Category: Mens Health

Southbank Medical Centre

Men’s Health Checkups

mens health

mens health checkupNormally, deliveries of healthcare and strategies for disease prevention are generally meant to be ‘gender neutral’ and assume that healthcare interventions are equally successful for both men and women. However, studies are increasingly showing that this is not the case anymore. Instead evidence shows that focusing on the particular health needs of both men and women will improve the health of both groups.

When it comes to men’s health, research shows that men require a better-informed and planned response to their specific health care needs. Of particular concern for men include lower life expectancy on average, higher levels of avoidable mortality and higher rates of death from heart disease, cancer, suicide and respiratory diseases. The causes of these health issues are multifaceted, and there are range of factors involved such as health illiteracy, attitude and lifestyle behaviors. 

As such it is very important for males to not only have a healthy diet and regular exercise, but to also have regular medical checkups with your doctor. There are various types of men’s health checkups, each individually being very helpful in preventing disease and improving your quality of life;

Physical Health Tests

will involve your doctor checking your physique to ensure you remain physically healthy. Your doctor will assess your medical history and may look at your dietary habits, work habits, exercise habits and your relationship status to determine your physical health. Depending on your doctor’s assessment, you may be recommended to get a specific checkup. 

Psychological Health Tests

are very important in helping diagnose and treat mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and stress. A psychologist will aid you in coping with your mental illness and will help maintain your mental health. 

Men’s Heart Checkups

are necessary to identify cardiovascular diseases that may show up as you grow older. Your doctor may perform a variety of tests, including (but not limited to) cholesterol tests, obesity tests, Echocardiogram tests and blood pressure tests. These tests will ensure whether your heart is healthy or not, reducing your risk of cardiovascular problems. 

Bone Tests

identify skeletal diseases such as osteoporosis. As part of a bone test, you may be required to get X-rays, a tomography, bone density tests and biopsies. These tests will ensure your bones remain healthy. 

Diabetes Checkups

will be recommended based on if you smoke, have an unhealthy diet, have cardiovascular disease or have a family history of diabetes. 

Cancer Screenings

include screening for prostate and bowel cancer. These are important tests conducted to catch cancerous diseases in order to treat them as early as possible. 

Skin Checkups

are important if you have regular exposure to sunlight and UV radiation. Men are showed to be more double as likely as women to contract skin cancer. You should contact your doctor in the case of any abnormal change in color or shape of your skin.

Eye Health Checkups

are recommended annually for men above 40 years of age. This will help reduce the risk of you developing diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and general eyesight deterioration. 

Dental Health Checkups

are recommended for every 6 months to help maintain healthy oral hygiene. 

Neurological Health Tests

help identify whether you have any risk of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Dyslexia or brain tumors.

Southgate Medical
Men’s Health Checkups

What Is Anxiety, And How Should You Best Manage It?

what is anxiety

what is anxiety disorderThere is more to anxiety than just the feeling of stress or worry. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious during stressful situations. When we feel pressured, feelings of stress and anxiety are common responses that usually disappear when the stressful situation passes. However, if your feelings of stress occur regularly or don’t go away, this might mean that you are experiencing an anxiety condition.  

In Australia, anxiety is the most common mental health condition, with around one in four Australians (one in three women and one in five men) experiencing it during their lifetime. Every year, over two million Australians experience anxiety. 

The sooner people get support, the more likely they are to recover and there are many ways to help manage it. 

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms are complex and evolve over time, and since we all experience anxious feelings during periods of stress, it can be hard to know if our feelings are normal or not. 

Normal feelings that people experience are limited in time and tend to be connected to a stressful situation or event, such as a group presentation or a job interview. In contrast, anxious feelings experienced are more regular, not always connected to stressful situations, and can impact on day-to-day quality of life. While each person can experience different types, there are some common symptoms including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Quick breathing
  • Excessive fear/worry
  • Avoidance of certain situations

There are more symptoms that you may experience, and you will need to see a doctor to properly be diagnosed with anxiety condition. However, these can be used as a guide for yourself and others. 

