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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Intimate Partner Violence

Gavin LeSueur - October 25, 2018

Preventative health screening is not always about a blood test or a look at your skin. Sometimes your ‘check up’ might include questions about psychological health, memory or issues about habits.  Approximately 27% of women and 11% of men in the U.S. have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner and reported at least one measured impact related to these or other forms of violence in that relationship. In general, victims of repeated violence over time experience more serious consequences than victims of one-time incidents.  A recent recommendation from the US Preventative Services Task Force is that Doctors be aware of the problem and ask all women of child bearing age about intimate partner violence.  The recommendation was made because the outcomes from discovering an issue lead to support and a positive outcome.  If you are experiencing intimate partner violence there is help available. Talk in confidence with your Doctor.


Maybe not pleasant but a real lifesaver! The FOBT….

Gavin LeSueur - October 22, 2018

It is a hard to pronounce acronym but FOBT stands for Faecal occult blood test

A faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a simple test that looks for the early signs of bowel cancer. It can be done in the privacy of your own home and involves taking a minuscule sample from two separate bowel motions (faeces) using a test kit. Samples are then sent to a laboratory for testing.

FOBTs look for tiny amounts of blood (that often can’t be seen by the naked eye) in bowel motions. Blood is usually caused by something less serious than cancer. However, it may be a sign of an early bowel cancer or a polyp: a growth on the inside of the bowel that could develop into cancer. If the FOBT finds blood, more tests are done to find out what’s caused the bleeding.

Men and women aged 50 and over, without symptoms and without a strong family history of bowel cancer, are encouraged to do an FOBT every two years. Those with a strong family history of bowel cancer or any symptoms should see a doctor.
Although no screening test is 100% accurate, the FOBT is currently the most widely available and well trialled screening test for bowel cancer. If you do an FOBT every two years, you can reduce your risk of dying from bowel cancer by up to a third.

There could be several reasons for finding blood in a bowel motion that may not be related to bowel cancer, for example, bleeding from piles, menstrual blood, etc.

However, if blood is found, it’s important to speak to your doctor. Your doctor will talk with you about follow-up tests (such as colonoscopies) which check for bowel cancer, polyps or other causes of the positive FOBT result.

Remember, bowel cancer is 90% curable if found at an early stage.

How to be real woman!

Gavin LeSueur - October 14, 2018

For everybody there are certain determinants of health that are largely, if not entirely, out of your control. Your genetic makeup and biology have major bearing on your overall wellbeing, as do any number of socioeconomic factors. If you have an inherited health condition, and you are struggling to earn an income, your path to health is going to be rockier than that of someone who doesn’t and isn’t.
But there are individual behaviors that have been shown to help improve and maintain women’s health. Habits that have a direct and measurable impact on women’s bodies and minds, and that healthy women therefore embrace. Here are 17.

1. Healthy women cultivate friendships.

Friendships have a significant impact on both psychological health and physical health. There are lots of reasons why and numerous studies have shown friendships help increase longevity!

2. They have a screening plan …
Healthy women read up on their options and make informed decisions about what’s right for them. Your screening plan could be as simple as an preventative health screen and consultation with your Doctor.

3. … And they become experts on their own bodies.
No nurse or doctor can ever know your body as well as you do, which is why healthy women tune in to theirs and speak up when something seems off. They do monthly self-breast exams, track their menstrual cycles, note where their moles are (and if they’ve changed) and pay attention to any unusual symptoms. Not only is this intimate knowledge of their body a way for women to revel in its strength and awesomeness, it ensures they’re active participants in their own health.

4. They take medication seriously.
Research suggests that when it comes to medication adherence, women are worse than men. In one survey, one-third of women stopped taking a drug for a chronic illness or serious medical condition, for a variety of possible reasons: cost, forgetfulness and confusion about how to take it, to name a few. Healthy women understand that not being vigilant with medication has the potential to compound serious problems, and they also understand that taking medication carries with it risks and benefits.

5. They prioritize sleep.

The list of reasons why sleep matters is as long as it is varied, but the bottom line is, it’s a basic human need. And on the whole women don’t get enough of it Healthy women know that getting enough sleep, and ensuring it’s high-quality (meaning not disrupted by text messages, or glowing lights from electronics, for example) are critical factors in keeping their minds and bodies strong and do everything they can to get plenty of rest.

6. They have great sex — coupled and alone …
Sex isn’t just good for pleasure (or procreation); research suggests it can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and help improve women’s bladder control by working the pelvic floor muscles,

7. … And they’re safe while doing it.
When it comes to sex, healthy women know it’s all about protection, protection, protection.

8. They find an exercise approach they like, and stick with it.
There is simply no way around the fact that being active is a fundamental part of good health, and research shows that persistence matters. Healthy women know it’s imperative to find an exercise program that works for them, and then work at it, day-in and day-out.

9. They eat according to their life stage …

The “best” eating approach for health and longevity is a matter of debate, though public health experts generally agree on some version of a balanced diet including lots of fruits, vegetables and whole foods. But while healthy women may differ in the specifics of their approaches, they recognize the importance of cluing into how nutritional needs change over time. Women who are thinking of becoming pregnant, for example, need to make shure they get enough folic acid, while aging women have to pay particular attention to calcium. Healthy women also make sure to discuss nutrition with their healthcare providers.

