Is it still worth getting a flu vaccination?

2019 has proven to be one of the most severe years for influenza on record across most states in Australia. The influenza “season” came earlier and there have been higher number of reported flu cases and illness related to flu than typical years. For those who haven’t had the influenza vaccine already, is it still worth having a flu vaccination? 

For many people the answer to the question is yes. The vaccine provides protection against 3 or 4 common strains of influenza. This can lead to a reduction in risk of flu-related complications like hospitalisation from respiratory illness. This is particularly relevant for pregnant women, infants, older people and people with chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma. Aside from these groups, influenza is an infection that can affect all age groups. If you have questions, it is worth having a chat with your doctor.

One significant issue that we have experienced in WA in 2019 has been shortage in the of vaccinations due to very strong uptake by the public. Currently we have a good supply of influenza vaccination for all age groups. If you would like to book in for an influenza vaccination, please let our reception staff know when you make your appointment.

Cosmetic Medicine

Cosmetic Medicine

Currambine Family Practice is happy to offer cosmetic injectable treatments performed by two of our experienced GP’s, Dr Jessica Johnson and Dr Jan Fonseca.

We only use the highest quality products approved for use in Australia and manufactured by industry leaders in cosmetic medicine.

We aim to understand your skin concerns and help make improvements that produce a natural, refreshed appearance.

More Research Needed on Influenza during Pregnancy

Influenza is a problematic epidemic that affects millions of people worldwide. Those in developing countries are especially at risk because of their limited access to healthcare. Pregnant women and very young children are also high risk of this disease becoming fatal because of the lack of approved vaccinations. A new study has shown that infants of mothers who are vaccinated against the flu have a decreased chance of contracting the disease.

Researchers have studied over 2,000 pregnant women who were given flu vaccines and the children from this group had a vaccine efficacy of 70% at 4 months and over 50% at 5 months. Senior author Myron M. Levine recommends that more research on a larger scale must be conducted. This research would be an important step in the fight to save lives within the developing and poor countries around the world who do not have access to adequate healthcare. 

Adolescent Weight Lifting Myths

There are many myths that exist concerning the safety of children and adolescents lifting weights. It has long been believed that weight training could lead to an increased risk of injury. But, it has been found that when eight are used with caution and age appropriateness, there are positive benefits to strength training. It actually reduced the possibility or injury while playing organized sports. It is also a misconception to believe that weight training can cause more injury to growth plates than any other physical activity. Growth plate injury actually occurs more during participation in organized sports.

Many organizations agree that physical activities that strengthen the muscles are important for overall health.  It is also important for young people to participate in a wide variety of sports. These types of activity should be supervised, especially for beginners, until individuals learn how to operate equipment properly.  Weight raining can be simple, healthy, and effective.

Concerns For Celiac Disease Screening

       The gluten-free craze is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Many people say they feel better after adopting a diet free of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, even though relatively few gluten avoiders have been given diagnoses of celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that can attack the intestines and other tissues when gluten is consumed. Approximately one person in 140 is known to have celiac disease, which can remain silent for decades and become apparent at any age. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that can attack the intestines and other tissues when gluten is consumed. Despite the current focus on gluten, there are probably many people walking around with celiac disease who don’t know they have it. The disorder can induce a host of vague and often confusing symptoms, the true cause of which may not be determined for a decade or longer. Among possible symptoms: abdominal pain, bloating, gas, chronic diarrhea, or constipation; chronic fatigue, anemia, unexplained weight loss, and more. When undiagnosed celiac results in persistent fatigue or infertility, “you can lose years of quality of life that you can’t get back,” Dr. Murray said. If symptoms are subtle, he added, “if the whole population were screened and people with celiac were found and treated, it could result in no health consequences.

