8 Things to know about Crohn's disease, Crohn's disease awareness month

8 Things to Know About Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a long-term Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and is often characterised with severe abdominal pain, weight loss, diarrhoea and sometimes malnutrition. 

First termed in 1932, Crohn’s disease is a globally emerging disease with Australian having one of the highest prevalence in the world. More than 80,000 Australians are currently living with this chronic condition and the numbers are only expected to increase from year to year. 

Due to its unpredictable and debilitating nature, people with Crohn’s disease often find themselves emotionally, physically and socially impacted. 

Although not life-threatening, it can still wreak havoc anywhere in the GI tract that can lead to severe, perhaps fatal complications

There is no cure, but through management and careful treatment, it is possible to minimise the symptoms and live an active life.

There are 8 important things you should know about Crohn’s disease:

1. Crohn’s disease can occur at any age

Crohn’s disease generally appears at younger age – typically individuals in their 20s and 30s. But it can also happen at any age affecting both men and women equally

Children and teens are usually at a higher risk for Crohn’s disease, and its risk can heighten if they have a family history of the disease. 

2. Crohn’s disease is largely unpredictable 

There is a significant variation in its pattern and degree of symptoms affecting people. It is also possible that some people may have no symptoms for a long time, even years. This is called remission. 

There is no way someone will know when remission may occur or when the symptoms will return, making Crohn’s disease highly unpredictable. 

3. No one know what exactly causes Crohn’s disease 

No studies have yet proven what causes Crohn’s disease, however a combination of factors like genetics, environmental factors such as pollution, exposure to chemicals, diet and an unpredictable immune reaction are to be blamed. 

At the same time, there is no evidence that a specific diet or life stressor can trigger Crohn’s disease. 

4.  It is highly unlike to die from Crohn’s disease 

According to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, it is highly unlikely to die with this condition. However, Crohn’s disease can cause several serious, potentially life-threatening health complications.

Which is why, people with Crohn’s disease are advised to keep an eye on their symptoms, especially flare-ups, so they can get medical help as quickly as possible. 

5. Colorectal cancer is a major life-threatening complication of Crohn’s disease  

People with Crohn’s disease are at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer

The inflammation due to the condition can cause continuous turnover of the cells in the inner lining of the colon. This in turn causes irregularities that may lead to colorectal cancer. 

Anyone with Crohn’s disease must visit their doctors for routine screening for colorectal cancer.  

6. Crohn’s disease can emotionally drain you  

The chronic nature and remission of the symptoms can impact a patient’s mental health and social-wellbeing. Often developing at a younger age, it continues to affect people throughout their life without any cure. 

Because of its unpredictable and continuous nature, it can affect a patient’s quality of life requiring multiple visits to doctors, continuous vigilance to flare-ups and screenings for other diseases. 

Infact, depression is found to be higher in patients with Crohn’s disease as compared to other people with other diseases.

7. Crohn’s disease has no cure but many treatments 

Unfortunately, medical science has not found a cure yet. However, Crohn’s disease is treated with a variety of medicines including a surgery. 

Most of the treatments are aimed at controlling the different parts of the immune system that leads to increased inflammation and other systems. 

On the other hand, surgery is used when medications are not enough. Many people with Crohn’s disease undergo surgery at some point in their life, however surgeries are only temporary solutions. 

8. But, early detection is the best treatment  

Crohn’s disease can be best treated when diagnosed as early as possible. 

It has become more controllable than ever now to lead a healthy and normal life. 

Once you’re aware of your condition, your doctor can help you get the right course of action for better treatment. 

Heart Health Week 2021, GPs on Curzon, Health health Check Toowoomba

It’s the Heart Health Week 2021

It’s Heart Health Week!

Author:

Di Mears, Registered Nurse with GPs on Curzon

Cardiovascular Disease accounts for more than one in four deaths, and thousands of hospitalisations in Australia each year yet is largely preventable.  During the midst of the Covid Pandemic, many medical services were disrupted while we were unable to move around freely, and now it is time to get back on track.  Having a healthy lifestyle is important and you can make positive changes by improving your diet, being active, quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake to improve your heart health. 

