Good Health Blog

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Are you at increased risk of Breast Cancer?

Gavin LeSueur - September 5, 2019

It is now recommended that Doctors offer to prescribe risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors, to women who are at increased risk for breast cancer and at low risk for adverse medication effects.

The United States Preventative Health Task Force recommends against the routine use of risk-reducing medications, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or aromatase inhibitors, in women who are not at increased risk for breast cancer.

This recommendation applies to asymptomatic women 35 years and older, including women with previous benign breast lesions on biopsy (such as atypical ductal or lobular hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ). This recommendation does not apply to women who have a current or previous diagnosis of breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ.

How would you know?  If you have a family history of breast cancer then talk to your Doctor.

There are a number of risk factors that may make you suitable for these medications.

You are what you eat. The Cholesterol story…

Gavin LeSueur - August 29, 2019

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is part of all animal cells. It is essential for many of the body’s metabolic processes, including the production of hormones, bile and vitamin D. However, there’s no need to eat foods high in cholesterol. The body is very good at making its own cholesterol – you don’t need to help it along. In fact, too much cholesterol in your diet may lead to heart disease.

Health authorities provide recommend cholesterol levels If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular (heart) disease then the recommended levels are lower. In developed countries approximately half the adult population has elevated cholesterol levels. A one in two risk!

This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern.

Lifestyle tips to cut cholesterol

Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This will to help lower your triglyceride levels.
Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
Exercise regularly (for example, at least 30 minutes of brisk walking daily). Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis (‘hardening of the arteries’).

Weight for height?

Gavin LeSueur - June 20, 2019

Do you know your ideal weight for your height? What is the normal range? Good health is many things and the focus on weight is only one parameter. I tell my overweight patients that I would prefer them fat, fit and happy than unfit, smoking and thin. Life is a balance. Good health is a balance. An obsession with weight as a primary measure of health is misguided. Still, it is nice to know what is recommended. The reports give a link to weight/height details. Good health and preventative health go hand in hand.

HIV screening for everyone!

Gavin LeSueur - June 17, 2019

The US Preventative services task force has released a new recommendation about screening for HIV infection.

“Screening for HIV is important so that everyone knows their HIV status, and those with HIV can begin treatment right away,” says Task Force member John Epling, M.D., M.S.Ed. “Today’s treatments help people live long, healthy lives and lower the risk of passing HIV to others.”

That’s it in a nutshell.  If you have ever had sex or used intravenous drugs then you should know your HIV status. There are ‘at risk’ groups but the recommendation is for everyone to know their HIV status.  This is because over half the new transmission cases are by people who did not know they were HIV positive.

Cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure

Gavin LeSueur - June 11, 2019

These are the big three for the development of heart and vascular disease. Although each is not a disease, they are the risk factors for the development of diseases. Heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, aortic aneurysms and gangrene are all caused by these problems. The big surprise though is that none of them cause any warning signs for many years. High cholesterol could be an inherited problem – the youngest person I have started on cholesterol lowering medication was 13 years old. His father died suddenly from a heart attack at 42 years of age. If you smoke then you can do so for probably 20 years before noticing the health changes. But you cannot reverse these changes and the problems accelerate with age. High Blood pressure needs to be extremely high to cause headaches. Usually it causes no symptoms until you one day have your Doctor check it. By then it could have been high for many years damaging vital organs slowly. If you smoke or have a family history of high blood pressure, heart problems or high cholesterol then subscribe to the Comprehensive level to find out when and what you should be doing.

Don’t clown around Doc

Gavin LeSueur - May 16, 2019

Usually when a patient comes in and says ‘I’ve just come in for a check up” there is a reason. A relative has been diagnosed with Melanoma or breast cancer, they have noticed breathlessness on walking up a hill or have had trouble passing urine – to list some of the underlying concerns, not initially mentioned, that patients often have.
As a result they usually do not have a ‘check up’ but an investigation of what is concerning them. A patient said to me the other day that it should be called the ‘illness industry’ not the ‘health industry’. After a bit of thought I had to agree because the way Medicine generally works is based on the reason for presentation. After all, Doctors do not go into the streets and tout for well people to come and see them.

But we might be better off, as a community, in doing this. Come to me when you are well and I will aim to keep you that way. I cannot stop all illness but there are recommendations, investigations and examinations that can minimize illness risk, maximize health and detect problems before they are life threatening. eDoc.net will give you an exercise prescription tailored to your age, sex and health. We have health recommendations as well as illness screens.

So I really probably should go into the streets and tout for the well patients to come and see me. I truly want it to be a health industry.

New Years resolutions

Gavin LeSueur - January 10, 2019

The New Year is traditionally a time to initiate change. Weight loss, giving up smoking and starting an exercise regime are three common resolutions. With each year we all get a year older. I tell my patients to never complain about getting old. The alternative is worse (not getting old…). Preventative health is all about maximising longevity and quality of life. New years resolutions are also usually aimed at improving ourselves personally. Take this opportunity to make change, but more importantly make it last the whole year. From all of us here at edoc.net we hope you are having a safe and enjoyable festive season and wish you all the very best of health in 2019. Check out the free and anonymous preventative health screen now!

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An eDoc gift

Gavin LeSueur - December 22, 2018

As we approach the festive season eDoc.net will continue to provide comprehensive advice about what is recommended that you do in each year of your life for preventative health. If you would like to give the gift of good health advice to a family member or friend then simply send them a link to www.edoc.net.  You might save a life and prompt a loved one to take control of their health. And the cost is nothing. Free! Anonymous!
As the Christmas and festive season parties begin remember:
“Eat well, drink in moderation, and sleep sound, in these three good health abound’

Stay safe.  Preventative health is a life guard.  Merry Christmas and have an enjoyable festive season

 

A weighty graph. BMI and life expectancy

Gavin LeSueur - December 19, 2018

I posted this graph six years ago and have since used it 100’s of times to illustrate a pretty mind boggling fact. Bypassing all the problems obesity causes, this graph gets to the one big fact. It puts in a simple way the personal cost of carrying to much weight on your life expectancy. There is a reason when a patient comes in for a checkup that I first do their height and weight. The simple calculation of Basal Metabolic Index (BMI), while it is far from a perfect measure, is a good starting pointer to many potential health issues – hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis etc. Attention 30 year olds – if your BMI is over 45 you will lose 21 years of life.

Ho Ho Ho – oh no….

Gavin LeSueur - November 15, 2018

I thought I would get this post in early – as the office Christmas parties often kick off in November.  Christmas comes with it’s own health risks so a bit of foresight is forewarned!

Emergency rooms and after hours clinics are often busy during this period. Try not to become a statistic…

The reasons are usually one of the following!

– Overeating. Eating too much, too fast can cause indigestion or diarrhea. It can also trigger heart and blood problems.

– Overdrinking. Too much alcohol can stress your liver. It also makes you lose control over your actions and speech, causing you to harm others physically (or emotionally). Accidents caused by drunk driving are common around the Christmas holidays

– Food poisoning. This happens a lot because platters are usually left exposed on the table until the next day. Remember to refrigerate!

– Negligence. We tend to let our guards down during the holidays because we’re too busy and stressed out. We overlook important details like giving maintenance meds to elders or keeping away knives and scissors from kids.

Christmas is something to value and enjoy with your loved ones. So don’t let health troubles get in your way. Have a healthy Christmas!

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