All posts by Mike

PVH Medical can help you navigate your way through macular disease

Are you at risk of macular disease?

Macular degeneration is the name given to a group of chronic, degenerative retinal eye diseases that cause progressive loss of central vision, leaving the peripheral or side vision intact.

It affects the ability to read, drive, recognise faces and perform activities that require detailed vision. Also known as age-related macular degeneration, it’s the leading cause of legal blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. It’s responsible for 50% of all cases of blindness.

Macular degeneration is usually related to ageing and most frequently affects people over 50.

Are you at risk?

Macular degeneration is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors include age, family history and smoking.


People over the age of 50 are at risk of macular degeneration. In fact, one in seven Australians over 50 – or 1.29 million people – has some evidence of this disease.

Family history

People with a direct family history of macular degeneration have a 50% chance of developing the disease. Because at least 70% of cases of macular degeneration have a genetic link, it is critical that people with macular degeneration inform their siblings and children that they have been diagnosed with the disease.

Direct family members should have their eyes tested, their macula checked and follow the diet and lifestyle recommendations of Macular Disease Foundation Australia.


Studies have shown that people who smoke are three to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration. Smokers may also develop the disease five to ten years earlier than non-smokers.

Steps to reduce your risk of macular disease

Knowledge is power in the defence against macular disease, so it’s imperative that you know what you can do to minimise your risk.

There are some steps that can reduce the risk of macular disease. These include:

  • Regularly have a comprehensive eye test and ask about your macula
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Maintain an eye-healthy diet and lifestyle.

The team at PVH Medical can help you navigate your way through this disease, including quitting smoking. Simply make a booking online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.


Source: Macular Disease 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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See a doctor in Pascoe Vale if you think you have IBD

Understanding Crohn’s and colitis

Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are lifelong gastrointestinal disorders that commonly present themselves in children, adolescents and adults.

Collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the conditions are an emerging global disease, with Australia having one of the highest prevalence in the world. More than 80,000 Australians live with these conditions, with numbers expected to increase to more than 100,000 by 2022.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms include the frequent and urgent need to use the toilet, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fatigue and weight loss. This can often result in depression, anxiety and isolation in sufferers.

The conditions are becoming more prevalent, more severe and more complex and are being diagnosed in more and more young patients.

What causes it?

No one knows for certain yet what causes IBD but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental and immunological factors.

Exposure to environmental triggers – possibly viruses, bacteria and/or proteins – prompts the immune system to switch on its normal defence mechanism (inflammation) against a foreign substance.

Prolonged inflammation eventually damages the walls of the gastrointestinal tract and causes the symptoms of IBD.

What treatment is available?

IBD cannot be cured as yet but it can be managed effectively, especially with the use of medications and specialist care to control the abnormal inflammatory response, aiming to help reduce the frequency of flare-ups and maintain remission.

Raising awareness for Crohn’s and colitis

May is Crohn’s and colitis awareness month. It’s an annual campaign held in Australia to raise awareness about the impact of living with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

Throughout May, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA) will help raise awareness of IBD, encouraging Australians diagnosed with IBD to join a conversation about the challenges of this invisible disease.

Go purple on World IBD Day

Saturday May 19 is World IBD Day, a day dedicated for raising awareness for inflammatory bowel disease across the world.

You can show your support for those living with IBD on this special day. All you have to do is wear something purple – it could be a wig or simply a purple ribbon. It’s all about starting the conversation about Crohn’s and colitis, and having fun while you do it.

Are you suffering from IBD?

If you have any concerns, our team of doctors can help you. Don’t suffer in silence – make an appointment today. You can book online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.


Source: CCA

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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Flu shot Pascoe Vale

Winter is coming. Get your flu shot.

Influenza, known as the flu, can be a very serious disease.

Last year, Australia suffered from the worst flu season since 2009.

The high level of activity in the community resulted in a lot of people taking time off work. There was a significant burden on hospitals, with more than twice the number of people with influenza being admitted than is typical.

The flu vaccine is your best shot at stopping the flu.

Special flu shot clinics running for the next month

Attend one of our dedicated flu shot clinics and protect yourself from the flu. Sessions last only 5 minutes!

Your consultation will be bulk billed, while the cost of the vaccine is $15 (unless you’re eligible for a free vaccine – see eligibility below).

