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On the sofa with Dr Chris Steele

chris steele_headshot_14_08_12We take a look at the major health highlights, alerts, challenges and live clinic successes that have stood out on daytime ITV1 show, This Morning, during this action-packed Olympic year so far…

From keeping the nation’s waistlines trim to raising awareness of an issue close to his own heart, depression, Dr Chris Steele dedicates his screen time to educating and alerting the British public to the latest innovations in healthcare treatments and the damage you’re doing to your body. Not afraid to tackle perceived taboo issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), menopause and postnatal depression, here’s a run through of what he’s been up to on the This Morning sofa.

January 2012

Stop smoking with Linda Robson
Dr Chris was joined by Birds Of A Feather actress, Linda Robson, 54, to tackle one of the UK’s biggest vices: smoking. Around 10 million Brits smoke, but as Dr Chris is keen to emphasise, it’s never too late to quit. In this sofa session, he ran through the numerous stop smoking aids currently on the market: from gum and inhalers to sprays, and the latest innovation in stop-smoking products: e-cigarettes.

Best factual programme at the NTA Awards
What better start to Dr Chris’ year than to see This Morning bag Best Factual Programme at the 2012 National Television Awards? The accolade saw hosts Holly Willoughby, 31, and Phillip Schofield, 50, and all the team (including the show’s health expert and our guest editor, Dr Chris, of course) rewarded for all their hard work that goes into making such an informative, entertaining watch.

Jan-March 2012

Fatima Whitbread’s Fat Fight challenge
To begin the new year with a health kick, Dr Chris joined forces with nutritionist, Amanda Hamilton, 37, and Olympic silver medalist, Fatima Whitbread, 51, to fight back against the flab. The challenge, Fatima’s Fat Fight, aimed to get four overweight contributors fit within 12 weeks; these included Sharon, Dwain and married couple Andy and Ruth (all pictured right). Now, of course, the road to fitness recovery was not all plain sailing for the four contributors. Sharon, for instance, who weighed 38st, refused to turn up to the final weigh-in, giving up after finding Fatima’s tasks too challenging. But despite struggles and plenty of ups-and-downs, Andy shed nearly 3st, Ruth lost 10lb and Dwain went from 32st 12lb to 30st 13lb over the course of the 12-week programme.

February 2012

Liver clinic
Britain’s boozy culture is often headline news and in February, Dr Chris hosted a liver clinic, to see how excessive alcohol intake is causing real damage to the nation’s health; with 200,000 people forecast to die from alcohol abuse by 2022. Enlisting the help of liver specialist, Dr Patrick Kennedy, Dr Chris demonstrated the Fibroscan live on This Morning to find out how much – if at all – alcohol had damaged the livers of the volunteers. The scan itself measures liver stiffness – the stiffer the liver, the more damage has occurred.

March 2012

Danielle Lloyd’s postnatal depression
Dr Chris accompanied former Miss Great Britain, Danielle Lloyd in the studio, to speak about depression – and postnatal depression in particular. The 28-year-old descended into a dispirited mood after giving birth to two babies in just over one year and feeling like she was not able to cope with motherhood. Her depression led to a drinking problem, and she admitted ‘it got to the point that at 3pm I was waiting for 6pm so I could have a drink’. To make matters worse, Danielle was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood clot in her chest.

Bowel cancer awareness
Also this month, Dr Chris turned to an important health issue: bowel cancer. With it being Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, he talked about the symptoms of this cancer as well as new screenings that have been developed. One in 10 people dies within a month of being diagnosed with bowel cancer, and so Dr Chris invited 52-year-old volunteer, Jan Bryant, onto the This Morning sofa, who agreed to take home a new DIY home bowel testing kit.

May 2012

Irritable bowel syndrome and menopause myths
In one of his regular Sixty Second Surgeries, Dr Chris turned to a very a common problem, but one that many shy away from talking about: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As well as tackling the condition of IBS, he also dispelled some myths around the menopause – a time which in itself can be stressful enough without misaligned information. And, to round it all off, demonstrated a blood pressure monitor that hooks up to an iPad!

June 2012

Diabetes check
Now recognised as a severe health risk for children and adults alike in the UK, Dr Chris took a closer look at diabetes in another of his 60-second round-ups. Focusing on Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to obesity, he explained to hosts Holly and Phillip that genes are rarely the cause for being overweight, citing a healthy lifestyle as an important prevention.

Skin cancer
Dr Chris urged viewers to pay close attention to their moles when it comes to spotting signs of cancer. Using the assymetry, border, colour, diameter (ABCD) checking system, he says you can recognise a problem or change in your skin. Dr Chris, who has had skin cancer himself, was excited about the potential for a special ‘plaster’ which can cure skin cancer of the face.

This article was first published in at home’s ’Ask the Doctor with Dr Chris Steele’ in Sept 2012. [Read the digital edition here]

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