This will again prevent waisting water.
-Take a cold shower after you have worked out. It’ll be easier, trust me.
-When your heart starts racing, try to keep going. After you’ve gone through that phase it gets easier!
-Make sure to put some warmer clothes on after your shower if you don’t want to catch a cold.

The result
Even though it did take a little while to adjust to showering with cold water it wasn’t too bad. The first couple of times my hart was racing but I just tried to take a deep breath. It can be tough to get through that part but afterwards you’ll definitely feel better.
Unlike my regular showers, I took less than 7 minutes to completely wash myself with cold water and I felt like I hadn’t waisted as much water. I have a huge issue with waisting water so this was definitely something important for me.
Taking cold showers in the morning made me feel invincible and ready to take on the day. It sounds weird but it felt like doing something I didn’t always think was possible made me feel better. This is a challenge that I honestly hope to keep doing because I liked it so much!

Let me know in the comment section whether you’d try showering with cold water every day.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Book review: The man who mistook his wife for a hat

I recently red the book ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ written by Oliver Sacks, a British neurologist. Oliver sacks is quite a famous writer, he has written 14 books of which 7 were made into a movie. This specific book was written in 1985 and it consists of 24 cases in which different neurological issues are being discussed.

Summary
The book is divided into four categories that each talk about a specific neurological issue. Part one deals with losses, part two with excess, part three transports (about perception, imagination, dreams,…) and part four the world of the simple (how ‘simple’ people understand remarkable concepts).

I’m going to talk about one of these stories because it stood out to me. It’s the story of Jose, the autist artist. This is written in chapter four – the world of the simple. Jose was a 21 year old male who was said to be retarded and had seizures which caused him to be hospitalized. During his examination he was asked to draw a pocket watch which he drew remarkably well. Dr. Sacks was amazed by this and wanted to learn more about this patient. He wanted to see more drawings and asked Jose to draw some more and again his drawings were really nice.
It appeared that Jose was indeed autistic, but that he was quite talented. He could draw, remember what he drew and he was able make adaptations to his drawings.
This story definitely stood out for me because it just goes to show that there is a whole world to people that often stays unnoticed, even for many many years.
The drawings are included in the book but I wanted to show you an example. On the left we see the picture, on the right the drawing that Jose made.

Schermafbeelding 2017-07-30 om 10.08.55
There are many more extraordinary stories written in this book. It’s an easy read making it is a book that will appeal to a lot of people. Difficult concepts are all explained in the book making the book fit for anyone interested in knowing more about brain related issues.
For those wanting to learn or read more about neurological problems, there are also a lot of references to other scientifical books. Especially Loeria (neuropsychologist) and Jackson (neurologist) are writers who are often referred to.

For me this was such an interesting book that I was able to finish it within the day. It is therefore no surprise that I strongly advise you to read this book.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

Daily life of a medical student

Today I wanted to show you how a day in my life goes. I’m a regular student, I live at home with my parents. I’m not motivating at all. However some students are just regular students.

6:00-6:15 My mom is going to work so she wakes me up fairly early. I like to lay in my bed a little longer. I would like to tell you that I workout or that I do something productive but I honestly don’t.

7:45: I go to my classes. I drive to my class every morning which in a way is the worst thing I probably do. I know that I should either carpool or take the bus but I always make up lame excuses.

8:00-13:00 I have very long classes and they start and end quite late. I fortunately have some breaks during classes. I usually try to pay attention and write down something. Sometimes I’ll go to the library but most of the time I just go home. I prefer studying in a quiet library which is very difficult to find!

13:30-16:00 As soon as I come home I watch television and drink a glass of coffee. I love my coffee and drink up to four(!) glasses of coffee per day. I also like watching television series. My current favorite is ‘the middle’. It’s one of the few shows left that is actually pretty accurate and realistic.

16-18:00 I try to get some studying done. We started studying our muscles so I’ve been doing that for the longest time. It’s one of those things I really need to repeat this section of my courses more often.

20:00-23:30 I end up watching more television. I love documentaries and there are always a few of them on the television. I watched one about the hunt for lions. It was quite disturbing and made me feel so terrible. Basically some people in Africa capture lions and inbreed them making more lions who have a lot of genetic flaws f.e. issues with their paws. Rich people are then able to bid on these lions so that they can ‘hunt’ them down in a closed section. At the end of the documentary I was obviously quite upset.

That was my day the end of it was quite upsetting and I’m still not over it :/ I hope you still enjoyed the rest of my busy day and I will see you in a next post!

Lots of love!
-Doctor in spe