Medically speaking, menopause means that a woman’s menstrual periods have paused/stopped for one year. For a woman, it means that she has had her last period and she is no longer fertile. Although it is a completely natural process, and definitely not any kind of disease or illness, it sometimes can cause physical and/or emotional symptoms that can be very disturbing and can have a significant impact on everyday activities.
In many countries, the average age for a woman to reach menopause is 45-55 years, however, 1 in 100 women will experience it before she celebrates her 40th birthday, this is referred to as premature menopause. Sometime it may occur all of a sudden while most of the time, the period will start to become less frequent over months and years before they come to a stop altogether.
During this transition, hormonal changes in the body can have profound effects on a woman’s menstrual cycle accompanied with common symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and trouble sleeping. The severity of these symptoms varies from woman to woman and can range from mild in most cases to severe in others. Some common symptoms many women experience around the time of menopause are:
For many women, menopause is a normal event and the symptoms associated with it go away on their own after some time. However, if you are not so lucky and you experience uncomfortable symptoms that affect your quality of life, your doctor can advise any of the following treatments depending on the severity of the symptoms, your age, health conditions, and lifestyle.
The good news is that most of the signs and symptoms associated with menopause are temporary in nature and may subside or go away on their own or by using some non-medical treatments such as:
Southbank Medical Centre
Very few men can expect to have a life expectancy like Misao Okawa of Japan, who recently died at the age of 117, and women live an average of 5-10 years longer than men. Although the male population enjoys a numerical advantage at birth (105 males for every 100 females), this advantage, however, decreases with the passage of time. By their first birthday, 21% more males than females will die and this pattern of excess male demise persists through every stage of life, such that by the time they reach the age of 65 and older, only 75 males are left for every 100 females. Moreover, this pattern of women outliving men is noted across all cultures. So, which men are at a higher risk of premature death, what are the causes of premature death in men, what deaths are more likely in men than in women, and what health checks should men have to beat the odds of premature death.
People living in highly developed countries like Japan, Iceland, Hong Kong, and Australia enjoy higher life expectancy rates, in fact, Australia ranks the highest when compared with these three nations. However, Australian males do not enjoy a longer life when compared to their female counterparts. On average, Australian women can expect to live 84 years while Australian men enjoy a life expectancy of 79 years. This is because men are 2 times more likely to have liver diseases, 1.3 times more likely to have cancer and almost 3X more likely to contract HIV/AIDS. Yet, most men, especially the younger generation often tend to ignore common health issues that disproportionately affect them. Let’s have a closer at some categories of men which are at a higher risk of premature death:
As per the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the common causes of premature death in Australian men, in order from first to last are:
With the exception of sex/gender related deaths, such as childbirth mortality, men outnumber women in many non-sex-related deaths. For example
While there is nothing you can do to avoid death, you can increase your odds of living a healthy and happy life and adding a year or two to it by being proactive about your health. Changing your lifestyle, adopting healthy eating habits, and performing routine screening tests can help you monitor and maintain your health.
Depending on your age, lifestyle choices, family history, and health condition, some of the following health screening checks may be recommended on regular basis for men’s health:
Southbank Medical Centre
Hay fever, medically referred to as allergic rhinitis is a common allergic condition that refers to a group of allergic hypersensitivity reactions in the nasal mucosa and the conjunctiva of the eye. Contrary to what the name “hay fever” suggests, it is not caused by hay and it seldom results in fever. Allergic rhinitis affects around 18% of children and adults in Australia and New Zealand.
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is caused by an allergic response to airborne environmental allergens (indoor or outdoor) such as pollens, dust mites, perfume, pet fur or dander, mold or fungi, and cigarette smoke. People who are allergic to these airborne environmental allergens may experience the following symptoms:
Hay Fever occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies these airborne environmental allergens as something harmful and launches an “attack” to neutralize the threat. The immune system then triggers the release of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize the threat. A chemical known as histamine released by the immune system is the primary culprit for the common symptoms associated with hay fever.
It is not clear yet what causes the immune system to launch the “attack”, however, there are certain factors that increase your risk of developing allergic rhinitis. Some of the most common triggers that cause allergies in people at different times of the year and in different environmental conditions are:
Whether you experience seasonal allergic rhinitis – occurs in spring, summer, or early fall when the airborne grass pollens are at their peak, or experience the symptoms all year long (perennial allergic rhinitis), you need to visit an allergist to help you find the appropriate treatment option for your allergies. A clinical immunologist/allergy specialist may conduct a few allergy screening tests to identify the type of allergens disturbing you. The two main allergy tests your doctor may recommend are:
Although there is no cure for allergic rhinitis (hay fever), the symptoms associated with this common allergic condition can be relieved or managed by using various treatment modalities.