The only way to make a booking for these special clinics is by calling 9304 0500.

What is the flu?

The flu is caused by a virus that can infect your nose, throat and sometimes lungs. It spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and close contact, such as kissing and sharing food and drink.

What are the symptoms?

Flu symptoms can start suddenly like fever, headache, tiredness and muscle aches. Elderly people might also experience confusion while children might get an upset stomach and muscle aches.

Symptoms can last for a week or more. When severe, complications such as pneumonia and worsening of existing medical conditions can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes death.

Why should I get the flu shot?

Vaccination experts recommend that everyone over six months old get vaccinated to reduce their chance of getting the flu.

Every year the flu vaccine changes to match the flu virus that is most likely to be around during the flu season. Getting vaccinated every year is the best way of preventing the flu and any associated illness.

When should I get the flu shot?

Getting vaccinated from as early as April gives you and your children the best protection ready for the peak flu period, from around June to September.

Am I eligible for the free flu shot under the National Immunisation Program?

The vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for people who are more likely to be affected by complications from the flu. This includes:

  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 65 and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months to 5 years, and 15 years and over
  • People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease (e.g. diabetes, severe asthma, lung or heart disease)
  • Children between 6 months and 5 years.

For everyone else, the cost of the flu vaccine is $15.

New flu vaccines for people aged 65 and over

This year, there are two new vaccines available to provide better protection for people aged 65 and over. Speak to your doctor to find out more about receiving one of the new vaccines.

Flu vaccines for children

All flu vaccines are age-specific. Let your doctor know the age of your child before they get their flu vaccine. This will make sure they receive the correct dose and brand.

Is the flu vaccine safe?

Common side effects may happen within one to two days after the vaccination. These include soreness, redness, discomfort and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, muscle aches and low fever. These side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days, normally without any treatment.

Can the flu vaccine actually give you the flu?

The flu vaccine does not contain any live virus, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.

For more information about the flu in 2018, please read the fact sheet.

8 fast facts about the flu

  1. Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing the spread of the flu in the community.
  2. To protect yourself from the flu, you should get vaccinated every year. The flu virus is always changing so the flu vaccine changes too.
  3. Flu vaccines are available for eligible people for free under the National Immunisation Program from April 2018.
  4. Getting the vaccine from April will protect you before the peak flu period, from around June to September.
  5. Children can receive the flu vaccine from six months of age.
  6. Let your doctor know your age or the age of your child before getting the flu shot. The brand of flu vaccine you should get depends on your age.
  7. This year, there are new vaccines available to provide better protection for older people aged 65 and over.
  8. The flu vaccine does not contain any live virus, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.

How do I get the flu shot?

To attend a bulk-billed flu shot clinic, please call 9304 0500. This is the only way to make a booking for these special clinics.

To make a regular appointment (during which you can get the flu shot), you can book how you normally would – on our website, on the Appointuit app, via Facebook or by calling 9304 0500.

Remember to get your flu shot early for your best chance of beating the flu!


Source: Department of 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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PVH Medical is closed on Anzac Day

We’re closed on Anzac Day

We will be closed this Wednesday for Anzac Day.

We will re-open on Thursday.

A reminder that our usual operating hours are:

  • Monday – Friday: 8 am – 9 pm
  • Saturday: 8 am – 5 pm
  • Closed Sunday and public holidays.

We pay tribute to and remember all those who have served.

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Get immunised at PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale

Immunisation saves lives

Immunisation saves millions of lives and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

However, there are more than 19 million unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in the world, putting them at serious risk of potentially fatal diseases. Of these children, 1 out of 10 never receive any vaccinations, and most likely have never been seen by the health system.

Celebrating World Immunisation Week

World Immunisation Week – celebrated in the last week of April – aims to highlight the collective action needed to ensure that every person is protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. This year’s theme, “Protected Together #VaccinesWork”, encourages people at every level – from donors to the general public – to go further in their efforts to increase immunisation coverage for the greater good.

At the individual level, the most important thing you can do is to get yourself and your family vaccinated.

Why immunisation matters now more than ever

Routine immunisation is a building block of strong primary health care and universal health coverage – it provides a point of contact for health care at the beginning of life and offers every child the chance at a healthy life from the start.

Immunisation is also a fundamental strategy in achieving other health priorities, from controlling viral hepatitis, to curbing antimicrobial resistance, to providing a platform for adolescent health and improving antenatal and newborn care.

