Posted in Family GP
This article will appear in the Mornington Peninsula Magazine August 2018 Addition.
Over the past 15 years the internet-based positive health movement has:
- Inspired us to review our dietary habits in a fast food-loving culture;
- Encouraged us to slow down in a pace-obsessed world; and,
- Emphasised the importance of lifestyle when it comes to our health and well-being.
But what about when health becomes an obsession, when all we think about is being optimally healthy, when we feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed if we can't find a healthy option to eat, or our established healthy habits are blocked for a reason we can't control? This is what we call health anxiety.
Signs of health anxiety
- Worry about your health constantly?
- Feel concerned that your doctor or medical tests may have missed something?
- Request medical tests for things the doctor doesn't believe you have?
- Need any relevant tests to be repeated more frequently than recommended?
- Constantly look at health-related information on the internet or in books and magazines?
- Avoid anything to do with serious illness, such as medical TV programs, movies and visiting loved ones in hospital?
- Frequently check your body for signs of illness, such as lumps, tingling or pain?
Health anxiety means that you are stressed about your health and are not receiving any comfort from the healthy things you are doing in your life. You feel afraid of getting an illness in the future and feel out of control with regards to preventing it.
It is common to be concerned about our health, but when it starts detrimentally affecting our mental and physical health then addressing this as an independent factor can be a very important part of the treatment program.
Managing anxiety is an essential part of most people's long-term health journeys. If you feel you would benefit from learning more about managing it and how the anxiety biochemistry may be part of the condition you are trying to treat, call 03 5986 4229 to make an appointment and speak to your GP about learning the best way to manage your health.
|Posted in: Women's Health Men's Health Health and Well Being Family GP|
Need a kick start for your metabolism?
Over 2/3 of Australians are either obese or overweight, this is an increase of over 500 fold in the last 50 years. Our changing lifestyle, our changing food habits and our changing gut biome all play a role in this weight gain epidemic.
So is there anything you can do?
Managing a healthy weight can be a challenge for many people, most of those have tried many fad diets, some have even gone as far as using medications and surgery to assist their bodies in holding the ideal body weight.
But as much as there is no magic pill, there are some safe, healthy ways to adapt and change your lifestyle and habits to support a healthy weight.
Diet aside, are some people more prone to weight gain than others?
Well new research does suggest some people with different gut biomes are more likely to absorb more sugar and fat from the same foods, ie if 2 people eat a roast spud, one will absorb more starch than the other, therefore gaining more energy density from the food they eat.
Another reason why people put on weight more easily, is due to increase insulin resistance. When we become more resistant to the insulin in our bodies, our glucose levels gets more dysregulated. This means the body is confused about how to use the glucose from the foods we have eaten. This leads to increase stress on the body and makes the body turn the sugar to fat more easily.
The latest research
There are several aspects of diet research which are showing a lot of promise. The low carb diet is a very good way to go, as it is associated with a better long term weight loss after 6 months than a low fat diet. Fasting has been an ancient technique used across the world for a whole variety of health reasons, and some recent research has suggested that it may improve longevity, decrease insulin levels and reduce cancer inflammatory markers. A high plant based diet, is recommended for gut biome health as it is super high in nutrition and in fibre.
The other interesting aspect of diet and long term health is the research around mindful eating. What this means mean is increasing our internal ability to become more mindful helps us with better food choices, better satiety and better self esteem. It can also help us make better lifestyle choices like exercise, hobbies and seeking healthy relationships.
One of the most researched diets on the planet is the Mediterranean diet, which is a varied diet rich in plant based foods, fibre, legumes which is eaten mindfully and full of super foods. It is associated with less depression, better cardiovascular health, better cognition and better longevity.
Which one if right for me?
The general consensus for long term sustainable weight management is to find a diet and lifestyle plan that suits you emotionally, mentally, socially and culturally. We often hold so much emotion to our food choices, so a good discussion with a educated GP can be a vital stepping point to start setting some goals and kick starting your new health journey.
So if you are interested in getting a more whole person approach to weight loss, call Whole Medicine for further information on 03 5986 4229.
|Posted in: Women's Health Men's Health Health and Well Being Family GP|
Thanks to the rising media attention, most men are aware prostate cancer is on the rise. But yet most guys do not know what they need to do to screen for the disease and make sure they don't have it.
