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children's health playing happily

What to Consider When it Comes to a Childs Health

By Children's Health, Featured, Immunisation No Comments

Why is child health important? 

The early years of a child’s life are very important for their health and development. Healthy development means that children of all abilities, including those with special health care needs, are able to grow up where their social, emotional and educational needs are met. Having a safe and loving home and spending time with family―playing, singing, reading, and talking―are very important. Proper nutrition, exercise, oral health, emotional support, sleep, and preventing disease through immunisations also can make a big difference. 

Good Nutrition

Poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles have been linked with obesity, and children who are overweight or obese are more likely to become obese adults, putting them at risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease at younger ages. 

Processed foods are often full of sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats and calories. Provide and cook meals for your child with natural foods like:child healthy eating

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits 
  • Lean cuts of meat
  • Poultry 
  • Fresh fish 
  • Whole grains 
  • Fibre rich foods like beans and leafy greens

Encourage physical activity as much as possible 

Get children off the couch, reduce the screen time, and have them playing outside often. 

Being involved in physical activity team sports is a great way to increase activity and has social, and emotional health benefits too. Regular activity supports brain development, muscle controls, balance and coordinator, bone strength and helps maintain a healthy weight. 

Running around outside can also positively affect sleep patterns, mental health, concentration at school and at home, self esteem and confidence. 

Other forms of activities that benefit your child’s health in a holistic way include: 

  • Dancing 
  • Arts and crafts
  • Tidying up and assisting with chores around the home
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Singing

Create a healthy smile

Good dental and oral health starts with your child’s baby teeth. Establishing good brushing and oral habits from early on promotes behaviour they will take into adulthood. 

Poor oral health is associated with increased risk of chronic disease later in life, including 

child brushing teeth oral health

stroke and cardiovascular disease. It is also central to overall health and wellbeing, positively affecting their quality of live, social interactions and self esteem. 

Dental decay is the most prevalent oral disease among Australian children. 

Ways to reduce the chances of tooth decay in children are: 

  • Limiting consumption of beverages containing high amounts of sugar 
  • Reducing sugar laden snacks (lollies, muesli bars, cakes)
  • Regular trips to the dentist 
  • Practicing good oral hygiene – brushing teeth at least twice daily

Nurture their minds

Children’s social and emotional wellbeing and how how thy think and feel about themselves and other, and deal with daily challengers is a component of mental health and wellbeing. 

It is important to care for your child’s social and emotional development so they:

  • Are confident 
  • Can communicate well
  • Do better at school
  • Are equipped to develop and have good relationships
  • Can take on and persist with challenging tasks 

The Smiling Mind app is a great resource for children (and adults!) that involves a series of short exercises, which guide children through breathing and becoming aware of their bodies to “put a smile on their mind”. It is based on the principle of “Mindfulness” – that is, being aware of taste, touch, sight and smell to be “in the moment” and truly achieve a sense of calm and perspective.

Get enough shut eye

Sleep is essential to your child’s health and healthy brain development. A lack of sleep has been associated with development and severity of a range of physical, behavioural and other mental health issues. A lack of sleep in children can cause an increased risk of obesity.

Keep immunisations up to date

Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting children against certain diseases.

Immunisation protects children (and adults) against harmful infections before they come into contact with them in the community.

It uses the body’s natural defence mechanism — the immune system — to build resistance to specific infections.

  • chickenpox
  • diphtheria
  • Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib)
  • hepatitis B
  • measles
  • meningococcal disease
  • mumps
  • pneumococcal infection
  • polio (poliomyelitis)
  • rotavirus
  • rubella
  • tetanus
  • whooping cough (pertussis)

Children aged over 6 months can also have the flu vaccine each year, which is available in autumn. Children aged 12 to 13 should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) through their schools.

National Immunisation Schedule can be found here

 

For more information on HealthMint’s Child Health services and health checks – visit here >

Role of the GP in pregnancy - GP and pregnant woman in consulting room

Planning for a Baby: How your GP Can Help

By Family Planning & Parenting, Featured, Women's Health No Comments

The role of a GP during pregnancy is not just about providing care for the several months of pregnancy, it’s about the commitment and continuity of care through the years and decades of your family’s health. Read on for how your GP can help when planning for a baby.

GPs bring a very broad skill base and referral networks with them when they are involved in maternity care, which involves pre-conception, antenatal, postnatal and neonatal aspects of care. 

Planning for a baby 

Having a baby is a very exciting time! 