GPs on Curzon, in association with the Heart Foundation is participating in a promotion pilot program to help boost preventative checks for cardiovascular disease.  If you are aged between 45 & 75 (or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons 35 & above) you may be eligible.  Ask your doctor or nurse about a Heart Health Check.  Just 20 minutes spent having a Heart Health Check is a positive step to protecting and improving your health both now and in the future.

GPs on Curzon was also successful in attaining a grant from the Australian Practice Nurses Association, to set up a nurse led clinic.    GPs on Curzon – Improve Your Heart Health clinic is focussed on engaging with two groups of patients – those who have coronary heart disease and those eligible for Heart Health Checks.   We strive to reduce the risk of further cardiac events for those with cardiovascular disease, identifying individual needs and connecting them with the most appropriate care providers to gain the best outcomes.    

To all our wonderful patients we hope this helps you to make positive steps for your health. 

Message from the National Heart Foundation 

Last year we saw patients postpone or forgo a wide variety of services, ranging from emergency treatment of acute conditions to routine check-ups, like Heart Health Checks. Primary care clinicians face a backlog of patients in need of preventative and chronic disease related cardiovascular care. Even during a period of competing priorities, the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease has never been so critical.

We have developed one-stop digital resources to help general practice health professionals to assess and manage cardiovascular disease risk in line with the latest evidence and guidance. The Heart Week promotional pack includes social media and website tiles, messages to share with your patients, online resources and posters for your practice.

If you would like to order hard copy resources, please visit the Heart Foundation Shop. Health Professionals may order up to 50 x copies FREE.

This Heart Week, you are invited to attend a webinar, Driving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World. We are bringing together international and local CVD experts for an engaging discussion on the latest evidence for CVD prevention in primary care, including an update on coronary artery calcium scoring. The event is held in partnership with Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) and the World Heart Federation.
 
 

See details of webinar session below:

 
 
TitleDriving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World
WhenWednesday 5th May 8.00-9.00pm AEST
WhereLive and recorded, free Zoom webinar
Speakers
  • A/Prof Erin Michos (international keynote speaker, preventative cardiologist – John Hopkins)
  • Prof Garry Jennings (Chief Medical Advisor – Heart Foundation)
  • A/Prof Ralph Audehm (experienced GP – University of Melbourne)
  • Siobhan Cheeseman (experienced practice nurse)
Registration Linkhttps://heartfoundation-au.zoom.us/webinar/register/1016172298424/WN_Nl-0JVlBSkCU72j7sNBttA
A woman suffering from abdominal pain due to endometriosis, Female GP Toowoomba

I have painful periods: Could it be endometriosis?

If you are someone who doesn’t look forward to “that time of the month”, then you’re not alone. Period pain can be frustrating and endometriosis, which is a more severe form of period pain – affects one in nine women in Australia and millions around the world. 

During periods, most women suffer from symptoms like cramps and mood swings. However, women with endometriosis struggle with excruciating pain accompanied by cramps and a myriad of other symptoms. 

While period pain and endometriosis have similar symptoms resulting in a similar impact on your body, they’re distinct from each other and need different approaches for diagnosis and treatment.  

It is also important to remember that endometriosis can’t be cured but can be well managed. The only way to reduce the symptoms and manage potential complications is through medical and surgical interventions. 

How is endometriosis different from period pain? 

You might raise questions like; I face a painful period, could it be endometriosis? The answer is “yes”, but unlike period pain due to Premenstrual Symptom (PMS), pain caused due to endometriosis is not caused by contractions in the uterus. 

Instead, it is a medical condition where the cells from the uterus are implanted outside the uterus, and sometimes it implants in the pelvic cavity or in the bladder. This implantation causes inflammation in women that in turn causes the pain. 

What are the symptoms of endometriosis? 

The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, but here are other signs that women often experience associated with endometriosis including: 

  • Chronic pelvic pain that is more than “bad cramps” and even over the counter medicines won’t suffice. 
  • Diarrhoea and difficulty passing urine as endometrial cells can grow in the areas between the vagina and the bowel
  • Infertility – getting pregnant could be more difficult than usual for women with endometriosis
  • Endometriomas or Ovarian Cysts that can become larger and painful requiring removal through a surgery    
  • Experiencing pain during and/or after sexual intercourse
  • Feeling tired and lethargic even when not doing anything 
  • Back pain that is deeper and within the body 
  • Painful bowel movements 
  • Nausea

Endometriosis and mental health 

A menopausal woman suffering from anxiety due to endometriosis with a antenatal doctor, Female GP Toowoomba

Living with endometriosis can affect your mental health. Since a correct diagnosis of endometriosis can take up to 10 years because the symptoms can vary from person to person, women can often experience frustration, fear and anxiety due to undiagnosed pain. 

