What Are Warts? | What Are The Different Types & How Are They Treated?
How Do I get them?
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.
What Causes Them?
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).
What are the different types?
Depending on their size, appearance, and location, they can be broadly classified into the following 5 main types:
- Common (verruca vulgaris) – these are small, flesh-colored growths usually round in shape with a rough surface found on the back of the hands, the fingers, and the on the skin around nails and feet. Sometimes they have little black dots that make them look like tiny seeds.
- Foot (plantar warts) – these are usually flat, thick, and have a tough texture and found on the sole of your feet. Since there is pressure on them (from standing or walking), plantar warts are usually flat in shape and found in clusters.
- Flat (verruca plana) – these are flatter, thicker, and often come in large numbers (often 20-100 at a time). Flat warts are most commonly found on the face, forehead, legs, and hands.
- Filiform – these are long, thin, thread-like warts that usually appear on the face – around your eyes, nose, or mouth. They are very fast-growing and among the most visually shocking warts.
- Genital – these warts come with a grainy “cauliflower-like” appearance and are grey or off-white in color. Since they are sexually transmitted, they usually appear in the vagina, anus, the cervix, and around the vulva. Genital warts can also appear in the mouth and throat.
How Are They Treated?
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:
- use of prescription creams (with strong salicylic or glycolic acid)
- use of peeling products (OTC liquids, gels, and pads with salicylic acid)
- cryosurgery (use of liquid nitrogen to freeze off warts)
- cantharidin (often used to treat warts in young children)
- laser light
- use of immune system stimulators such as imiquimod – often used for the treatment of genital warts
- vaccination (such as Gardasil)
What Is Anxiety? What Are The Different Types And How Can I Manage It?
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.
What is 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.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder?
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:
- overwhelming fear, panic, and uneasiness
- hot and cold flushes
- a surge of doom and gloom
- trouble concentrating
- shortness of breath
- sleep problems
- increased or irregular heartbeat
- muscle tension
- back pain
- muscle tension
The Different Forms
Let’s have a look at the five major types:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – characterized by a feeling of excessive, unrealistic, and constant fear and worry about everyday things, even when there is little or nothing to trigger it.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – characterized by recurring irrational thoughts (obsessions) that lead the patient to perform specific, repeated behaviors (compulsions).
- Panic Disorder – characterized by feelings of anxiety (panic attack) combined with a range of physical symptoms. The patient may live in constant fear of the next panic attack.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – characterized by a set of adverse emotional, cognitive, and behavioral changes that are experienced persistently following a traumatic event.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) – characterized by a strong feeling of extreme fear or anxiety and self-consciousness about every day social situations.
How to Manage It?
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
- medication – antidepressants, Pregabalin, Beta-blockers, Benzodiazepine tranquilizers
- psychology – counselling, applied relaxation therapy
- behavioural therapy – CBT
What to Do When You Experience a Panic Attack
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:
- acknowledge you are having a panic attack
- retreat to a quiet place
- divert your focus onto something enjoyable
- deep, focussed breathing
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 occasional snoring, however if you are a habitual snorer, it could be a sign of a more …
What is Alzheimer’s disease? | Can It Be Prevented?
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
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 disease (AD)
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.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
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.
- minor memory loss
- mood changes, including anxiety and irritability
- difficulty learning new things
- difficulty processing information
- difficulty communicating clearly
- difficulty recognizing family and friends
- loss of appetite
- problems in urine/faeces
- severe disorientation
Causes and Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s disease
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:
- increasing age
- family history & genetics
- down syndrome
- head trauma
Are There Any Treatments That Can Help?
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.
- Donepezil or Rivastigmine – for early to moderate Alzheimer’s
- Memantine or Donepezil – for moderate to severe Alzheimer’s
- Anti-anxiety, anti-depression or anti-psychotics medications – for treatment of certain symptoms such as depression, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, hallucination, etc.
Besides medications, other treatments and activities are also important in helping people suffering from AD or dementia, these may include:
- Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
- Cognitive Rehabilitation
- Reminiscence work
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:
- Caprylic acid and coconut oil
- Coenzyme Q10
- Coral calcium
- Huperzine A
- Omega-3 fatty acids
How to Prevent Alzheimer’s
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:
- maintaining an active social life
- participating in cognitive training exercises
- eating a plant-based healthy diet
- maintaining good sleep
- consuming more antioxidants
- doing mild exercises on a daily basis
- reducing or removing tobacco and alcohol intake
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder? (SAD)
What Can You Do To Manage It
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.
What is 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:
What Are The Signs & Symptoms of SAD? | What is seasonal affective 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:
- persistent low mood
- a feeling of sadness and hopelessness
- lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities
- low sex drive
- trouble concentrating
- daytime fatigue
- increased irritability
- tendency to oversleep
- decreased physical activity
- carvings for simple carbohydrates and tendency to overeat
- weight gain
Causes of SAD | What is seasonal affective disorder?
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:
- Overproduction of Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone produced and secreted by the pineal gland and helps to regulate sleep and mood. During the shorter and darker winter days, the body increases the production of melatonin. Increased production of melatonin makes the person lethargic and sleepy.