If you are preparing for pregnancy, it is a good idea to speak with your GP first. There are many things you can do to improve your health and minimise the risk to your baby, all before conceiving. 

Your GP will provide you with expert advice on planning your pregnancy – they understand the medical issues, mental health concerns, have a well connected referral network and are used to working as a team in order to get you the best care possible. 

The preconception period (3 months before pregnancy) is the time to make life changes that you and your partner can help boost fertility, reduce problems during pregnancy and assist in recovery after birth. 

Preconception Check Up

During your appointment with your GP, you may ask them about: 

Immunisations

You may require boosters, even if you were full immunised as a child. All women should have up to date immunisations against Rubella (German measles) with the MMR vaccine. This will need to be done at least one month prior to conceiving. Once you are already pregnant (of if you suspect you may be) you cannot be immunised against Rubellas because it is a “live vaccine” and poses a serious risk to your baby’s health

Other immunisations you may need before falling pregnant:

  • Hepatits B
  • Chickenpox
  • Influenza

Ones that can be administered during pregnancy:

  • DTPa (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)

If you are unsure about your immunisation status, ask you GP for a blood screening test. 

For more information on pre pregnancy immunisations click here

Questions to ask your GP

Take this opportunity to maximise your overall wellbeing, and identify and minimise any risks. You may also ask your GP about: 

  • Testing for STIs 
  • A cervical screening test
  • A blood test to check your iron, vitamin D levels, and Rh factor to see if you are positive or negative
  • A urine test to screen for UTIs and kidney disease
  • Current medications 
  • Preexisting conditions such as asthma, heart problems, diabetes, epilepsy, blood disorders
  • Mental health including depression
  • Any genetic disorders in the family 
  • A pelvic, breast, and abdominal exam
  • A weight check: if you are overweight or underweight, you may have irregular periods, which make it harder to conceive. Your GP can help you set some goals to reach a conception-ready weight that will help to support a healthy pregnancy. 

woman holding a positive pregnancy testTop 10 pre-pregnancy questions 

When planning for a baby your GP can help with the answers, but it is a great opportunity to go into your appointment armed with a list of questions or concerns that you would like to discuss with your GP. 

Here are 10 common questions to get you started (in no particular order): 

  1. Should I take a prenatal vitamin? 
  2. Am I up to date with my immunisations?
  3. Are my current medications safe to take during pregnancy?
  4. Am I in a healthy weight range for pregnancy?
  5. What foods should I avoid?
  6. Can I still exercise? What exercise is safe?
  7. Is my family history of ‘x’ a concern?
  8. I have ‘x’ health condition, how might pregnancy affect it?
  9. What is the process of picking a hospital and the schedule of scans and hospital appointments like?
  10. Are there any other questions I need to ask?

Antenatal care – Your GPs role in pregnancy

Shared maternity care is a popular option of care for healthy women with a low risk pregnancy. 

Shared cared means that during your pregnancy, you can see the same GP for most of your pregnancy visits with some visits at the hospital. 

Dr Imasha will be offering shared maternity care at HealthMint Cranbourne very soon. You can find out more by contacting our Cranbourne clinic here

Postnatal care – Your GPs role after birth 

GPs are in a wonderful position to provide care after your baby arrives – for you and the entire family. 

It is recommended that you, and your baby see your GP when your baby is between five and 10 days old, and again at 6 weeks old. These are routine check ups and of course, you should always seek medical advice immediately if you or your baby are unwell. 

Your GP will work in collaboration with other healthcare providers such as your maternal and child health nurse, midwives, lactation consultations, paediatricians and obstetricians in order to optimise the care and outcomes for families. 

Your GP can build on and manage the relationship with you and your baby during post party and manage common neonatal concern, as well as medical and mental health problems of the mother and other family members, should they arise. 

Medical conditions that may have developed during pregnancy such as hypertension, diabetes and anaemia can also be managed by your GP. Preventative and lifestyle recommendations can also be established. 

GP postnatal check up with babyIf you are ready to discuss how your HealthMint GP can help when planning for a baby – Please book an appointment at one of our HealthMint clinics 

Try for 5 - national nutrition week HealthMint

National Nutrition Week: Try For 5

By Children's Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition No Comments

It’s national Nutrition week! Every year in October Nutrition Australia run their Try For 5 campaign to encourage and inform Australians to increase vegetable consumption to the recommended 5 serves per day. We all know vegetables are good for us; they are naturally packed full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants to help fight off disease and fibre to help our gut stay happy. Eating more vegetables is one simple and easy thing that you can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

While we all may know that vegetables are good for us, surprisingly only 4% of Australian adults eat the recommended 5 servings!