 

       The fact is, however, that celiac disease can remain silent for many years, during which time hidden damage can occur with lifelong, sometimes irreversible, health effects. And as a report for the United States Preventive Services Task Force that reviewed the evidence recently stated, many of these “adverse health consequences” are “potentially avoidable.” These factors suggest that a screening program to detect hidden disease might be health-saving for millions of people. However, after a thorough review of published reports, the task force did not endorse a screening program — not because it considers the condition not serious or because there is no screening test. Rather, the task force said, there is still not enough evidence to answer “key questions related to benefits and harms of screening for celiac disease in asymptomatic individuals.” The team concluded that a lot more well-designed research was needed before a screening recommendation could be justified as medically sound. “There’s a simple blood test for celiac, but it must be done before you change your diet,” Dr. Murray said in an interview.  Until evidence is developed that could justify screening the entire population for celiac, Dr. Murray advocates screening “everyone in the at-risk group,” which would include family members of celiac patients and everyone with Type 1 diabetes, premature osteoporosis and anemia, which may be signs of celiac disease. He also advised that people with chronic bloating, mouth ulcers, chronic headaches or fatigue should be tested. Others who may be at risk for celiac include people with tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.

The Battle: Your Diet Versus Your Medication

A vital area that is extremely under-researched and therefore, not well understood, is the interference of diet and nutritional supplements on the therapeutic effects of various combinations of psychiatric medications including how the medications themselves interact. Physicians commonly utilize a combination of prescription medications in order to treat the various symptoms experienced by patients with mental health conditions. However, there is inadequate evidence about the extent to which the combinations keep patients well in the long-term. In addition, the tendency is to consider supplements as natural and presume that their effects are beneficial. In reality, supplements are chemicals that have positive and negative effects on our bodies much like prescription medication.

A recent study addressed these questions by examining the effectiveness of a combination of drugs versus a single drug as well as the influence of supplements. For example, findings indicated that patients treated with a combination of prescription medications bipolar disorder (quetiapine and lamotrigine) had fewer symptoms of depression and less episodes of relapse than those patients prescribed quetiapine alone. Unexpectedly, the study also suggested that taking folic acid which improves symptoms in pregnant patients with major depression who may be less willing to take prescription medications, may block the benefits of the combined treatment early on. If this can be replicated, it indicates that physicians may need to find alternative treatments for depression in women with bipolar disorder considering having a child. Drug trial rarely capture this type of effect. To add a further level of complexity, it seems likely that genes may affect this relationship as well. More in-depth data may be obtained via: http://theconversation.com/warning-vitamin-supplements-and-diet-could-seriously-mess-with-your-medication-52352. Overall, the findings emphasize the serious nature of this conundrum and the need to better comprehend the connection between diet and nutritional supplements and prescription medications.

Can we really change our body shape through exercise?

Can we really change our body shape through exercise?

The short answer, unfortunately, is no. Our bone structure and proportions are largely fixed after we reach adulthood.

You can, however, target specific areas of your body to play with proportions. Be careful, lifting weights will not magically turn fat into muscle, and targeting certain areas of the body will not magically melt fat away from that specific place.

To lose weight, increase your physical activity and exercise, and eat well. Remember your smaller muscle groups. If you only run on a treadmill, you're only going to work the muscles used during running. Consider a boot-camp style workout, which will include oft-forgotten muscles, like those in your hips and wrists. Don't forget your core, targeting your back and abdominals is key to stability, which will help your form. And don't ignore your form! We're wired to avoid discomfort, so we're naturally inclined to use our larger muscles. Pay attention to which muscles should be targeted for the exercise you're doing. It might feel easier, but using momentum to do your reps may cause more harm than good in the long run. Remember to stretch! Stretching is key to maintaining a natural range of motion for all of your joints.

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Sugar and Addiction

The effect of sugar consumption on the body is similar to that of drug usage. One can become addicted to sugar because, like nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine, it activates the brain’s reward system by releasing Dopamine. This can result in cravings and continuing behavior despite negative consequences, tolerance, and withdrawal.

Although there is no concrete evidence that sugar is physically addictive to humans, negative consequences of consumption include type-2 diabetes, weight gain, and dental cavities. Sugar replacements actually impact the brain in a similar way that sugar does, so they are not much better alternatives. Quitting sugar and sweeteners all together may improve skin, sleep, and moods.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a very common painful condition where increased swilling or fluid in the wrist puts pressure on the median nerve that supplies sensation and strength to most of the thumb, several fingers, and part of the palm of the hand.