Are you and your loved ones vaccinated?

At PVH Medical we can look after your entire family’s vaccination needs, from birth right through to old age.

Simply make a booking with one of our doctors online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.


Source: World Health Organization

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See a psychologist in Pascoe Vale

Do you have any concerns about your child’s development or behaviour?

Michelle Vassallo is an educational and developmental psychologist. 

She is able to do various assessments, including:

  • Cognitive
  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Psychoeducational.

These assessments determine your child’s strengths and weakness for the purpose of educational planning and funding.

Michelle (pictured below) can also help your child to improve functioning in the home and school environments, improve emotional regulation, reduce school avoidance, and help with learning difficulties, encopresis and peer pressure.

Psychologist Pascoe Vale

As an educational and developmental psychologist, she works with children, adolescents and adults by identifying and clarifying problems, diagnosing disorders and counselling for a range of challenges.

Michelle now provides after-hours appointments every alternate Monday at PVH Medical. Simply make a booking by calling 9304 0500.

Find out more about psychology services at PVH Medical.

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You can now see a doctor in Pascoe Vale until 9pm every Friday.

We’re now open until 9pm every Friday

Starting Friday 6 April, we’ll be open until 9pm every Friday.

So whether you’re feeling unwell or you just need a routine check-up, we’re here for you more than ever before.

Here are our new operating hours:

Monday to Friday: 8am – 9pm
Saturday: 8am – 5pm
Sunday: Closed

As always, you can make a booking with one of our doctors online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.

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Easter opening hours at PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale.

Happy Easter!

The team at PVH Medical wishes you a happy and safe Easter holiday.

Easter is a wonderful time to get together with loved ones, enjoy the long weekend and eat chocolate Easter eggs (in moderation!). The team at PVH Medical will also be celebrating, and our practice will therefore be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Here are our operating hours over Easter:

  • Good Friday, 30 March – closed
  • Easter Saturday, 31 March – open normal hours, 8am-5pm
  • Easter Sunday, 1 April – closed per normal
  • Easter Monday, 2 April – closed
  • Easter Tuesday, 3 April – open normal hours, 8am-9pm

Thanks for your ongoing support. Have a wonderful Easter and stay healthy!

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Get your skin checked by a doctor in Pascoe Vale.

It’s ‘Melanoma March’

Melanoma March is an annual awareness and fundraising initiative that funds life-changing melanoma research.

In 2018, there are 20 Melanoma March events taking place across the country. Some participate to remember a loved one whilst others are on their own melanoma journey. All come along in support of finding a cure for melanoma.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which usually occurs on the parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. Rare melanomas can occur in parts of the skin or body that have never been exposed to the sun.

Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, which along with New Zealand has the world’s highest incidence rate for melanoma.

Melanoma is more commonly diagnosed in men than women. The risk of being diagnosed with melanoma by age 85 is 1 in 13 for men compared to 1 in 22 for women.

This year, more than 14,000 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma. Sadly, around 1,800 will die from the disease.

Melanoma symptoms

Often melanoma has no symptoms. However, the first sign is generally a change in an existing mole or the appearance of a new spot. These changes can include:

  • Colour – a mole may change in colour or have different colour shades or become blotchy
  • Size – a mole may appear to get bigger
  • Shape – a mole may have an irregular border or may increase in height
  • Elevation – the mole may develop a raised area
  • Itching or bleeding.

Other symptoms include dark areas under nails or on membranes lining the mouth, vagina or anus.

New moles and spots will appear and change during childhood, adolescence and during pregnancy and this is normal. However, adults who develop new spots or moles should have them examined by their doctor.

Shannan’s story

Shannan Ponton, from television program The Biggest Loser, thought he was invincible. He wasn’t. But his melanoma battle ended up saving more than his own life.

His melanoma story began on a beach in Bali when his wife spotted a suspicious looking mole on the back of his thigh. She booked him in for a skin check immediately on his return to Sydney. It was melanoma.

Despite undergoing two rounds of surgery and now sporting a 20cm scar, his melanoma hadn’t spread. He was so rattled by his melanoma diagnosis that he immediately called an ‘intervention’ with his mates, inviting 15 of them around to his house for a BBQ.

