You may have read some media reports today focusing on the sharing of patient information by Health Engine. In reported instances, any data that has been shared with 3rd parties by Health Engine during the appointment booking was unbeknownst to SmartClinics. We are taking the necessary action to investigate the truths and severity of the situation.
Whilst we currently continue to accept patient-initiated bookings via Health Engine, SmartClinics offers our own internal booking system called HealthMax at many of our locations, and we also accept bookings via phone. SmartClinics values the confidentiality of our patients, and will never share data with 3rd parties, unless requested by our patients.
For the moment, if you have any concerns over the use of Health Engine bookings, we recommend making an appointment via phone or visit one of our many clinics that use our highly secure internal booking engine. If you have any other concerns or would like to get in touch, please complete the Contact Us form or call our National Support Centre on (07) 3193 1300.
Men’s health week runs this year from the 11th to the 17thth of June. We need to collectively take a moment to focus on this important area of health, irrespective of our gender.
For the men out there, it’s an opportunity to reflect upon your own state of health, both physical and mental, and work out whether it’s time to make an appointment to see your GP for a checkup. For the women, often the responsibility falls on your shoulders, having to gently prod and encourage the men in your lives to get checked.
And it shouldn’t just be a once off. It should be the start of a lifelong investment in your own health. Because as a rule, men are neglectful of their own health, for any number of reasons. And statistically, men’s health typically is poorer than that of our female counterparts.
So let’s look at a few statistics regarding men in Australia and their health (information sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics):
Males have a life expectancy of 4.5 years less than a female born at the same time
Every hour, 5 men die from a disease that could have been prevented through early detection and intervention
Each day about 32 men are told that they have prostate cancer
More men die every year from prostate cancer than do women from breast cancer
Rates of suicide among men are nearly four times higher than among women
Suicide is the leading cause of death in males aged 15 to 45 years
By the age of 75, nearly half of all men will have been diagnosed with cancer at some stage of their life (women comparatively are under one third)
Men are less likely to consult a GP compared with women, particularly amongst younger men
Men aren’t doing enough physical activity (50% <65 years old exercise sufficiently, dropping to 25% for >65)
70% of adult Australian males are overweight or obese
Men are more likely to engage in risk behaviours – smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, illicit drug use
50% of men have experienced violence as an adult
86% of men aged over 65 have a chronic disease
50% of men aged 16 to 85 have experienced a mental health disorder
50 % of adult males reported some sexual difficulty in the previous 12 months
Males access Medicare at a lesser rate than females do (33% less services per year)
So what can you do, either for yourself or the men in your lives?
Make or encourage them to make an appointment to see their GP for a once over. All it takes is a little time invested in the most important asset in your world. And that’s YOU!
I personally have my own GP, who I can honestly state has helped me through a number of difficult times in my life. And I have sought the advice of a counsellor, when I couldn’t find the answers I was seeking and needed the advice of a professional. And there is no shame associated with putting your hand up and asking for help when things get a bit or a lot tough, because there are people out there willing and able to assist you get through those dark patches.
I have also sought information from other sources, to make the journey a little smoother and easier to understand. From reading “The Happiness Trap” and “The Reality Slap” by Dr Russ Harris, to watching the brilliant “Man Up’ series by Gus Worland on ABC, through to listening to the “Be A Man” podcast series. All of these have given me something to carry with me as this journey of life continues, hopefully better equipped at each stage to deal with the next hurdle.
There are also a number of great websites available to visit that deal with men’s health, particularly mental health. From Men’s Health Week to Gotcha4Life to Beyond Blue and Lifeline – all of these, plus many others sites are out there to provide you with the information and support that you require, particularly if you are reluctant or hesitant to talk to anyone.
So the take home message is get in and see your doctor – nothing is too embarrassing to raise in that consultation, and we are able to provide the support and direction that is required to keep life on a healthy path, even if that’s not the path it’s presently taking!
Walton Bridge Medical Centre is now called SmartClinics
Walton Bridge Medical Centres have been serving the people of The Gap, Ashgrove, Ferny Grove, Ferny Hills and the surrounding suburbs for the last 50 years. We would like to officially welcome the team from Walton Bridge Medical Centres to the SmartClinics Group. Each of the three Walton Bridge Medical Centres will henceforth be known as SmartClinics.
