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7 Tips to Ease Your Child Into School

By | Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Lifestyle

7 Tips to Ease Your Child Into School

 

 

Starting school is a big moment for children, but also for their parents too! Your family life will experience changes, and preparing your child to start school before the big day arrives makes the transition easier on everybody. Here are some tips to help your child feel ready for this next big step.

  1. Practice basic skills.

Using the toilet independently, reading letters and numbers, recognising their name when written and being able to follow basic instructions are just some skills you might want to think about before starting school.

  1. Do a trial run.

Make arrangements to visit the school together and meet the teacher. Try to think about areas of school life that your child might find confronting – knowing where the toilets are, where they can play at lunchtime, how to get to their classroom, where they can get a drink of water and where you’ll be picking them up is a good start.

  1. Use resources.

There is a huge range of books available that deal with the topic of starting school in a positive and uplifting way. Whether you buy them or borrow from the library, reading about the subject together can make it seem less threatening. Many children’s TV shows also feature episodes where the main characters go to school for the first time.

  1. Make it fun.

Instead of seeing uniform shopping and buying school supplies as a chore, turn it into a chance to spend some one-on-one time with your child and get them involved in the process. Depending on their personality they might want to do a fashion show in their uniform, show their new purchases to other members of the family, or help decorate their new belongings.

  1. Know their level.

If they have previously been attending kindy or day-care, have a chat to the educators to see what your child has been doing. Most states make available online a list of basic skills they expect school-aged children to have mastered, although don’t panic if your child isn’t quite there yet – children learn fast! If you do have any concerns, their future teacher is a good person to speak to.

  1. Stay calm.

Children do pick up on their parents’ emotions, so try to keep your approach upbeat but calm – at least in front of them! While you definitely don’t want to focus on the negatives, for some children there is such a thing as too much enthusiasm. For most children it helps to approach the day like a fun adventure instead of a huge, life-changing event (even though you know it is!).

  1. Encourage communication.

School encourages independence – which is a good thing, but you need to know that your child will talk to you or a trusted adult if they are experiencing a problem. Start to practice communicating before they go to school. Open communication looks different for each family, but setting time aside for one-on-one chat about their day is vital.

It’s also important that you try to keep those talks as a safe space, where they don’t feel like they will get into trouble for sharing with you (within reason of course!). Setting up a habit of communicating about the small things will give them the opportunity to share any big things that might come up.

 

Gather people around you who can support you and your family during this time – join a parenting forum, speak to the teacher, try to meet other families going to the same school, or chat to people who have been through the process before. Soon the whole process will become routine, and you’ll be able to advise other parents in the same position.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your child’s health or development ->

5 Things to Consider Before (or During) Pregnancy

By | Family Planning & Parenting, Women's Health

5 Things to Consider Before (or During) Pregnancy

 

 

 

Whether you are pregnant now or hoping to become pregnant soon, you can start preparing your mind and body to grow your baby. Here are 5 areas you can focus on before or during your pregnancy to help give both you and baby the best pregnancy possible.

Exercise is important

Being pregnant and giving birth are physically challenging tasks. Exercise can reduce your risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, lower your weight and improve your cardiovascular system. There are many misconceptions about exercise during pregnancy, but it’s very safe and healthy for most women. Do talk to your GP before changing your usual exercise plan, and avoid potentially dangerous activities (like horse-riding, for example).

Focus on nutrition

While people might try to get away with blaming their poor diet on “eating for two”, the truth is that nutrition before and during pregnancy is incredibly important. That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself on occasion, but try to make the majority of your diet feature healthy options. Some foods will need to be restricted (like caffeine) or cut out completely (deli meats and soft cheeses), so you might want to start reducing your intake now.  A prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid is also very important to the health of you and your baby.

Make a plan, but go with the flow.

Before falling pregnant or giving birth, you should spend some time researching pregnancy and birthing options and thinking about how you want them to go. That being said, an over-complicated or inflexible plan can be more stressful than helpful. Think about your main preferences, but don’t forget that pregnancy and birth are sometimes unpredictable. Make sure the people around you know what you want – but don’t get too hung up on everything going to plan. A happy and healthy Mum and baby should be everyone’s top priority.

