All posts by Mike

How much do you know about cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix.

These abnormal cells can develop into tumours and in worst-case scenarios – spread throughout the body. The cervix is part of the female reproductive system and is the narrow lower portion (or ‘neck’) of the uterus.

How do you get cervical cancer?

The risk factors associated with cervical cancer are:

  • Infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Smoking
  • Weak immune system
  • Family history
  • Exposure to Diethylstilboestrol or DES (an oestrogen medication prescribed to pregnant women from the 1940s to the early 1970s)
  • Lack of regular cervical screening tests.

What is the Human papillomavirus (HPV)?

Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by an infection with the HPV.

HPV is an extremely common group of viruses that can affect both males and females. In most people, HPV is harmless and has no symptoms, but in some people the virus may persist and lead to diseases of the genital area, including genital warts and cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva and anus.

How can HPV cause cervical cancer?

After entering the body, HPV will behave in one of two ways: either remaining dormant (inside the body’s cells), or becoming active.

In most cases, the body’s immune system will clear the virus from the body naturally within 14 months. If the immune system does not clear a HPV infection, it can cause normal cells in the lining of the cervix to turn abnormal. In rare cases this can develop into cervical cancer.

Are there any symptoms of cervical cancer?

If early cell changes develop into cervical cancer, the most common symptoms that might be present are:

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods or after menopause
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Lower back pain
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Leg pain or swelling.

These symptoms can also be caused by other more common conditions so please don’t panic if you do experience them.

However, see your GP at PVH Medical if you’re worried or if the symptoms are ongoing. If necessary, your GP will refer you for further tests.

In many cases cervical cancer does not usually carry any external symptoms until it is in advanced stages. That’s why the Cervical Screening Test is so important (see below).

How can you prevent cervical cancer?

There are two ways to prevent cervical cancer: vaccination and cervical screening.

The HPV vaccine protects against nine of the main HPV types that cause 90% of cervical cancer.

In December 2017, the five-yearly Cervical Screening Test (CST) replaced the two-yearly Pap test in Australia. For most women aged 25 to 74, your first CST is due two years after your last Pap test. After that, you will only need to have the test every five years if your result is normal.

Raising awareness for cervical cancer

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week is being held from November 12-18.

To help raise awareness, women are being asked to get out their orange nail polish. If you don’t have any, you can buy some here. Proceeds will pay for the cervical screening of a woman in a developing country who otherwise would not have access to this life-saving test.

Make a booking today

We’re here for you until 9pm every weeknight and 5pm each Saturday. If you need to see us, please make a booking today.

 

Source: Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, Australian Government Cancer Australia, National Cervical Screening Program and Understanding HPV

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Travel health Melbourne

Are you travelling overseas soon?

It’s so exciting knowing that you’ve booked an overseas holiday and you’ll be leaving soon.

To ensure you have a pleasant trip, however, you should see us before you leave.

Why? Read on to find out.

Many other countries aren’t like Australia

Even if you think your travel destination is safe, disease outbreaks can and do happen.

In addition to immunisations against new infectious diseases, you might need booster doses of vaccines that you’ve received before.

Each case is different

There is no set immunisation schedule that will suit all travellers, so see our travel doctors for advice.

It’s important that you don’t wait until the last minute to visit your doctor to discuss the immunisation needs for your trip. You might need a number of doses and you might need time after immunisation for your body to develop full immunity.

Different types of immunisation for travellers

Some countries require proof of immunisation for some infectious diseases before you enter.

That is why it’s so important to see your doctor before you go on your holiday.

Your doctor can check the areas that you will visit, and recommend the appropriate vaccinations to keep you and your family safe.

What about infectious diseases for which there are no vaccines?

Infectious diseases are generally transmitted by food, water or a lack of hygiene (e.g. ‘gastro’ and traveller’s diarrhoea) or by insects (e.g. malaria and dengue fever).

These diseases can be life threatening. Your doctor will advise you on measures and medications that you can take to help prevent these diseases.

We have dedicated Travel Health GPs

PVH Medical is an accredited Travel Health Practice (accredited Yellow Fever Vaccination Provider) and we have dedicated specialist Travel Health GPs.