Research suggests that there is an underlining association between endometriosis and psychological disease. Endometriosis is related to a wide range of psychiatric symptoms, especially depression and anxiety in younger women. 

Mental health concerns such as anxiety or anxiety disorder occur when an individual’s normal feelings grow, develops and worsen to a point where their normal day-to-day life is negatively impacted. And since endometriosis is associated with excruciating pain, it can lead to impaired mental health and decreased quality of life. 

Additionally, women who are recently diagnosed with this condition can still face similar mental health concerns. However, these notions are generalised, and the endometriosis-mental health association can greatly vary from person to person. 

Diagnosing and treating endometriosis 

If you’re facing trouble with painful periods, you will need to see a doctor to find out if its endometriosis. Take a note of your symptoms and discuss your concerns with them. 

Since endometriosis can be tricky, you will need to describe the details of your symptoms, especially about pain, their occurrence while in a period or in other times. 

Your GP may refer to an endometriosis specialist like a gynaecologist for further tests such as pelvic test, ultrasound or an MRI.

When do you need to speak to your doctor about period pain?

A female GP discussing treatment for endometriosis patient, Female GP Toowoomba

You need to your doctor if you suffer from: 

  • Extreme and regular pelvic pain during or after sexual intercourse 
  • Sudden pain that worsens during a particular time of the day or night 
  • Period pain that doesn’t respond well to painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines 
  • Changes in your menstruation cycles
  • Someone who experiences pain regularly and has someone in their family with diagnosed endometriosis. 
  • Heavy bleeding accompanied by pelvic pain
Thyroid Health is more important than you think, Medical centre at Toowoomba

Small Gland But Many Functions: The Importance of the Thyroid Gland

Producing hormones that influence almost all of your metabolism and regulates everything from temperature to body weight, the role of the thyroid gland in your wellbeing is important.

The small, butterfly-shaped gland, the thyroid produces hormones that influence every cell, tissues and organs in your body – doing amazing things for mood, energy levels, heart rate and even brain development.

But when the thyroid makes either too much or very little of these crucial hormones, things might get worse. Although it is unlikely that someone would die out of a thyroid-related disease, however, if you have any concerning symptoms, it’s time to call your doctor.

What are thyroid diseases?

Thyroid disease is the general medical term used that keeps the thyroid gland from making the right amount of hormones. The gland produces two endocrine hormones – T4 and T3 who’s healthy levels are decided by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.

When the thyroid produces too much of these hormones, it causes a medical condition that uses energy very quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. It can lead to causing persistent tiredness, racing heart and unexplained weight loss even when not trying to.

On the flip-side, when the gland produces low levels of hormones, it causes hypothyroidism that has similar effects on your body, but increased weight gain and might leave you very sensitive to cold temperature.

What causes thyroid disease?

The irregularities in your thyroid function can be a result of an autoimmune attack on the gland or maybe improper functioning of the pituitary gland. It can also be simply passed down through genetics. 

Symptoms that tell us your thyroid gland is out of balance

Lack of concentration, brain fog or forgetfulness are symptoms of Thyroid disorder, GPs on Curzon

While it is unlikely that someone will die of thyroid disease, the downside of this disease is that most patients do not experience any significant symptoms but can feel “just not right”. Sometimes they are diagnosed when treating for other diseases.

However, a wide range of signs and symptoms could tell that your thyroid function needs a medical test:

  • Trouble in concentrating, forgetfulness and brain fog
  • Experiencing irregular menstrual periods in women
  • Having an enlarged thyroid gland called Goitre
  • Experiencing nervousness and irritability
  • Feeling your heart racing or palpitations
  • Very sensitive to hot or cold temperature
  • Facing vision problems and irritable eyes 
  • Having muscle weakness and tremors
  • Unexplained losing or gaining weight
  • Feeling of depression and anxiety

Who are at risk of developing a thyroid disease?

If you’re concerned about your risk of developing thyroid disease, there are three main factors; age, sex and your family history. The older you grow, the chances of being diagnosed with thyroid disease also increase.