Change your chores

Great news – there are jobs you’ll just have to pass on! Any jobs that involves potentially harmful chemicals needs to be given to someone else wherever possible. Avoid heavy lifting and climbing. Protective gloves will need to be worn and your hands washed up well after jobs that might put you into contact with bacteria, such as handling raw meat or gardening. Kitty litter needs to be completely avoided thanks to the risk of toxoplasmosis.

Don’t forget your own wellbeing

Whether this is your first baby or you’ve got little ones running around at home, your life is about to get busier. Take time for yourself now – whether getting pampered or just practicing some relaxing deep breathing, a calm Mum is more likely to be a happy Mum. Whether you need emotional, practical or medical support, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your pregnancy or getting pregnant –>

 

 

Mind Your Stress – How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Life

By | General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Mental Health

Mind Your Stress – How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Life

 

 

Do you ever feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious? It’s easy for life to become stressful, but mindfulness techniques can give you the tools to manage how you respond to the situations you’re in. Mindfulness is helpful for anyone, of any age, gender, religion or occupation. Here’s how you can become more mindful.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness encourages our brains to think clearly and focus on the present, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It’s easy to get into the habit of living life with your mind elsewhere – whether you’re eating, spending time with friends and family or working, we can become distracted and not fully present. Mindfulness techniques help you get off autopilot, feel better and reduce stress.

Most mindfulness techniques come from meditation principles. The aim of mindfulness is not to completely clear the mind, but to calm your thoughts and become more aware. The techniques are suitable for everybody and are backed by scientific studies as a way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness and improve mental health.

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness techniques. There have been many studies that show real improvements for people who learn to be more mindful. Mindfulness can help you to:

  • Help with concentration
  • Improve the ability to relax
  • Reduce stress, anxiety and depression
  • Become more self-aware
  • Calm your nervous system
  • Improve the quality of your sleep
  • Clear your head

How do you become more mindful?

Basic techniques will encourage you to become aware of your surroundings and observe your own feelings, thoughts, and the input from your five senses, without judging or analysing. Mindfulness is a habit that you need to cultivate over time to get the best results. Your mind will want to wander, especially when you’re learning, but calmly return to what you’re doing. You might have thoughts come, but try to let them pass without analysing them.

You might want to try mindful meditation, where you sit quietly and focus on your breathing or a word or phrase. Mindful breathing is another technique that requires you to stop for a short while and think about your breathing – how it feels, how it sounds, how it affects your body. Progressive muscle relaxation is another common technique that involves tensing your muscles from toes to head, and then slowly relaxing each part of your body.

Where can you find more information?

There are plenty of resources available that can help you learn mindfulness techniques and make them a part of your daily life. The Smiling Mind app and ReachOut Breathe app are great options. There are plenty of great online resources available. If you are having trouble managing your stress, anxiety and/or depression, it’s a good idea to talk to your GP about your options. We are all able to benefit from being more mindful – it’s worth practicing.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss mental health –>

Healthy or Harmful? The Truth About Sugar

By | General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition

Healthy or Harmful? The Truth About Sugar

 

 

Right now, sugar is one of the most talked-about ingredients in the modern diet. But what is the truth about sugar, and the role it plays in your body? Here are 4 things you need to know to keep your sugar intake at the right level.

Sugar has many names.

Sugar is the generic or household name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates. There are several different types of sugar. Sugar is a common additive, and even when it comes from a natural sweetener (such as honey or syrups), it’s still sugar. When reading the ingredients list on food labels, added sugar can often go by different names, such as dextrose, sucrose, glucose or corn syrup. All these sugary additives will go towards your daily allowance of free sugar.

Most sources recommend that free sugar shouldn’t make up more than 5% of your daily allowance of calories, which means about 30g per day. Food labels can help you determine how much you’re eating. A high sugar product is usually considered to be 22.5g of total sugar per 100g listed on the label. A low sugar product would have 5g or less per 100g.

You should target your “free sugar” intake.

We actually need sugar for our body to function, but the important decision is where your sugar will come from. All carbohydrates are broken down by the body into sugar to be used for energy.  Sugars occur naturally in some foods such as fruit, vegetables and milk, but these items don’t count when calculating your “free sugar” intake. That’s because while they do contain naturally occurring sugar, they also contain beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Free sugar is sugar that has been added to a product. The most obvious foods are baked goods, chocolate, ice cream and lollies; but when you look at nutrition labels you might be surprised to see how many of your favourite savoury foods have sugar added as well.  For all those calories, most high-sugar products have little nutritional benefit, and some have none. When limiting sugar in your diet, free sugar is the easiest and most important to cut down on. Get your sugar and carbohydrates from food that is nutritious and beneficial for your body.