Treatments for anxiety

Mental HealthEffective treatment for anxiety involves helping you learn how to control your anxiety so it doesn’t control you. What treatment is recommended for you will depend on what type of anxiety you experience. 

If your symptoms are mild, your doctor might suggest changes to you daily routine, such as regular physical exercise. In this time of isolation, you might also like to try online or telehealth therapies, many of which are free, anonymous and easily accessible for anyone with internet access. For instance, if you are a university student, your university should offer free and anonymous counselling a phone call away. 

If you experience moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety, psychology and/or medical treatments are likely to be required. Psychology treatment can involve Cognitive Behavior therapy and Behavior therapy, which will be designed by a mental health care professional for your needs. You may also be prescribed a form of antidepressant medication or antianxiety medication (also known as Benzodiazephines). 

Management strategies

If you experience an anxiety condition, there are a range of strategies you can try to help manage your mental health. Here is a short list of a few strategies that may help:

  • Slow breathing. When you’re experiencing anxiety, your breathing becomes faster and you may hyperventilate. Try deliberately slowing your breathing.
  • Stay in the moment. Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a fearsome future that hasn’t happened yet. Try to bring yourself to where you are presently.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. By keeping active, eating well, spending time with family and friends, you will reduce your stress and anxiety levels, improving your overall wellbeing.
  • Take small acts of bravery. Avoiding what makes you anxious can bring some relief but can make you more anxious in the long run. If you try approaching something that makes you anxious, even in a small way, you can go a long way to overcoming your anxiety.
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are not defined by your anxiety, and that your anxiety does not make you weak or inferior in anyway.

If you feel that you may experience an anxiety condition, be sure to seek support from not just your doctor, but also from your family and friends. 

If you require support, don’t hesitate to call for help

Southgate Medical Centre – 03 9690 1433

Lifeline Australia – 13 14 11

Beyond Blue – 1800 512 348

Top Tips: Managing Stress during COVID-19

Managing Stress during COVID-19

Managing Stress during COVID-19The past few months have been incredibly strange, scary, and unnerving. Understandably, many of us are feeling more stressed than usual, with everyday demands shifting from what we are all used to. Although easier said than done, it is important that we take care of ourselves and try to manage our stress as well as possible.

Here are our suggested tips for lowering stress and keeping mentally healthy:

Asking for Support  | Managing Stress during COVID-19

As we’ve all been in isolation, in quarantine, working from home, looking after kids and family in confined spaces, it’s not surprising that we’re all feeling somewhat disconnected from each other. Luckily with technology today we are able to reach loved ones quickly. Make a time to call a friend/family member. Even if the call is only for 5 minutes – check up on them, and don’t hesitate to ask for their support, too.

Limit News Time | Managing Stress during COVID-19

News of COVID-19 is everywhere at the moment. However – for some, it can be too confronting to read and watch the news every day. If you feel like the constant news coverage is doing more harm than good, limit time spent reading the news. Choose one way of receiving COVID-related updates, and avoid all others.

Good Sleep Hygiene | Managing Stress during COVID-19

Mental HealthOne benefit of working from home is being able to sleep in a little longer! Take advantage of the extra hour or two you have at home (instead of the normal commute). Try and practice good sleep habits – going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Limiting screen time and caffeine before bed. You might not have another opportunity to reset your sleep/wake cycle.

Speaking to a professional

Sometimes you need a little extra help dealing with stress. Talk to your GP/psychologist/mental health practitioner. They’re here to help you and they are feeling the effects of the pandemic too. Take advantage of telehealth appointments, and make sure you take the necessary time to look after yourself as well as everybody else around you.

Unique experience

What is most important is to remember that this time has been a unique experience for us all. There is no correct way to react to a pandemic. Be kind to yourself and reflect on the magnitude of the situation.