For example, hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid diseases in Australia, with a greater burden of disease women and the elderly. In fact, women are ten times more likely to be affected by improper thyroid function than men due to lower iodine levels and the delicate female hormone cycle.

Besides age and sex, your risk for developing thyroid disease is increased if,

  • You have taken anti-thyroid medications as part of treatment for hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer 
  • You have a family history of thyroid disease or any autoimmune disease
  • You have been exposed to radiation near your neck or upper chest
  • You have Type 1 Diabetes or Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • You have had a thyroid surgery

“Women are ten times more likely to be affected by improper thyroid function than men due to lower iodine levels and the delicate female hormone cycle.”

What is the one most important thing we can do for better thyroid health?

Understanding your risk factors is important and this can be determined through regular screenings and medical tests for thyroid disease if appropriate

Even if you have several risk factors, this doesn’t guarantee you will be diagnosed with thyroid disease. On the flip side, not having any risks factors won’t protect you from the disease too.

So, monitoring your risk factors and discussing any changes in your health is the most important thing you can do for better thyroid health. 

Your thyroid health through GPs on Curzon

To consult our doctors for your thyroid health, you can an online appointment or give us a call at (07) 4633 9000.

FAQs for Australia's COVID-19 Vaccines, GPs on Curzon

COVID-19 Vaccination Update: FAQs and Vaccine Information

GP’s on Curzon is already getting many phone calls and questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine.

This is some information prepared by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners about FAQs and links to reliable information sources. 

At this stage, GPs on Curzon has put in an application and an “Expression of Interest” to supply a Covid 19 vaccine, but as yet have not been told by the Federal government if we are in the first wave roll out of vaccine suppliers or when we are likely to be able to supply vaccines.

“Watch this Space”!

The Latest Updates On COVID-19 Vaccines 

The Federal Government has announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available for all Australians over the age of 50 years from Approved General Practices from the 17th of May.

GPs on Curzon is one of the eligible practices. Unfortunately we have still only been allocated 50 AstraZeneca vaccines a week. We will continue to provide vaccine slowly and steadily throughout the year. Please, we ask everyone to be patient but will gradually make our way through all eligible patients. Please phone on 4633 9000 to make a booking. 

Below is a very good Government link to help explain the risks vs the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 50 years and over. 

We do not have any further details as yet for provision of Pfizer vaccinations to the under 50 year old age group. 

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/04/covid-19-vaccination-weighing-up-the-potential-benefits-against-risk-of-harm-from-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca_0.pdf

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout will begin anytime soon. The Government has entered agreements to supply Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines which have been provisionally accepted as the vaccine to be administered. 

The next vaccine that the Australian Government is likely to approve will be the AstraZenica/University of Oxford vaccine. This vaccine is currently being reviewed by the TGA at present.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine and what to expect and benefits of vaccinations. 

About Vaccines

1) Now that the Pfizer/BioNTech and the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine has been given the green light, why are some people getting one vaccine and others getting a different one?

The simple reason for this is that we have all been waiting for science to prove the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. The key players in the scientific world have shared information on their vaccine strategy and trials, which is a world-first for this type of collaboration.

The first vaccine to meet the highest Australian testing standards is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

However, it’s being produced in Belgium and the US, and as the governments of the world have monitored the developments, many like Australia had already placed their request for supply. As this is a global emergency, all nations have to share this resource, which means there will be a staggered supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine around the world.

2) How safe are these vaccines? It feels as if there has been a rush to bring these to market?

You should feel assured that our drugs and vaccination safety watchdog, also known as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia, has some of the highest standards in the world for screening new treatments.

This means that we don’t just accept the information from other nations unless they uphold similar high standards. Even then, we put them through our own screening process as well, which has added to the delay in being approved for use here.

Vaccine Safety

1) What side effects can I expect after having the vaccine?

So far, the side effects from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can vary from local redness and a sore arm to mild flu-like symptoms. They should go away in a few days and reports from both the US and UK seem to list symptoms that are quite mild.

This has given us a great deal of confidence to proceed with the national vaccination strategy, which includes the most vulnerable members of our population in the first phase. The best place to find the latest information is the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website and the UK’s public health page, as these countries have already administered millions of coronavirus vaccine doses.