You can find out more information and book appointments at each of these clinics by clicking below:
Existing doctors are continuing under the SmartClinics banner, though unfortunately Dr Matt Cadman has left the group four months ago owing to a health problem. Our nursing, reception and administration staff are here to stay and will shortly be proudly wearing their new SmartClinics uniforms. Each of the three Walton Bridge clinics will soon also undergo a rebrand to include new SmartClinics signage and a refurbishment. Our hours of operation continue unchanged, with services available every day of the year.
Our founding partners, Dr Stuart Johnston and Dr Brian Cole have been formally declared ‘icons of The Gap’ and, to this day, maintain a close personal interest in the Family Practice they established. Walton Bridge Medical Centre Doctors and staff have a reputation for excellence in the provision of the highest quality health care and in personalised service to its patients. As a new member of the SmartClinics team we seek to preserve and build on this reputation.
Exciting move for Parkwood Medical Centre
The trusted medical team at Parkwood Medical Centre are set to become the newest members of SmartClinics’ family with the entire team joining our Arundel clinic on Tuesday 25th October 2016. Parkwood Doctors, Dr Sukhbir Patheja and Dr Stewart McQuade as well as the clinic’s reception and nursing teams have decided to take the opportunity to join SmartClinics knowing that the move will bring many wonderful benefits for their patients.
SmartClinics Arundel, which is located on 232 Napper Road near Arundel Plaza, is currently undergoing an extensive clinic refurbishment to increase patients’ comfort. The clinic will soon boast a colourful kids play area, an extended and modernised waiting room and a freshly renovated treatment room. Parkwood patients will also be able to book their GP appointments online at any time of day or night via the SmartClinics website: www.smartclinics.com.au. There is ample parking at the clinic with easy clinic access for wheelchairs and prams.
Great healthcare begins with great Doctors, and we are delighted that Doctors Sukh Patheja and Stewart McQuade will join Dr Milivoje Tomasevic, Dr Ashok Chotai and Dr Sharon Arellano to further add to the highly experienced medical expertise on offer. The move is great news for Parkwood Medical Centre and SmartClinics’ patients alike who will now benefit from additional Doctor availabilities and specialisations. Parkwood doctors surgery (180 Napper Road) will continue to take patients bookings until Friday 21st. For bookings with Doctors from Parkwood Medical Centre Gold Coast after 21st October please call SmartClinics Arundel on 5574 5144 or book online: www.smartclinics.com.au.
In the meantime feel free to pop into SmartClinics Arundel when you are next in need of medical care or just to say hi and check out how our refurbishment is coming along. New and ‘old’ patients from the local area are always welcome at our clinic.
Toowong Medical Centre joins SmartClinics
We’re proud to say that Toowong Medical Centre has recently joined SmartClinics and each of the six Toowong Doctors will remain seeing patients at the practice. Toowong Medical Centre has been a leading medical practice in the western suburbs of Brisbane since 1937. For the past 80 years, the staff have been providing outstanding medical services to the local community under the capable leadership of the Feros Family.
Each of the Toowong Doctors has been working at Toowong Medical Centre for a number of years and has built a loyal patient following due to their caring and thorough approach to patient care. Our Toowong Doctors offer a wide range of different medical services from travel and flu vaccinations, to sexual health, mental health and chronic disease management. Regardless of your age or medical requirements, we’re confident that our ‘new’ team at SmartClinics Toowong will be able to help you and your family with your individual health needs.
On behalf of the staff and patients at the Toowong Clinic we thank previous Practice Manager and owner, Judy Feros, for her dedication, care and passion to providing patients with high quality healthcare over the years. From everyone at SmartClinics, we wish Judy the very best in her retirement from Practice Management and look forward to seeing her at the clinic again soon, this time as a patient.
As a ‘new’ SmartClinics Family Medical Centre, the Toowong Doctor’s clinic will undergo an exciting transformation including new clinic signage and staff uniforms. There will also be some upgrades to more streamlines programs and practices that will help reduce patient wait time and make booking appointments more convenient. Stay tuned for more exciting updates…
SmartClinics now under construction in Northlakes
SmartClinics newest Family Medical Centre is on track to open its doors this August.