Southgate Medical Centre
03 9690 1433

Lifeline Australia – 13 14 11.

Beyond Blue – 1800 512 348.

Improving Your Sleep Can Improve Your Mental Health

Improving Your Sleep Can Improve Your Mental Health

Improving Your Sleep Can Improve Your Mental HealthSleep difficulties are a feature of nearly every mental health difficulty, including depression, anxiety, trauma, substance use issues, bipolar disorder and psychosis or schizophrenia. Take depression for example. Up to 90% of individuals with depression have sleep difficulties, and two out of every three have significant enough sleep problems to also have a diagnosis of chronic insomnia.

Worse still, insomnia does not tend to go away on its own without appropriate treatment. This is because once people start to sleep poorly, they tend to develop ways of thinking and behaving around sleep that make their problems worse over the long run.

Fortunately, there is a treatment out there that can improve your sleep. It’s called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). It directly targets these unhelpful thoughts and behaviours around sleep, and is the most recommended treatment for insomnia by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 

CBT-I is an effective treatment for insomnia. Research findings show it to be similar to sleeping pills at improving sleep in the short-term, and much more effective than sleeping pills at improving sleep in the long-term.

Sleeping pills are not recommended for use beyond 2-4 weeks at a time, because they stop working as well after a while and people may need to take bigger doses over time to get the same effects. Sometimes doctors prescribe them more because they think they will work faster for patients, but even one session of CBT-I has been shown to make a significant difference to one’s sleep at night.

Research shows that CBT-I consistently reduces the time taken to get to sleep, decreases the amount of time spent awake during the night, and improves sleep quality and efficiency, with improvements persisting after treatment finishes. CBT-I can also improve your mood, anxiety, stress and fatigue, so if you are struggling with your mental health, improving your sleep can make a difference to your overall level of functioning and wellbeing.

If you would like to receive a referral for CBT-I treatment, please talk to your GP today.

Dr Damon Ashworth
Clinical Psychologist
Improving Your Sleep Can Improve Your Mental Health

Southgate Medical Centre

Mental Health During Covid-19

depression

 

Mental HealthMental Health is just as important as physical health, especially during an unprecedented time of lockdowns and isolation. In Australia, mental illnesses are very common, with about 20% of Australians aged 16-85 experiencing a mental illness in any year. Almost half of Australians will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. The most common mental illnesses are depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders, and can often occur in combination. 

Australian youth are at the most risk of mental illness, with the onset of mental illness typically occurring during mid-to-late adolescence (18-24 years old). Further, 54% of people with mental illness do not seek any treatment, which worsens their mental health as access to treatment is essential. Over 75% of people with mental illness who seek treatment see their mental outlook improve immensely. This is especially important as mental health illnesses cause distress, impact on day-to-day activities and can sometimes cause poor physical health and suicide. 

On the other side, maintaining positive mental health has shown increased learning, creativity and productivity. In some cases, physical health and life expectancy improves substantially. However, mental health is complex, and someone not experiencing a mental illness may not necessarily have positive mental health. Similarly, it’s possible to experience a mental illness while feeling positively well in many other aspects of life. Ultimately, maintaining positive mental health is not just about the absence of mental illness, but also about being emotionally and socially healthy. 

Treating Mental Illness | Mental Health During Covid-19

depressionIf you feel that you may be affected by depression, anxiety, substance abuse or any other mental illness, remember that these illnesses are treatable by widely available measures. The earlier you seek support, the better. At SGMC, we offer the services of two experienced psychologists (Dr Phoebe Lau & Dr Damon Ashworth). Further, our GP’s are more than willing to talk and help refer you to a Mental Health Care Plan if you require it. 

Just talking to your friends and family about your mental health can help a lot as well, and there are trained counselors available online just a call away.