- Reduction in Serotonin levels – serotonin (aka happy hormone) is a hormone produced by the pineal gland and helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. Reduces sunlight exposure during the winter days causes a drop in the production of this hormone. Reduction in serotonin levels in the body during the winter season is the main cause of depression.
- Disruption of Body’s Internal Clock – shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter may also disrupt the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), this can also lead to feelings of depression.
What Can You Do to Manage SAD? | What is seasonal affective disorder?
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:
- increased exposure to sunlight
- develop a sleep routine
- eat right
- remain active
- participate in social activities
- exercise regularly
- light therapy
- antidepressant medications
Southbank Medical Centre
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
What Is Hypertension?
How Is It Diagnosed & How Can It Be Treated?
So what is hypertension? Our body requires a constant supply of fresh oxygenated blood to perform daily activities. The heart is in charge of supplying essential nutrients and oxygenated blood to different parts of the body through a complex network of blood vessels. As the blood passes through these blood vessels, it applies pressure to the walls of the vessels; this pressure is referred to as “blood pressure”. The size and flexibility of the arteries and the volume and force of the blood are the two major factors that determine our blood pressure at any given time.
What is Hypertension? (High Blood Pressure?)
Hypertension, more commonly known as “high blood pressure” is a condition in which the pressure inside the arteries increases to unhealthy levels, this can happen as a result of various factors such as:
- the walls of the arteries lose their elasticity or become narrowed,
- too much blood in circulation, or
- heart contractility
How is Hypertension Diagnosed | What Is Hypertension?
The most common way of diagnosing hypertension (high blood pressure) is by using a device called a sphygmomanometer. The sphygmomanometer measures the blood pressure in units called millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The blood pressure is expressed by two numbers; the first number indicates the systolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart is pumping the blood), whereas the second number indicates the diastolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries while the heart is resting between beats).
The general classification of blood pressure reading is:
- Normal/healthy blood pressure – 120/80 mmHg
- High blood pressure (stage 1) – 140/90 mmHg
- High blood pressure (stage 2) – 180/110 mmHg
- Low blood pressure – 90/60 mmHg
Treatment of Hypertension | What Is Hypertension?
If your doctor has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, he/she may recommend you to regularly monitor your blood pressure at home in addition to regular healthcare visits. Since there is no permanent cure for hypertension, treatment for high blood pressure typically involves lifestyle changes accompanied by medications. Here is a list of some healthy lifestyle changes that can help you keep your blood pressure in the normal range and avoid health complications in the future:
- quit smoking
- eat heart-healthy food
- increase physical activity
- avoid salt
- maintain healthy weight
- manage stress
- avoid alcohol
Southgate Medical Centre
What is Hypertension
What is Coronary Heart Disease?
How to Keep My Heart Healthy
Despite significant advancements in the medicine for Australians in recent decades, heart diseases and diseases of the arteries, arterioles, and capillaries remain one of the leading causes of illness, disability, and premature death. Cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD) in particular affects one in six Australians and accounts for a larger portion of deaths (almost 35%) than any other disease group.
What is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?
Coronary heart disease (CHD) also referred to as coronary artery disease (CAD) or ischaemic heart disease develops when the coronary arteries which carry blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart become damaged, narrowed, diseased, or blocked.
A healthy heart pumps approximately 3000 gallons of nutrient-rich blood through these arteries to different parts of the body every day. In order to carry out its work, the heart needs an adequate and dependable supply of fresh nutrient-rich blood. Reduced blood flow to the heart will not only make it weak; it will also greatly compromise its ability to pump enough blood to other parts of the body. This can create all sorts of health problems which can be detrimental at times.
Risk Factors | What is Coronary Heart Disease
A thorough understanding of the risk factors is essential to help prevent or decrease the likelihood of developing CHD. Here are some common risk factors that contribute to the development of coronary heart disease:
- tobacco smoking
- high blood pressure
- diabetes mellitus
- high blood cholesterol levels
- unhealthy eating
- excessive alcohol consumption
How to Keep Your Heart Healthy | What is Coronary Heart Disease
The best way to keep your heart healthy and minimise the chances of developing coronary heart disease is to control or reduce the risk factors. Some ways to keep your heart healthy and reduce your CHD risk are:
- eat a heart-healthy and balanced diet
- keep to a healthy weight
- be more physically active
- quit smoking
- reduce alcohol consumption
- keep your blood pressure under control
- keep your diabetes under control
- get enough quality sleep
- manage stress
Southgate Medical Centre
What is Coronary Heart Disease
What is it, what causes it, can diet help prevent gout?
Gout – An Overview
Gout is a form of complex inflammatory arthritis characterised by sudden, severe attack of pain, redness, swelling, and stiffness in joints. Gout often affects the joint at the base of the big toe, however, other joints in arms (fingers, elbows, wrists) and legs (knees, toes, ankles) can also get affected.
