Posted in Preventative Medicine
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|
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza in the community. Every year the virus adapts to it's environment, meaning the vaccine needs to adapt too to maintain its virulence.
Last year the 2017 flu season was with worst we have seen in years, prompting new recommendations for the community.
The flu vaccine doesn't contain live virus, so you can't get the flu from having a flu shot.
Taking good quality probiotics along side your vaccine has been shown to improve the immunity you get from it.
When is the right time to get the flu shot?
The government are concerned that because of the hype from last year's flu season, people are getting the flu shot too early. If you get the shot too early your immunity may start to wane in the early spring, just when the virus is starting to develop new strains and new defences.
So when is the right time to get a shot? Now is the perfect time to get your protection up to date.
Is there anything else I can do to help protect me from the flu?
People with chronic disease are more likely to get the flu, so it makes sense to try to be as healthy as can be, eating a whole-food plant based diet, regular exercise, good sleep habits and optimising nutrient levels go a long way to supporting your internal immune system.
Who is eligible?
Eligible for all over age 65 and those with certain chronic conditions, speak to your doctor. For a full list if eligibility click here. At Whole Medicine we are bulk billing your flu shot appointment, however there is a fee of $20 for the vaccination if you aren't eligible for a free one.
Will I feel poorly after I get the shot?
Some people report feeling a mild cold like feeling for a few days after the flu shot. To prevent this try taking some extra vitamin C and zinc both before and after the vaccination, this will help you get back on track quicker.
Where do I get it?
We stock the vaccine in clinic, so simply make an appointment by calling 5986 4229 or book online.
|Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Men's Health Children's Health Chronic Illness Health and Well Being Family GP|
Why Whole Medicine GPs combine evidenced-based, non-drug therapies with general practice.
There's no doubt over the past 100 years our medical needs have changed. We die less of pneumonia, accidents and epidemics like polio or diphtheria. Instead, we succumb more to diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia.
What's more, recent research confirms the underlying cause of these killer diseases is chronic, low grade inflammation as a result of poor lifestyle. That's why lifestyle medicine is at the foundation of our practice at Whole Medicine.
Why our practice is different
We believe good medicine takes time.
It's difficult to teach and support you through lifestyle change or address a health condition in a 10-minute consult. That's why our first appointment is longer because we want to get to know you and help you explore all of the integrative aspects of your health.
Once we understand your health status, we can equip you with ways to optimise it. To help, we offer two types of new patient appointments.
- 30-minutes for straightforward needs or someone simply looking to engage with a good GP.
- 45-minutes for those who want to explore a particular issue.
A longer appointment is the cornerstone to better health outcomes. An investment in your health, we think you will agree, is money well spent.
Follow up appointments and ongoing treatments designed with you in mind
- The most common follow up appointment is 20-minutes. This is longer than a standard GP appointment because we don't want you or your doctor to be rushed when it comes to optimising your health.
- We also have a "quick and sick" appointment for those days when you need a brief check in. This is more in line with what you might expect at a standard GP clinic.
How we help you to be well
To achieve your best health results, we use as much evidenced-based, non-drug therapies as possible. This may include practical skills, lifestyle interventions, counselling, nutrients, herbs and other things like breathing techniques or special exercises. We still use general medication when needed and often it's the combination of medication and lifestyle interventions that help you reach the best results.
This holistic approach is best when we see you for your acute care needs, chronic illnesses and general medical issues.
Our team takes care of all the prevention screenings and always helps you understand why we do things. After all, information and knowledge is power!
Making a digital difference
Check out other blog posts covering many of the topics our Whole Medicine patients want to know more about:
- Women's Health at Whole Medicine
- 5 back to school health tips
- Skin protection
- What sort of chocolate is good for your this Easter
- Boost your immunity this winter
|Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Men's Health Children's Health Skin Health Chronic Illness Health and Well Being Family GP|
Flu season is fast approaching and the new flu vaccination is coming soon. However, there is more that can be done to boost your immunity this winter than relying solely on the vaccine.
The flu vaccine will offer you some protection from the potentially serious effects of the influenza virus, but most of us will simply suffer from the common cold or other viruses like rhinovirus. So, the flu vaccine does nothing to protect us against this more common but admittedly less severe infection.
For some it seems like a virus type infection lasts for weeks if not months, especially if they work in an environment like a child care centre or have small kids attending childcare.
By focusing on improving your nutritional intake and boosting the numbers of good bacteria- you can do a lot to strengthen your immunity.
Many people don't realise that 2/3 of our immune system is located in our gut walls, and the gut bacteria play a major role is adapting to viruses and producing all the good chemicals that we need to fight them off properly.
