Category: Womens Health

Southbank Medical Centre

The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

What you eat and drink each day effects your health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Good nutrition, along with regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, while reducing your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease. However, consuming regular amounts of fast and junk food will impact your quality of health, and will have negative effects on your body.

The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk FoodThe Negative Side Of Junk And Fast Food

Junk foods are food and drinks with low nutritional value (e.g. vitamins, minerals and fibre) and high in kilojoules, fat, sugars and/or salt. On the other hand, fast foods are a type of food you get from a restaurant designed to be delivered to you in the quickest way possible. Some fast foods can be healthy, but typically most fast foods are junk food. For example, salad, sushi and sandwiches are healthy forms of fast food. However, most fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds or KFC serve unhealthy junk food.  In Australia, 35% of an average adult’s daily energy intake and 41% of children’s daily energy intake comes from junk food.

While the occasional night of junk food won’t hurt much, eating Junk foods regular has been shown to lead to increased risks of obesity and chronic diseases. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some cancers all have causes in excessive junk food consumption. Further, the specific content of many fast foods can have negative side effects for your body;

  • Junk food high in sodium can lead to increased headaches and migraine
  • Junk food high in carbs can trigger outbreaks of acne
  • Eating excessive amounts of junk food may increase your risk of depression
  • The carbs and sugar in fast foods can lead to dental cavities
  • Fried foods are filled with trans fats which raise LDL cholesterol levels
  • Fast food is filled with empty carbohydrates, which can lead to increased blood sugar and insulin resistance
  • Increased sodium levels can lead to your body retaining excessive water, leading to bloating

The Key To A Healthy Diet | The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

To avoid the negative health risks to your, your diet needs to be nutritional and diverse. Small changes to your diet can make an immense difference to your health. It’s easier than you think, especially if you follow at least six of the eight goals outlined below. 

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: The more colourful you plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs, so be sure to choose a variety of red, orange and green vegetables (such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli).
  • Make half the grains you eat whole grains: eating whole grain foods such as whole-wheat bread will help you avoid processed grains high in empty carbohydrates. Look for whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, rolled oats, quinoa or wild rice.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk: Fat free and low fat milk contains the same amount of calcium and other nutrients as whole milk, but contains fewer calories and less saturated fat.
  • Choose a variety of lean protein foods: Lean meats (meat with lower fat content) are far better than meat with large amounts of fat content. Select leaner cuts of beef, turkey breast of chicken breast. 
  • Compare sodium in foods: Use the nutritional facts included in the labels on food packaging to select foods containing low levels of sodium. Choose canned foods with labels stating low sodium, reduced sodium or no salt added. 
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks: By drinking water or unsweetened, you can cut your calories substantially. Sodas and energy drinks are high in added sugar and calories, so be sure to avoid these. If you seek added flavor, try adding a slice of lemon, lime or watermelon to your glass of water. 
  • Eat some seafood: Seafood such as fish and shellfish are high in protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fat). Try eating at least eight ounces of seafood a week if you are an adult. 
  • Cut back on solid fats: Major sources of solid fats are cakes, cookies, ice cream and processed meat. Try to avoid these to cut back on your solid fat intake. 

By following the above eight goals, you will help your body get the nutrients it needs, while cutting back on unhealthy content. If you combine a healthy diet with regular physical exercise, your physical and mental health with begin to improve immensely.

Southgate Medical Centre
The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational DiabetesDiabetes is a common condition where there is too much sugar in the blood. The rise in blood sugar levels occurs because the body cannot produce enough insulin (a hormone which removes glucose from the blood stream for use in the cells). 

Gestational diabetes is a disease which occurs during pregnancy (typically occurring at around week 26), and which usually goes away after the end of the pregnancy. Many hormonal changes occur during pregnancy, which can affect insulin production and action. As the fetus and placenta develops, the body may be unable to sufficiently adapt to changing hormone and insulin levels to maintain a stable blood sugar level. About 1 in 10 Australian women develop it during their pregnancy and this trend is steadily rising. 

If you are currently pregnant and are any of the following, you should consult your doctor to discuss your risk of gestational diabetes:

  • Over 30 years of age
  • Overweight/obese
  • Had it in a previous pregnancy 
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes
  • You are: Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

All these factors have been shown to increase your risk of gestational diabetes. Currently it is recommended that all women are screened for gestational diabetes between their 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Women at higher risk due to the factors above should be screened earlier.

For your baby, gestational diabetes can lead to complications if left undiagnosed and untreated. Your baby may be born large, making delivery difficult and possibly making C-section necessary. Your baby might be born with low blood sugar levels and may need special care after birth. Finally, there is an increased risk of premature birth and even miscarriage in extreme cases.