There is also an Australian site that is updated regularly and is being informed by experiences overseas.

2) Will the COVID vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?

No, it will not.

3) How will I report a suspected side effect?

There are several ways of doing this. You can tell your GP directly or report this to the centre where you received the vaccination.

Sometimes they are local reactions but not side effects that raise alarms bells.

If you are not sure about the reaction you are having, you can also report this directly through the TGA website.

4) The vaccine needs to be given in two doses. What happens if I delay or miss my second dose?

Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines need to be delivered in two doses: Pfizer 21 days (three weeks) apart and AstraZeneca 12 weeks apart. A delay can affect their efficacy and make them less protective.

If you are travelling, it’s important that you arrange for the second dose to be given elsewhere. This will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.

You should get the second dose even if you have side effects after the first shot unless the vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get the second injection.

5) Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?

Neither of the vaccines Australia is slated to receive initially have been tested on pregnant women in clinical trials, so there’s insufficient information about their effects on pregnant women and fetuses.

The administration should be considered only if the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high and cannot be avoided or in case of underlying conditions that may result in serious complications of COVID-19. The UK has provided this link for women wanting to know more about the safety of the vaccine.

6) If I have multiple allergic reactions to drugs and have previously reacted to vaccines should I have this?

If you have an immune condition or a history of a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines, it’s important to discuss these issues first with your GP.

The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy has developed some great information about this.

The US CDC has also created a table that outlines how to determine whether a person with previous allergic reactions should be vaccinated.

More on Vaccines

1) Will having the vaccine mean that we can stop the social distancing, mask-wearing and handwashing?

The simple answer is, “not yet”. 

In order to keep things this way and to prevent a surge in hospitalisations and deaths due to some quarantine accident, as was experienced in Victoria in July 2020, we need to vaccinate the majority of Australians.

The vaccination program will take time, as it will occur in phases while the supplies of vaccine become available. Teams of doctors, an array of GP practices, and nurses are already preparing to receive these supplies in their clinics.

We are all in this for the long haul and need to stick to the national plan, which is to protect all Australians.

2) Who will get the vaccine first?

Australia’s national COVID vaccine strategy has been outlined to take place in three phases

  • Phase 1a: quarantine and border workers, frontline at-risk health workers, residential aged care and disability staff, residential and disability care residents.
  • Phase 1b: adults over 70, all other health workers including GPs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, younger adults with a medical condition, critical and high-risk workers such as police, fire and emergency services, and meat processing workers.
  • Phase 2a: adults over 50 years, continuing on phase 1b with other high-risk critical workers.
  • Phase 2b: balance of adult population and catch up of any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases.
  • Phase 3: people under 18, if recommended.

3) When will I be able to see my GP for this?

Some general practice clinics will be administering the vaccine from late February 2021 and some will not.

All GPs have been invited to participate in running COVID vaccination clinics from their practices.

This will be a slower process as you will need to be asked a few questions, fill in a consent form and then wait for up to 15 minutes nearby or in a separate area with appropriate physical distancing.

You can ask your GP now if their practice will be enrolling to deliver the vaccine in their clinic during phase 1b and 2 rollouts. By the end of February, all GPs will have a list of nearby facilities that will be administering the vaccine.

4) If I don’t have a GP, where can I go to get this if I want to?

There will be designated COVID vaccination centres, much like the COVID testing clinics that you have grown accustomed to, and respiratory clinics for those being checked for symptoms.

You can also voluntarily enrol at one of the general practice clinics that are involved in the vaccination strategy and start up a relationship with a GP at the practice for your other regular health checks. This is a good opportunity to think long-term about your health.

We believe it is not likely that the vaccines will prevent the spread of COVID between people who are carrying the virus silently but are not sick with it. That’s why social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks in spaces where social distancing is not possible, will remain in place for a while longer until we get the disease spread under control.

5) Which vaccine will I have?

Most people in the community will not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is being delivered in phase 1a. You will most likely be offered the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, as it seems to give good protection and appears that it will most likely be the next vaccine to be rolled out to the wider community.

It is entirely different, easier to handle, based off existing technology, and can be produced in Australia.

6) Can I have the flu vaccine too?