Our Mango Hill and Northlakes Doctors will be working from a brand new custom designed clinic in Mango Hill Marketplace – right beside Good Price Pharmacy. Our highly experienced General Practitioners are committed to providing you with personalised healthcare and offer comprehensive health services for your whole family.
If you are searching for modern, comfortable family medical centres Northlakes and Mango Hill, try SmartClinics. We offer high quality healthcare for the whole family in beautifully designed spaces that will make you feel right at home. Here is what you will discover:
Modern, spacious waiting areas with comfortable fresh furnishings
Vibrant kids play area with clean toys and iPad
Five Doctor’s consult rooms offering privacy
Two-bed treatment room boasting state of the art medical equipment
Adjoining Chemist (Good Price Pharmacy)
Ample Car parking right in front of the clinic
Convenient shopping nearby – Coles and many other great stores in Mango Hill Marketplace.
If you’d like to be one of the very first patients in Mango Hill, Northlakes or surrounding areas to experience the SmartClinics difference, please call our clinic in August on (07) 3177 9520 or check back soon to book online.
Need more shut-eye? You may have a sleeping disorder.
Everyone has a restless night from time to time, and there are a number of reasons why this may occur. Perhaps you’ve consumed the ‘wrong’ food or drinks before bed, maybe you’re managing a big project and your mind is working overtime, or your bed is just not that comfy.
Or perhaps there’s something more serious going on.
Sleeping disorders affect around 6% of the adult population, and often go undiagnosed or treated as we brush the problem under the carpet and try to get on with our busy lives. Sleep deprivation can have significant long-term health consequences – it’s important to nip it in the bud now so you can rest well!
So how do you know if you may be suffering from a sleeping disorder and what can you do about it?
Here are 5 signs that you may have a sleeping disorder:
1. You regularly feel ‘groggy’ or extremely tired throughout the day
2. You’ve had problems getting to sleep, or staying asleep, for more than 1 month
3. You feel really tired at unusual times in the middle of the day, like whilst driving or reading
4. You suffer from other conditions, like anxiety, depression or chronic pain as they may lead to, or result from a sleeping disorder
5. You suffer from night terrors or nightmares, snore or sleep talk/walk.
If you answered yes to any of the above, what should you do?
Change your habits and environment
Are you exercising enough? Is there too much light flowing into your room? Does your kitty cat sleep on your bed (or head) each night? Aim for relaxing activities before bedtime, like a warm bath and listening to slow music. A few basic changes in your daily routine or home environment can often help you get more Z’s.
Take sleeping pills
Sleeping tablets are not always the best approach and are also not a long-term solution. While sleeping medication may assist in getting you to sleep, it can also make you drowsy the next day and sometimes your quality of sleep suffers. Talk to your Chemist, and only use low dosages for short periods of time to see if your sleeping pattern can get back to normal.
Keep a sleep diary
Monitoring the times or day/night that you are having problems sleeping and the circumstances around them will help identify any common patterns. Note the times you wake, your activities before bedtime and any other environmental factors. For instance, you may find that eating a late dinner will often result in you waking up an hour or two after falling asleep. Certain food types may trigger this and can then be avoided. The diary will also help your doctor in determining the best treatment plan forward.
See your GP
A common cause of sleeping problems is stress – this can be related to work, finances, relationships, health, career or a combination of many things. Your Doctor can help you minimise your stress levels, however, there are also medical conditions that cause sleeping problems – these are neurological conditions that require treatment. Your GP can help determine if you may suffer from any of these conditions and may also refer you to a sleep specialist or sleep clinic for diagnosis and treatment.
COMMON SLEEP DISORDERS
• A common sleep disorder affecting approximately 3% of adults, characterised by poor sleep quality due to difficulties falling asleep, returning to sleep and staying asleep.
• Can be acute (sleep loss over a short period of time) or chronic (sleep loss for at least 3 nights per week for more than 1 month).
• May lead to depression, lack of energy, forgetfulness, troubles concentrating, mood and behavioural changes and excessive daytime sleepiness.
• Also quite common, sleep apnea is caused by breathing problems during sleep, which then forces your brain to wake you from your slumber
• Breathing can be completely or partially blocked, which in turn causes snoring, choking or gasping
• Approximately 4% of Australian adults suffer from sleep apnea but many do not realise, and will continue to feel tired regularly without diagnosis or treatment
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
• A neurological disorder that triggers an overwhelming need to move your leg (or other body part) while resting, hence disrupting sleep
• Affects around 1.2% of adults to differing degrees
• Can result in sleep deprivation, excessive daytime sleepiness, cognitive impairment and depression.