New guidelines have been put out to help guide men in the screening process.
A screening program is not a perfect test. It is designed to pick up the majority of abnormalities without being too invasive or causing any risk of harm. This is why we screen often to increase the chances of picking up the disease in it's early stages. The up side of this is that a screening program is a very safe thing to undertake, the down side is that a small percentage of cases are missed.
In prostate cancer screening, there is another issue, that we might pick up diseases that would not have evolved into a significant disease, putting people at risk of having to undergo treatment for a disease that was never going to amount to much.
So should men get tested?
So for those that wish to be screened, and are willing to take the risk of being over diagnosed should take the test.
What age should you start the screening program?
It is recommended for those men that don't have a family history of prostate cancer, the screening starts at aged 50. For those that do have a family history screening starts earlier. Please talk to your doctor about what age is appropariate for you?
What does the screening test involve?
Well this is the most important factor, most men know that the old way to screen for prostate cancer is a digital examination of the back passage but the good news is this has been changed. That's right, there is no need to do a rectal examination to men that don't have symptoms of prostate disease. All that needs to be done for those men who wish to be check out is a simple blood test.
So come in and make an appointment to see the doctor to discuss this very important screening opportunity. Contact Whole Medicine on 03 5986 4229.
|Posted in: Preventative Medicine Men's Health Chronic Illness Health and Well Being Family GP|
It is pretty common to get a phone call from the school every few weeks, telling you that your little man or little lady has turned up again, saying something is hurting and as parents we often know when things are minor and to push on, but there are times when all we need is a little reassurance. We need to make sure the cough is not a pneumonia, the ear drum isn't about to burst or the tonsils are just red and not full of a bacterial infection.
At Whole Medicine we know this happens all the time and in the past we didn't have the availability to offer this service to you as our community, but now we do. We want to be there to support you and your family through these mini challenges, because how we teach kids about health when they are sick has been shown to offer long term benefits to health habits in the future. Reiterating good health habits makes all the difference when kids are young and reinforces key message regarding health behaviour and health management.
So we as a team have decided to offer our families Bulk Billing for kids under 12 years of age, for all those acute 'on the day' appointments. We all know, kids get sick often, kids fall over all the time, kids hurt themselves in all sorts of ways. As their little immune systems get stronger, as their coordination and skills start to get better, we will be there for all those time when they bump heads, roll their ankle or cough all the way through the night.
See website www.wholemedicine.com.au for details.
|Posted in: Children's Health Health and Well Being Family GP|
Well it has been a long time coming and the new "pap smear" test has arrived. It won't be called a pap smear now, as the technology has changed, so it is now officially called a "cervical screening test", but that doesn't roll off the tongue, like a pap test does, so colloquially the term pap test will stick around for now.
So what does this mean for women....
Over the last few decades medical science has found that most women who go onto develop cervical cell changes have an associated human papiloma virus (HPV for short) infection. This infection often doesn't have symptoms and can pass between partner without anyone being aware.
There are over 100 different subtypes of HPV but we have identified that only a few will give you a higher risk of developing abnormal cells. The abnormal cells become the risk factor for cervical cancer, a cancer that we want to avoid.
The new test aims to pick up about 30% more cancer risk than the previous screening test. So this is very good news.
The pap smear was a test that took a small scrapping of cells from the cervix, these cells were taken to the lab to be analysed, if there were abnormal cells, we used to either watch carefully, or do a procedure to remove those cells before they become dangerous.
The screening test now looks for the different subtypes of the HPV virus. If the woman doesn't have the dangerous, high risk HPV subtypes she is very unlikely to go on and have abnormal cells. In addition over the last decade we have introduced the cervical cancer immunisation schedule, which is further lowering the risk for HPV infection in women overall.
Because the association between cervical cancer and HPV is so strong, if you don't have the dangerous types of HPV, you don't need as regular follow up. If you do, we follow you up more closely, offer further testing and can define the risk a lot more clearly.
The good news about all of this for our women is that the "pap test" is officially been taken over by the cervical screening test and that this test requires screening every 5 years, instead of every 2 years in the past. Testing commences at age 25 years and goes through to 74 years.
More information can be found here: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cervical-screening-tests
Contact Whole Medicine today to make an appointment 03 5986 4229.
|Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Health and Well Being Family GP|