So, what does a vegetable serve actually look like?

A serve of vegetable is 75g. This can look like:

  • 1/2 a medium size potato or other starchy vegetables,
  • 1 cup of raw leafy greens vegetables  e.g. spinach, salad leaves, kale
  • ½ cup cooked vegetables e.g. broccoli, carrot, pumpkin.

serves of different types of vegetablesWhat are the Health Benefits of having vegetables and Try for 5?

1. Bone Health:

many vegetables contain key vitamins such as vitamin K and C which helps your body keep your bones healthy. Vitamin C is essential in formation of your cartilage and joints

2. Brain and Nervous system:

Many nutrients are important for your brain and nervous system to function well. Some of the most significant ones include B-vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium. These nutrients are important in allowing our brain to send messages to the rest of the body.

3. Digestion:

In order to keep our gut health, we need fibre. Fibre from vegetables are key to help ensure your bowel movements are regular and keep your gut healthy and happy.

The vitamin and mineral found in vegetables are essential for the body to function. And an easy way to ensure we are getting enough of each nutrient is to Eat the Rainbow. Eating a variety of colours is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and even more important if you are suffering chronic illness.

As mentioned earlier, There are many benefits of eating the rainbow, from improvements in inflammation, to fibre and gut health. And we can’t forget antioxidants…

Vegetables and antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.

The sources of antioxidants can be artificial or natural – all fruits and vegetables have a variety of antioxidants (known as phytochemical), which give them their vibrant colours and with each carrying unique health benefits.

❤️Red –  full of antioxidants (particularly lycopene) including tomatoes, red berries, apple, red capsicum …

🧡Orange –  high in carotenoid which give us that bright orange colour in pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots.

💛Yellow – full of beta-carotene a great source of vitamin A. Enjoy, plenty of sweet corn, pineapple, lemon and yellow capsicum.

💚Green – the most nutrient dense food packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. From green leafy vegetables like spinach, silverbeet and kale to broccoli, zucchini and avocado.

💜 💙 Blue/Purple, containing powerful antioxidants. These can be found in blueberries, plum, purple carrot and eggplant

💟 White/Brown, Although low colour, they are packed full of nourishing goodness, showing benefits to every part of the body. From onions and garlic to mushrooms and potato.

So remember, to consider and enjoy the rainbow when you Try For 5! 

rainbow coloured vegetables and fruit all laying together

It’s all the colours of the rainbow!

Eating 5 serves of vegetables doesn’t have to be difficult. If you are aiming for 5 here are my top tips to help you achieve your goal.

  1. Eat vegetables that are seasonal. They are more affordable and also carry the essential vitamins needed to help you during that season.
  2. Frozen or Fresh? BOTH. Vegetable is a vegetable and if you are concerned about it not lasting long the frozen is just as good as fresh.
  3. Add more, and more.. if you have a dish aim to add more vegetables into it. It can be incorporated into the meal or added on the side. A fave is adding hidden vegetables to dishes such as spaghetti bolognese!

This year’s Try for 5 campaign presents an exclusive collection of vegetable-focused recipes, veg tips and information to inspire you to get more veg in your day. At this time, we need to look after our health, and the planet’s well-being too. With the Coronavirus pandemic we are making more meals at home than ever. It’s true that right now, we all want to feel connected with our family and our community.

Let’s celebrate and try for 5 serves of fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced veggies!

If you would like guidance or assistance with your diet and nutrition, our very own Dietitian Saabira Wazeer is here to help! To book an appointment just click below!

 

Saabira Wazeer HealthMint Medical Centre DietitianThis article was written by

Saabira Wazeer

Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and Counsellor.

Saabira is a friendly and motivational dietitian who practices the very unique non-diet approach. This means that instead of giving you a strict diet, Saabira will work with you on your relationship with food, in order to help you make meaningful changes that will last a lifetime. Saabira is extremely understanding and easy to work with, and knows how important it is to eat and enjoy a delicious range of foods.

