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General Wellbeing

Get Set to Quit for World No Tobacco Day

By Cancer, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

Get Set to Quit for World No Tobacco Day

 

 

We all know by now that smoking is not healthy, but over time it is easy to get complacent. May 31st is World No Tobacco Day, which is a yearly reminder of the damage that tobacco does to individuals, families and communities – and hopefully provides an extra incentive to quit. Here are some reasons to give a gentle reminder to your loved ones that it’s time to quit.

Tobacco and Heart Disease

The focus of this year’s No Tobacco Day is heart disease, which is just one of the many health concerns that come from smoking. Smoking puts people at a hugely increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use is the second leading cause of CVD.

More than 7 million people worldwide die from tobacco-related disease. And it’s not just people who choose to smoke who are effected – around 900,000 of those deaths are non-smokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke from people around them.

Tobacco and Cancer

Cancer is a scary word – but even more scary is how much of a risk factor tobacco use can be. Smoking is the leading risk factor for preventable cancer, and 1 in 5 deaths from cancer are caused by smoking. The tobacco in cigarettes has more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals that are inhaled, and spread through the lungs and throughout the body.

Supporting Smokers

Just over 16% of Australians smoke, and 3 out of 4 smokers say they would like to quit. Clearly quitting is a difficult process, and it needs to be approached with support, respect and understanding. But while quitting is hard, the consequences of not quitting are much more serious.

It doesn’t matter how many times it takes for someone to fully quit, whether they cut down first or go “cold turkey”, whether they use nicotine products or simply stop all usage. The most important thing is that the tobacco goes, for good. Your wallet and every part of your body, including your future health, will thank you for it.

If you know a smoker or smoke yourself, it’s often best to have a plan in place before you quit. There are many good resources online to help you learn more about the quitting process. Another great place to get ongoing help and support is from your GP. They can advise you on what products and methods are available for you, and support you through the process.

On World No Tobacco Day, decide that today is the day to finally say goodbye to tobacco.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss quitting smoking ->

Listening Out for Hearing Loss: Hearing Awareness Week

By Elderly and ageing, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

Listening Out for Hearing Loss

 

 

Did you know that it is estimated that 1 in 4 Australians could have some form of hearing damage by 2050? It takes the average Australian 7 years to seek help for hearing loss after they begin to suspect it might be a problem. Awareness of challenges faced by people with hearing loss is important, as is protecting hearing in people who do not yet have severe hearing loss.

Causes of Hearing Loss

There are many factors that could contribute to loss of hearing – genetics, diabetes and smoking can speed up its effects. However, a shocking one third of all cases of hearing loss are as a result of exposure to excessive noise.

Damage to hearing builds up over time. The louder the noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the greater the risk is to your hearing.

What is Excessive Noise?

As a general guide, noise is excessive when someone has to raise their voice to communicate to someone who is an arm’s length away. Workplace noise used to be the most common cause of hearing loss, but a major rising concern is personal listening devices, especially worn by young people. They really can cause permanent damage. The general rule is that if someone else can hear the music while ear buds are in, it’s too loud.

Just because someone already has hearing damage doesn’t mean they don’t have to worry about excessive noise – on the contrary, it’s even more important that they protect the hearing they have left. If you struggle to hear properly at a normal volume, don’t turn it louder – seek help.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Because losing your hearing is often a gradual process, it is easy to miss. People who know you well might notice the first signs of your hearing loss before you do. If you’re wondering if you might have some hearing loss, ask yourself:

  • Do other people complain about how loudly you turn up the TV or radio?
  • Are you uncomfortable in situations with a lot of background noise?
  • Do you strain to hear at places like the cinema?
  • Do you often have to ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Can you hear clearly when using your telephone?
  • Do you always hear the doorbell and your phone?
  • Do you hear that people are talking but struggle to make out all of the words?

The sooner someone addresses hearing loss, the better chance they have of slowing down its progression. If you have any suspicions, or even just want to reassure yourself, tests are very simple and cheap (or even free).

Take Action

If you have any concerns about your hearing, get checked. The treatments for hearing loss have come a long way since the days of big, clunky hearing aids, and new products are in development all the time, so the fear of hearing aids shouldn’t stop you from seeing someone about your hearing. Don’t wait for years, just to become another statistic. Ask your GP to refer you to a hearing specialist, and start taking control of your hearing – because once it’s gone, it won’t come back.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss hearing loss –>

5 Tricks to Make Your New Years Resolutions Stick

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

5 Tricks to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

 

 

We’ve almost reached the end of January, and for many people the resolutions made this year are already starting to slip. If you made some health goals for this year, they’re worth keeping! Here are five simple tips to get you back on track, and to help make sure your health goals really stick.

  1. Pick a goal that’s right for you.

If you’re going to make changes, it has to be for the right reasons. There can be a lot of pressure from society in general to make certain goals, but they’re very unlikely to stick if you’re not personally convinced.

