Posted in Chronic Illness

Nutrition and Immunity

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 21 July 2020
Nutrition and Immunity
COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning it has never been in circulation within the human population before, therefore long term research isn't available on treatment options. However, good principles of nutritional medicine are likely to be supportive to strengthen the immune system. 

The immune system is a complex whole-body system that is mainly housed in the gut wall and through the body via the antibody system, white blood cells and lymph nodes. These collections of tissues are the source of our immune defence. When we are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals we know that this has a negative effect on the immune system.

Vitamin D is a remarkable vitamin that our bodies make from the sun. If we sun avoid due to fear of skin cancer, excessive indoor time or covering our skin we may be deficient in Vitamin D even in this sunny country. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a poorer immune response. 

Zinc has long been used as an anti-viral agent, however, it has fallen from "fashion" as more pharmaceutical medicines have taken its place. Zinc is currently being research in the ICU units in some Melbourne Hospitals. Zinc is commonly deficient as our soils are over-farmed and with the latest dietary trend heading to vegetarianism, we are finding a lot of zinc deficiencies. Zinc stores within the white blood cells and acts as a first-line defence against viruses. 

Vitamin C is a ubiquitous anti-viral agent and is a potent anti-oxidant used to mop up inflammation and cell debris caused by the immune system's defence actions. Vitamin C  also supports mucous membrane healing, which may play a role in the COVID-19 mechanism in more severe cases. 

Others lifestyle medicine interventions have all good evidence to support optimising immunity, such as adequate sleep, nature-based exercise, good air quality, stress management, and connection with those we love. Our immune systems are dynamic and provide an omnipotent healing presence inside all of us. 

So along with following the DHHS guidelines, such as social distancing, wearing a mask in public, restricting contact with others, avoiding crowds and washing hands frequently and vigorously, there may be some good evidenced-based interventions worth considering. For more information and individualisation please book an appointment and speak it through with your practitioner.
Posted in:VitaminsPreventative MedicineMen's HealthChildren's HealthChronic IllnessHealth and Well BeingFamily GPCOVID-19  

The Transforming Power of Gratitude

Posted by Dr David Parsons on 24 June 2020
The Transforming Power of Gratitude
Last week my uncle was awarded an Australian Fire Services Medal in the Queen's birthday honours list in recognition of his 48-year career in the CFA. In a newspaper interview, he said, "It was a very rewarding job, I worked with fantastic people and I believed absolutely in what we were doing." I know he has a chronic debilitating illness, but the gratitude shown by this community recognition has transformed him, his life has meaning and purpose, despite his real physical suffering.

When I was younger, I was irritated by my grandmother finishing every story with "We have a lot to be thankful for". With some hindsight, I can see that gratitude was important to her long life and wellbeing. How else do you handle young children when your husband is away for six years at war? And after this flood, fire and a mouse plague on the Wimmera farm. Her gratitude gave her perspective and the pluck to keep ongoing.

Here at Whole Medicine, we might suggest some evidence-based strategies to allow you to be self-aware, hopefully, develop some perspective on your life and cultivate positive emotion. Research finds, 'gratitude contributes to several physical and psychological health benefits such as better cardiovascular and immune functioning. The strength of gratitude has spiritual benefits as well, such as a feeling of interconnectedness with life, a general sense of responsibility towards others and reduced emphasis on material goods' (VIA, 2020). Importantly, expressing thankfulness in your relationships is like 'emotional glue', enriching your bonds, boosting your wellbeing while elevating those around you.
Posted in:Chronic IllnessHealth and Well BeingMental Health  

Mistruths about healthcare during COVID-19

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 23 April 2020
Mistruths about healthcare during COVID-19

There are a lot of mistruths circulating in the community at the moment and we thought that we should take this opportunity to support you in understanding the importance of optimising healthcare during this COVID-19 pandemic:

Firstly there is a myth that people needing healthcare should stay at home to avoid overloading the health system or contacting the virus in a clinic or hospital.

There is nothing further than the truth. It is very much encouraged and always has been, that people SHOULD NOT stop coming to see their GP. Stopping seeing your GP during a pandemic is a major concern.

Regular screening, prevention and treatment are all very much needed to keep the medical system going and minimise the enormous strain that may occur when this whole pandemic/social isolation program ends. Regular general practice will be under enormous strain when this all ends if we don't maintain our regular healthcare visits. This is especially true for all chronic disease management such as asthma, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immunity and cancer care to name a few. Never has there been a more important time to support your immune system by maximising chronic disease management and supporting overall holistic health principles.

In short: seeing the doctor for your chronic disease is very important, especially during this pandemic.

Some patients have interpreted the recommendation to stay home to mean that their chronic conditions don't need care or aren't a high priority and that monitoring with testing can wait. This is potentially risky, as good chronic disease control might make the difference between overcoming infection or becoming overwhelmed by it.

Patients with chronic disease should be attending for pathology tests and health monitoring, and care planning and review appointments with the nurse are also available.

Some people are anxious about attending their doctor because they think they can contract the virus from walking in open spaces in public to get to the clinic. Some people are fearful of leaving the house, while others fear that a clinic waiting room is a high risk. At Whole Medicine, our doors are locked, every person entering the building is triaged, their temperature is taken and social distancing is upheld at all times. This includes monitoring of the staff and GP's as well. Exposure to the virus is regarded as someone who has been in close face-face contact for over 15-30 minutes.