Before embarking on your next overseas holiday, we can help with all your travel health needs including:

  • A travel health check
  • Vaccinations
  • Fit to Travel and Medical travel insurance requirements
  • The latest travel health information for your destination.

We recommend making an appointment 6-8 weeks before your departure date. Please download our pre-travel assessment form before your appointment.

We look forward to looking after your travel health needs. Stay safe and bon voyage!

 

Source: Better Health Channel

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breast cancer Melbourne

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October, Australia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, provides an opportunity for us all to focus on breast cancer and its impact on those affected by the disease in our community.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of the cells lining the breast lobules or ducts. These cells grow uncontrollably and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body.

Both men and women can develop breast cancer, although it is uncommon in men.

It’s the most common cancer in women

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).

Survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease. You don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts.

What to look for

Changes to look for include:

  • A new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
  • A change in the size or shape of your breast
  • A change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • A nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • A change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • An unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.

View the short video below about the breast changes you need to look out for.

Breast cancer risk factors

It’s important to separate the fact from the fiction about risk factors for breast cancer. With an understanding of the things that may increase your chance of developing breast cancer, you can take positive steps to reduce your risk.

Find out more about your risk for breast cancer using this evidence-based breast cancer risk calculator.

Pink Ribbon Day

October is the official month for Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day, though you can get involved at any time throughout the year.

You can help those affected by breast cancer by making a donation, hosting a Pink Ribbon event or even buying Pink Ribbon merchandise.

For more information or to show your support, visit Pink Ribbon.

Questions? Concerns? Ask us!

Our team of friendly GPs are here to help with any questions or concerns you may have about breast cancer.

We understand if your preference is to see a female doctor. We’d be pleased to help you in any way we can.

Please make a booking online or call us on 9304 0500 today.

 

 

Source: Australian Government Cancer Australia and Cancer Council Pink Ribbon

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Eat more vegetables

8 tips for increasing your daily vegetable intake

To celebrate National Nutrition Week, here are eight tips to help you increase your daily vegetable intake.

Let us know if you have any questions or need help!

1. Try and cover half your plate at dinner with vegetables.

This guarantees at least two to three serves of vegies at dinner! You can even use this strategy at lunch and breakfast. Adding 1-2 measuring cups of vegetables to these meals will definitely help you get your five serves of vegies in.

2. The vegetables you eat can be fresh, frozen or tinned.

It doesn’t matter! All contain the same nutritional profiles. So, if you’re getting home late tonight and don’t have time to chop up the vegies, feel free to use some frozen vegetables, or even try the pre-cut vegetables from the supermarket.

3. Add some vegetables to your breakfast (or even an easy Sunday night meal).

Add diced vegetables to scrambled eggs or an omelette or frittata. Capsicum, mushrooms, spring onion, spinach, zucchini and tomatoes are good options that go well with eggs. Or, you could sauté some spinach, mushrooms and tomato to have on the side.

4. Try and have one meat-free day a week.

Eat a dish based on lentils and legumes instead. ‘Meat-free Monday’ is a health promotion that started a few years ago that many people like to follow.

5. Add grated vegetables.

Add grated vegies like carrot and zucchini to sauces and any dishes that involve mince such as pasta sauces, tacos and burritos.

6. Try making poke bowls.

These have become super trendy in 2018 and are also easy to make at home. Choose at least three different vegetables to have (such as sweet corn, shredded cabbage, avocado, lettuce, spinach, tomato and capsicum) to go with some protein and wholegrains (such as quinoa or brown rice). Minimal cooking required!

7. Add vegetables to your smoothies.

Adding greens such as spinach, kale, avocado, broccoli or cucumber is a great way to boost the nutritional content of your smoothie and help meet the five serves a day.

8. Snack on some vegetables if you’re hungry in between meals.

Vegie sticks such as celery, carrot, capsicum and cucumber go well with vegetable-based dip such as hummus.

Makeover your meals

It’s a good idea to take some of your favourite meals and give them a bit of a makeover to see where you can add extra vegetables in.