• A neurological disorder that affects your brain’s ability to control its sleeping/waking cycle
• Affects approximately 0.05% of the Australian adult population
• Often results in sudden excessive daytime sleepiness, which can last for several seconds or minutes, even if you’ve had plenty of sleep the night before
• May cause hallucinations or sleep paralysis (the sensation of waking up yet not being able to speak or move your body).
In some instances, non-pharmacologial treatments such as cognitive therapy or relaxation techniques can be used to address sleeping disorders. Other times, medications are also recommended to aid sleep however such drugs are often avoided by Medical Practitioners due to concerns with drug dependency and tolerance.
If you are concerned that you may have a sleeping disorder or have had problems sleeping for more than 1 month, talk to your Doctor today. You could feel more energetic, happier and healthier on a daily basis!
Statistics and research above is in reference to reports by Access Economics for Sleep Health Foundation “Re-awakening Australia – The economic cost of sleep disorders in Australia, 2010” and “Wake up Australia – the value of healthy sleep”.
Up close with Dr Scott Horsburgh, SmartClinics GP Partner
Q: What was your first job?
Scott: I worked at Sizzler as a dishboy
Q: Is Cheese Toast one of your favourite foods?
Scott: It is pretty good. I am always happy with a simple toasted sandwich, but also love anything spicy
Q: So then Sizzler is not your favourite restaurant?
Scott: No, at the moment it’s Madam Wu’s in Brisbane City, amazing food, great service and a view to die for
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a Doctor?
Scott: After working as a Registered Nurse at The Royal Brisbane Hospital. I find it very rewarding helping people with their problems, no matter how big or small. It is always nice to cure people of their illness.
Q: What excites you most about the future of healthcare?
Scott: I think the future of IT and how it relates to patient care will be interesting and fascinating to be a part of. I think it will allow us to better monitor our patients and it will allow us to be more easily accessible to them as well.
Q: You recently joined SmartClinics as a GP partner. How have things changed for you since becoming part of the Group?
Scott: SmartClinics let’s you still be a GP, you can practice how you want to practice with no interference from any managers. They allow you to concentrate on doing what we do well which is clinical medicine. If you want to you can also be involved in running the practice which gives you great insight into the business of medicine as well.
Q: What would you say to someone considering SmartClinics?
Scott: Have a chat to one of the GP partners, let us tell you the benefits of being with the organisation.
Q: What are you passionate about outside of work?
Scott: I am a political tragic, a terrible cyclist, passionate about the Qld Reds and of course my Family
Q: If you gave up medicine today what would you do?
Scott: Travel, but probably Politics
Q: Where is your favourite place to visit?
Scott: Noosa, although New York was pretty cool too.
Q: If you were Prime Minister, what would you change?
Scott: The Head of State.
If you’d like to learn more about working with SmartClinics, please contact SmartClinics CEO Steven Dahl or submit your application online via our careers portal.
Supporting the development of nursing students
We’re proud to have received excellent feedback from the University Industry Placement Officer who advised our students have found the placements very beneficial to their studies.
As a result of doing their nursing placement with SmartClinics, Donna (Chermside) and Christina (Taigum) are now employed in RN positions. Congratulations Donna and Christina on your graduation and on securing employment as a RN with SmartClinics!
It’s great to see that all the hard work and training has paid off.
Over the last few years, Monique has been training to become an RN whilst working casual reception shifts at SmartClinics Chermside. Monique was able to do her nursing placement at our Ascot clinic where she will look to be employed as an RN once her full registration is complete.
At SmartClinics Carseldine, Grace recently joined the reception team to gain more medical knowledge to assist her nursing career. Grace has since received an award for Academic Excellence for 1st year Nursing students.
Pictured: Monique, SmartClinics Ascot
SmartClinics set to open in Mango Hill
SmartClinics Family Medical Centres will soon be seeing patients in Mango Hill and Northlakes with a brand new custom-designed clinic that is sure to impress. SmartClinics Medical Centre Mango Hill will be located beside Good Price Pharmacy in Mango Hill Marketplace. There is ample parking right in front of the clinic. Our Mango Hill doctors will initially be seeing patients Monday to Friday with the view to open over the weekend.