Areas of interest:

  • Disordered eating behaviours for adults and children
  • Hormonal issues
  • Non-diet approach
  • Gut health
  • PCOS
You can find out more about the Dietitian services at HealthMint here
anxiety and tips to cope

Anxiety Symptoms and Tips to Cope

By Men's Health, Mental Health, Women's Health No Comments

Anxiety Symptoms and Tips to Cope

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is something that everyone experiences to varying degrees. Many people think that anxiety is just panic attacks and a sick feeling in your stomach, which it is, but it can also be so much more than that:

  • It can be the perfectionist tendencies
  • It can be your procrastination
  • It can be the thoughts that everyone is staring at you and judging you
  • It’s the hot and cold flushes
  • It’s the fear that you’ll say something wrong and look stupid.
  • Thinking that a potentially bad situation is going to be the end of the world
  • It’s feeling tired, weak and having trouble concentrating
  • It’s feeling fidgety and restless
  • It’s avoiding places and situations that you believe are going to cause you anxiety

Tips to cope with Anxiety

There are many effective ways to cope with feelings of anxiety:

  • First cab off the rank is the classic, and always in fashion, deep breathing.
  • Taking some slow and long deep breaths can help regulate your system, and decrease the feelings of anxiety.

If you struggle to take some slow, deep breaths, maybe try the 4-7-8 technique.

What is the 4-7-8 technique?

The 4-7-8 breathing technique (touted by integrative medicine expert Andrew Weil, MD) is thought to help reduce nervousness and stress, calm anxiety, and help people drift off to sleep more quickly.

It can actually change the speed at which your heart beats and promote the effective pumping of blood to various organs and muscles. Here’s how (and why) to do it.

  1. Breath in for four seconds through your nose
  2. Hold this breath for 7 seconds
  3. Exhale completely for 8 seconds through your mouth.

This forces the brain to focus on regulating your breathing, rather than your anxious thoughts and feelings.

Talk to yourself (no, seriously, have a chat with yourself).

Often time we let our anxious thoughts go unchecked, they just wash over you without you putting up a fight. When you have a negative or anxious thought, ask yourself: how likely is this to happen?

Lastly, try some grounding techniques. Grounding or mindful techniques help you stay present, focused on what is around you, and out of your head. 

  • Ask yourself, what are:
    • 5 things you can see
    • 4 things you can hear
    • 3 things you can touch
    • 2 things you can smell
    • 1 thing you can taste
  • If you’re around people, ask yourself questions about them, such as:
    • What is their favourite movie, food, celebrity
    • What is their superpower
    • What do they do for a living

Also having tangible things to help ground you can also be really helpful, such as a stress ball. Keep your mind focused on what the stress ball feels like in your hand, and how your fingers tense when squashing it and how they relax when you let the stress ball go.   

If you’re feeling like your anxiety is becoming overwhelming and it is difficult to cope, please reach out to your GP, come see a Psychologist or give a call to the many great support lines that are out there:

Beyond Blue: 1300-222 4636

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Lauren Foreman - Principal Psychologist Graham Psychology at healthMint medical centre in CroydonThis article was written by

Lauren Foreman

Principal Psychologist B.BSc, PostGradPsyc, GradDipProfPsych.

Lauren is a qualified psychologist who uses her experience from working in a wide range of social settings to enhance her treatment style.
Lauren has extensive experience working with high school aged children, professional athletes, in corporate settings, within the not-for-profit sector and is an experienced workplace trainer.  ​
Her treatment experience includes depression, grief and loss, anxiety, significant trauma and relationship counselling.

Graham Psychology at HealthMintGraham Psychology is at HealthMint Medical Centre in Croydon

Graham Psychology is a boutique service who offer a range of psychology services including:

Treatment for Stress, Anxiety and Depression​ | Sport psychology | Trauma counselling | Child and adolescent counselling | Autism (behavioural assessments and programs) | Anger management | Workcover referrals, NDIS and TAC claims | Employee resilience counselling | Grief and loss | Relationship counselling | Parenting advice | Addiction counselling | Eating disorders | Child Psychology | Corporate Services | Vocational Assessment | Supervision

For more information and to book an appointment visit here

patient and doctor sitting in an appointment discussing chronic disease management

Chronic Disease Management

By Chronic Disease, Chronic Pain, Diabetes No Comments

Chronic Disease Management in General Practice

Almost half of the population of Australia suffer with at least one chronic disease and these conditions account for the vast majority of the causes of illness, disability and death. Chronic diseases are also on the rise in our society, mainly due to longer life expectancy & a historical change in lifestyle.

So what is a chronic disease?

A chronic disease is a medical condition that is long term and persisting, slow to progress but can lead to severe disability and a shorter lifespan.