This syndrome is more common in women than men, especially during pregnancy, where it is thought that fluid retention increases pressure in the carpel tunnel. It is also more common in those with a higher BMI, and those with diabetes. Treatments for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome include a wrist splint, a local steroid injection, or in the worst cases, carpel tunnel release surgery.

Read the original article on this topic.

What is the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia?

Dementia is a general term for a variety of symptoms that most often afflict the elderly and includes memory loss, an inability to reason and incredible difficulty with communicating. Dementia occurs when brain cells have been damaged. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which affects 60 to 80 percent of dementia patients, followed by vascular dementia, which is caused by poor blood flow to the brain. However, certain types of dementia can be reversible, such as dementia caused by vitamin deficiencies, excessive alcohol use, medication, or thyroid problems. 

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia where the patient gets progressively worse and eventually is unable to perform basic daily activities, speak, respond, or walk. Unfortunately, there is no cure or successful treatment for Alzheimer's, and patients will continue to get progressively worse. 

4 Steps To Help Children Deal With Emotions

Emotional skills are something all kids need in order to succeed in life. As a parent, you hate to see your child crying or unhappy and you try your best to fix it, but it doesn't help them in the long run. Dr. Susan David says "We step into the child's emotional space with our platitudes, advice and ideas. Many common parental strategies, like minimizing either the emotion or the underlying problem or rushing to the rescue, fail to help the child learn how to help himself."   

Dr. David offers 4 steps to help children deal with emotions. The first step is to FEEL IT. Feel where they are coming from emotionally and realize that they have their own emotional world. The second step is to SHOW IT. Expressions like "boys don't cry" or "brush it off" are only teaching kids to hide their emotions, when it is best for them to show it. The third step is to LABEL IT. Teach them how to identify and label their emotions because it will help their ability to empathize. The last step is to WATCH IT GO. Show them that these feelings are temporary and they don't last forever. Children grow and feel stronger when they realize its not how you feel, but how you respond to your feelings. 

Up to Half of All Babies Under 3 Months Have Infant Reflux

 

What is Infant Reflux?

Reflux happens very commonly among babies. When food is swallowed, many factors keep the food we eat in the stomach. These include gravity, since we usually eat sitting up, the density of the food, the length of the oesophagus, and the muscular band at the lower end of the oesophagus that helps stop food from coming back up. Because babies are usually lying down and only consume liquid, their muscles haven’t developed yet which makes them more likely to regurgitate their milk.

Symptoms and Treatment

The most common symptoms include small spill of milk after feeding and the mixture of mlik and stomach acid which sometimes causes pain. This distress and discomfort causes babies to cry during or after feeding and can result in more spit up. Regurgitation can also occur without any vomit or spit up. This is known as silent reflux. The only medication recommended for reflux is for babies with poor weight gain or prolonged distress. Unfortunately, they do come with side effects which include abdominal pain and vomiting which makes the treatment options less than ideal. Surgical options are usually reserved for older children who experience severe reflux. If the reflux is not severe, there are some effective treatment methods to try. Letting the baby lie tummy down on their left side while still awake can help (but the baby must be awake). Babies should not sleep in this position as there is an increased risk associated with SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Thankfully, most babies do grow out of these symptoms, with less than 5% of babies continuing to experience reflux by the time they are one year old

Is hip dysplasia in my newborn something to worry about?

As many as 10 people in 1,000 are affected by hip dysplasia, a chronic condition that manifests in early childhood.  This condition is characterized by an underdevelopment of the hip bones as well as a looseness in the hip joints. The socket of the hip joint does not hold the hip hone, resulting in a tendency for the hip to dislocate. it can affect walking as well as the blood supply to the hip and can result in permanent disability if not treated early. Causes include being born in the breech position, a genetic predisposition for the condition, as well as anything that prevents movement of the hip joints in utero. 

