IT is unlikely that anyone would dispute that health is the issue at the top of the agenda in Ludlow and south Shropshire.

The seemingly interminable debate about the future of Ludlow Hospital and the maternity unit in the town rumbles on.

But health is not just about the ‘big picture’ issues but also about how we can do our best to look after ourselves.

This is important in all communities but perhaps especially so in Ludlow and south Shropshire and Tenbury and the Teme Valley, where the proportion of older people is higher than the national average.

There are some things that appear to have been accepted as universal truths such as the harm that can be done by smoking but for many other things the position is much less clear.

Indeed, all too often there is conflicting information.

One of the great risks to global health would appear to be the evolution of ‘super bugs’ that have developed immunity to antibiotics.

Now GPs are much less likely to prescribe antibiotics than was once to case and as they point out these drugs are for bacteriological infections and will not touch viruses.

However, when antibiotics are prescribed the mantra has always been, or at least until now, that a course of medication should always been completed even if we feel better.

The word has been that failure to do this not only risks the infection coming back but also developing an immunity to the antibiotic.

But it now seems that there is a report suggesting that it is not always appropriate to continue with this treatment until all the tablets have gone.

Another condition that it has been suggested is almost reaching epidemic proportions is diabetes.

This condition that can be very serious and result in an increased risk of strokes and heart disease, amongst other things, comes in two forms.

Type one can strike people at any stage in their life including childhood and has nothing to do with how people live their lives.

However, type two diabetes is more likely to come on as people get older and is said to be linked with lifestyle.

Anyone diagnosed with this condition would expect to be told by their GP to take more exercise and most important of all look at what they eat and drink.

This will invariably mean being told to cut down or cut out altogether alcohol consumption.

But now there is a report that appears to suggest that moderate consumption of red wine can actually help cut the risk of diabetes.

People can be forgiven for wondering just where they stand and what really is best.

The truth, of course, is that while there are some universal truths with many areas of medicine there is room for a difference of opinion amongst the professionals.

Weight is another example. The usual method for determining obesity is BMI (Body Mass Index) which is a mathematical formula that relates to height and weight.

However, GPs and medical professionals can have differing views about the importance of BMI.

It can all be very confusing.