Examples of chronic diseases that are common in Australia include:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic back pain
  • Mental health conditions
  • Some cancers

What can I do to help manage my chronic condition?

There are many complex factors that contribute towards disease such as genetics, gender & environment, yet many conditions are triggered by lifestyle factors such as smoking, high alcohol consumption, poor diet (and obesity) and lack of physical activity.

Make sure you have a great GP

When you go to see a great GP if you have multiple issues to discuss, they will break them down into what’s most important and start with those, and invite you to return to spend more time going through the rest of the things on your list. That’s because a great GP knows that rushing through everything in one go is not really doing justice to your needs. You can read more about what to look for in a great GP

Have a healthy lifestyle

Live a healthy lifestyle. Many people with chronic conditions feel better with a good diet, being as active as they can be, being a healthy weight, not smoking and minimising alcohol.

Medication 

Understand the medication you take – make sure your GP reviews them on a yearly basis if you are taking them long term.

Management Plan

Ask your GP for a chronic disease management plan (see below)

The power of a good GP

People may not realise that GPs and practice nurses are experts in screening for risk factors of chronic health problems, poor lifestyle, recognise early symptoms as well as advising and empowering people on proactive lifestyle changes or active treatment to prevent the disease.

However, once a person has developed a chronic disease, the GP becomes the facilitator to direct that person’s care, with the focus being less on cure but control of progression,  avoidance of complications such as disability, hospitalisation and early death.

It could be argued that good GP care in recent times has helped revolutionise the care of illness, with the realistic expectation for people to live a near normal life with a chronic disease rather than suffer significant suffering and an early demise.

What is an integrated chronic disease management plan?

The Australian Government continues to invest in GPs leading disease management through the chronic disease management plan (CDM), a medicare rebatable case meeting with the GP and/or practice nurse to work in partnership with the patient to set goals of treatment and plan how these are going to be reached. Goals usually have a pragmatic and realistic focus on achieving optimal health and functional outcomes in living with the condition. The plan will involve various measures that incorporates clinician-led medical treatment and lifestyle measures that the patient is given the responsibility to build into their routine.

Part of this plan often involves generating a team care arrangement (TCA) to enlist the help of 2 or more allied health professionals such as a physiotherapist, podiatrist, dietitian etc to reach these health goals. Up to 5 visits to private allied health professionals are subsidised per year under these plans.

Not everyone qualifies for a CDM & TCA plan; the rules stipulate that a person must possess a valid medicare card and have a chronic medical condition. Medicare have entrusted GPs with the discretion of what constitutes a chronic disease, yet it is essentially an illness that has lasted for at least 6 months.

Separate from the CDM, there are also separately funded GP-led care plans enabled for diabetes and mental health, two of the more common long term health problems in our society.

Chronic disease management at HealthMint

At HealthMint we believe that the value of a high quality plan comes in a skilled, perceptive and enthusiastic GP and/or practice nurse dedicating a good amount of time to the patient, considering a tailored plan to the individual and providing practical tips on how to achieve the best health outcomes.

We are confident that we provide a superior service since time and effort has been put into gathering an excellent group of caring GPs and nurses who are provided with the time to spend getting to know their patients, enabling them to work in partnership to inspire and empower these patients to improve their health and quality of life in spite of their chronic disease.

We recommend that if you find yourself hampered by unpleasant symptoms of a chronic medical illness on a daily basis then do not waste another day settling for second best, and book an appointment with one of our GPs or practice nurses to discuss your management options.

Access the factsheet for patients on chronic disease management.

Dr Chris Madden GP at HealthMint Medical Centre Croydon Central Shopping CentreThis article was written by

Dr Chris Madden, GP

General Practitioner MBBS, FRACGP, DRCOG, DFSRH, BSc (Hons)

Chris is passionate about delivering high quality holistic care in the community. He really enjoys interacting with patients, recognising and advising on their physical and emotional problems as well as counselling on preventative medicine and lifestyle change to help people achieve their best long term health. Chris is devoted to educating, inspiring and mentoring future GPs & is an accredited supervisor & Medical Educator with Eastern Victoria GP Training. Chris is originally from the UK, having trained as a doctor in London, and moved to Melbourne in 2011 after completing his GP training. Away from work Chris loves spending time with his wife and kids as well as doing many activities such as jogging, cycling, bushwalking, swimming, socialising and travelling. Chris is also an avid fan of Leicester City Football Club.
woman practicing breathing techniques in nature and being mindful

Getting Started with Mindfulness

By General Wellbeing, Mental Health No Comments

What is mindfulness?