SmartClinics Mango Hill GP services will include:
Family medicine (general practice)
Child and adolescent health
Diabetes assessment and care
Skin cancer checks and treatment
Minor surgical procedures
Asthma assessment and management
If you want to find Mango Hill Doctors who are experienced and thorough, you can place your trust in a SmartClinics GP. SmartClinics Mango Hill medical services will be available in late 2016. Stay tuned for more updates on the launch of our newest family medical centre – SmartClinics Mango Hill medical clinic.
Free vaccination recommended for ALL pregnant women
In order to provide maximum protection to every infant, it is recommended by the Queensland Government Department of Health that every pregnant woman in their third trimester of pregnancy be vaccinated against Whooping Cough. Many women are not aware that they should be vaccinated with every pregnancy.
SmartClinics Family Medical Centres are offering the vaccination free of charge to all pregnant women, in line with recommendation from the Queensland Government. Please contact your local SmartClinics Family Medical Centre to book your appointment, or for more information please click here.
Hilarious Doctor Jokes!
What did one tonsil say to the other tonsil?
Get dressed up, the doctor is taking us out!
Why did the cookie go to the hospital?
He was feeling really crumbie!
Why did the banana go to the doctor?
Because it wasn’t peeling well.
Why did the pillow go to the doctor?
He was feeling all stuffed up!
Why did the doctor lose his temper?
Because he didn’t have any patients!
Where does a boat go when it’s sick?
To the dock! Doctor, Doctor, sometimes I feel like I’m invisible.
Doctor: Who said that?
Doctor, Doctor,I keep thinking I’m a vampire.
Doctor, Doctor, I’ve got wind!
Can you give me something? Yes – here’s a kite!
Doctor, Doctor, everyone keeps throwing me in the garbage.
Don’t talk rubbish!
Doctor, Doctor, I swallowed a bone.
Are you choking?
No, I really did!
Doctor, Doctor, I keep seeing an insect spinning around.
Don’t worry, it’s just a bug that’s going around!
Doctor, Doctor, my baby’s swallowed a bullet.
Well, don’t point him at anyone until I get there!
Doctor, Doctor, I feel like a pack of cards.
I’ll deal with you later.
Planning an end of year holiday?
MANDY, REGISTERED NURSE (ALEXANDRA HILLS)
Planning an overseas holiday is exciting! It’s important that you are well prepared before you go to keep your travels safe and healthy.
Regardless of your age or travel destination, it’s a good idea to pack a medical kit in your luggage for yourself and any children travelling with you including medications or prescriptions. This may include pain relief medicine (e.g. paracetamol), antihistamines, tablets for motion sickness, antiseptic for wounds, bandages or patches, safety pins, scissors and tweezers. If you’ll be outdoors, don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a hat.
If you’re heading overseas…
Sometimes you will be legally required to have certain vaccinations, such as yellow fever, so ask your doctor for advice. It’s best to see your Doctor six to eight weeks before you go, but if you are travelling at short notice you can still have some vaccinations.
Our medical staff will be able to advise which vaccines are suitable for you depending on:
Your medical history and age
Your destination and likely accommodation
The season in which you are travelling
The length of stay
The type of travel, for example, bus tour or backpacking.
Don’t forget to organise travel insurance that includes cover in case you need to be evacuated to a suitable hospital.
Travel vaccinations are available at all ten SmartClinics locations in Brisbane, although our clinics located at West End, Annerley, Alexandra Hills, Taigum and Windsor specialise in this area. Talk to your local reception team for more information.
Moley, moley, moley!
Author: DR SCOTT HORSBURGH, ANNERLEY
Do you have moles and freckles?
Most of us do.
They usually appear during childhood or in our teen years. The more you have, the higher your risk of skin cancer.
It’s a common misconception that only ‘old’ people are at risk of skin cancer. In fact melanoma is actually the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 15- 34 year olds in Queensland. What’s more, one in two Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime! Yikes!
Luckily, if detected early, 95% of all skin cancers can be cured.
Regardless of your skin type, all skin can be damaged by too much radiation so it’s important to know your skin and check it regularly. Remember to check your whole body including scalp, ears and feet.