Yes you can, but it is advised that you space them at least two weeks apart – either before you commence the COVID-19 vaccination or two weeks after the second dose – so as to ensure a maximal immune response to both vaccines.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (also known as COMIRNATY), has been shown to prevent severe COVID-19 infection and death.

Does the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine do the same?

Yes, they are both very good at providing protection from severe disease and even death from COVID-19, which is why they are high on the list of vaccine candidates for Australians.

We believe that neither of the vaccines will prevent the spread of COVID-19 between people who are carrying the virus silently, but not sick with it. That’s why social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks in close spaces will remain in place for a while longer until we get the spread of disease under control. 

7) What about the other vaccines? Should I wait for those rather than have the one I am being offered?

Other vaccines are on their way to being approved here also and it might seem confusing or scary to think that this process has come so far so rapidly.

Of the 200 vaccine trials, only a handful have made it to the final phases of testing, and the technology that exists now is very different to the technology that existed 5–10 years ago.

If you think about your mobile phone today and compare it to what you were using five or 10 years ago that should give you an idea of the rate of technological progress made.

You can be assured that the vaccines Australia will approve will work and will have the highest possible safety profile.

We are fortunate that we can produce the vaccine – the AstraZeneca candidate – out of Australia and we should take the opportunity to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the crisis we are seeing unfold in the UK, USA, Brazil, India and other countries. 

5 heart health mistakes to avoid and how you can fix them, Heart Health Toowoomba

5 heart health mistakes not to repeat in 2021

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Despite being the number 1 killer, there is little awareness of the disease. One of the reasons heart disease is such a big killer is that people make many heart health mistakes. Even if you are being careful with your health it’s still easy to slip up when it comes to doing the right thing to keep a healthy heart.

Although the message is getting out more, people still need to understand their risk factors. It helps in early detection that can make all the difference between life and death.

You can start by asking questions. Are my heart disease threats higher because of my family medical history? Or, did any of my family members have a previous case of heart attack or stroke? The answer to these questions is the cornerstone to prevent heart diseases and leading a more heart healthy life.

Here is a list of 6 heart health mistakes often made and how you can avoid them

1) I am healthy, should I still go for a heart screening?

The answer to this question is: Yes, it’s never too early to get tested.

If you’re aged 45 or more (or 35 or above for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community) then it’s recommended to get your risks assessed by a doctor. If you need help, visit our heart health clinic in Toowoomba for a consultation.

If you smoke, or have been diagnosed with diabetes or have high blood pressure or cholesterol or both, then is it highly recommended to get screened irrespective of your age and know what risks could be associated.

Even if you don’t notice any warning signs, you should discuss with your doctor and act to reduce your risk for heart disease. 

2) Resist the temptation to indulge your sweet tooth

A diet rich in added sugar can tighten your risk for heart disease such as eating too many donuts

We all love to eat sweets. But, there are many downsides to having a sweet tooth. Consuming too much added sugar food items can be one of the greatest threats to cardiovascular diseases.

Sugar is also present in things that you may not think of such as bread, tomato sauce and certain soups.

In our diet, the top sources of added sugars are from soft drinks, yoghurt, chocolates, cereals, cookies, cakes and most processed food.

A study between high-sugar diet and risk from heart disease shows that over a course of time, people who got their 17% to 21% daily calories from added sugar had a 38% more chances of dying from cardiovascular disease

The mistake that people often make is assuming certain food items are heart-healthy because they are advertised as low in fat but they may be high in sugars. Reading food labels is one of the best ways to keep a track on your sugar consumption. Look for added sugar content and avoid buying them or cut back on your intake. 

3) Stop smoking

Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and the risk for causing heart disease only increases with more smoking and when smoking continues for many years.

Even exposure to secondhand smoking causes heart diseases in non smokers. The chemicals in tobacco cause swollen and inflamed blood vessels that can lead to a number of cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease and stroke.

Even though smoking impacts heart vessels quickly, the damage can be repaired for smokers who stop smoking. Within a year after quitting smoking, the risk for heart attack drastically reduces and within 5 years, most people can cut their risk of stroke to nearly that of a non-smoker.

4) Don’t Ignore chest pain or difficulty in breathing

Ignoring warning signs such as chest pain is a heart health mistake and needs a immediate check by a doctor

Certain early signs of heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath are very similar to other health issues. For example, chest pain is common in both cardiovascular disease or inflammation of the muscles or chest infection.

