Hypertension

Hypertension

Health & Wellness

22-05-2017

Everyone has blood pressure. It is the pressure of blood against the walls of your blood vessels (or arteries) as the heart pumps blood around your body. Your blood pressure will increase and decrease depending on what you are doing. When you are exercising, nervous or stressed your blood pressure will increase and it will decrease when you are sitting or sleeping. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal even at resting state (also known as hypertension).

1507_HypertensionAccording to Australian Health Survey, in 2011-12, almost one-third of all adult Australians had hypertension. Of these, almost half (48.8%) self-reported having a current and long-term heart or circulatory condition. Men were more likely to have hypertension than women. Hypertension was significantly more prevalent at older ages, with almost 9 in 10 people aged 85 years and over having hypertension. Read More >

Food Allergy

Food Allergy

Health & Wellness

17-05-2017

Australia has one of the highest reported incidences of food allergies in the world, and the numbers are growing at an alarming rate with one in 10 babies born in Australia today forecast to develop a food allergy. This year Food Allergy Week is being celebrated from 14–20 May.

Food allergy is an allergic response to particular foods or food additives. Food intolerance occurs when the body has a chemical reaction to eating a particular food or drink. Unlike food allergies, intolerances do not involve the body’s immune system. Food intolerance symptoms include headaches, bloating, wind, nausea, mouth ulcers or hives, and can occur several hours after a food is eaten.

1506_Food_allergyAn allergic reaction can quickly become life threatening and people can die from food allergy. It’s up to all of us to be allergy aware – to know how to minimise the risk of a reaction, to know what to do if a reaction happens, and to understand and support family, friends and colleagues living with food allergies. Read More >

Dry skin and eczema

Dry skin and eczema

Health & Wellness

03-05-2017

Dry skin is a common problem and the cold, dryness of winter weather can exacerbate this condition. Dry skin all year round is particularly common in older people, and can be due to multiple reasons.

The cause of dry skin involves genetic as well as environmental factors. Numerous factors can predispose a person to dry skin including a cold or dry climate, very hot showers and the use of alkaline soaps, cleansers and shampoos. Age related changes to the skin’s structure and subsequent water content leads to increasing dryness of skin with advancing age.

1504_Dry_skin_and_eczemaDry skin may present as rough, scaly, itchy skin and often occurs on the lower legs and the arms. It may also present as burning or stinging with a feeling of skin tightness, especially after it has been wet. Read More >

World Asthma Day

World Asthma Day

Health & Wellness

27-04-2017

 

World Asthma Day (2 May 2017) is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), which works with health care professionals and groups around the world to reduce asthma prevalence, morbidity and mortality.

 

People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs which can make breathing difficult, when certain triggers cause the airways to narrow because:

  • the lining of the airways become swollen and inflamed, producing sticky mucus
  • the muscles around the airways tighten.

1553_World_Asthma_DayAsthma affects more than two million Australians. It cannot be cured, but can be well controlled with medicines and lifestyle. This can allow you to live a normal and active life, free from symptoms of asthma including:

  • wheezing or a whistling sound with breathing
  • coughing
  • breathlessness
  • feeling tight in the chest
  • finding it hard to breathe.

Symptoms can vary over time, and often occur at night, early in the morning, or during or just after activity. Children may also say they have a sore tummy, not eat or drink as much, or may get tired quickly.

The management of asthma aims to prevent asthma symptoms. Avoiding triggers and using asthma medicines correctly can help you manage your asthma and also prevent lung damage from asthma. Many triggers can cause asthma symptoms such as:

  • allergens you breathe in (e.g. from house dust mites, pollens, moulds, animal hair)
  • air pollution (e.g. cigarette smoke, dust)
  • colds and flu
  • cold air or a drop in air temperature
  • exercise or physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
  • certain medicines (e.g. aspirin, anti-inflammatory pain relievers, beta-blockers, echinacea, royal jelly)
  • strong smells and fumes (e.g. chemicals, paints, perfumes, cleaning agents)
  • emotional upset, stress, anxiety
  • some foods and food preservatives, flavourings and colourings.

Visit your doctor or health clinic regularly so they can assess your asthma symptoms, review your asthma management and medicines, and help you write an Asthma Action Plan for when your asthma gets worse.

You can control your asthma well by managing the factors that trigger it and by using asthma medicines correctly. Most asthma medicines are inhaled (breathed) into the lungs.

The main types of asthma medicines are called relievers and preventers. Relievers are short-term medicines that open airways quickly by relaxing the muscles around the airways. Preventers are long-acting medicines.

Asthma makes the lining of your airways inflamed (red and swollen). Preventers help to reduce the inflammation and reduce the amount of mucus in airways. They also make airways less sensitive to asthma triggers. They can prevent asthma symptoms and lung damage if used every day.

Relievers:

  • help relieve asthma symptoms within a few minutes. Their effect can last for 4–6 hours (short-acting)
  • should be used only ‘as needed’ for quick relief
  • may be used before exercise, to prevent exercise-induced asthma.

Some inhalers contain a combination of a corticosteroid preventer and a long-acting reliever in the same inhaler device.

Preventers:

  • must be used or taken every day, even when you don’t have any symptoms
  • may take several weeks to improve symptoms
  • will not relieve an asthma attack once it has started.

Some people need to use preventers for only a few weeks or months of the year, but other people need to use preventers all year round. If you do not get asthma symptoms and rarely use your reliever, ask your doctor to review your asthma medicines. Preventers should not be stopped unless advised by a doctor.

