Summer résumé.jpg

Summer résumé

Dear Reader,

Writing this article for you, overlooking our garden, it becomes painfully clear to me that the summer is over. In the morning, I have to push myself now to go for a swim and tonight I have made the definite decision to get out the warm blankets.

It is time for a résumé, thinking it all over, contemplating the possibility of a cold and wet winter, shorter days and longer dark nights.

A busy and pleasant summer it was, not too hot this year and thankfully without many fires for the Algarve. I love the buzz of the summer when people from all over the world come here to spend a very special time together.

Thankfully, the majority of illnesses in the summer are not too serious.

I am surprised every year at how common tonsillitis is among young adults, almost like an epidemic. I have considered publishing this disease as the Algarve Throat. Prevention is, in this case, difficult

‘I am surprised every year at how common tonsilitis is among young adults, almost like an epidemic’
‘I am surprised every year at how common tonsilitis is among young adults, almost like an epidemic’

as the bacteria are spread while people are having fun together and that is the whole purpose of a holiday. I guess face masks are not going to be very popular although they could prove to be effective.

Prevention is not difficult when it comes to the notorious swimmers ear. Every year I remind people to use olive oil as a preventative before the inflammation of the ear canal sets in.

I have even considered producing my own brand of olive ear oil. I would rather see the patient before he/she gets ill.

What concerns me is the number of intoxicated teenagers I have to treat every year. More worrying still is the problem of voluntary or involuntary use of illegal drugs. I really fail to comprehend how one can pop a pill from a stranger without having any knowledge of what exactly it contains. Alcohol often is the reason behind such careless behaviour.

The global health résumé

This summer, two very commonly prescribed drugs have had bad press.

Statins (to lower cholesterol) have probably been marketed so extensively that it was difficult not to overrate them for the ordinary doctor or patient. That they are not without problems in their long term usage is well-known. What we have learnt is that we have to investigate long-term risks and benefits more carefully for the individual patient. Not everybody benefits from a really low cholesterol level.

Beta blockers were two years ago still recommended as the first line treatment for high blood pressure. Newly summarised evidence shows that there may be better choices for a number of patients. I have seen quite a few clients from the UK this summer, who had changed beta blockers to other medication and suffered palpitations and other unpleasant effects.

I feel for a lot of people: the good old beta blocker is still a very good option.

Vast evidence exists now that short-term diets do not help. The Yo-Yo effect that follows is often dangerous and leads to weight gain.

The fact is that diets don’t work. Lifestyle changes do!

We, as doctors, have to change our role from the mechanic, who gets a phone call when the machine/body is broken, in the direction of a health coach, who is in continuous contact with his patients to help them stay healthy.

Almost 50 per cent of the population is overweight or worse, obese. With our standard advice “do more, eat less”, we do not seem to be very effective helping our patients.

That is why I have investigated other options and looked around to find who is more successful in helping patients to get slimmer, fitter and hence healthier.

When Rosemary Conley walked into my clinic one afternoon, I found what I was looking for. As I am sure you are aware, Rosemary Conley is one of Britain’s best known and most successful diet and fitness experts.

I had recommended her books like GI Jeans Diet and Red Wine and Chocolate Diet to my patients in the past. The approach in her books is effective, straight forward, practical,  fun and evidence based.

I have started a new clinic and I hope it will be very successful. We will use Rosemary’s online slimming help for our patients. is a very powerful and easy to use tool for everyone who needs practical help with healthier eating.

We will also hold a one-week “residential kick start on the path to definite lifestyle changes” in Vale do Lobo next year with Rosemary Conley herself.

I have always felt that you need to live what you preach and Rosemary is such a good example of how well this policy works.

With only 12 weeks before Christmas, I would like to encourage you, dear Reader, to give it a fresh start on the path to better health. Health is not everything but without health nothing is fun!

A good first initiative is your annual health check-up. Make an appointment with your doctor.

Your surgery will also soon receive the new flu vaccine, worthwhile to have!

Best autumn health wishes,


Dr Thomas Kaiser