Maintaining Positive Well Being

Keeping your mind healthy is an important part in maintain positive overall health and wellbeing. Here are a few tips to help maintain your positive mental health

  • Spend time with friends and loved ones
  • Talk about your feelings regularly, it’s important to not bottle up your emotions
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Avoid illicit drugs
  • Keep active and maintain a positive diet
  • Develop new skills and hobbies
  • Set realistic goals
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule

Doing all or most of these tips will help improve your mental outlooks immensely, and help prevent you from experiencing mental illness. 

If you require support, don’t hesitate to call for help

Southgate Medical Centre – 03 9690 1433

Lifeline Australia – 13 14 11

Beyond Blue – 1800 512 348

Southgate Medical Centre
Mental Health During Covid-19

Top 7 Most Common Allergies

Allergies

Allergies are the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia, with over 4.1 million Australians having at least one allergy during their lifetime. Allergies are most common in children and adolescents, and include allergies to food, insects, drugs, and pets. It is predicted that the number of Australians with allergies will increase to over 7 million by 2050. Therefore, it is important to recognise the symptoms of allergic reactions and how to prevent them. 

What is an allergy? | Top 7 Most Common AllergiesTop 7 Most Common Allergies

An allergy is when our immune system overreacts to something that interacts with our body that is typically harmless to the majority of people. Allergic reactions are triggered by allergens, and allergens can be found everywhere (in the air, our food, drinks and in the general environment). Common examples are pollen, insects, certain food, latex and pets. Typically, most people do not react to allergens. However, in some cases allergic reactions can result in a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from mild headaches and sinus problems to life-threatening Anaphylaxis reactions. 

Food Allergies

Food allergies are one of the most common allergies experienced by people all over the globe. The latest research suggests that a whopping 3.7 million Australians are affected by food allergies; food allergy symptoms are most common in children under 5 years of age. The good news is that most of these children “outgrow” or become “tolerant” to their allergy with the passage of time. 

While any food item can theoretically trigger an allergic reaction, there are eight types of food items that are notoriously famous for causing allergies. These are Milk, Fish, Eggs, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy and Tree nuts.

In addition to this, some people are also allergic to certain seeds such as mustard and sesame seeds.

Food allergies can affect the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, the skin, and the cardiovascular system. Some of the most common symptoms of food allergies are repetitive coughing, vomiting, wheezing, stomach cramps, tongue swelling, hives, weak pulse, shortness of breath and Anaphylaxis. 

Sadly, there is currently no cure for food allergies, which means the best way to prevent food allergies is to strictly avoid the food items that trigger them in the first place. To minimize your exposure to food allergens, always read and understand food labels and be careful of potential cross-contamination when preparing food. Tell the wait staff about your food allergies when you’re ordering food at a restaurant. Know the symptoms of your food allergies and always carry an emergency medical kit just in case. 

Skin Allergies | Top 7 Most Common Allergies

southbank medical centreSkin allergies effect hundreds of thousands of Australians each year, which can have a significant impact on their work and family life. Anything from pollen and cigarette smoke to dyes and fragrances can trigger an allergic reaction if it comes in contact with the skin. Skin allergies can also be triggered by certain food items and medications or illnesses. Some common triggers of skin allergies are pollen, laundry detergent, sunlight, soap and certain chemicals. 

Some of the common symptoms of skin allergies include redness, scaling, rash, cracked skin and swelling. Unfortunately there is no cure for skin allergies which means the best way to prevent skin allergies is to strictly avoid anything that triggers them in the first place. 

Skin allergic reactions have sometimes been shown to cause long term skin disorders. Eczema (atopic dermatitis), Hives (urticarial) and Contact dermatitis have all been shown to be a result of skin allergic reactions.

Dust Allergies | Top 7 Most Common Allergies

Dust is everywhere in the environment and unfortunately it can cause an allergic reaction for some people. Increased quantities of dust in the air can cause some people to experience symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, dry throat and itchy eyes. 

