Good Health Blog

Please review the Blog Terms of Use at the bottom of this page.

Tag Archives: smoking

Is Preventative Health boring?

Gavin LeSueur - August 15, 2016

Driving along carefully in a well serviced safe new car is a good way to reach a destination but it has none of the excitement of going off road in a beat up beast of a vehicle with a high chance of breakdown. Life is a balance and even the adrenalin junkie has a limit that allows for calculated risk. As humans we are fallible and emotional and I can understand why we are not all that enthusiastic about a spin around the block in the family sedan when a sports car on the drag strip might be on offer. But life is a balance and to achieve some things you need to be prepared, emotionally and physically. So sometimes we have to put in time doing the boring bits to be able tobe out there having the adventures. There are very few emphysematous smokers having ‘the time of their lives’. The big adventure if you have morbid obesity is probably finding the TV remote. These are, in most cases, choices. Make the choice and find the time, even one hour, once a year, to consider your preventative health regime and options. If you choose the ones leading down a destructive route then at least it has been an informed choice.

The sneezin’ season approaches.

Gavin LeSueur - March 12, 2015

The Flu Vaccine is provided free in Australia to certain groups. The reasoning behind this is that vaccination of the following gives better health outcomes and saves the Government money on hospitalisation.  But you should consider having a flu vaccine even if you do not fall into the ‘at risk’ cateogory because the ‘flu’ is not just a cold  – it can lay you low and keep you sick for many days and sometimes weeks.  Talk to your Doctor and consider your risks.

Free influenza vaccine groups

  • People who are 65 years of age and over
  • Pregnant women at any time during their pregnancy
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months to under five years and 15 years and older
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Any person 6 months of age and older with a chronic condition predisposing to severe influenza illness that requires regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation, including children aged 6 months to 10 years undergoing long-term aspirin therapy, and people with:
      • cardiac disease
      • chronic respiratory conditions
      • immunocompromising conditions
      • renal disease
      • diabetes and other metabolic disorders
      • chronic neurological conditions
      • haematological disorders
      • Down syndrome and fall under one of the above categories
      • obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2) and fall under one of the above categories
      • alcoholism requiring regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the preceding year and fall under one of the above categories.

Breast cancer prevention? really?

Gavin LeSueur - August 19, 2014

The focus of is on the recommended health screens and breast cancer screening has been around for a long time and is well proven to have an impact on breast cancer detection rates and survival rates. By way of a change in focus everyone should also be aware that there are lifestyle changes have been shown in studies to decrease breast cancer risk even in high-risk women. The following are steps you can take to lower your risk:

  • Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol — including beer, wine or liquor — limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
  • Don’t smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. In addition, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
  • Breast-feed. Breast-feeding may play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
  • Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You may be able to manage your symptoms with nonhormonal therapies, such as physical activity. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest dose that works for you.
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation, which have been linked with breast cancer risk. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary. While more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and exposure to the chemicals found in some workplaces, gasoline fumes and vehicle exhaust.

Although it is a good idea for many other reasons, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables hasn’t been consistently shown to offer protection from breast cancer. In addition, a low-fat diet appears to offer only a slight reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

Screening is important but not the only way of reducing your risk. Consider making the changes today.

The facts about stopping the smokes

Gavin LeSueur - June 1, 2014

This graph is one that I refer to on a daily basis when counseling patients about smoking. Look at it very carefully – especially if you are planning on giving up. It gives a clear guide as to when is the best time. Many patients assume that when they stop smoking their lungs will improve. Wrong.

I do not show it to many patients over the age of 50 because it is depressing – for them and me! The dilemma is that if you are over 45 your lungs will continue to deteriorate and you will probably reach lung disability in your latter years. You still gain increased quality and quantity of life but the loss of lung volume becomes symptomatic.

So, when is the best time to quit? This is a no brainer. Today. Now. Immediately. It does not matter how – try everything, if one system does not do it for you try the next option. There is lots of help out there and the benefits are obvious – quality and quantity of life!

AAA – Not the triple A rating your want

Gavin LeSueur - April 29, 2014

If you are male, aged between 65 and 75 and have ever smoked  then you should consider have a screening done for a AAA (triple A – Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm).

An aneurysm (“AN-yuh-rizm”) is a bulge in a weakened blood vessel. An aneurysm can lead to serious problems.

Your heart pumps blood to the lower part of your body through a large blood vessel called the “abdominal aorta.” If an aneurysm develops here, it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

  • Most people who have aneurysms don’t have any symptoms.
  • A large aneurysm can burst. This is very serious, and can even result in death.
  • If you have a large aneurysm, you may need surgery. Finding large aneurysms with screening before they burst may make the surgery and recovery easier.

How is the screening done?

Screening is painless and quick and is usually done at a radiology clinic visit. An ultrasound is used to create a picture of your abdominal aorta using sound waves. The width of your abdominal aorta is then measured to determine whether there is a bulge.

Your next step depends on whether the test finds a bulge in the aorta. If you have a small or medium bulge, your provider may recommend “watchful waiting,” which means having your aneurysm re-checked periodically.

Large bulge (more than 5.4 cm)
You and your provider will discuss what to do next. You may need surgery.

Medium bulge (4.0-5.4 cm)
You and your provider will discuss what to do next. You should probably be re-checked in 6 months.

Small bulge (3.0-3.9 cm)
You should be re-checked in 2-3 years.


Normal (No bulge)
Congratulations! You don’t need to be screened again.

 How to not develop a AAA

Smoking increases your risk of having an aneurysm. If you are smoking now, the most important step you can take is to STOP smoking.

Building the database

Gavin LeSueur - July 5, 2009

this project started in 2008 with a concept to bring quality health advice direct to the public. After a year of reviewing preventative health recommendations and trying to design a format that is patient friendly and undertandable, is now ready to go onto the web. Many of the preventative health and screening protocols are designed in ‘doctor-speak’ and thus make little sense to patients. I am writing the explanations and getting my 16 year old daughter and local tradesman friends to read them before I post them. If they cannot understand what is needed then I re-work the explanation until it is useful.

Blog Terms of Use

Our blog is moderated occasionally and posteriorly. Moderators are volunteers. Internet users posting comments on this blog should not be considered as health professionals.

Comments posted on this Blog should be designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.

We remind you that everyone can read and use your comments. You do not have the possibility to erase your own comments.

Internets users commenting on my blog must behave with respect and honesty at all times. Internet users may not post any commercial/advertising comment. Internet users commenting on my blog must post information which are true and correct to their knowledge. Sources to health/medical claims must be provided when relevant. Moderators Reserve the right to erase, without notification, any comment they would judge inappropriate.