“I said boys, we all lead a similar lifestyle. I’ve just been diagnosed with melanoma. I want all of you to go and get a skin check,” Shannan recalls.

All 15 mates at Shannan’s intervention that afternoon booked themselves in for skins checks – 2 were subsequently diagnosed with melanoma.

“If it wasn’t for that intervention and that feeling in my gut to go beyond trying to just help, and actually making a difference, those two guys could not be here now,” Shannan added.

Watch Shannan’s story below.


Visit the Melanoma March website for more melanoma stories, events and to donate.

Get your skin checked at PVH Medical

If you’ve noticed a change in an existing mole or the appearance of a new spot, or you just want a general skin check for your peace of mind, make a booking with a doctor today.

Having a regular skin check could save your life!


Source: Melanoma Institute Australia and Cancer Council 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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It's Coeliac Awareness Week.

What is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is a lifelong condition that means your body cannot tolerate gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats and can be found in food such as bread, pasta, cereal, biscuits and cake.

People with coeliac disease must be careful not to eat any gluten.

Who develops coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease can develop anytime during your life. You cannot catch it from other people but you are more likely to develop the condition if you have a family member affected by the disease.

How do you know if you have coeliac disease?

People with coeliac disease feel unwell if they eat foods containing gluten. The symptoms can vary from person to person as some people feel very unwell while others won’t have any symptoms at all.

Common symptoms include:

  • Constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Growth problems
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Fertility problems.

How is coeliac disease diagnosed?

It’s important that you see your doctor if you think that you might have coeliac disease. PVH Medical is open extended hours, including every Saturday.

How is coeliac disease treated?

If you’re diagnosed with coeliac disease, the only treatment is to maintain a lifelong strict gluten-free diet.

There are no tablets or medications available. Most people feel better soon after they stop eating foods with gluten. It can feel challenging at first but Coeliac Australia (a not-for-profit association that supports people with coeliac disease) provides information and support for people with coeliac disease to help self-manage it.

Our in-house dietitian, Samantha Stuk, can also assist with things like dietary management and meal plans.

Coeliac Awareness Week

Coeliac Awareness Week runs from 13 March to 20 March. This year, Coeliac Australia’s Face of Coeliac Disease campaign highlights the fact that people from around the globe are affected by coeliac disease.

The aim of the campaign is to create awareness of the many ‘faces’ of coeliac disease and its wide range of symptoms and associated medical conditions.

Help is at hand

If you think you might have coeliac disease, please make a booking with one of our friendly doctors today. You can book online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.


Source: Coeliac 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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Hearing matters

Hearing impairment, or deafness, is when your hearing is affected by a condition or injury.

Some people are born with hearing loss while others may develop it as they get older. Most commonly, hearing loss happens with age or is caused by loud noises.

One in six Australians is hearing impaired, deaf or has an ear disorder.

Damage can happen gradually

Exposure to noise is a known cause of one-third of the cases of hearing loss.

Damage to hearing from noise is cumulative, and is often a gradual process. The effects of noise exposure are permanent.

There are some early warning signs of hearing damage. For example, you may:

  • hear but not understand
  • find it hard to hear in noisy situations or groups of people
  • think people mumble
  • need to turn the TV up louder than others
  • not always hear the doorbell or phone.

How loud is too loud?

Many daily activities won’t harm your hearing, but some can start to cause damage after only a short time.

The louder the sound, the less time you can safely listen to it. Just because a sound isn’t annoying doesn’t make it safe.

Find out from the noise simulator which noises are safe, which ones you may need ear protection for, and which ones are dangerous over a period of 30 minutes or more.

Tinnitus in a nutshell

Have you heard of tinnitus? It’s commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing or buzzing.

Tinnitus is not a disease. It’s a symptom that something is wrong in the auditory system. This includes the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound.

Most of the time, tinnitus isn’t a sign of a serious health problem, but if it’s loud or doesn’t go away, it can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration.

Raising awareness for hearing

Hearing Awareness Week is Australia’s annual event to raise community awareness of hearing impairment and ways to protect your hearing.

This year, Hearing Awareness Week runs from 25 February to 3 March. It culminates in World Hearing Day on Saturday, 3 March.

Take the opportunity to give people with hearing loss a fair go. And remember to protect your hearing too!

How can you check if you have a hearing problem?