Take pasta bolognese, for example. You could grate some vegetables through the sauce, or bulk the sauce up with some lentils, or you could have a side salad or plate of cooked vegetables to accompany your bowl of pasta.

Getting nutrition advice is easy

For help and advice about eating more vegetables to improve your diet, make an appointment with our in-house dietitian today.

 

Source: The Nutrition Code

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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dietitian Melbourne

It’s National Nutrition Week!

Looking for an easy way to improve your nutrition? Ready to make some small changes for big gains?

Then look no further than this year’s National Nutrition Week campaign: Try for 5. It encourages all Aussies to have five serves of vegetables a day.

We’ve all heard it before: eating more vegetables is the number one strategy to improve health and lose weight.

But how else are they beneficial?

Eating vegetables can reduce chronic disease

Having more vegies in our diet can reduce the risk of chronic disease. This includes coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Eating vegetables can help fight depression

New emerging evidence has found that eating vegetables helps improve mood and reduces the risk of depression. And yet, only 4% of Australians are eating enough vegetables!

That means a lot of us are missing out on essential nutrients that help us to function properly including vitamins and minerals (e.g. vitamin C, magnesium and folate), phytonutrients, antioxidants and dietary fibre.

How many vegetables are we eating?

The average Australian is only eating about half the amount of vegetables that they should be.

This is leading to an increased number of cases of obesity, chronic diseases and poor mental health (including an impact on memory and learning).

Not only are we missing out on essential nutrients available in vegetables, we are replacing our vegetable intake with processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar (not so great for our health).

One extra serve can help

Did you know that just one extra serve of vegies a day can reduce your risk of mortality by 5%? That’s pretty impressive.

Imagine how your health would improve if you had five serves of vegies every single day!

A serve of vegetables includes:

  • ½ cup of cooked green or orange vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, carrots and pumpkin)
  • ½ cup of cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 cup of green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • 1 medium potato or other starchy vegetable (sweet potato, taro and cassava)
  • 1 medium tomato.

So, now that you know how important vegies are, how can you start having more of them? Simply read our eight tips for increasing vegetable intake every day.

Getting nutrition advice is easy

For help and advice about eating more vegetables to improve your diet, make an appointment with our in-house dietitian today.

 

Source: The Nutrition Code

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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See a doctor in Pascoe Vale for mental illness

Look after your mental health

Did you know that one in five Australians are affected by mental illness?

Unfortunately, many don’t seek help because of stigma.

What is mental illness?

Mental illness is a general term for a group of illnesses that affect the mind or brain.

These illnesses, which include bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and personality disorders, affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts.

The exact cause of mental illness is unknown. What is known is that mental illness is not a character fault, weakness or something inherently ‘wrong’ with a person.

It is an illness like any other.

Mental illness is very common

One in five Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder.

Is mental illness treatable?

Yes, mental illness can be treated. Many people who have mental illness can recover completely while others manage their illness very well.

The most important step is to seek help. See your GP in the first instance.

How to get help

A GP can provide treatment or refer you to a specialist, like a psychologist, for extra help. Note, however, that you don’t need a referral to see a psychologist.

Effective treatments are available and early identification and care can reduce harm and improve quality of life. If you’re uncertain or nervous about speaking to one of our GPs, you’re welcome to take a friend or family member with you.

Let your GP know if you’re getting help from anyone else, such as other doctors, self-help groups, family and friends, or natural therapists.

Remember to provide your GP with your full list of medications (including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and natural therapies), and ask your GP for a general health check to see what else might be adding to the way you feel.

Raising awareness for mental health

There is a stigma around mental illness due to misunderstanding or prejudice. This can delay or prevent people from wanting or feeling able to seek help, and impacting adversely on their lives.

World Mental Health Day – 10 October – is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy, and to reduce the stigma. It’s an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide.

Everyone is encouraged to look at mental health in a more positive light, in an effort to reduce stigma and make way for more people to seek the help and support they deserve.

Make a booking today

If you need help, please make a booking with us. We’re open until 9pm on weeknights and 5pm on Saturday to give you all the support you need.