Too much sugar has serious health consequences.

Free sugar adds many calories to a person’s diet without adding any nutrition, and many people find it addictive which makes it hard to cut back. High sugar foods don’t usually leave people feeling full and satisfied for a long time, which can lead to overeating. Too many calories from any source can lead to weight gain, and the many negative health consequences that obesity carries. A high sugar diet can contribute to developing Type 2 diabetes and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. It is also the leading cause of tooth decay.

There are easy ways to cut down on sugar.

Most people won’t stick to huge, radical diet changes made all at once. A better solution is to make small changes into a habit, before reducing your sugar further when you’re ready. Some small ways you might adjust your diet are:

  • Sugary drinks should be swapped for low sugar options like water, sparkling water or milk.
  • If you are feeling low in energy, choose whole fruit instead of a sugary pick-me-up.
  • If you do have fruit juice, limit it to 150ml per day and drink it with meals to avoid tooth decay.
  • Reduce the sugar you add to hot drinks and cereal, and choose low-sugar options.
  • Practice checking the nutrition and ingredients list on food labels, and choose low sugar options.

For tips on eating healthier and advice on how to cut down your sugar intake, your GP is a great place to start.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to talk about healthy eating –>

Summer-Safe Skin: What You Should Know About Skin Cancer

By | Cancer, Skin, Travel

Summer-Safe Skin: What You Should Know About Skin Cancer

 

 

It’s National Skin Cancer Action week! Did you know that two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70? Most skin cancers can be prevented by good sun protection, and early detection significantly decreases the chance that you will need surgery or that the cancer will progress. The Australian Cancer Council has released some basic ways that you can prevent and detect skin cancers.

Prevention

Australians have heard the “SunSmart” message and are usually good at applying it to our children. However, some lessons haven’t sunken in quite so well. Tanning for long hours in the sun is still a common sight, and sunburns are often treated as a joke instead of causing potentially serious long-term damage to the skin. In fact, a sunburn once every two years can triple your risk of developing a melanoma. It’s never too late to prevent further damage. The Cancer Council’s 5 forms of sun protection are:

  • slip on sun-protective clothing
  • slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
  • slap on a broad-brimmed hat
  • seek shade
  • slide on sunglasses.

Your summer can still be fun, but make sure your skin isn’t suffering for it.

Detection

Looking for skin cancer keeps you safer – early detection improves your chances that a relatively simple treatment can be used to fix a problem. Make a habit of doing regular self-checks of your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles or moles. Getting to know your own skin and what is normal for you will make it much easier to detect any changes.

Remove all of your clothing and stand in good light, either using a mirror for hard-to-check areas or asking someone else to look for you. Don’t just focus on areas that see a lot of sun – sometimes skin cancers can grow in unexpected places, like the soles of the feet, under nails and between fingers and toes.

What are you looking for?

There are three main types of skin cancer- melanoma (including nodular melanoma), basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Each generally looks and behaves in a different way. As a rule, you can use the ABCD method for detecting changes:

  • A is for Asymmetry – Spots that aren’t symmetrical. Are both sides of the spot the same or is it an irregular shape?
  • B is for Border – A spot with a spreading or irregular edge (notched).
  • C is for Colour – Blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.
  • D is for Diameter – Look for spots that are getting bigger

Some other considerations are moles that are new, increase in size, change colour, become raised; itch, tingle or bleed, or look different to your other moles.

If you do notice changes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have skin cancer – but it does mean that you should visit your GP to have them looked at further. You can also discuss your personal skin cancer risk and schedule regular skin checks.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your skin health –>

When Bacteria Go Bad – Antibiotic Resistance and What You Can Do About It

By | Body Systems, General Wellbeing, Immunisation

When Bacteria Go Bad – Antibiotic Resistance and What You Can Do About It.

 

 

A killer disease that can’t be treated sounds like the plot to a horror film.  Antibiotic resistance is just as scary, and it’s a very real threat. Hollywood normally solves the problem with an attractive scientist coming up with a simple solution. In the real world, the heroes are everyday people who choose to safely use antibiotics only as prescribed by a qualified professional. Here are some facts you might not know about antibiotic resistance, and how you can make a difference.