 

Originating from ancient Eastern traditions, mindfulness is essentially trying to connect our mind to the present moment, non-judgmentally.

However, when our mind swings from the past to the future, and back again, it can rarely have a chance to rest in the present.

Why can this be unhelpful for mindfulness?

 

When we recall painful memories/regrets, or worries for the future, we feel the horrible feelings that come with it and can’t do anything to change it.

We have no control over what has already happened or what is to be. Our power and control rests solely in the present moment.

What does being in a state of mindfulness feel like?

mindfulness words in a wave illustration

 

If you think about the moments when you feel most calm and at peace, it is usually when you’re completely engaged in the moment, free from unhelpful self-talk and stress.

It might be feeling the breeze on your face when you are outside, enjoying a hot shower, or being engrossed in a hobby.

Your whole being is involved and engaged in the moment, body and mind.

This integrated state is so different to what we are used to – driving home from work and thinking about dinner, on a zoom call but wishing you were talking to your friends and talking to your friends with your mind on housework!

How can mindfulness be achieved in daily life?

 

Try an activity where you can actively connect with your body:

  1. Laying on your back in bed/on the couch, feeling the rise and fall of your breath in your abdomen and chest.
  2. Body scan. Work your way slowly up from your feet to your forehead, simply noticing the sensations in each part. You can take this a step further by intentionally tightening and loosening muscle groups (progressive muscle relaxation)
  3. Taking a deep breath, stretching your hands up to the ceiling, and exhaling slowly allowing your arms to rest gently by your sides. This can be repeated for a few minutes

mother and daughter practicing yoga pose in the loungroom

Make the most of nature:

 The outdoors is an easy space for us to feel connected with our senses and trying to get outside when the weather is good can be helpful.

Use your senses to engage in the moment – what can you hear? See? Touch?

When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, trying to ask ourselves “What is under my control right now?”

These are simple practices we can all try no matter where we are, the aim being to make it more than a ‘practice’ but an awareness that can benefit our lives.

mindfulness woman in nature holding out her arms

 

To see where you are at in your mindfulness journey, you can try this simple questionnaire called Mindful Attention Awareness Scale 

Smiling Mind can support your (and your family’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. They offer a FREE daily mindfulness and meditation app and guide at your fingertips. You can learn more about them here

Priyanka Nair HealrhMint Medical Centre Psychologist

Priyanka Nair

General Psychologist (BHSc, MHSc, PGDipCounsPsych)

Priyanka is a lovely and warm registered Psychologist, trained in New Zealand.

The two main modalities used by Priyanka are, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). Priyanka also has experience with Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and has conducted skills-based groups for both adults and children.

Priyanka has worked with adults presenting with a range of concerns including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, work and financial issues, chronic fatigue, interpersonal difficulties, adjusting to physical illness, grief, and managing sleep. She has seen the impact of mental distress on career, relationships, and personal happiness, and aims to equip clients with skills to manage the mind. She is passionate about third wave psychology, and particularly resonates with ACT, a values-based, mindful approach to managing the mind and its thoughts/emotions.

Priyanka is aware of your needs, and will tailor every session to accommodate you. She is able to build rapport easily, and works with you to find a long-term approach to manage any unhelpful patterns in your lives.

Book Appointment

Watch Priyanka introduce herself here

HealthMint Telehealth consultations medical clinic update

Telehealth

By Business, Clinic News, Featured No Comments
You haven’t heard much from us since last week, so we wanted to give you all a quick update. Please help share  this post to help us notify as many of our patients as possible.
 
Please also bear with our team who are all working extra hard right now – we are inundated with calls, questions and bookings. We maxed out our phone lines 15 times today!
 
Paul and Chantelle have had their heads down working hard over the weekend and into the night to get a telehealth solution off the ground. This is something we hadn’t planned on rolling out formally for another year or so, but these are strange times! Our aim is to:
 
1. Keep our team and our patients well; and
2. Keep the practice going so that we can keep taking care of the community and keep taking pressure off hospitals
 
You know that we are always looking at things in new ways to create great potential. What we have now done is found a video platform and a workflow which makes it possible for our GPs to keep consulting from home. This means that in the worst case scenario, if the clinic has to physically close, or in the scenario that a practitioner is sick and needs to self-isolate, we can keep providing services. It also means that you don’t need to come into the clinic in order to have a consultation. We may also need to roll out clinic-wide teleconsults in the coming days as a preventative measure.
 