 

Source: Mental Health Australia, World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Foundation Australia

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Talk to your GP about prostate health

Prostate cancer. Get the facts.

Only men have a prostate. It is a small gland that sits below the bladder near the rectum.

The prostate is often described as being the size of a walnut and it is normal for it to grow as men age. Sometimes this can cause problems, such as difficulty urinating. These problems are common in older men and not always symptoms or signs of cancer.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the prostate. These abnormal cells can continue to multiply in an uncontrolled way and sometimes spread outside the prostate into nearby or distant parts of the body.

Three facts about prostate cancer

  1. In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men
  2. More than 3,000 men die of prostate cancer in Australia every year
  3. More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer.

What are some symptoms of prostate cancer?

In the early stages, there may be no symptoms. In the later stages, some symptoms of prostate cancer might include:

  • Feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate
  • Finding it difficult to urinate (for example, trouble starting or not being able to urinate when the feeling is there or poor urine flow)
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Finding blood in urine or semen
  • Pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips.

These symptoms may not mean you have prostate cancer, but if you do experience any of them, please see your doctor at PVH Medical.

What are the risk factors?

Factors that are most strongly linked to an increased chance of developing prostate cancer are:

  • Age – the chance of developing prostate cancer increases as you grow older
  • Family history – you have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer if you have a first degree male relative with this cancer.

Other factors that may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer include genetics, diet and lifestyle.

Reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer

There is no evidence that the following protective factors can stop prostate cancer from developing, but they can improve your overall health and possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer:

  • Diet – eat meals that are nutritious. What is good for the heart is good for the prostate.
  • Physical activity/exercise – there is some evidence to show that physical activity and regular exercise can be protective factors for cancer. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is asking Australia to get involved and help create awareness and raise the much-needed funds to help in the fight against prostate cancer.

If you’re male and over 50 – or over 40 if you have a family history – you’re encouraged to talk with your GP about prostate health.

Make an online booking with your friendly doctor in Pascoe Vale or call 9304 0500 today.

 

Source: Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Diabetes help Melbourne

Type 2 diabetes: Australia’s fastest-growing chronic condition

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body struggles to regulate its own blood glucose levels.

Early diagnosis, optimal treatment and continued management is key to reducing diabetes-related complications.

Our fastest-growing chronic condition

Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 85 per cent of all cases, is largely preventable.

It’s a combination of insulin resistance and impaired insulin production, and is strongly associated with high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess weight (particularly around the waist).

Type 2 Diabetes is Australia’s fastest-growing chronic condition.

Diabetes: A snapshot

  • According to Diabetes Australia, around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, and a further 2 million are at high risk of developing it.
  • The full cost of diabetes to the Australian economy is estimated to be as high as $14 billion per year
  • The World Health Organisation predicts diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.

Take a look at the video below to find out more about diabetes and blood glucose levels.

Diabetes is preventable

Research shows type 2 diabetes can be prevented — and even reversed early on — with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.

According to Diabetes Australia, a small weight loss (5-10% of your body weight) can make a big difference, and reduce your risk of developing complications like heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

If you need help with your diabetes, or you think you’re at risk, chat with your doctor at PVH Medical.

This is an excerpt from an article in ABC News.

 

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Migraine help in Melbourne

The pain of migraine

Headache is one of the most common health-related conditions in Australia, with around 15% of us taking pain-relieving medication for a headache at any given time.

A migraine is a particular type of headache. It can be experienced from as little as once or twice a year, or as often as two or three times a week.

Three times as many women (15%) as men (5%) suffer from migraine, and scientists believe that hormones play a large role.

What is migraine pain like?

The pain is severe, throbbing and usually on one side of the head.

A migraine attack can last from four hours to three days. It’s associated with a spasm of the blood vessels leading to the brain.

Triggers for migraine

No one really knows what causes migraine, but it may be an inherited condition. Attacks can be triggered by a combination of factors, such as:

  • Diet – cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, alcohol (especially red wine)
  • Sleep – too little or too much
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Physiochemical – excessive heat, light, noise or certain chemicals
  • Emotional causes – stress, excitement or fatigue
  • Relaxation (weekend migraines) – often triggered by a period of stress and overwork followed by relaxation.