These reactions are a result of allergens in dust. Some common allergens include mites, mold spores, sand, animal dander and hair. Hay fever, a type of dust allergy, is caused by seasonal allergens such as pollen. 

The best way to manage a dust allergy is to minimise your exposure to dust or similar triggers. It is impossible to live in a completely dust-free environment, but you can minimise the amount of dust in your home. Other than regular cleaning of your home, you can avoid using carpets, keep pets outside and use HEPA air cleaners. 

Pet Allergies

There are millions of Australians who live with pets, but for the unfortunate few, pets (particularly cats and dogs) can cause an allergic reaction to people who come in contact with a pet. Proteins found in pet urine, hair dander, fur, saliva and skin can trigger an allergic reactions in some people. Additionally, pet fur and hair can also collect airborne allergens such as pollen and spores which can aggravate asthma symptoms in some people. Some common pet allergy symptoms are rashes, hives, sneezing, coughing, wheezing and itchy eyes.

If you are allergic to pets, the most effective way to manage or prevent pet allergic reactions is to avoid being around cats and dogs or other pets. Additionally you can keep pets out of living areas and off of furniture. You can also avoid using carpets, clean your home regularly and use HEPA air cleaners. 

Mold Allergies

Molds aka fungal spores are found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. We all breathe these tiny fungal spores whenever we inhale, but for some people, inhaling to many mold spores can cause an allergic reaction. 

When inhaled in substantial quantities, these mold spores get deposited on the inside lining of the nose and can trigger asthma symptoms. Some common symptoms of mold allergies are nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and hives. 

Like any other type of allergies, the best treatment for mold allergy is to avoid or minimise mold exposure. There are many practical steps you can take at your end to reduce or eliminate mold spores from your living environment. You can use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to control the amount of moisture in the air in order to prevent mold growth. You can also use HEPA air cleaners, clean regularly and keep bathroom surfaces dry.

Drug Allergies

flu shots melbourneTypically, drugs result in a reaction that is typically a side effect of taking the drug. However, in some cases, the drug may cause a person to experience an allergic reaction which is not a side effect. Some common symptoms of drug allergies are irregular heartbeats, rash, hives, swelling, wheezing and fainting. 

While not all drugs cause allergic reactions, some common causes of drug allergies are aspirin, chemotherapy drugs, penicillin, anticonvulsants and anti-inflammatory drugs. 

If you are allergic to certain medications, ask your doctor about alternative drugs and consider wearing a bracelet or carry a card that identifies your allergy to drugs in case of a medical emergency. 

Latex Allergies

Latex is a natural substance (sap) that comes from the rubber trees and used for making many commonly used products such as rubber bands, rubber gloves, condoms, toys, balloons, toys, bandages, and rubber balls. Contact with the products that are made with rubber can cause allergic reactions in some people. Some common symptoms of latex allergies are rashes, swelling, hives, wheezing, coughing, diarrhea and vomiting. 

The best way to avoid allergic reactions to latex is to avoid or minimise your usage of products containing latex. You should try to use non latex alternatives for products such as gloves or condoms.

Southgate Medical Centre
Top 7 Most Common Allergies
Doctor Melbourne

Obesity And Hormones

Obesity and Hormones

Which Hormones Affect Weight and Obesity, Medical Conditions Associated With Obesity, Medications Which May Help Control Obesity

Obesity and Hormones

We all have heard it many times: the obesity epidemic, which affects more than two thirds (67%) of the Australian adults and costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars every year, is a result of increased intake of energy-rich foods and decreased exercise and physical activity. In other words, if people ate fewer Big Macs and jogged more, there wouldn’t be as many obese people in the world. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat- accumulation in the body that might increase the risk to health”. In the medical field, doctors use a handy tool, the BMI or Body Mass Index to assess if a person is obese for their sex, age, and height. BMI is calculated by considering a person’s weight and height. If a person has a high (30.0 – 39.9) body-mass-index (BMI), he/she is considered obese. 