 

Babies do not display symptons of this condition until they have learned to crawl, so doctors or midwives conduct screenings both at birth as well as at the six-week check. Additional signs of the condition, such as an asymmetry of the buttock creases or leg lengths may indicate the need for treatment. If a child is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, parents may be instructed to use a removable harness to hold their child's hips in place. While the harness is 95% effective in treating this condition, surgery is recommended for children who do not respond to that particular treatment. 

The Common Cold

What we refer to as “The Common Cold” is actually caused by several different viruses. Most are caused by Rhinovirus.. They usually present as an acute self-limiting infection, which means it comes on quickly and resolves by itself. The upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, and larynx) is usually the most affected by Rhinovirus. The incubation period after picking up the virus is usually about two days before our symptoms start. The illness can then last for 5-7 days. You are likely to be contagious while you have symptoms, but you’re most contagious in the early part of illness (the first few days). As your immune system begins to fight the virus, the concentration of virus in your body will drop off and you will recover. Humans develop immunity to virus by sending white blood cells to kill the virus and making antibodies active against it. 

It is a commonly held belief that rhinovirus symptoms are different than those associated with influenza (the flu). However, all the viruses discussed can cause an influenza-like illness. Most people infected with influenza virus have only mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. Many infected with influenza have exactly the same symptoms as those infected with rhinovirus.

For this reason it is usually not possible for you, or a doctor, to tell whether you are suffering from a cold or flu. Hence, the term “ILI” or “influenza-like illness” is also used for colds, especially where there is also fever.

While influenza might sometimes be associated with more severe respiratory infections, rhinovirus gives it a good run for its money. During most winters, rhinoviruses cause more cases of pneumonia requiring hospitalization than do influenza viruses. 

Patients Choice Awards 2015

Congratulations to all the wonderful staff at Currambine Family Practice who been voted in at 34 in the top 100 Medical Practices in Australia as voted by patients. 

Over 180,000 patients Australia-wide completed the post-appointment survey via HealthEngine in 2015. The award is a huge achievement and a testament to the quality of service and clinical care provided by the  Practice.

Why is Chronic Pain so common, yet so difficult to treat?

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health in America revealed that one in three individuals in the U.S. have suffered from some form of pain in the last three months. Of this group, it is estimated an upwards of 50 million people suffer from chronic pain. To put the data into perspective, this is comparable to the number suffering from diabetes, heart disease or cancer. So why does it seem that such a common problem so hard to treat? While healthcare has evolved for these other diseases, it may seem that not much has changed in the pain therapy field. For many years, the common treatment of chronic pain has been non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids. 

As it stands now, due to new guidelines, physicians are cautioned to first weigh the potential harm that may come from opioid use before recommending the use of the medication to patients. Sometimes, the problem is misdiagnosed. It is also essential to put the pain in the context of the person's life. This is why an accurate history is important to determine what the cause of your pain is and how best to treat you and your pain. If you are suffering, booking a double appointment helps us to assist you.

SEE ALSO: What is chronic pain and why is it hard to treat?

 

I'm Burned, Now What?

Burns occur when skin is exposed to extreme heat, flame, electricity, or radiation from a number of sources. Burns are a very common injury that, in many cases, can be avoided with preventative measures. Children are more vulnerable to being burned because they are more curious about the world around them. If they do get burned, they are more likely to get burned more severely because their skin is thinner. Burns are characterized by size and severity of the particular burn. First degree burns are more superficial. There is normally minor blisters, swelling, and redness. Second-degree appears to be very red, with large or broken blisters. Third-degree look dry, white, and burned in appearance

The first step should be to get the victim away from the source of heat. Remove hot or wet clothing, as long as it is not sticking to the skin. Cool the burn under cool running water (not ice) for about 25 minutes to remove the heat and relieve some of the pain. After the burn has been cooled, cover the wound with a sterile, non-adherent dressing or cling film, except for the face. Apply all dressings loosely. Seek medical advice and do your best to use preventative measures to avoid these type of injuries altogether.