Headache and Migraine Week, 6-13 September 2018

Headache Australia, a national charitable organisation, proudly runs Headache and Migraine Week. It aims to raise awareness for headaches and migraines which affect millions of Australians.

You can register to attend events, watch live streaming or recorded presentations during this special week.

If you suffer chronic headaches or migraine, you could even consider joining the National Headache Australia register to receive information about treatment options, research findings and so on.

Three facts about migraine

  1. Migraine is a type of headache and a recognised medical condition
  2. Young women are most at risk
  3. There is no cure for migraine, but the right treatment can reduce the number of attacks.

Get help for your headache or migraine

There are numerous treatment options to help with headache and migraine. So don’t delay – make a booking with your PVH Medical doctor in Pascoe Vale today and get the relief that you deserve!

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel and Headache Week

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Asthma help in Pascoe Vale

5 interesting facts about asthma

Asthma is a condition that affects most Australians.

Despite this, there are many misconceptions about this chronic disease.

So let’s clear some of them up, with these five interesting facts.

Fact 1 – asthma impacts most Australians

Two-thirds of Australians are affected by asthma. Most people know one of the 2.5 million Australians who have been diagnosed with asthma. You probably know someone with asthma!

Fact 2 – asthma is a long-term disease

Asthma can develop at any age, even adulthood. Most people don’t grow out of asthma – even though 1 person in 4 may think that – but it can be managed with medication.

Fact 3 – asthma is a life-threatening disease

More than 400 people die because of asthma each year. The right medication, knowledge, and a written Asthma Action Plan can help keep asthma under control. Almost 1 person in every 3 don’t realise asthma is life-threatening.

Fact 4 – asthma triggers are varied

Triggers include pollen, smoke, physical activity and exercise, and viruses like cold and flu. But are you like 1 out of every 2 Australians who know that thunderstorms can trigger asthma flare-ups? Everybody experiences asthma differently.

Fact 5 – using an asthma preventer every day is the best way to reduce symptoms and flare-ups

Using preventers each day reduces symptoms of asthma and flare-ups for most people. These medications mimic the body’s natural response. Research tells us that only 1 in 4 people under age 24 know this. Preventers are the mainstay of asthma management.

I think I have asthma. Help!

If you think you have asthma, we can provide you with all the support you need. Make a booking online, on the Appointuit mobile app, or by calling 9304 0500.

It’s time you started to breathe easy!

 

Source: Asthma Australia

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Physiotherapy Pascoe Vale

Physiotherapy – helping more than just your body

Seeing a qualified physiotherapist as part of your overall health needs is really important.

What can a physiotherapist help with?

A physio can help with:

Your body – head, shoulders, knees and toes (and everything in between).

Your condition – covering everything from stroke to incontinence, a physio can help you live with a variety of conditions and diseases.

Your wellbeing – maximise your potential to live a happy and healthy life.

Your life stage – no matter what age you’re at, a physio can be there for you along life’s journey.

Looking after yourself at work

We all want to come home safely from work each day, so become your workplace health champion and do something about it.

It can be as easy as doing some simple warm-ups with your work mates before the work day begins. Or, if you do physical work like a tradie, you might want to ask the boss to get a physiotherapist to do a worksite risk assessment and lead the crew in some stretches to get you all warmed up properly for the day ahead.

Getting expert help

Our in-house physiotherapist, Naveena Seethapathy, can give you all the help you need.

Naveena has experience practising in three countries – USA, India and here in Australia. What’s more, she has a Master’s degree in Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy from the University of South Australia. So you know you will be in good hands!

 

 

Source: Australian Physiotherapy Association

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Speech pathology Pascoe Vale

Do you know what a speech pathologist does?

Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders. This includes difficulties with speech, language, reading and writing, stuttering and voice.

People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drinking safely can also be helped by a speech pathologist.