Resistance happens naturally – but we’re making it much worse.

Antibiotics are used to kill or weaken bacteria, which helps your body to fight the infection.   Antibiotic resistance happens when antibiotics are not used correctly, resulting in bacteria that have “learned” how to resist that type of medication. They can then be passed on to other people.

While bacteria naturally adapt to become “stronger”, humans are making the situation much worse by giving unnecessary antibiotics to people, crops, animals and fish. Antibiotics are essential medications that have saved countless lives, but they should not be misused.

It’s a huge threat.

The WHO state that “Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” If you get an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, the standard treatments will not work for you. Your physician will have to find stronger and rarer antibiotics, and in some cases the bacteria is so resistant that treatment options run out. Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.

There are significant consequences.

Some infections that used to be relatively easy to treat, such as pneumonia, gonorrhoea and salmonella infections, now have strains that are resistant to some or all antibiotics. While modern medicine is able to treat illnesses that were previously almost a death sentence, antibiotic resistance puts many modern procedures at risk.

For example, chemotherapy and surgeries like transplanting organs and caesarean sections become much more dangerous with the chance of contracting an infection that can’t be treated. Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and a higher rate of death.

We can help fight it.

The situation is far from hopeless, and we can all do our part to slow down the effects. Many colds, flus and sicknesses are caused by viruses or other microbes, which antibiotics cannot kill. Only bacterial infections need antibiotics, and often our body can be given the chance to fight off infection by itself before going on a course of antibiotics.

Avoiding bacterial infections in the first place reduces your chances of contracting an illness that requires antibiotics. Get vaccinated, wash your hands regularly, and seek medical advice before taking medication. Never share your medication or take someone else’s.

Your doctor can help.

Qualified healthcare professionals are the only people who can tell you what antibiotics you should take, the dosage and how long you should be taking them for. You can help by listening to their advice, following it (even if you feel better before the treatment ends), and not pressuring them to give you antibiotics. See your GP if you are unwell, and work with them to find the right solution for your individual circumstances. We all have a personal responsibility to help combat antibiotic resistance.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss illness and appropriate treatment –>

 

4 Reasons Everybody Should Think About Their Lungs

By | Body Systems, Cancer, Chronic Disease, General Wellbeing

4 Reasons Everybody Should Think About Their Lungs

 

 

We take around 22,000 breaths every day, but more than half of all Australians do not think about their lung health.  November is Lung Health Awareness month, which is a good time for everybody to pause and think about their own lung health, as well as having a supportive attitude towards other people who have been diagnosed with lung disease.

Lung disease symptoms often increase slowly, which causes people to adjust their daily life or treat their symptoms instead of getting help.  Lung disease does not discriminate, and can affect people of any age, any gender, smokers and non-smokers. Yet people with lung disease often feel judged and misunderstood. Here are 4 reasons why we should all take time to think about our lungs.

  1. Most people don’t take lung health seriously

Three out of five Australians who participated in a Lung Health Foundation study were found to have symptoms or risk factors that increased the possibility that they might develop lung disease, while more than one in ten have been diagnosed. Lung health is something that every person should consider. According to Lung Foundation Australia, 1 in 7 Australians die because of lung disease every year, yet many people continue to ignore or misunderstand the signs and symptoms of lung disease.

  1. Lung disease is a very serious diagnosis

Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer – only 15% of those diagnosed are alive five years after their diagnosis. One Australian dies every hour from lung cancer, which makes it the leading cause of cancer death in Australia – more than prostate, breast and ovarian cancer combined. Early detection gives the best chance of a positive outcome, making it even more important that we are conscious of changes to our lungs.

  1. Lung cancer sufferers face discrimination

While there are many factors linked to lung cancer, almost 90% of Australians think that smoking is the only lung cancer risk. This misinformation has led to a third of Australians believing that people with lung cancer have only themselves to blame.

While factors such as smoking and poor lifestyle decisions do increase the risk of lung disease, many people who are living with a diagnosis have never smoked in their life. Regardless of their status as a smoker, people with lung disease still deserve the compassion and understanding that we would give to anyone suffering from a life-altering illness.