We are nearly booked out for tomorrow (Wednesday) for our on-site GPs, but we do have a couple of doctors who are trialling taking consultations from home. If you need an appointment, you can call up to get booked in for a teleconsult for tomorrow (and beyond).
 
There are a few limitations, and we are just testing this out now to see how it goes. The first limitation is with online booking. Hopefully in the next few days we will have a clear way for you to book these online. For now, if you could please call and request a teleconsult if you have any symptoms of any illness.
 
The second limitation is the Medicare rebate. We currently can’t provide rebates for all services via video consult. We have decided to trial this service at a rate of $25 per 5 minute block (or part thereof). We had done this previously with phone consults. We will monitor how things go, and may change the price or length of consults as we get some data. There are limited situations where bulk billing may be available, but this is complex and on a case by case basis.
 
The third limitation is taking payment. We don’t have a way (yet) for you to put in your payment details and have payment taken automatically after the consult (like uber). So reception will be calling you afterwards to take payment. We are relying on your honesty and goodwill towards us to make this as easy for us as possible, so we can keep things going.
 
Now is the time when communities band together, and we want you all to know that we are here for you, fighting for you. Please fight for us, work with our team and help us to keep them and you safe. 💚

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here

Virus Symptoms

By Flu, Hygiene, Respiratory, Virus No Comments

Virus Symptoms:

Viruses are a common part of our lives. Virus symptoms are usually similar, and we can be struck down by one at least once a year. Once a family member falls ill, it is only a matter of time before it can spread to the other members of the household, making it feel like the sickness has gone on forever!

Each year, viruses change and different strains can circulate in the population. Currently, the coronavirus is flooding our news. While we are still learning about the virus, it has been around in different strains for many years in animals, however this is the first strain that has infected humans. What we do know about this virus and other similar viruses, can help keep our children and families safe.

NOTE: If you have travelled overseas, been in contact with someone who has travelled overseas and/or suspect you may have the novel coronavirus please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 PRIOR to visiting a GP practice.

What is the coronavirus?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies Coronavirus (CoV) as a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

Click here for up to date information on the coronavirus from the Australian Department of Health.

What are the symptoms of the virus?

Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, respiratory symptoms and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Is the virus a cause for panic?

At the time of publishing this blog, there are 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, and every measure is being taken to limit the spread of the virus. It is important to stay informed and listen to the advice of health officials.

It is also very important to not panic if your child or family member gets a cough, a cold or a fever – or all three combined! It is far more likely to be the common cold, or the flu (influenza) than it is to be coronavirus.

Just for a bit of perspective, influenza infects many more people every year – in the millions worldwide. For 2019, there were a total of 310,011 laboratory confirmed cases in Australia, with 812 deaths that were notified to the NDSS.

People with existing health problems, weakened immune systems and older adults are at a higher risk of influenza, coronavirus and other common viruses.

When should I seek medical attention for virus symptoms?

Symptoms of a virus that need medical attention:

  • Severe cough that will not subside
  • A high fever that won’t come down with the aid of ibuprofen
  • Extreme fatigue and unusual sleepiness
  • Refusing to eat and drink – not going to the toilet for several hours and not having a wet nappy, and any signs of dehydration
  • Trouble breathing – sucking in around the ribs, rapid or heavy breathing

How you can reduce your chances of being infected by a virus:

  • Wash your hands! Use soap and water, and wash consistently for at least 20 seconds – or as long as it takes for your children to sing the alphabet song.
  • If you are out and don’t have access to a sink then ensure you have a bottle of sanitiser at the ready. Make sure you give your hands and in-between fingers a thorough rub.
  • Wash or sanitise hands before and after meals, after being around anyone who might be sick, after being in public places like parks, playgrounds and shopping centres and on public transport
  • Teach your kids not to touch their mouths, eyes, noses with their hands. Carry tissues or baby wipes for those sneezes and avoid hankies which are breeding grounds for bacteria.
  • Make sure your child has had the flu vaccine. The flu is far more common and bigger threat in Australia than the coronavirus.
  • Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing

WHO advises people of all ages to to take steps to protect themselves from the virus by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

What to do if you have virus symptoms or suspect you have the novel coronavirus

IMPORTANT: If you have travelled recently or been in contact with anyone who has travelled overseas and you suspect you may have the novel coronavirus, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 PRIOR to visiting a GP practice.

A list of countries with confirmed cases can be found here.