Speech pathologists work with people who have communication and swallowing difficulties that:

  • arise from premature birth, or may be present from birth (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, hearing impairments and cleft palate), or
  • occur as a result of physical, intellectual or sensory disability or a mental illness, or
  • emerge during early childhood (e.g. speech and language disorders, stuttering, difficulties learning to read and write), or
  • occur during adult years (e.g. traumatic brain injury, stroke, head/neck cancers, neurodegenerative disorders such as motor neurone disease), or
  • develop in the elderly (e.g. dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease).

The video below shows how one woman rediscovered her voice following a stroke.

We have an in-house speech pathologist

Our resident speech pathologist, Naomi DeNicolo, has nearly 20 years’ clinical experience. She enjoys being part of the PVH Medical team, providing support for the members of the Pascoe Vale community.

Speech pathologist Pascoe Vale

Naomi DeNicolo

Speech Pathology Week 2018

This year, Speech Pathology Week is 19-25 August. It seeks to promote speech pathology and the work done by speech pathologists with the more than 1 million Australians who have a communication or swallowing disorder that impacts on their daily life.

Communication is a basic human right and Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote this fact.

Tips for successful communication

  • Always treat the person with the communication disability with dignity and respect
  • Be welcoming and friendly
  • Understand there are many ways to communicate
  • Ask the person with the disability what will help with communication
  • Avoid loud locations, find a quiet place
  • Listen carefully
  • When you don’t understand, let them know you are having difficulty understanding
  • If you think the person has not understood, repeat what you have said or say it a different way
  • Try asking the person yes or no questions if you are having difficulty understanding them
  • Ask the person to repeat or try another approach if you don’t understand
  • To make sure you are understood, check with the person that you have understood them correctly
  • If you ask a question, wait for the person to reply
  • Allow the person time to respond, so always be patient
  • Speak directly to the person and make eye contact (though be mindful that there are some people who may not want you to look at them, e.g. some people with autism spectrum disorder)
  • Speak normally (there is no need for you to raise your voice or slow your speech).

 

 

Source: Speech Pathology Australia

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Anxiety help in Pascoe Vale

Understanding anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are common mental health problems that affect many people.

Approximately 25% of the population have an anxiety disorder that warrants treatment at some time in their life. Up to another 25% have less severe anxieties such as fear of spiders.

Having an anxiety disorder isn’t the end of the world. It’s the first step towards a solution, as anxiety disorders are among the most treatable and manageable of all mental health problems.

With the right support, you can learn to manage your anxiety and stop it taking over your life.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is extreme worry that interferes with our daily lives. Symptoms include panic attacks, physical fear reactions and attempts to avoid the situation. Anxiety disorders can lead to social isolation and depression. The good news is help is available.

What types of anxiety are there?

There are several types of anxiety disorders, and some of these are listed below.

Your PVH Medical healthcare professional can help you to identify your symptoms.

  • Depression
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder.

You can read more information about the types of anxiety disorders here.

What is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)?

GAD is excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not for at least six months, about events and activities such as those related to work or study performance, health, finances or family issues. The worries are often about a variety of minor issues and events that are unlikely to occur.

GAD affects about 5% of the population. The onset of GAD can be at a relatively early age, with one-third of people with GAD experiencing onset in childhood or adolescence.

GAD is often chronic, but may have only a moderate impact on a person’s ability to function in daily life. Therefore it often remains undetected.

Some symptoms of GAD include:

  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty in concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Shallow, uneven breathing
  • Sleep disturbance.

This checklist can help you determine if you are experiencing symptoms of GAD.

Raising awareness

This week is OCD & Anxiety Disorders Week. It’s a week of community events, workshops and activities supporting people with anxiety disorders, their carers, family, friends and health professionals.

Help is at hand

Our team of GPs and psychologists at PVH Medical can help with anxiety disorders. If you need help, please make a booking today.

 

 

Source: Anxiety Recovery Centre Melbourne and Better Health

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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Solar panels on roof of medical clinic in Pascoe Vale

Doing our bit for the environment

Check out our roof!