  1. There are symptoms we can all look out for

Most symptoms should be compared to your usual lung functions, so it’s important to be aware of your lung functions even if you don’t think there is a problem. Some of the symptoms that might indicate a problem are:

  • Breathlessness, especially compared to others of your age
  • Chest tightness or wheezing
  • A persistent, new or changed cough
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood, mucus or phlegm.
  • Unexplained weight loss or fatigue
  • Frequent chest infections

Also, you should pay extra attention to your lungs if you have a family history of lung disease, are a past or present smoker, or have worked in a job that exposed you to dust, gas or fumes. If you have any concerns, talk to your GP as soon as possible so they can help you on the road to healthy lungs.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your lungs –>

 

Headaches and Migraines – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

By | Chronic Disease, General Wellbeing

Headaches and Migraines – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Headaches are a very common condition, experienced by nearly everybody. However, the severity and frequency of headache and migraines vary widely. Not everybody has a correct diagnosis for what they are experiencing – in fact, up to 50% of migraine sufferers may be undiagnosed. Knowing more about the kind of headaches you suffer from can help you to manage them.

What are headaches?

Headaches are pains in the head that normally come with sensations of pressure and/or aching. They normally occur on both sides of the head simultaneously, and the pain is most often felt in the forehead, temple or the back of the neck. Tension headaches are the most common type, but there are many other varieties of headache. They can last from a few minutes to a week, from mild to extremely severe. Headaches can be a symptom of a larger problem but are most often just painful rather than dangerous.

What are migraines?

Migraines are severe headaches that have other symptoms associated.  Some common symptoms that migraine sufferers have in addition to pain are nausea, vomiting, light (or sound) sensitivity, pain behind one eye or one side of the temples, seeing an “aura” which is usually flashing lights or spots, and a wide range of less common symptoms. Pulsing and throbbing sensations are usually associated with migraine. Migraines can be diagnosed from childhood, but are most commonly diagnosed between age 20 – 40.

What causes headaches and migraines?

Headaches symptoms tend to run in families, particularly migraines. When both parents suffer from migraines, there is a 70% chance their children will too. One parent with migraines makes the risk drop to around 50%.  There are many possible triggers, which are different for everyone and aren’t always even the same for one person. It can also take a combination of factors to trigger a headache or migraine, which makes it even more difficult to identify.  Some common triggers for headaches include sickness, stress, and environmental factors such as chemicals, weather changes and lighting. Migraine triggers can be stress, foods and additives, caffeine, changes in hormones or sleep patterns, or skipping meals.

What are my treatment options?

Most migraines respond to treatments available over the counter from the pharmacy, but others need regular preventative medication. Most headaches respond well to aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol. There are also alternative therapies that are said to help, such as relaxation, acupuncture and heat therapies. Most types of headaches will occur less frequently with reduced stress, and eliminating common dietary triggers like caffeine and alcohol.

As there are so many types of headache and as headaches affect each person differently, it is important that you consult your doctor, especially when starting a treatment plan. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing frequent or severe headaches and work out a management plan that is right for you.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss headaches or migraines –>

Staying Ahead of Hayfever

By | Body Systems, Chronic Disease, General Wellbeing

Staying Ahead of Hayfever

 

 

Spring is a beautiful time of year, but hay fever makes some people more nervous than excited.  While many people self-manage hay fever using over-the-counter medications, working out a strategy with your GP is the most effective way to control symptoms. Learning about your options can help you reduce the negative effects of hay fever and get back to enjoying the weather.

What is hay fever?

The proper term is “allergic rhinitis” and while the condition is stereotypically set off by springtime pollen, there are many triggers that cause different people to react. Hay fever affects around 500 million people worldwide. When the body encounters an allergen in the air, the over-sensitive immune system releases histamines and other chemicals that produce unpleasant symptoms – for example, a runny nose, facial itchiness, headaches, sneezing, puffy eyes, fatigue, and wheezing.

Allergic Rhinitis can be seasonal or occur all year round (perennial). Hay fever can’t be cured but it can be controlled, and if you haven’t seen a doctor recently you might be unaware of new options for treatment.

Hay fever triggers.

Hay fever symptoms are triggered when your body detects a harmless substance that it wrongly perceives as a threat. Allergens are different for everybody. Reactions to airborne allergens can also be made worse by other factors (such as your diet), which is why an individualised plan is important.