Latest research shows us that these fantastic little bugs can help strengthen our immune response, lower inflammation and even help protect us from cancer.
So how do we make sure we feed these little guys right?
The keys factors to support the health of our guts, is by lowering sugar rich foods, lowering fried and saturated fats and increasing the diversity and amount of fibre in our diets.
Foods like legumes, vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds and berries should make up the bulk of our intake and will support the growth and diversity of these bugs to strengthen our immunity.
When people suffer from a prolonged viral infection, this can play havoc on their overall nutritional load, so we often see people suffering from nutrient deficiencies; by fixing these and supporting the immune system even more with certain foods, herbs and supplements, we see patients return to health and make sure the rest of the winter is illness and as importantly antibiotic free.
At Whole Medicine we have an in-house dispensary which is stocked with leading nutritional and herbal supplements. These supplements are required to be prescribed by your doctor.
Talk to your doctor about what more you can do to help boost your immunity this coming winter?
|Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Men's Health Children's Health Health and Well Being Family GP|
If you are like me you love to eat chocolate. However, not just any chocolate. I like to eat the varieties that are often referred to as "superfoods."
When Easter comes around we are ready for that chocolate hit. Why not have a chocolate choice that is both healthy and absolutely delicious?
There is substantial scientific evidence to support the health benefits of cacao and dark chocolate.
Cacao has a reputation for being one of the great superfoods. Known as one of the purest forms of chocolate. Highly antioxidant, rich in magnesium and minerals.
The health benefits of Cacao include:
Antioxidants: Cacao beans contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant. Cacao has more flavonoids than any other food that are consumed. Ingested flavonoids can provide anti-inflammatory support. Supporting the immune functions, it also attacks free radicals that can lead to serious diseases such as cancer, strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure.
Magnesium: Every cell in the body contains and requires magnesium to function. Magnesium fights acid build-up. Increasing magnesium creates many health benefits including increasing energy, calming sensitivity to pain, relieves muscle aches, aiding digestion and assisting in building good bones and teeth.
Natural Mood Booster: Raw cocoa contains anandamide, a substance that assists with inducing euphoria, it also contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a mood enhancer. PEA helps stimulates the central nervous system to release endorphins. PEA increases alertness, increases the ability to focus, elevates mood and helps to speed up metabolism and boosts memory. Raw cacao also contains theobromine, an alkaloid providing an energy boost which may also help to reduce stress.
What about Dark Chocolate?
The general consensus is that dark chocolate typically contains between 70 to 99 percent pure cocoa or cocoa solids.
The health benefits of dark Chocolate include:
Protection from Disease-Causing Free Radicals: Free radicals are unbalanced compounds created by cellular processes in the body, especially those that fight against environmental toxins we're exposed to on a daily basis. Antioxidants are the compounds that are believed to neutralis e free radicals and protect the body from their damage.
Potential Cancer Prevention: It may be hard to believe, but that tasty dark chocolate you eat and love may also help you ward off cancer. That's right one of the benefits of dark chocolate is its potential as a cancer-fighting food.
Heart Health: Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate. According to Cleveland Clinic, research has shown that flavanols have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain. Dark chocolate flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.
Better Cognitive Function: Previous research showed that "acute as well as chronic ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa is associated with increased blood flow to cerebral grey matter and it has been suggested that cocoa flavanols might be beneficial in conditions with reduced cerebral blood flow, including dementia and stroke.
Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Aid: A study published in 2015 compared type 2 diabetics' consumption of white chocolate versus high-cocoa, polyphenol-rich dark chocolate. The subjects consumed 25 grams (a little under one ounce) of dark or white chocolate for eight weeks. The researchers found that not only did dark chocolate lower the blood pressure of the hypertensive diabetics, but it also decreased fasting blood sugar.
"Eat two squares of dark chocolate at least 80 percent cocoa per day. Based on the best evidence, it would be close to the No.1 food you can eat. It has powerful anti-ageing capabilities. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to reduce ageing by up to 80 percent. The four people who lived the longest on earth have all eaten dark chocolate"
Dr Avni Sali | Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa
- 1 frozen banana,
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 2 Medjool dates
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 1/3 cup extra for rolling
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
-Place dates in a medium bowl and cover with water. Stand for 1 hour. Drain and discard seeds.
-Process dates, almond meal, shredded coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder and chia seeds until mixture comes together. Transfer to a bowl and stand for 20 minutes for chia seeds to soften.
-Place remaining coconut in a shallow dish.
-Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Roll in coconut to coat.
|Posted in: Preventative Medicine Health and Well Being Family GP|