Obesity may be linked to poor diet habits and lack of physical activity to some extent, but it is not just about energy balance, i.e. calories in v/s calories out, it is much more complex.  Researchers now agree that hormones and genes also play an important role in obesity. Instead of treating it as an energy-balance disorder, researchers now regard it as a “metabolic defect”, and blame some specific hormones. The linkage between obesity and hormones has been studied extensively in the recent years. Researchers are now convinced that certain hormones such as insulin, leptin, growth hormones, and sex hormones play an important role in obesity and an increase in body weight. These hormones play a significant role in metabolism, body fat distribution, appetite, and body fat storage. So, which hormones affect weight and obesity and how do we treat obesity.

Which Hormones Affect Weight and Obesity

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by endocrine glands and secreted directly into the bloodstream. Hormones play an important role in a wide range of essential functions in the body. From the rapid, awkward changes we experience at puberty to regulating metabolism and making us fall asleep, without the hormones we would never grow, reproduce, or digest. 

Excess or a deficit of any of the hormones secreted by the endocrine system can harm the body. Researchers have found that obese people have elevated levels of certain hormones in the body that encourage abnormal metabolism and the accumulation of body fat. Obesity, in turn, can also lead to changes in the bodies hormones. 

Here is a list of some hormones that play an important role in the metabolism, appetite and body fat distribution, and are linked with obesity:

  • Insulin 
  • Androgens
  • Leptin
  • Growth hormones, and 
  • Oestrogens

Medical Conditions Associated with Obesity

Obesity and weight gain is not simply a cosmetic problem; healthcare professionals now regard it as a serious health hazard as it is linked to several serious medical conditions. People who are obese are twice as likely to die prematurely as a normal weight person. Some of the important medical conditions associated with obesity are listed below:

  • Heart Diseases (hypertension, stroke, coronary heart diseases)
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gallbladder disease & gallstones
  • Gout
  • Sleep apnea
  • Some cancers (live, kidney, gallbladder, breast, colon, or endometrial)
  • Mental Illness (depression, anxiety)

Not all obese people experience these medical conditions, but the risk rises for those who are more obese and those with a family history of any of those illnesses. The good news is that losing a fraction of the extra body weight can significantly reduce your chances of facing any serious health issues down the line. 

Medications Which May Help Control Obesity

Gaining weight is easy and quick but losing weight is not. Losing weight is a long term commitment and demands a lot of patience. Fortunately, a number of weight loss strategies are available. If you want to lose weight, you need to first make up your mind and be serious about it and then find an appropriate strategy that works for you. It is always a good idea to visit your GP or healthcare provider to seek some professional advice before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or diet plan. Here are some of the ways to treat obesity:

  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Programs
  • Public Policy
  • Medications
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Hormonal Treatment
  • Surgery

Medications to Control/Treat Obesity and Hormones

Although changes in lifestyle and diet plans is the best and safest course for people who want to lose weight, if these weight loss strategies fail, you may wish to discuss other medical and surgical treatments with your doctor.

Southbank Medical Centre
Doctor Melbourne

Back Pain Red Flags

Back Pain Red Flags

Understanding What It Could Mean

Back Pain Red Flags

Back pain, particularly lower back pain (LBP) is one of the major causes of disability and a source of substantial healthcare spending in the world. You will be surprised to know that back pain is one of the top five medical problems in modern society. Since back pain is a symptom, it is important that the root cause of the problem is identified first before proper treatment can be started. While majority of back pain (almost 90%) is classified as “non-specific”, indicating that the exact cause of the pain is not clear, 10% of the patients with LBP may have other serious underlying pathology such as an infection or malignancy, which demands a timely and accurate diagnosis before proper treatment can be initiated. The signs and symptoms that suggest a patient’s back pain may be the result of a potentially serious pathology as opposed to the more common underlying causes such as tissue injury, sustained postural overload, or RSI are referred to as Back Pain Red Flags. 