 If your child does have a fever and cough don’t panic, trust your gut instinct and make an appointment with your GP if you do have concerns. If you are going to visit a GP practice please call up and inform reception beforehand that you are coming in and please wear a face mask.

the importance of mental health scrabble tiles healthmint cranbourne medical centre

The Importance of Mental Health

By Lifestyle, Mental Health No Comments

What is mental health and why is it so important?

Mental health is an important during every stage of life – from childhood to adulthood. Understanding the importance of mental health is vital to optimising all aspects of wellbeing. Mental health is inclusive of our psychological, emotional and social wellbeing.

HealthMint psychologist Priyanka Nair explains that mental Health affects how we think, feel and act, and therefore is directly linked to how we handle stress and the situations life throws our way. Working towards a healthy mind is a lot about unlearning our unhelpful ways of thinking/behaving, and learning helpful ways to manage stressors. 

The World Health Organisation defines good mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

How to improve mental health

We can improve our mental health by taking care of our body (eating healthy, getting enough sleep, slowing down), connecting with others (friends/family/community), and spending time doing things we enjoy.  Maintaining a gratitude journal and working towards achieving a goal can also help us feel positive and motivated.

Seeking professional support can be helpful at times when things are overwhelming, and psychologists can help equip you with skills to better manage stress, low mood, and relationships. 

Here are several ways you can take steps to improve your mental health today:woman happy with her mental health healthmint

  1. Exercise
  2. Eating well
  3. Going to bed on time
  4. Writing down something you are grateful for
  5. Be positive to yourself
  6. Open up to someone you trust
  7. Do an act of kindness or to be helpful
  8. Knowing your limits and taking a break

What is a mental health plan?

A mental health care plan is something you can complete with your GP if you are experiencing mental health issues. It involves collaboratively forming goals with your GP, and receiving a referral to a psychologist for 6 sessions.

These 6 sessions allow you to receive a medicare rebate of $86.15 per session (for general psychologist), and ensures a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to your care. Individuals are entitled to 10 medicare rebates per calendar year for individual psychology sessions.

importance of mental health

How can exercise improve mental health?

  • Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood.
  • It gets you out of the house and into the community –  encouraging connections with others, and reducing feelings of loneliness/isolation.
  • It helps regulate your sleep so you can have a goods nights rest which helps to make you feel more energised during the day.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Priyanka Nair - Psychologist HealthMint

 

Priyanka Nair is a general psychologist at HealthMint

For more information on our psychology services, click here

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
dr terence from healthmint medical centre performing a blood pressure check at berwick lifestyle community

High Blood Pressure – Symptoms & Treatment

By Body Systems, Elderly and ageing No Comments

High Blood Pressure – What is it?

Firstly, your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving against the walls of your arteries. It is expressed as two numbers.

High blood pressure (HBP) is also known as hypertension. It means that the pressure in your arteries is high then what is in a normal range.

Your blood pressure should be below 120/80.

It is the leading and most important risk factor for stroke.

As your age increases, so does your chances of having a persistently high blood pressure.

Over time, elevated and high blood pressure can also weaken your heart, blood vessels and kidneys, and makes a stroke or heart attack more likely.

 

high blood pressure symptoms and treatment healthmint medical centre

When should I have my BP checked?

It is easiest to get your blood pressure checked at every visit to your GP.

If you already have high blood pressure, every 3 months is recommenced, and every 4-8 weeks if your current medication is being changed. 

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

It is very important to get your blood pressure checked as there are no symptoms that can directly be felt to indicate you have high blood pressure.

While high blood pressure has no exact cause, it may develop due to the following reasons: A family history, your exercise and physical activity levels, weight, food and alcohol intake.

What is the treatment for high blood pressure?

An appointment with your GP is the best way to figure out treatment for high BP.

Medication is the most common form of treatment, and while they can not cure high blood pressure, medication can certainly control it. Once you start taking medication for high BP, it is likely you will have to keep taking it for the rest of your life.

Other things like positive lifestyle changes can also help control your blood pressure. Making healthier choices and increasing your activity levels are some of the options your GP may discuss with you.

 

going kayaking and making healthy lifestyle changes to help manage high blood pressureWhat are the benefits of managing my BP?

Managing your blood pressure can help decrease the risk of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, nerve damage.

It is very important to get it checked regularly. Any of the GPs at HealthMint can do this for you when you book an appointment at the clinic.

If you have any concerns about your BP, it is best to seek medical advice.

 

Check out an infographic from HBPRCA here.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
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