Cost of living: Chronic stress ‘does really bad things’ to people’s health

Amid a cost-of-living crisis ravaging the nation’s poorest, the Royal College of Nurses has warned it is starting to have an impact on the population’s health. The Royal College of Nursing has said people are having to make drastic choices resulting in compromises to their health and quality of life. As a result, they warn health inequalities become the rich and poor will become exacerbated. Campaigners are warning people are starting to have to choose between eating and treating as the cost of food and medication rises.

This includes patients such as Laura Brant, a 28-year-old who has lived with kidney disease since the age of seven.

Laura relies on a dialysis machine to carry out the filtering process normally undertaken by her kidneys.

However, there’s a problem.

Her dialysis machine relies on a large amount of water and electricity, two commodities continuing to rise sharply in price.

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Laura has had to make the difficult decision to stop using her dialysis machine at home and undertake it at a local hospital.

Speaking about the experience, Laura said: “I’m sick of having to make choices. And they have to be the right choices.

“If not, it’s my health that’s going to be affected at the end of the line.”

It’s not just patients like Lauren who are suffering, the everyday worry about the cost-of-living is starting to have an impact too.

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Dr Janet Bliss of Grey Road Surgery in Liverpool explained: “The kind of constant worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills, how you’re going to feed yourself takes a toll we could probably all relate to.

“Living in that kind of chronic stress does really bad things to your blood pressure and to your metabolism and can lead to illnesses like diabetes.”

Dr Bliss added: “Not being able to access nutritious foods makes it really difficulty to keep yourself well physically.”

As a result of the cost-of-living crisis, people are starting to skip meals in order to save money.

Dr Bliss said some people have been trying to save money by not buying medications they need: “We’re people deciding not to collect medications, not to pay for prescription items.

“We’re seeing the impact on transport costs, and also things like data for your phone in order to access vital health services that will support their health.”

Dr Bliss’s comments come at a time when health officials are debating the efficaciousness of online versus face-to-face appointments.

One of the great advantages of online appointments is meant to be their ability to save people money on travel costs.

Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing’s general secretary Pat Cullen said: “The situation is becoming grave for many.

“The UK government can, and must, do more to ensure this crisis doesn’t worsen the health inequalities we face in this country.

Dr Andrew Goddard of the Royal College of Physicians added his colleagues had heard reports of patients turning off their oxygen supplies to save money.

As a result of price rises across the board patients are suffering; the fear is that if action is not taken soon, many will start dying.

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