The presence of any of the back pain red flags in a patient means that there is a need to thoroughly investigate the patient for other serious diseases such as cancer, inflammatory arthritis, abdominal aortic aneurysms, infections, and auto-immune diseases. The good news is that the majority of the patients (as much as 90%) with LBP do not suffer from any of these serious pathologies. But, as a patient, it is important for you to be aware of these back pain red flags and understand what it could mean so that you can get the right treatment at the right time. 

5 Important Back Pain Red Flags 

Following is a list of 5 important back pain red flags that you need to keep in mind and understand and try to convey to your doctor since these are the initial signs and indications that can make the difference between early and complete recovery and more complications in the future. 

  1. Unexplained Weight Loss – although usually not associated with back pain, if you are losing weight rapidly, it can be a symptom of cancer.
  2. History of Malignancy – patients with back pain who also have a previous history of cancer, need to pay special attention since there is always a possibility of recurrence. 
  3. Bladder or Bowel Dysfunction – any time you experience bladder or bowel dysfunction as a result of back pain, it can be a sign that the nerves in the spinal cord may be seriously injured.
  4. Severe Sensory or Motor Disturbance – severe sensory or motor disturbance associated with LBP may be an indication that there is something wrong with your spinal nerves. 
  5. Saddle Anesthesia – LBP patients who experience loss of sensation in the buttock area may be suffering from CaudaEquina syndrome. 

It is worth repeating here that anytime you notice any of these back pain red flags you need to contact your doctor immediately and ask for a thorough examination. 

Southbank Medical Centre
Doctor Melbourne

How Fast Food Impacts The Body

How Fast Food Impacts The Body
How Fast Food Impacts The Body

Most of us are all familiar with the term ‘Eat Healthy to Live Healthy’, unfortunately, we rarely pay attention to it and don’t feel too guilty when we grab a zinger burger / pizza or take a sip of coke while driving to or from work. Our lives are so busy these days that many of us don’t pay as much attention as we should to the quality of food we consume on a daily basis. According to the latest research, average families spend more than half of their food budget on ‘fast food’ sometimes also classified as ‘Junk food’. Fast food is any type of food which is highly processed; contain large amounts of added sugar, carbohydrates, sodium, preservatives, and unhealthy fats. Fast food is often rich in calories and very poor in nutritional value. While an occasional night out at a fast-food restaurant is not bad, a habit of eating burgers, pizzas, french fries, energy bars, pasta, bagels, soda, frozen entrees and deli meats can have both short-term as well as long-term adverse effects on your body. Read on to learn how fast food impacts the body.

How Fast Food Impacts the Body

The majority of fast food offered to the public is cheap, tasty, attractive, convenient and socially acceptable in most cultures. Many global food chains spend millions of dollars on marketing their products and offering different kinds of value meals. As an end-user, it is your responsibility to make healthy choices in your life and try to avoid junk food as much as possible. Here are 5 ways fast food can impact your body in a relatively short amount of time:

  1. It Can Make You Obese – fast food is extremely rich in calories, frequent use can lead to unintentional weight gain. 
  2. It Can Skyrocket Your Cholesterol – since fast food (particularly fried items) contain trans- fats, it can raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in your body. 
  3. It Can Expose You To Cardiovascular Diseases – fast food contains fat that is made up of saturated fatty acids, these fats can raise your blood cholesterol levels. In addition to that sodium found in fast foods is a risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke. 
  4. It Can Cause Frequent Insulin Spikes – fast food contains loads of carbohydrates and sugar, this increases the body’s demand to produce more insulin, resulting in rapid insulin spikes. This can also lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. 
  5. It Can Increase Your Risk of Developing Cancer – fast food contains preservatives such as sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate, these preservatives are used to maintain meat colour and hamper bacterial growth. Sodium nitrate and Sodium nitrite can breakdown into nitrosamines – which can cause cancer.

Southank Medical Centre
Doctor Melbourne

Health Checks | Why Are They Important?