Given these systems are now in place, which includes:

  • Triage online and by phone to separate outpatients who may have had contact with coronavirus patients, or who have had recent travel.
  • Upper respiratory tract infections or fever, the likelihood of being in a room with a subclinical carrier is an incredibly low risk.

Patients should be reminded that healthcare can now be provided over the phone in many cases, which can provide comfort for those needing to remain in touch with their doctor but anxious about attending.

Telehealth is a timely innovation that GPs can use to prevent patients from falling behind in their care.

Call reception for further information 03 5986 4229.

We are here to support you through this, please don't hesitate to ask for help.

Posted in:Women's HealthPreventative MedicineMen's HealthChildren's HealthChronic IllnessHealth and Well BeingFamily GPMental HealthCOVID-19  

Whole Medicine still accessible despite COVID-19

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 8 April 2020
Whole Medicine still accessible despite COVID-19

Firstly, we wish to acknowledge that we are very aware that many people are suffering from uncertainty, confusion, fear and social isolation at the moment and to all of you we send our warmest thoughts and best wishes.

Secondly, we would like to say a big thank you for all your support as a community. We have received so many kind wishes from people and gratitude for our service, which has been quite overwhelming. It is an honour to look after so many grateful people, who offer us all such respect during this challenging time. Australia is doing such a wonderful job of respecting each other and respecting the beauty of life for us all. I am particularly proud of what we have all achieved in all doing our part to flatten the curve.

Many people in the last few weeks have expressed guilt at making a normal medical appointment to see us, feeling like they are wasting our time or placing an unnecessary burden on our resources. Please, please, please be reassured, we are here for you, now more than ever. It is very important to us that we provide you with an even better service now. We have a lot of doctor and psychology availability at the moment and you are not wasting our time. This could be a great opportunity for some to start a new journey looking into health care for yourself, your family or your loved one or friend. Please don't hesitate to call us for all your normal medical needs. Our reception team will guide you through all the changes.

Below is an outline of our offering to our community throughout this pandemic:

  • ALL Patients are now eligible for Telehealth under Medicare.
  • Telehealth includes both video and/or telephone consultations.
  • Telehealth can be done in your home or office or from your car in our car park.
  • Medicare rebates apply to all telehealth consultations including all normal medical appointments, Care Plans, Mental Health Care Plans and Psychology and Dietetics Services.
  • All those over 70 and under 16 years and those at high risk of COVID-19 are bulk-billed.
  • Consultations done from the car park have the advantage that if you do require an examination or investigation this can be actioned at the time.
  • Our reception team will conduct payment over the phone and your Medicare rebate will be automatically reimbursed into your chosen bank account.
  • In the situation where an examination is deemed appropriate a follow-up appointment will be made.
  • Care plans and care plan reviews are all bulk-billed. There is no out of pocket cost for you. These can be done in the comfort of your home. Our Nurse Heather will be calling you over the next few weeks to schedule a good time.
  • All people suffering from upper respiratory symptoms, fever or flu-like illness or those with a travel or cruise ship history are consulted via telehealth only and are not seen in the clinic

Social-distancing is IMPORTANT to us:

  • To minimize human contact and interaction we ask all those that need to be seen at the clinic to wait in their car before seeing your practitioner.
  • Please call reception upon arrival to let us know you are here.
  • Our waiting room is as much as possible a people-free zone.
  • Our door is locked at all times at the moment to make sure this policy is strictly adhered to.
  • For all supplement orders: please phone reception on 5986-4229 to order and to pay. You can nominate to pick it up or have it posted to your home.
  • All people entering the clinic are to have their temperature recorded including staff daily.

Strict Cleaning and Sanitation is in place:

  • All the practitioners and staff adhere to strict hand washing between every patient.
  • A new cleaning roster has been devised and is activated throughout the day.
  • We will reduce any potential environmental contamination by cleaning with agents that are effective against corona viruses, particularly COVID-19. We use agents with high levels of proven efficacy based on external advice.
  • Hand sanitiser is available through-out the clinic for both staff and patient use.
  • We only accept card at this time: no cash, please.

Recommendations as to how these precautions should be implemented are changing all the time and we will strive to provide an environment where we can continue to deliver the best possible patient care, while also looking after the health needs of our valued patients and staff members.

Posted in:Women's HealthPreventative MedicineMen's HealthChildren's HealthSkin HealthChronic IllnessHealth and Well BeingFamily GPMental HealthCOVID-19Eating Disorders  

Hypertension

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 2 December 2018
Hypertension

Is hypertension the same as high blood pressure?  Yes

Why is it important? Because if we don't treat it, it puts us at risk of damaging our internal blood vessels and risking them bursting.

The outcome of this is commonly a stroke or aneurysm. It is also a major risk factor for heart disease and micro-vascular dementia.

If you are over the age of 50 years, it is important to get your blood pressure checked yearly at the very least. The reason why you need to check it, is that high blood pressure is often associated with no symptoms. So you won't know if you have it.

It is also one of the easiest risk factors to treat.  If your are concerned about your blood pressure, or it fluctuates from time to time or you have a strong family history why not talk to Nurse - Heather about having a 24 hour blood pressure check up 03 5986-4229. This can be done if you are wanting a more accurate diagnosis or if you are on medication and want to make sure it is effective - day and night.

Talk to your GP or nurse today about your blood pressure and they can help you be pro-active about your most important gift - your health.

Posted in:Women's HealthPreventative MedicineMen's HealthChronic IllnessHealth and Well BeingFamily GP  
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