Here’s what to look for in your spots or moles:
Has it increased in size or become raised?
Has it changed in colour?
Is the surface rough or scaly?
Does it itch, bleed or tingle?
If you notice changes like these above, it doesn’t mean you have skin cancer, but it is important to see a SmartClinics Doctor for further investigation. Any moles found to be suspicious or changing in appearance will need to be removed. The sooner a skin cancer is identified, the higher your chances of avoiding surgery, illness or even death.
While many SmartClinics GP’s can perform this investigation, the following Doctors have additional qualifications, skills and experience in the diagnosis and management of skin cancer:
Dr Scott Horsburgh (Annerley)
Dr Peter Baker (Chermside)
Dr Innes Campbell (Windsor)
Dr Ian Mannion (West End)
Dr Ramin Harirchian (Carseldine)
Dr Frank Occhino (Corinda)
Book your skin check at your local clinic or visit www.smartclinics.com.au for a list of all clinic details.
Don’t forget to be sun smart by sitting in the shade, wearing a hat and clothes with sleeves and a collar. Also avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm. Please don’t roast yourself this summer!
Australia’s biggest health challenge
Our country’s ageing population and our changing lifestyle has led to chronic disease becoming so common, that it is now Australia’s biggest health challenge. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia*, which in turn has major impacts on health and welfare services.
Unfortunately, most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with chronic disease, such as diabetes, cancers, respiratory diseases, heart conditions and musculoskeletal diseases, like arthritis.
The cost is large.
So what’s caused this health epidemic, and what can you do to avoid it?
Changes in diet and nutrition, weight and physical inactivity, smoking and harmful use of alcohol are all contributing factors that have increased the occurrence of chronic diseases. You can help reduce the effects of chronic disease on Australia simply by taking better care of yourself, and by getting the recommended check ups.
The answer is prevention… which is why some SmartClinics Doctors are offering FREE health check ups for patients in their mid-late 40’s.
It’s better to avoid disease than to treat it, right?
As the risk of developing serious health issues increases considerably with age, there’s a special health assessment available for patients in their mid-late 40’s, which can delay, or even avoid, the onset of many diseases.
All SmartClinics centres are providing this health check up for no out- of-pocket costs. The health check incorporates an overall assessment of your health, lifestyle and diet plus any necessary physical investigations and examinations. Your doctor will then offer expert advice and information to help you live a longer, happier life.
Book your health check today by calling your local clinic or book online at www.smartclinics.com.au. Alternatively, if your parents or family members fall into this age category, talk to them about having the test. It’s available at all SmartClinics Medical Centres now!
*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014 Australia’s Health 2014
Is it safe for pregnant women to have an occasional drink?
As a GP with a special interest in women’s and children’s health, I’m often asked whether light drinking during pregnancy affects the baby’s health. There are a number of things that affect the blood alcohol levels in pregnant women. For instance, how much food they’ve eaten, their metabolism and weight are all important factors that affect how quickly women eliminate alcohol from their bloodstream, which may explain why babies born to different women who drink similar amounts of alcohol may be affected differently.
Nonetheless, both heavy and light drinking is proven to directly affect the foetus. Consuming four or more drinks at any one time is linked with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Children with FASD may have significant lifelong disabilities including characteristic facial abnormalities, growth deficiencies, learning disabilities, low IQ, language delays, and behavioural problems.
Less heavy drinking (more than two drinks a day) is linked with alcohol-related birth defects. Furthermore, alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, or having a baby with a low birth weight.
While frequent and binge drinking of alcohol during pregnancy can have serious life complications for the foetus, the evidence is more ambiguous when it comes to very light drinking. Some experts believe that an occasional drink in the second or third trimester, even so much as one drink per day is fine; while others look at the evidence and assert that no amount of alcohol is safe.
Personally (and as a mother of one happy, healthy chubba bubba), I recommend women avoid all alcohol in pregnancy. In my opinion, drinking during pregnancy for relaxation or enjoyment does not outweigh the potential risks to your baby. Ultimately, the decision is yours. Just ensure you know the risks and drink as little as possible.
If you think you may have an alcohol problem, talk to your GP about getting some help or go to www.aa.org.au for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and services in your area.