If you think that you or a loved one may have hearing problems, see your GP at PVH Medical. They will check your ear for any problems, such as earwax or a perforated eardrum.

Your GP may need to refer you to an audiologist (hearing specialist) or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon for further tests.

The sooner you see your GP, the better.


Source: Hearing Awareness 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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Find out about your risk of ovarian cancer at PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale.

Ovarian cancer – are you at risk?

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest women’s cancer.

Unfortunately, this has not changed in 30 years. Every day in Australia, four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and three will die from the disease.

February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. It’s held each year in Australia to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, to share the stories of real women affected by the disease, to highlight the risk factors for ovarian cancer and educate Australians on ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment.

What are some of the risks of ovarian cancer?

We don’t know the causes of most ovarian cancer. Research into the causes of ovarian cancer is continuing in Australia and overseas.

We do know that there are some factors that may increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer and that there are some protective factors that may reduce a woman’s risk.

It’s important to know that many women who develop ovarian cancer do not have any known risk factors — while many women who do have risk factors never develop ovarian cancer.

Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Age: ovarian cancer is most common in women over 50 and in women who have stopped menstruating (have been through menopause), and the risk increases with age. However, ovarian cancer can affect women of all ages.
  • Genetics and family history: if a woman has two or more relatives from the same side of her family affected by ovarian, or ovarian and breast cancer her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be increased. Genetics and family history are responsible for at least 15% of ovarian cancers.
  • Child-bearing history: women who have not had children, are unable to have children, have never used oral contraceptives or have had children over the age of 30, may be slightly more at risk. This is due to ovaries not having a ‘rest’ from the break and repair of the surface of the ovary when women ovulate each month.
  • Endometriosis: this condition is when the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) is also found outside of the uterus.
  • Lifestyle factors: such as smoking tobacco, being overweight or eating a high-fat diet.
  • Hormonal factors: including early puberty (menstruating before 12) or late menopause (onset after 50).

Take action during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

In 2018, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is about making a stand – it’s time for action. You can help the cause and take action by doing the following:

Make a booking today

To see if you’re at risk of ovarian cancer, or just for a general check-up, please make a booking today. You can book online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app or by calling 9304 0500.


Source: Ovarian Cancer 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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Learn how to eat healthy food with a dietitian in Pascoe Vale.

Smart eating – everyone can do it

Smart eating is a means to good nutrition, a key step towards better health for everyone.

But because we’re all unique, with differing health challenges, goals and lifestyles (for example), smart eating will mean different things to different people, and how we go about achieving it will be different too. That’s where personalised nutrition advice and support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian comes in.

How can an Accredited Practising Dietitian help?

Accredited Practising Dietitians have a lot to offer in supporting you to live a healthier life, through smart eating.

They’re nutrition scientists with at least four years’ study behind them in nutrition, food science and biochemistry. And they have the know-how to translate the science into personalised, practical advice, respecting your values and preferences, to find the best approach for you.

Importantly, they can support and motivate you to make smart eating a part of your life over the long term.

More information on dietetics

Fast facts about Accredited Practising Dietitians

Australia’s more than 5,500 dietitians work in a range of areas, including hospitals (36%), community settings (9%), private practice (31%), universities (6%), government (4%), non-government organisations (5%) and the corporate sector (5%).

But what all Accredited Practising Dietitians have in common is they:

  • Have a university degree in nutrition and dietetics
  • Give advice based on scientific evidence
  • Stay up to date through continuing professional development, and
  • Adhere to a Code of Conduct and Statement of Ethical Practice.

Smart Eating Week

They say to work smarter, not harder – but when it comes to food and nutrition, are you left wondering how to make the right choices for you?

12-18 February 2018 is Smart Eating Week. The week is run by Accredited Practising Dietitians, and supported by the Dietitians Association of Australia. The week falls at an ideal time, with the start of a new year inspiring many of us to live healthier lives, including through smart eating.

So get smart this Smart Eating Week. Connect with our Practising Dietitian at PVH Medical, Samantha Stuk.


Samantha can help with nutritional well-being, treating disease, preventing nutrition-related problems, and more.

It’s easy to make a booking

It’s easy to make a booking with Samantha. You can do it online, on Facebook, on the Appointuit app on your smartphone, or you can call us on 9304 0500.

Happy Smart Eating Week!


Source: Dieticians Association 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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