The best and easiest way to manage the symptoms associated with seasonal or perennial form of allergic rhinitis is to avoid the allergens that trigger them. Following steps can be taken to avoid indoor or outdoor exposure:
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid the allergens that trigger hay fever with these simple steps, under such circumstances your doctor (allergist) may prescribe different medications to relieve different symptoms. Various medications available to treat different symptoms of hay fever are:
Non-medical treatment for hay fever may include the use of natural products and alternative therapies.
Desensitisation also known as allergen immunotherapy is used to reduce the severity of symptoms and dependency for regular use of medications. Immunotherapy involves gradually administering small amounts of allergen extracts by means of drops, tablets, sprayers, or injections. It is a long-term treatment and may take up to 3-5 years to achieve good results. Two types of immunotherapy are available:
Southgate Medical Centre
Our bodies cells and organs need energy in order to perform various functions. Although many tissues use fat or proteins as a source of energy, some organs such as the brain and red blood cells rely on glucose for energy needs. A hormone called insulin, produced by the beta cells of the pancreas helps to convert blood sugar into usable energy, it also helps to control blood sugar levels and keep them in the normal range. Sometimes the pancreas is unable to produce enough or any insulin or fails to use insulin well, this results in an increase in the blood glucose (sugar) levels.
Medically termed “diabetes mellitus” or simply DM is a metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to properly store, process, and use sugar. This can lead to an increase in the sugar levels in our blood. Increased levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood can lead to serious health complications including but not limited to heart diseases, kidney failure, blindness, and lower-extremity amputations.
Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and a challenging problem for public health worldwide. It is estimated that roughly 1.7 million Australians suffer from this chronic disorder, and a further 2 million are at a high risk of developing it in the coming years. As per the data shared by the World Health Organization, it will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. Despite all the dangers associated with it, many are still living with outdated assumptions about what it is, what the different types are, what the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 is, what are the causes and its risk factors.
Type 1 diabetes aka juvenile onset or insulin-dependent is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system starts to destroy the pancreas – the insulin-producing gland. Since the body is unable to produce its own insulin, people suffering from Type 1 may have to use multiple insulin injections or a continuous infusion of insulin throughout the day in order to keep the blood sugar at normal levels. Although type 1 can occur at any age, children, teenagers, and young adults are the ones most affected by this type. Type 1 accounts for 10% of all people with diabetes in Australia. Unfortunately, there is no cure or means of preventing this type, it can only be managed.
Type 2 aka adult-onset or non-insulin is the most common type and accounts for more than 80% of all diagnosed cases in Australia. People suffering from this type do produce insulin, but the cells in the body do not respond to it the way they used to or become resistant to the body’s own insulin. Type 2 is generally diagnosed after the age of 40, but it can also occur in childhood. If diagnosed early, type 2 can be effectively controlled or managed through a healthy diet, weight loss, and physical activity.
The underlying causes of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes are different, and despite popular belief, none of them is caused directly by eating too much sugar.
Many studies suggest that a good diet accompanied with increased physical activity and other healthy lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake can dramatically reduce the progression of type-2 and may control type-1 diabetes. In addition to this, certain oral anti-diabetes drugs may also help prevent the development of type-2 diabetes in prediabetes individuals. Secondary prevention involves early identification of people with type-2 diabetes and offering support to make necessary lifestyle changes as well as following an effective treatment plan for both type-1 and type-2 diabetes in order to stop costly diabetes complications.
The key to leading a healthy life and reducing the risk of developing complications from diabetes is to seek the best possible treatment available. A number of treatment options are available to help you manage or treat diabetes. The treatment will vary depending on the type of diabetes, the age, lifestyle, and your individual needs.
Southgate Medical Centre
Put simply, the term refers to “joint inflammation”. It is typically referred to as a single disease, in reality, however, it is an umbrella term used to describe more than 200 medical conditions/diseases (rheumatic diseases) that affect the joints including bones, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage.