Dr Jacqui Kelly MBBS, FRACGP
It’s natural to experience feelings of anxiety throughout your lifetime however the level and frequency of anxiety differs from person to person and thousands of Aussies are diagnosed each year as suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Often anxiety is brought on by ‘normal’ life situations like a shortage in cash flow, a trip to the Dentist or a job interview, however at other times the cause of anxiety is not known. Anxiety creates feelings of worry, fear, or dread, and it’s a common reaction to real or perceived threats. Anxiety can be triggered by brain chemistry and it’s also genetic—so it may not be directly linked to a particular situation or life issue.
How do you know if you might be at risk?
There are different types of anxiety disorders, based on their symptoms. Generally they include feeling apprehensive and/or powerless, and having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms as well, including heart palpitations, sweating, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, body aches and pains, trembling, and fatigue.
Are you frequently feeling anxious? When you do, does it feel overwhelming, and seemly out of your control? Does it impact your work, relationships, sleep or appetite?
If the answer is yes, then you should talk to your health care provider so they can assess your symptoms, rule out any underlying medical causes, and if necessary, provide a referral to a regarded mental health provider. Talking with your GP about your emotional health ensures you’ll receive the care you need to overcome such issues.
Certain medications (such as codeine) may have side effects that mimic the symptoms of anxiety, including dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, and restlessness.
How are anxiety disorders treated?
Symptoms of anxiety can be manageable with the right treatment approach.
Firstly, lifestyle modifications such as eating a balanced diet, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, incorporating exercise, and balancing work and personal life can make a dramatic difference. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, acupuncture, and breathing exercises can also help to slow down your heart rate and decrease anxiety.
Sometimes, counselling with a mental health provider is also recommended. This may include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques to help you identify, understand, and change your thoughts and behaviour patterns.
If you’ve tried counselling, lifestyle changes, and relaxation techniques and you still feel anxious, it may be time to talk to your GP about medication. There are many types of medications that are effective in relieving symptoms of anxiety and quite often, combined medication with counselling is recommended to address the underlying cause of your anxiety.
Feelings of stress and anxiety are part of being human and can’t be avoided altogether. “Good” stress can help us get things done quickly, meet deadlines, and warn us when there’s danger. But if stress and anxiety is impacting your daily life, then it’s worth paying closer attention to your symptoms, making appropriate lifestyle changes, and exploring treatment options.
Is sitting down shortening your life span?
How many hours in your typical day is spent sitting? Many of us, especially when we’re at work, are glued to a computer screen, or sitting in meetings for hours at a time. That’s on top of the hours we spend sitting in cars, buses or trains getting to and from work, and relaxing in front of the TV when we get home.
But sitting down for extended periods of time can be a health hazard.
When we’re sitting down, we’re not contracting our muscles. Muscle contraction is an important component of the body’s regulatory processes. Sitting affects our body’s processing of fats and sugars in ways that increase our risk of heart disease and diabetes. Even if you make time for the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day, breaking up your sitting time is important – even if only by standing, which uses more muscles than sitting. Little activities like getting up to make a cup of tea can make a difference!
Here are some other ideas: ·
When your phone rings, stand up to answer it, and walk around a little while talking
Move your rubbish bin and printer further away from your desk so you need to get off your chair to access them
Put reminders in your calendar to get up and move around. Have a stretch or short walk
Move your ironing board in front of the TV, then stand and watch your favourite shows while ironing or folding clothes
Stand to watch your children’s sporting activities
Take the stairs instead of the lifts.
I challenge you to choose 3 ideas and try to stick to them for one month. You’ll see how simple it can be to get up off that chair, both at work and at home, for a happier, healthier you!
4 fantastic tips to help lower cholesterol
Most of us know that high cholesterol is bad for our health. It can lead to a build-up of artery-clogging fat deposits that block blood flow to the heart and brain. These fat deposits can eventually lead to a blockage in your arteries, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
What most of us don’t know is that there are actually different types of cholesterol and some is essential in the body. You may have heard your doctor talk to you about ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, is the fat depositing cholesterol whereas good cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol, acts like a mop to clear bad cholesterol from the blood stream.