Gout attacks often occur suddenly without any clear warning signs and stay for a relatively short period of time. Here are some of the characteristic symptoms and signs:
- sudden onset of intense joint pain
- swelling and warmth around joints
- lingering discomfort
- limited range of motion
- mild fever
Causes & Risk Factors
Gout is typically associated with high levels of uric acid in the blood, a condition medically referred to as “hyperuricemia“. Under normal condition, an excess amount of uric acid is discharged by the body in urine via the kidneys; however, a high concentration of uric acids in the blood may result in the formation and buildup of needle-like crystals called “urate crystals” in the joints, causing intense pain, inflammation, and swelling. Factors that may result in an abnormal increase of uric acid in the blood and ultimately hyperuricemia are:
- abnormal kidney function
- poor diet (a diet rich in meat and seafood)
- medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney diseases, metabolic syndrome
- medications such as aspirin
- recent trauma or surgery
- heavy alcohol intake
Can Diet Help?
Yes, to a great extent, since gout is a result of high concentrations of uric acid in the body and restricting high-purine foods and fructose along with proper medications can greatly decrease your chances of getting an attack. Here is a list of some food items with high purine and high fructose concentration that should be avoided if you suffer from gout:
- fish, such as tuna, herring, sardines, trout, haddock, mackerel
- meat, such as kidney, liver, brain
- seafood, such as shrimps, scallops, roe, and crab
- sugary beverages, such as colas, malts, beer, alcohol
- added sugar, such as corn syrups, honey, nectar, jam, jelly
Southbank Medical Centre
How To Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis (porous bones) is one of the most common diseases of the bone and is characterised by deterioration of bone tissue and low bone mass. As a result of this disease, the bones become thinner, more brittle and likely to break in case of a fall or high pressure. It is estimated that more than 1 million Australians suffer from this disease. Women above the age of 50 years are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis than men. As there is currently no cure available for this disease, it is really important that we all know how to prevent osteoporosis.
The good news is that there is a lot of things we can do to prevent osteoporosis and combined with early screening it is often a condition that can be managed very well.
Some of the common prevention and management options are:
Add More Vitamin-D And Calcium In Your Diet | How To Prevent Osteoporosis
Adding calcium and vitamin-D to your daily diet is a good way to protect your bones from bone loss. Make sure to take both of these nutrients simultaneously as vitamin-D helps to absorb calcium which in turn helps build bones. If you do not want to take supplements, you can increase your intake of food items that are rich in calcium and vitamin-D. Exposure to sunlight enables the body to naturally produce vitamin D but if measured vitamin D levels are still low the supplements are recommended.
Participate in Regular Weight-bearing Activities | How To Prevent Osteoporosis
Regular exercise plays an important role in building and maintaining stronger bones and strong muscles. Weight-bearing activities such as jogging, climbing stairs, aerobics, dancing, walking, weight lifting, yoga, and Taichi are particularly good for your bones. Weight-bearing and stretching exercises also improve balance and coordination and minimize the chance of falls and other accidents.
Quit Smoking and Minimise the Intake of Alcohol & Soda | How To Prevent Osteoporosis
Smokers are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as it affects calcium absorption in the body. Similarly, excessive intake of alcohol and soda (carbonated drinks) is also linked with bone loss.
It’s never too early or too late to invest in bone health, talk to your doctor about prevention of osteoporosis and come up with a prevention and management plan.
If you would like to book in for a consultation and a chat give us a call.
Southgate Medical Centre
How To Prevent Osteoporosis
03 9690 1433
PMS Treatment Options | What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS?) | PMS Treatment Options
Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS) previously referred to as Pre-menstrual Tension (PMT) as the name indicates is a set of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms usually experienced by a woman about a week or two before her menstrual periods. It is a very common condition and affects up to 80% of menstruating women. Although there is no simple treatment for PMS, there are ways you can reduce the number and severity of symptoms associated with this condition. Before we explore some of the premenstrual syndrome treatment options it’s important to look at some of the symptoms and factors that influence PMS.
Premenstrual syndrome – Symptoms | PMS Treatment
- painful cramping
- binge eating
- constipation or diarrhea
- breast swelling & tenderness
- mood swings, depression, irritability, crying spells
Premenstrual syndrome – Contributing Factors | PMS Treatment Options
Since PMS is associated with a wide range of symptoms, it becomes extremely difficult to make a firm diagnosis. A number of studies have been conducted to explain the cause of PMS, but till to date; none of them have been proven. The majority of research studies suggest that PMS results from an interaction between the changing hormone levels and the brain neurotransmitter serotonin.
Premenstrual syndrome – PMS Treatment Options
Over the past two decades, a number of approaches for treating symptoms related to PMS have emerged; some are backed up with clinical studies while others take traditional or native approaches into account and rely on anecdotal evidence.
Common treatment options for relieving PMS symptoms range from using pharmaceutical medications to using some old tried and tested natural home remedies
Depending on the number and severity of the symptoms, you may need to use any one or a combination of different treatment options to alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with PMS.
PMS Treatment Options
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Lifestyle Changes
- Dietary modification
- Hormonal contraceptives
Southgate Medical Centre
Medical Centre Southbank
PMS Treatment Options