Some common seasonal allergens are pollen, fungal spores and other plant matter.  Perennial allergens include mould and fungal spores, dust mites, skin flakes from pets, smoke and air pollution.

Medical intervention.

There are many hay fever medications available without a prescription, but consulting with a doctor will help you get the right medication for your symptoms. Most medications have minimum and maximum dosages for the most effective use, and some nasal sprays can actually make symptoms worse if you use them for longer than three days.

The doctor might advise or prescribe antihistamines, corticosteroids or decongestants in a range of strengths and delivery methods. People with severe hay fever symptoms might require immunotherapy treatments.

Combat your symptoms.

When you have identified the allergens that are most likely to trigger your symptoms, you can create a specialised plan to help you combat your hay fever. Some strategies for common allergens include:

  • Keep pets outside, especially their bedding
  • Keep windows shut, especially at night
  • Monitor your local pollen count
  • Wear a face mask on high pollen-count days (or small nose masks that fit inside your nostrils)
  • Limit alcohol because it contains histamines – alcohol can double the risk of symptoms
  • Buy new pillows every spring
  • Don’t dry clothes and bedding outside on high pollen days
  • Find and kill all household mould

Make an appointment with your GP, follow their suggestions, and then report back on your progress. It might help you to bring a list of symptoms and their frequency and severity to your first appointment. Sometimes hay fever can mask other serious conditions such as asthma, which is another reason to get symptoms checked. You might not be able to cure your hay fever, but with the help of your GP you can get your symptoms under control.

Click here to book a GP to discuss managing your hay fever –>

Living Well With Epilepsy – Are You SUDEP Aware?

By | Chronic Disease

Living Well With Epilepsy – Are You SUDEP Aware?

 

 

Epilepsy is a complex condition that is not well understood. What we do know is that if epilepsy is not properly managed, the seizures it causes can have tragic consequences. World SUDEP day was created to raise awareness of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, where a previously healthy person with epilepsy dies without known cause.

Approximately 3 – 3.5% of Australians will have epilepsy at some point, which includes 25,000 new diagnoses every year. It pays to understand something about the condition and to learn how to manage the risks to help people with epilepsy to stay healthy and safe.

About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system, causing seizures. Someone who has had two or more unexplained seizures is usually diagnosed with epilepsy. Epileptic seizures happen when the brain’s electrical activity is disturbed – this could be hereditary or due to brain injury, but more often has no known cause.  Anti-epileptic medication is fully effective in around 70% of people, and another 3% find help through surgery. For the rest, a combination of medication and control of lifestyle factors is used to manage the condition.

Reducing Seizure Risk

Because seizures can cause accidents, injuries and even SUDEP, anyone with active seizures should work closely with their team to reduce their frequency. The most common seizure triggers are stress, anxiety or lack of sleep; alcohol and/or recreational drugs; and rapid changes in medication or forgetting to take your medication.

The factors that put you at the highest risk for SUDEP are:

  • Seizures at night
  • Not taking medication
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Depression/psychiatric illness
  • Pregnancy
  • Infrequent epilepsy reviews
  • Have had epilepsy for more than 15 years
  • Male gender
  • Being young

Personalised Care

Anyone having seizures, no matter if it is every day or once a year, is said to have “active seizures”. Seizures can cause injury, falls or accidents, and also cause SUDEP. Different types of seizures have different risks, which is why it’s important to be seizure aware and work with a team to manage your seizures.

Becoming aware of triggers, taking your prescribed medication and working with clinicians such as your GP, specialist nurses are the best ways to manage and prevent seizures from occurring. The Epilepsy Foundation suggests that you base your approach on preparation, prevention and teamwork to help avoid seizure episodes.

 Combating SUDEP

Because SUDEP is linked to seizures, the best way to reduce the risk is to have as few seizures as possible. Work with your team to manage your epilepsy symptoms. Report any changes in your seizures, take your medication, have frequent reviews, and report any major life changes to your doctor such as starting a family or changing careers.

You can take your own steps to staying healthy – avoid alcohol and drugs, keep a seizure diary to help identify triggers and use an alarm if you have seizures at night. Besides avoiding SUDEP, you are reducing your risk of accidents and injury. Your GP can work with you to create a personalised plan to reduce your risks and help you live a healthy life with epilepsy.

 

Click here to book a GP to discuss epilepsy and managing seizures –>

 

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