So what does this all mean? Ultimately, the aim of the game is to limit foods high in bad cholesterol and ensure the diet is rich in good cholesterol. Here are four groups of food that can assist with lowering your ‘bad’ cholesterol and risk of heart disease:
High-Fiber Foods Soluble fibre attracts water and forms a gel, which slows down digestion and reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Examples include kidney beans, apples, barley, and prunes. Don’t like these? Ask our Dietitian for some hot tips on how to increase your fibre intake.
Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids (polyunsaturated fats) Omega-3s have been shown to lower the risk of blood clots and reduce triglycerides in the blood. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and herring are the richest sources of omega-3s. If you don’t like seafood, you can still reap the benefits of the essential fatty acids from plant-based sources like flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.
Foods with Phytosterols Phytosterols, which encompass sterols and stanols, are plant substances that are structurally similar to cholesterol. When you eat them, they compete with cholesterol for absorption into the digestive system and help limit the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol the body absorbs. Examples are flaxseed, almonds, and broccoli. You can also find them as additives to margarine (Proactive), milk and cheese these days but be sure to read the label.
Other high fat plant foods (monounsaturated fats) All plant foods are a source of ‘good’ fats, and are filled with either or both monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Other plant products particularly high in these foods are vegetable oils, nuts and olives and avocados.
It’s super easy to have your cholesterol tested a simple blood test is all it takes. Ask your GP today about getting tested and think about adding some of these great foods into your daily diet!
2015 Flu Vaccination quick Q&A’s
Commonly known as ‘the flu’, influenza is a highly contagious disease that can be debilitating and affect the whole body. It is not the same as a common cold. Our doctors urge you to take the flu seriously by getting vaccinated. It’s quick, affordable and may be life-saving!
Who should get a flu shot?
Pretty much everyone can benefit from the flu vaccine. We strongly recommend that pregnant women, the elderly and any children aged over 6 months with chronic medical conditions, get a flu shot as they are at higher risk of developing life threatening complications from the flu. We also urge you and your family to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene as the flu is commonly spread by people coughing and sneezing.
I’m young and healthy. Do I really need a flu shot?
It’s important to remember that even if you’re fit and healthy you could pass the virus onto someone who is at risk of becoming very sick if they catch the flu. If you have children, or older parents or may be contact with any other at risk person then a flu shot is highly recommended.
Why was this year’s flu shot delayed?
The lengthy delay to the start of this year’s flu season was due to a double strain change.Two of the strains in the 2015 trivalent flu vaccine composition differ from those in the 2014 vaccine, which complicates the vaccine manufacturing process. The vaccine delivery is usually expected in March, but this year it was not available until mid-April.
What are the different influenza strains and what do they cost?
Vaccines that give protection against three viruses are called trivalent vaccines. Vaccines that give protection against four viruses are called quadrivalent vaccines.
The routine 2015 flu vaccine available in Australia contains three seasonal influenza strains, with two strain changes from the 2014 vaccine. The three strain (trivalent) flu vaccine costs $20 at all SmartClinics centres. It contains the following:
· A (H1N1): an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – like virus, 15 µg HA per dose
· A (H3N2): an A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2) – like virus, 15 µg HA per dose
· B: a B/Phuket/3073/2013 – like virus, 15 µg HA per dose
The four strain flu (quadrivalent) vaccine is also available and also protects against an additional B virus (B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus). This is the government recommended vaccine which is issued free of charge to patients 65 years of age or older, pregnant patients, Indigenous people aged 15 years and over or patients with a documented chronic disease.
If you do not qualify for the free flu shot, the four strain vaccine is available for a fee of $30 at all SmartClinics centres.
Note that some doctors may charge a consultation fee for the flu vaccination appointment. Please talk to your local SmartClinics reception team at the time of booking to confirm if your doctor can bulk bill your appointment.
Are there any side effects of the flu shot?
Vaccines, like other medicines, can have side effects, however the majority of side effects are minor. If you do experience side effects they are likely to be mild and short-lived flu-like symptoms as your immune system responds to the vaccine.
What are the common symptoms of the flu?
Symptoms may occur 1 to 3 days after infection, and generally seem like the ‘common cold’. Typical flu symptoms could include:
sneezing and runny nose;
poor appetite; and
If you or your loved ones experience any of these symptoms this flu season, please see your doctor. Further health problems can develop in some people after flu infection including pneumonia, heart, blood system and liver complications, which can lead to death, especially in children and older people.