Usually associated with older people, it can affect anyone from young children to senior citizens. It is one of the most common medical conditions in Australia, affecting more than 3.9 million adults and children, creating disability and medical expenses that exceed billions of dollars a year.
Whether you have recently been diagnosed with arthritis or have been living with it for quite some time, it can raise many concerns and questions. So, what are the different types, what can you do to prevent it, how is it treated, and what are some of the newer treatment options that can help you better understand and deal with its debilitating symptoms more effectively.
There are over 100 different types which affect people in different ways, but all of them share the following common symptoms:
Although there is no single common cause for the different types of arthritis, wear and tear of the joints, connective tissues, and ligaments from frequent use and/or injuries may result in an arthritic condition. Sometimes, it is difficult to pinpoint an underlying cause, but a combination of factors is thought to play a part. Some possible causes of arthritis may include:
Though arthritis can take more than 200 different forms, the most common types of arthritis are:
Aging is a natural process and there is nothing we can do to stop or avoid it. As we age, several parts of our body naturally wear down; especially our joints that help connect the bones. The wearing of joints makes them inflamed or damaged over time and this is one of the main reasons we experience arthritis pain. By the time we reach the age of 65, nearly half of us will suffer from some type of arthritis.
Although there is nothing you can do to stop the natural aging process, or change your genes, there are certain things you can do to keep your joints healthy, maintain mobility and functionality, and make yourself a less likely candidate for certain types of arthritis.
Pay Regular Visits to your Doctor – arthritis is a progressive disorder, means the longer you wait to seek treatment, the more the damage. Visit your doctor or a rheumatologist on regular basis and seek his/her professional advice on how to prevent arthritis and preserve your mobility.
Southbank Medical Centre
These are a few common questions that most people feel embarrassed to ask. But despite their bad rep, they are incredibly common especially in school-aged children or those who are immunosuppressed.
Also referred to as verrucae vulgaris or papillomas, are tiny, grainy skin growths (non-cancerous) that appear when the top layer of skin is infected with one of the many viruses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. While they can appear anywhere on your skin, you are more likely to get them on your hands or feet. The viruses that cause them are highly contagious; therefore they can easily spread by contact. It takes the virus 2-6 months to develop into a wart once it comes in contact with the skin. The good news is that they eventually disappear on their own and they are harmless, except their physical appearance which is quite bothersome and embarrassing for some.
Regardless of their type they are caused by the same virus – the human papilloma virus (HPV). The HPV virus has more than 150 known strains, some of these strains (HPV-1, HPV-2, HPV-4, and HPV-27) are responsible for skin warts that are common in children and tend to disappear with increasing age. Some strains such as HPV-6 HPV-11 are responsible for genital warts.
Since the viruses that cause them are contagious, you may get them by coming in direct contact with a person who is infected with them. Alternatively, you can also get them by coming in contact with contaminated surfaces such as towels, razors, tissues, or public places (swimming pools, gyms, etc).
Depending on their size, appearance, and location, they can be broadly classified into the following 5 main types:
The majority are harmless and usually go away on their own, unless, of course, they become painful or grow in size and become very embarrassing. Waiting for them to go away on their own, however, may prove to be risky as they might grow in size and volume and there is always the risk of contaminating others with this disease. As such, it is best to seek immediate medical treatment to reduce the risk to others. The best treatment for warts will ultimately depend on the type, complexity, and location of the wart and the age and physical health of the patient. Keep in mind, there is no cure for the human papillomavirus, so even though the wart may be gone from your skin, the virus might stay in the skin and the wart may reappear. Let’s have a look at some of the common treatment options for warts:
Occasional anxiety (a feeling of nervousness, apprehension, fear, and worry) is an expected part of modern life. It is our body’s natural response to keep us safe from various stressful or unexpected situations/changes. For instance, speaking in public, going to a job interview or before taking a test may cause some people to feel nervous and fearful. However, if the symptoms of anxiety do not go away and happen without any particular reason or cause, you may be a victim of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorder is the most common form of mental illness characterized by feelings of constant, excessive, uncontrollable, and unrealistic fear or worry, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it. In Australia, anxiety disorder affects more than 2 million people in a single year. On average, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will experience this form of mental illness at some stage in their life.
Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term and encompasses several different conditions each with a unique set of symptoms. However, all the different forms of anxiety orders share the following general symptoms:
Let’s have a look at the five major types:
There are many ways to effectively manage your disorder before it takes control of your life. The type of treatment that’s good for you will ultimately depend on the type you are experiencing. Often, it can be easily managed by using a combination of
Panic attacks can be sudden and very terrifying. They can last from a few minutes to a few hours and can leave the patient frightened and uneasy. Panic attacks are usually accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms. Learning to effectively manage a panic attack can help limit potential triggers and reduce the risk of re-occurrence. Here are some things that can help manage panic attacks:
Southbank Medical Centre
The Sleep Health Foundation Australia estimates that nearly 30%-40% of people living in Australia snore at night. Snoring is more common in men than women and usually worsens with age and obesity. There are no major risks with… Read More
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive neurodegenerative disease that slowly destroys brain cells and affects an individual’s memory, cognition, judgment, learning, and ability to perform daily activities.
Alzheimer’s disease has a major impact on the health and wellbeing of Australians. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 10 Australians aged 65 and above suffer from dementia (AZ accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases) and according to the latest estimates, it is the single leading cause of disability and third leading cause of deaths for older people in Australia, behind heart diseases and cancer. It is estimated over 1 million Australians will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease by the end of 2050.
Although AD is more common in older people, contrary to common belief, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Adults younger than 65 can also develop this progressive neurodegenerative syndrome also referred to as Young Onset Alzheimer’s or YOD.
Those who suffer from this progressive neurodegenerative syndrome may experience different outcomes. Some may experience mild cognitive damage and live a long time, while others may experience a rapid onset of symptoms, more complications, and early death.
There is often much confusion about the terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” and people sometimes use these words interchangeably. However, both these conditions are separate disorders. Although the signs and symptoms of dementia and AD may overlap, distinguishing them is important for effective management and treatment of each.
Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of conditions (including Alzheimer’s) that affect an individual’s memory, thinking, reasoning, learning, judgment, cognition, and ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia can occur due to a variety of conditions, Alzheimer’s being the most common. Other medical conditions that can cause dementia are Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia with as many as 70-80% of all dementia cases being attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. AD is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function.
Since it is a progressive disorder, the symptoms take some time to develop and eventually become more severe in nature with the patient becoming unable to perform routine tasks and becoming totally dependent on others.
Alzheimer’s is caused by the death of nerve cells and tissues throughout the brain. As the cells die, the brain tissues shrink which affects the memory, speech, and comprehension. Experts still have no idea as to why the brain cells start to die, but they have identified certain risk factors that can make you vulnerable to developing Alzheimer’s disease, these include:
To date, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, once the process of brain cells damage/death has started, there is no way to reverse, slow or stop it. However, there are certain drug as well as non-drug options you can use to control symptoms and maintain your function.
Besides medications, other treatments and activities are also important in helping people suffering from AD or dementia, these may include:
More recently, a number of alternative treatment options such as dietary supplements, herbal products, and adjusted diet have been shown to help delay or prevent some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, these include:
There is no known way to prevent Alzheimer’s as there is no cure for this progressive neurodegenerative syndrome. The only way you can prevent cognitive decline associated with AD is to adopt some healthy lifestyle habits, these may include:
Changing weather can have a profound effect on our body and mind. We all feel happy and relaxed during spring and summer, while the cold, cloudy days and long, dreary nights of winter often make us feel depressed. If you are someone who is feeling gloomy because of the abnormal polar temperatures, you’re not alone, there are millions of people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also called “winter depression” or “seasonal depression” is a form of depression that is provoked by seasonal changes. The symptoms of SAD are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter months and this is the reason it is also referred to as “winter depression”. Some people may experience episodes of depression during the summer months, but it’s a lot less common.
Let’s take a look at some common questions people have about this disorder:
In most cases, people start to experience SAD symptoms during late autumn or early winter and find relief during the sunnier days of spring and summer. The severity, patterns, and characteristics of SAD symptoms may vary considerably from person-to-person, and usually, include many symptoms similar to major depression. Common symptoms of “winter depression” include:
The exact causes of seasonal affective disorder remain unknown; however, experts believe that it is the lack of sunlight during winter that might affect a part of the brain called the “hypothalamus” and stop it from working properly, which may result in:
Depression in any form or at any time is not good for both mental and physical health. If you think you are experiencing some of the symptoms of SA, you need to seek medical care. There are a number of things you can do for yourself to effectively manage the symptoms of SAD, let’s explore some options:
Southbank Medical Centre
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?