10. …And take cues from the Japanese women!
As far as good examples go, you could do far worse than look toward Japan, where the women have the highest life expectancy in the world. As Fox News reports, a girl born in Japan in 2012 can expect, on average, to live for 86.41 years. Though universal healthcare is one contributing factor (and one that’s largely out of individual women’s control), experts also attribute their longevity to strong social ties (see number one on this list), a diet that’s low in fat (though relatively high in salt) and a comfortable standard of living into retirement, according to The Guardian.

11. They watch their alcohol consumption.
The fact is, alcohol affects women differently than men. Women are more vulnerable to its effects, even if they drink less, and those potential effects are serious: Women who regularly consume more than about seven drinks a week are at greater risk for serious injuries, hypertension, stroke and even cancer.

12. They don’t neglect their hearts.
Heart disease is the number-one killer of women (and men), but only 1 in 5 women believe heart disease is, statistically speaking, her greatest health threat. Healthy women understand that while certain risk factors are beyond their control, others (like keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control and not smoking) are not.

13. They breastfeed — if possible.

Breastfeeding can be difficult — far more difficult to initiate and stick with than mant women realise — and more often than not, support is woefully scant. But breastfeeding doesn’t just provide benefits to babies; it has also been linked to lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression in women, research suggests.

14. They monitor their mental health after they give birth.
Having a baby can be an incredibly exciting time, but it can also take a toll on women’s mental health: Estimates suggest that roughly 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers experience depression. There is a difference between the so-called “baby blues” — mood swings in the days or first weeks after birth that are highly common and typically go away on their own — and more serious postpartum depression, which lasts longer — it can occur anytime within the first year after birth — and is more debilitating.

15. They’re careful about what they put on their bodies.
Though there are no clear-cut answers on how much exposure to chemicals and substances is too much — or whether certain products really pose a danger — healthy women know it pays to read labels and to stay up to date on current research.

16. They wear sunscreen — and never, ever use tanning beds.
Ask just about any dermatologist for their biggest anti-aging tip, and the answer is sunscreen. As in, wearing it every single day. But wearing SPF isn’t just a matter of vanity, it’s a potential lifesaver: Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults, particularly young women. Healthy women always avoid indoor tanning beds and limit their UV exposure by applying generous amounts of sunscreen.

17. They make stress management a priority.
Stress is as much a factor in overall health and well being as diet and exercise, and too much of it over the course of a woman’s life is extremely harmful. Chronic stress has been tied to mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease and weight gain. Stress may take a particularly hard toll on 40- to 60-year-old women, in whom it’s also been linked to digestive issues, joint and muscle pain and migraines. Healthy women know that finding good ways to manage stress (think exercise, mind-body interventions and investing in personal relationships) isn’t just a means of leading a happier, more balanced life; it’s a big factor in longterm wellbeing.

Why don’t you ask about arthritis?

Gavin LeSueur - October 10, 2018

The question ‘why don’t you ask about arthritis’ was posed in a feedback comment after someone had ticked the relevant boxes to determine their preventative health recommendations. The answer is worth a general discussion. The lifestyle, family and personal medical conditions that are detailed are not a comprehensive list of every medical problem. They are the ones that are relevant to a screening recommendation. There are many thousands of medical conditions that it is not useful to specifically screen for because early detection does not help and may actually be detrimental. Arthritis is currently a problem to be handled at diagnosis. Preventative factors relevant to arthritis are exercise, weight, smoking etc. These are all in the generated recommendations at appropriate ages.  We specifically do no ask about arthritis because having it, or a family history of arthritis, does not trigger a preventative health screen recommendation.
I have had substantial feedback about the number of recommendations when people barely tick any medical problems. Many screening recommendations are generated based on simply age and sex. The other factors all come into play but in themselves usually only generate a specific recommendation. For example; bowel cancer screening should be started at age 50 for everyone. If you tick ‘family history bowel cancer’ a second recommendation based on your family history details when you should have a colonoscopy (which may be much younger).

I encourage feedback. If you find an error or have a suggestion please drop me a line on the ‘contact us’ page.

How to be a real man!

Gavin LeSueur - October 5, 2018

Many of the threats to men’s health are lifestyle related.  You can lower your risk by simply making a few choices.  The threat of heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic lung disease is reduced if you do the following:

Don’t smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. It’s also important to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and exposure to chemicals (such as in the workplace).

Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium.

Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — can lower your risk of heart disease as well as various types of cancer.
Get moving. Include physical activity in your daily routine. You know exercise can help you control your weight and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. But did you know that it may also lower your risk of certain types of cancer? Choose sports or other activities you enjoy, from basketball to brisk walking.
Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For men, that means up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger and one drink a day for men older than age 65. The risk of various types of cancer, such as liver cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure.
Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under assault, your lifestyle habits may suffer — and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.

Stop avoiding the doctor

Don’t wait to visit the doctor until something is seriously wrong. Your doctor can be your best ally for preventing health problems. Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations if you have health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Also, be sure to ask your doctor about when you should have cancer screenings and other health evaluations.

What else puts you at risk?

Another common cause of death among men are motor vehicle accidents. To stay safe on the road, use common sense. Wear your seat belt. Follow the speed limit. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substances, and don’t drive while sleepy.

Suicide is another leading men’s health risk. An important risk factor for suicide among men is depression. If you have signs and symptoms of depression — such as feelings of sadness or unhappiness and loss of interest in normal activities — consult your doctor. Treatment is available. If you’re contemplating suicide, call for emergency medical help or go the nearest emergency room.
The bottom line

Understanding health risks is one thing. Taking action to reduce your risks is another. Start with healthy lifestyle choices — eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, quitting smoking and getting recommended health screenings. The impact may be greater than you’ll ever know.


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