According to the Department of Health, coronary heart disease is preventable. Yet it kills more than 70,000 people and 110,000 have a heart-attack every year. Around 2 million people suffer from angina. So is it possible that we can rethink our lifestyles, making the necessary modifications in order to prevent ourselves from becoming another statistic?
Apart from the horrors of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the myriad of drugs which sufferers are forced to endure, there is another hardship of cancer which is not as well documented.
The emotional trauma caused by the disease is less highlighted but is a significant side-effect. Issues like confronting death or the breakdown of a relationship, the humiliation of hair loss or the demise of a career may need to be addressed.
You eat the same foods in the same quantities as you did 15 years ago, your daily routine has not changed and you do exactly the same amount of exercise. So how come you weigh a stone more now than you did then? And why is it that all that fat seems to have settled on your belly?
It is a sad fact of life that you do not have to let yourself go to acquire that middle age spread – just keep doing the things you always did and it will magically appear.
Heat is not really my thing. Despite the freezing temperatures of this long, hard winter, my gas bill is still looking rather healthy. I hate the stifling effect generated by blasting radiators and would rather wrap up warm than bump the thermostat up to max.
So what on earth led me to try out Bikram yoga, a form of exercise carried out in a specially-designed studio heated to 40 degrees celsius?
The NHS has revealed that there are 2.3 million people suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in this country, and these figures are spiralling - by 2025, they are expected to double. However, two thirds of those suffering from Type 2 diabetes could, with diet and a healthier lifestyle, radically diminish the effects of the disease. And according to the Prescription Pricing Authority, treating diabetes costs the taxpayer £10 million per week.
The subject of probiotics is huge and controversial. You may not even know what constitutes a probiotic but you will have certainly seen the adverts for those little pots of yoghurt drinks extolling the virtues of "friendly bacteria".
So what is a probiotic? According to Biocare - a reputable supplement company - "probiotics are bacteria that are natural residents in the human digestive system and are beneficial to health". For within the human gut resides a complex ecosystem of micro-organisms essential for human functioning.
As a professional stressbuster, Rabbi Marcia Plumb is used to being greeted with the heartfelt cry: “Houston, we have a problem.” After all, the Texas-born guru has made Jewish angst the focus of her life’s work since leaving the USA, being ordained and setting up in London as a spiritual coach.
Although we think of supplements as a modern innovation, Hippocrates is said to have cured night blindness with raw liver soaked in honey, while 3,500 years ago, King Amenophis IV ate liver to help his night vision. Now supplementation is huge business and the western world spends hundreds of millions on vitamins and minerals yearly.
We constantly seek to improve our health and arguments rage as to whether supplementation is necessary. Some firmly believe that eating a balanced diet will provide adequate nutrients for good heath and that taking vitamins is a shortcut to health.
Kosher supermarkets are comforting places to visit. The aisles are widely spaced and there is a feeling of abundance: shelves groaning with every supervised product on the planet. No need to check the labels for gelatine or beetles’ blood — everything is kosher. Yet lurking in the chilled and frozen meals, the soups, condiments, sauces and, above all, the sweets, are the additives — chemical concoctions that could make you shudder.
When Jackie Benjamin gave birth to her first son 18 years ago, the last thing she expected was a descent into manic depression. “I felt elated and euphoric, and so keen to write down all the details of Alex’s birth I didn’t feel like sleeping,” says the Birmingham-based lawyer.
But gradually she became more and more fraught trying to breastfeed, while the lack of sleep made her “so tired, I thought I was going to die. No-one mentioned they thought I was going mad, but when a social worker called, I did wonder if they wanted to section me or take my child away.”