The aim of asthma treatment is to prevent symptoms. You should use your preventer or combination inhaler every day. Use your reliever only when needed. Always read and follow instructions carefully.

See a doctor or follow your Asthma Action Plan if you:

  • need to use a reliever more than two days a week
  • have daytime asthma symptoms more than two days a week
  • use the whole reliever inhaler in less than a month
  • have asthma symptoms during the night
  • find physical activity hard because of asthma
  • notice your peak flow readings getting worse
  • have an asthma flare-up.

You can get more information on asthma and asthma medicines from your pharmacist at Eden Rise Pharmacy.

Living with Parkinson’s Disease

Living with Parkinson’s Disease

Health & Wellness

18-04-2017

This week (10-17 April) is Parkinson’s Awareness Week, with World Parkinson’s Day celebrated on April 11. In Australia, Parkinson’s Australia is the national peak body and charity representing Australians living with Parkinson’s, and has a wide range of information sheets and advice available on their website: www.parkinsons.org.au

1551_Living_with_Parkinsons_diseaseParkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system (CNS), and it is one of many neurological conditions. In Parkinson’s disease, nerve cells in the brain degenerate. There is no known cause, however there are many theories, and it is generally thought that multiple factors are responsible. Increasing age, being male and head injuries may increase the risk, while genetics may also play a role. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease have insufficient levels of the chemical dopamine. This lack of dopamine means people can have difficulty controlling their movements and moving freely. Impact on other body systems can also occur, such as on sense of smell, thinking and mood. Read More >

Depression

Depression

Health & Wellness

06-04-2017

World Health Day is celebrated on the 7th of April each year. This year, the theme of the World Health Day campaign is depression.

In any one year, about one million people in Australia experience depression. One in six women and one in eight men will experience depression at some time in their lives. Depression is much worse than feeling sad or ‘low’ for a while after an unhappy or stressful event. It is a serious illness that changes the way a person thinks, feels and behaves.

1550_DepressionChemical changes in the brain are thought to contribute to depression. A number of factors may contribute to its development. These include emotional stress (e.g. loss of a loved one, relationship problems, unemployment), hormonal changes (e.g. after childbirth, menopause), alcohol and drug abuse, certain medicines and medical conditions (e.g. cancer, diabetes, stroke, chronic pain), other mental illnesses (e.g. anxiety, dementia, schizophrenia), personal factors (e.g. loneliness), certain personality traits (e.g. negative thinking patterns, low self-esteem), and a family history of depression. Read More >

Raising Awareness of Epilepsy

Raising Awareness of Epilepsy

Health & Wellness

29-03-2017

Epilepsy is a common condition in our community and can develop at any age, regardless of gender or ethnic group. According to Epilepsy Australia, research suggests that some 3–4% of the Australian population will develop epilepsy at some stage in their lives.

1548_Raising_awareness_of_epilepsyAt one stage it was believed that epilepsy was a disorder of the young, as it appeared most people experienced their first seizure before the age of 20. However, people over 55 are now recognised as being the most vulnerable. This rapidly growing demographic group is subject to the kinds of cerebrovascular (circulation of blood to the brain), respiratory and cardiac events that can lead to epileptic seizures.

There are many causes of epilepsy, which vary with the age at which seizures begin and the nature of the seizures. However, in 50% of cases, the cause is unknown.

In many cases of epilepsy in young children, genetics play an important role. But research has shown that genetics can be a factor in developing epilepsy at any age. It appears that certain people are more prone to having seizures than others. This is, at times, described as having a ‘low-seizure threshold’. Read More >

Brain Week

Brain Week

Health & Wellness

19-03-2017

This year, Brain Awareness Week is taking place on the 13th to 19th March. Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research, and unites the efforts of organisations worldwide in celebrating the brain for people of all ages.

1547_Brain_awarenessIn Australia, the Brain Foundation is a charity that is dedicated to funding research around the country into neurological disorders, brain disease and brain injuries. This research aims to advance diagnoses, treatment and patient outcomes.

The brain is a large and complex organ, and is made up of more than 100 billion nerves communicating in numerous connections called synapses. Different parts of the brain work together, and control numerous aspects of daily living, including breathing, sleep, coordination and balance. Read More >

Should you go gluten-free?

Should you go gluten-free?

Health & Wellness

10-03-2017

The term ‘gluten-free’ appears everywhere in our modern society. Dietary gluten is often blamed for causing a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating and excessive wind, as well as lethargy and poor concentration. There is a range of expensive gluten-free products now on the market, and sales of these products are growing rapidly. Today many people avoid gluten in the belief that it will improve their health or help them to lose weight. Health professionals have expressed concern that increasing numbers of people are self-diagnosing gluten allergies and intolerances.

1497_Should_you_go_gluten-freeSo what are the facts?

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, oats, rye and barley. Other grains such as rice or corn do not contain gluten. A majority of gluten is found in wheat products such as bread and pasta, as well as processed foods such as soups, sauces, gravies, salad dressings, and seasonings. It has no nutritional value on its own, and can be found in unexpected foods. Wheat products form a large part of our modern diet.

For the majority of the population, gluten has no effect on the body. However for about 1% of the Australian population, gluten can be harmful. These people suffer from coeliac disease.

According to Coeliac Australia, in people with coeliac disease the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten, which causes damage to the small bowel (intestine). It affects people of all ages, both male and female. Various symptoms are associated with coeliac disease, including gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting), fatigue, easy skin bruising and others. Treatment involves a strict gluten free diet for life. Read More >