We recently installed solar panels on our roof. This means we can generate our own electricity to help run the clinic in a more sustainable way.

We’re proud to be doing our bit for the environment.

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See your doctor at PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale for help with alcohol

Alcohol. Is it time to give it up?

Alcohol is a depressant drug, which means it slows down the messages travelling between the brain and the body.

There is no safe level of drug use – it always carries some risk.

How can alcohol affect you?

Alcohol affects everyone differently, based on:

  • Size, weight and health
  • Whether the person is used to taking it
  • Whether other drugs are taken around the same time
  • The amount drunk
  • The strength of the drink.

What are some of the long-term effects of alcohol?

Regular use of alcohol may eventually cause:

  • Regular colds or flu
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Depression
  • Poor memory and brain damage
  • Difficulty having children
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure and heart disease
  • Needing to drink more to get the same effect
  • Dependence on alcohol
  • Financial, work and social problems.

Drinking alcohol with other drugs

The effects of drinking and taking other drugs − including over-the-counter or prescribed medications − can be unpredictable and dangerous. Always consult your healthcare professional.

About Dry July

In July, over 11,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer. To raise funds for people affected by cancer, Aussies are being asked to ‘go dry’ in July.

Funds raised through Dry July go towards cancer support organisations to help improve patient comfort, care and wellbeing.

Having a month off alcohol also has great health benefits, such as sleeping better, having more energy and of course, no hangovers! So you’re not only helping others, you’re helping yourself. It’s a win-win!

Getting help

If your use of alcohol is affecting your health, family, relationships, work, school, financial or other life situations, you can find help and support. You can also make an appointment to see us for a confidential chat and check-up.

 

 

Source: Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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PVH Medical doctors in Pascoe Vale can help with chronic pain management

What is chronic pain and how do you manage it?

Understanding chronic pain

Most of us think of pain as a result of an injury or disease. We expect it will go away once we have medical treatment or the injury heals.

For many people, this is the case. However for others, the pain doesn’t go away. In some cases, you can have pain even without an injury or obvious body damage.

This ongoing type of pain is called chronic pain. It is estimated that one in three Australians live with chronic pain.

Acute pain and chronic pain – what’s the difference?

  • Acute pain is usually short term. It tends to be more associated with damage to the body, and will usually go away after healing. Acute pain is a very important alarm system – it alerts us that some action is needed.
  • Chronic pain lasts longer, beyond the time you would expect an injury to heal. Chronic pain often does not indicate ongoing damage in our body – it’s like the alarm has been left on and someone’s turned the volume up. The pain is less to do with an injury to body tissue and more to do with what’s happening in our nervous system.

How long does chronic pain last?

Chronic pain can last for more than three months, or in many cases, beyond normal healing time. It doesn’t obey the same rules as acute pain.

The longer pain persists, the more complex it becomes. Even if it is caused by a disease, it now involves multiple body systems beyond the nervous system.

People can have different pain experiences

Everyone’s experience of pain is different. Two people with the same injury, such as a sprained ankle, can have a very different pain experience.

This is because pain is complex – how we perceive pain involves an interaction between our mind and our body.

How do you manage chronic pain?

Because chronic pain is complex, there is no ‘one size fits all’ way of treating it. To be successful pain managers, we may have to use a combination of things such as medications, exercise, diet, relaxation, thinking strategies and more. Over time, you can turn down the volume of your pain.

At PVH Medical, our doctors work alongside our on-site allied health professionals as a multidisciplinary team. This means you may also get help from a physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, podiatrist, psychologist, speech therapist or dietitian, in addition to your GP. This can help produce the best results.

National Pain Week

Each year Chronic Pain Australia, the national voice of people living with chronic pain, organises National Pain Week to champion the needs of the many Australians living with some form of chronic pain.

This year, it runs from 23-29 July. You can share your experience of chronic pain by using #PAINWEEK2018 on social media.

One thing to remember

Chronic pain can be overwhelming and affect all aspects of your life. However, with time, perseverance, and support from others including your GP, you can turn down the volume of your pain and get back to a full and enjoyable life.

 

 

Source: National Pain Week

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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