Don’t just dust off the same goals as every year – spend some time to carefully think about the goals that are really important to you and how you might realistically achieve them with the time and resources available to you this year.

  1. Be S.M.A.R.T. with your health.

In a 1981 paper in the Journal of Management Review, George T. Doran coined an acronym that can help you make goals you can actually keep. Think S.M.A.R.T.! Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Vague or overly ambitious plans with no way to measure your achievements can trip you up before you even get started.

  1. Give yourself reason to celebrate.

While most people have an end-goal in mind, making a series of smaller goals to get to that point will help give you strategy and motivation. Give yourself a list of achievements to tick off along the way, and make sure to celebrate your progress! Small, permanent changes will lead to big results.

Remember that not all celebration has to include cake! Often we associate rewards with food-based treats, but for most health goals that strategy is unhelpful. Giving yourself some time off, purchasing a luxury item or a planned sleep-in will make you feel better in the long run.

  1. Stay positive.

It makes absolutely no sense to be mad at yourself for missing a step. Not only should you be proud that you are committed to improvement, remember that if your goals are making you more miserable than happy you’re more likely to throw in the towel. Take a deep breath and start again, as many times as it takes.

If you find that you’re consistently missing your targets, consider having another look at why that might be happening. Are your goals unrealistic? Do you need extra support? Do you have specific strategies in place for when you’re tempted to fall off the wagon? Your goals need to be designed to fit you, not the other way around.

  1. Get help.

Resolutions are much easier to keep when you work on them with other people. Instead of a vague announcement of your intentions, try to share your specific goals and strategies with someone who will help keep you on track in the long term.

Displaying your goals (short- and long-term) somewhere you can see them can help. There are also many apps and websites available to help you stay on track. If you have specific health goals, talk to your GP about safe and effective ways you can achieve them.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to talk about your health goals –>

Mind Your Stress – How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Life

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Mental Health

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 –>

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 –>

Focus on Healthy Bones for World Osteoporosis Day

By Elderly and ageing, General Wellbeing, Men's Health, Women's Health

Focus on Healthy Bones for World Osteoporosis Day

 

 

In 2017, more than 160,000 Australians will be treated for broken bones due to osteoporosis. Around 80% of patients with broken bones leave hospital without being checked for osteoporosis, so that number could be significantly higher. The 20th of October is a day set apart around the world for focusing on bone health. Osteoporosis is a condition that affects Australians from all walks of life, and you can start taking steps at almost any stage of life to decrease the risk of breaking or fracturing a bone as a result of this condition.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis refers to a condition where bones lose essential minerals (like calcium) quicker than the body can replace them. That leads to the bones becoming less thick and strong. The bones then become more porous and less dense, which weakens them – sometimes to the point where even a small bump or fall can lead to fractures. Over 1 million people in Australia, both men and women, have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Osteopenia is a related condition that occurs before osteoporosis. A diagnosis of osteopenia means that your bone density falls between the normal range and diagnosed osteoporosis, so you need to take action to increase the health of your bones to avoid developing osteoporosis.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

A simple scan can diagnose osteoporosis, called a “bone mineral density test”. The scan usually focuses on the hip and spine to see how much mineral loss may have occurred. The scan is a simple process – it requires that you lie flat on a padded table (while fully clothed), and a machine passes a scanning arm over your body. The scan does not usually take more than 10 – 15 minutes.

What risk factors can lead to osteoporosis?

Avoiding osteoporosis starts from a young age – calcium is extremely important for children and adolescents to build strong bones, and many are not getting enough. Some medications can affect bone health, and these side effects need to be discussed with your doctor. During menopause, rapidly declining levels of oestrogen make women more at risk of osteoporosis. Men’s hormone levels decline more slowly, so their increased risk often occurs later in life.

Some medications, health conditions and your family history can indicate an increased risk of osteoporosis. Being under- or overweight, low levels of physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition can also lead to the condition.

How is osteoporosis treated?

It is very important that osteoporosis is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Resistance, muscle-strengthening, and weight-bearing exercises are the best for increasing bone health. Weight-bearing exercises include any activity where you support your own body weight, like jogging or dancing. In addition, you will need to eliminate negative lifestyle factors – that includes avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, and keeping your body weight in a healthy range.

Calcium is extremely important for building strong bones. If you cannot get enough calcium from your diet, a supplement might be prescribed. Vitamin D levels also need to be adequate for good bone health. Your body can make vitamin D with just a few minutes of direct sunlight, but supplements are available if you are struggling to keep your levels high enough. Protein is also important for building bones.

 

Your GP can help you assess your risk factors, and arrange for bone testing if necessary. Talk to your doctor about any medications or health conditions that might affect your bone health. Early diagnosis will give you the best possible chance of avoiding fractures and keeping your bones healthy and strong.

 

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss bone health and screening –>

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