Women's Health Melbourne

What Should Be Checked For Women? What Should Be Checked For Men? How Often Should We Have Health Checks?

Health Checks

The term “healthy” may have different meanings for different people, since all of us have different “health goals”. Some of us want to lose weight to look good and feel healthy, whereas for others gaining an extra few kg’s is the goal. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the definition of ‘health’ or ‘healthy’ goes way beyond the absence of disease or infirmity; it actually refers to a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. A medically, emotionally, and physically fit person is able to recover and bounce back from different diseases, illnesses, and other problems more quickly and easily and enjoys a healthier and happier life. In order to achieve good health, regular physical activity, healthy diet, healthy relationships, a clean environment, genetics and also regular health checks play an important role.  

Why are Regular Health Checks Important?

The best way to maintain health is to preserve it and the best way to preserve your health is to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. Regular health checks not only help identify underlying medical conditions, but they can also guide you to options that speed up the recovery process and help you maintain and/or improve your overall health and wellbeing. 

Here are five important benefits of regular health checks:

  1. Preventive Care
  2. Ongoing Medical Documentation
  3. Health Planning
  4. Personalised Care
  5. Less Healthcare Costs In The Future

What Health Checks Should Be Done For Women

At times, it may seem difficult to spare the time from your busy schedule to go visit your primary healthcare provider, especially if you are not sick, but having some routine checkups will go a long way in making sure that you stay healthy for a long time to come. 

A full health checkup specifically designed for women typically includes a comprehensive general check including markers for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cholesterol, osteoporosis, major organ functions, and common cancers like breast, liver, and colon cancer. Before your examination, your GP may ask about your medical history, family’s history of diseases, and your lifestyle choices. Your GP will then integrate this information with the results of your tests to detect any potential health issues or the risk of disease. Here is a list of some important medical checkups every woman should undertake:

  • Blood Pressure Screening – checks for any potential cardiovascular diseases
  • Cholesterol Check – assess the risk of developing heart diseases or stroke
  • Pap Test – checks for cervical cancer
  • Mammograms – checks for breast cancer
  • Bone Density Screening – checks for bone diseases, such as osteoporosis
  • Blood Glucose Tests – checks for diabetes
  • Colon Cancer Screening – checks for colon cancer
  • Skin Cancer Screening – checks for screen cancer

Depending on your general health and your family medical history, your GP may advise more tests. Some of these tests may be expensive but the good news is that most of them are now covered in health insurance plans. So, it is always a good idea to check with your insurance provider before making appointments. 

What Health Checks Should Be Done For Men

Most guys don’t visit a doctor until there’s something wrong. However, by being proactive and getting the recommended health screenings for some common medical conditions, they can ensure that they spend less time at the doctor’s office in the long run. 

Here is a list of some essential health checks every man 45 years or older should consider to stay healthy and to pick up early warning signs of illness or disease:

  • Prostate Cancer Screening
  • Blood Pressure Screening – checks for any potential cardiovascular diseases
  • Cholesterol Check – assess the risk of developing heart diseases or stroke
  • Blood Glucose Tests – checks for diabetes
  • Skin Cancer Screening – checks for screen cancer

How Often Should We Have a Checkup?

Let’s face the reality, no one likes to hear bad news, especially if it is concerning their health, but the consequences of skipping regular health checkups can sometimes be quite severe. How often you visit your doctor for such tests will ultimately depend on many factors such as your current health conditions, your age, ethnicity, gender, family history, and your risk of contracting disease. Here are some general guidelines to help you decide how often you should have health checkups:

  • Age 18-30 – once in every 2-3 years
  • Age 30-50 – once in every 2 years
  • Age 50 and above – once in a year

These are just general guidelines and are not set in stone, your GP will be in a better position to advise you on frequency of health checkups after analysing your current health status, medical history, family history, gender, age, and many other things.

Southbank Medical Centre
Doctor Melbourne