For many women, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be a source of major distress and so it is majorly important that you seek advice from you doctor and diabetes health professional for information in managing your condition. Your treatment will be aimed to keep your blood sugar level at a stable and healthy level, and will require regular monitoring, a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity. Generally, gestational diabetes can be easily managed with lifestyle cases, although in rare cases insulin injections may be required.

Of course, prevention is better than the cure. Especially if you have any of the risk factors, maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight will reduce your risk of gestational diabetes significantly.

Southgate Medical
Women’s Health

Endometriosis, What Is It?

What Is Endometriosis

What Is EndometriosisEndometriosis is a progressive and chronic condition experienced by females, and typically happens when cells similar to those that line the uterus (endometrial cells) are found in other parts of the body. It commonly occurs in the pelvis and will effect a women’s reproductive system if left untreated. Around 1 in 10 women of reproductive age are expected to experience the condition during their lifetime. An estimated 200 million women worldwide have been diagnosed with the condition. Women with endometriosis have been shown to have increased risks of high cholesterol levels and heart disease.

Endometrial cells are typically found on the lining of the uterus, but may also start to grow in patches on other pelvic organs, or even on the inside lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). These patches will have the exhibit the same menstrual changes outside the uterus as inside the uterus, and may bleed at the same time of your menstruation cycle. Endometrial tissue and patches are known as endometrial lesions. Endometrial cells found outside your uterus will cause inflammation and scarring should they bleed or leak fluid during period cycles. As these patches occur outside the uterus, they cannot pass out of our body and will remain, potentially developing into cysts or nodules over time. If cysts develop in the ovaries, they are called endometriomas, otherwise called ‘chocolate cysts’ due to their dark color.

There are no known causes for endometriosis, but there are several factors that have been identified that may increase the likelihood of endometriosis. Family history is shown to increase the likelihood of endometriosis by up to 7-10 times. Retrograde menstruation, when period blood flows backwards along the fallopian tubes also increases the likelihood of endometriosis. Finally, metaplasia, pregnancies at higher maternal age, short period cycles and excessive alcohol use may also contribute to endometriosis. 

Extreme pain during periods is a key identifier of endometriosis. However, it is not an indicator of how severe the condition is. Instead, it is an indicator of where the endometrial lesions are located. Asides from pain, other symptoms of endometriosis can include pain during sexual intercourse, heavy/irregular bleeding, pain during bowel movements/urination, nausea, fatigue and infertility. Symptoms are known to vary widely and will depend on where the endometrial lesions are located. However, symptoms tend to be progressive, meaning they will become more severe with time. 

polycystic ovarian syndromeShould you experience painful periods it must be understood that this isn’t normal. In particular, you should see your doctor as soon as possible if you find yourself unable to work, go to school or partake in recreational activities due to extreme period pain. 

A range of treatments are available depending on the severity of your condition, and treatments are specifically targeted to each individual, depending on their symptoms and circumstances. There are many options available, ranging from healthy lifestyle changes, pain relief medications and hormone therapy. In some cases, surgery such as laparoscopy, laparotomy and hysterectomy may also be recommended.

Southgate Medical
Women’s Health Melbourne

Hay Fever Management

Hay Fever Management

Spring has arrived, and unfortunately for many of us, so has Hay Fever!

Hay Fever is the common term used to describe the symptoms of sneezing, nasal congestion, red itchy watery eyes and headache related to exposure to the grass & tree pollens that are in the air in Spring.

Hay Fever Management

Hay Fever ManagementSo what can you do to best manage these symptoms?

  • Check the daily pollen forecast.  A very useful app is available providing pollen counts and also forecasts of thunderstorm asthma. You can download the Melbourne Pollen Count mobile app here. On high pollen count days you may need to say indoors 
  • Take anti-histamine tablets as needed – these are available over the counter from your pharmacy
  • Consider daily use of a corticosteroid nasal spray – this needs to be taken continuously throughout the Hay Fever season to prevent symptoms
  • Anti-histamine eye drops can be helpful for itchy red eyes
  • If symptoms are severe and recurring each year, talk to your doctor about allergy testing and desensitization immunotherapy

Asthma & Hayfever

Remember that people with Hay Fever may also be at risk of getting Thunderstorm Asthma. This can happen when a high or extreme pollen count day combines with a particular type of thunderstorm, turbocharging the spread of pollens. Consult your doctor about whether you may also benefit from having an asthma reliever inhaler such as Ventolin or Symbicort on standby.

Southgate Medical
Hay Fever Management

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