If you notice any symptoms like chest pain and breathing heavily, nausea and sweating, make no mistake and consult a doctor. Do not ignore symptoms as waiting could have serious consequences.

So, this is how you should proceed: If you notice any prolonged chest or abdominal pain, nausea, difficulty in breathing, clamminess that seem unusual for you , consult medical attention urgently by calling 000. You could be having a heart attack and time is of the essence.

5) Stop bottling up stress

Bottling up stress can heighten your risk for heart disease

A psychology report found that bottled up stress or keeping your fear and anger to yourself can increase your risk for heart disease.

Whether you’re experiencing anger, any grief or feeling frustrated, pushing those feelings aside can cause physical stress on the body. And if left untreated for a long time, it can heighten your risk for many health issues including heart diseases.

If you come across situations where you’re not able to control your emotions, seek help from others. Talking to a loved one can greatly help. Always inform your doctors if you need to.

Your Heart Health Assessment with GPs on Curzon

At our Heart Health clinic in Toowoomba, we provide a comprehensive assessment of your heart health risk factors and provide screening and treatment of heart and cardiovascular diseases.

Our doctors will conduct a 20 minutes assessment to identify your risk associated with heart diseases and provide a management plan to mitigate the risk effectively.

For your heart health assessment, you can book a longer online appointment or call us at (07) 4633 9000 and speak to one of our Registered Nurses for further information about the process. 

Join Us as a Practice Nurse

Job Opportunity: Practice Nurse

We are currently seeking a friendly, experienced and highly motivated practice nurse to join our wonderful team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals here in Toowoomba.

If you are looking to join a friendly and professional team in a private practice who all work together to provide quality patient care, then keep on reading, because we may just have the role that you are looking for.

Practice Nurses desirable requirements:

• APRHA Registered Nurse qualification

MUST HAVE 6-18 months Practice Nurse experience in General Practice

• Medical software – Best Practice

• Must be able to multi-task and be very organised

• Experience with CDM, Health assessments, immunisations and minor surgery

• Ability to monitor and order medical supplies

• Phlebotomy

• Accreditation experience with RACGP

• An interest in health promotion and working with PENCAT

• A self -starter

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills

• CPR certification

• Professional Indemnity Insurance

• Skills to mentor medical receptionists with triage

• Recalls and reminders using Hot Docs

• Managing treatment room appointment book and ability to foresee problems

• If you are a RN, ability to supervise EENs if required

What we offer

• Happy and supportive work environment

• Great patients and staff to work with

• Development of long term relationships with patients i.e. a wholistic approach supported by GP’s

• No night shifts, evenings or public holidays

• Flexible arrangements with hours considered

How do I apply?

Resumes and covering letter to be emailed to nicky@nickyjardine.com.

Due to the large amount of applications expected, we will be unable to respond to unsuccessful applicants.

Thank you in advance for considering this position.

5 ways to keep yourself healthy this Christmas, Doctors in Toowoomba

5-holiday health-pitfalls to manage for a better Christmas

From Melbourne to Darwin and from Perth to Brisbane, any way you slice it, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

After several months of COVID-19 lockdown, this holiday season will have plenty of excitement from visiting family and friends, a barrage of dinners and drinks, lots of travelling, camping and much more.

But Christmas can also be anything but merry: there’s the possibility of overindulgence, stress from preparation and planning, loneliness, sad memories and other common holiday pitfalls that can lead to many health issues.

Our doctors from GPs on Curzon have outlined 5 common holiday pitfalls that can be avoided and effectively managed to keep you and your loved ones healthy during Christmas.

Overindulging in food

Overindulgence in food is one off the health pitfalls during Christmas, Doctors in Toowoomba

Overindulging in food and drinks is the mother of all bad holiday habits, but it also goes hand in hand with holiday festivities.

Big dinners and lunches often overload you, potentially leading to indigestion, stomach ache and bloating.

There can be other serious health concerns with binge eating. You can gain a lot of weight during a short period of time (like for instance) during the Christmas season.

The best way to deal with this and still enjoy your food is by eating often but in smaller portions. Your ideal dinner during holidays can include plenty of salads and vegetables, lean protein like chicken, turkey or fish and avoiding an excess of drinks and fried foods.

This guide on Festive Season Survival Tip can help you plan a healthier Christmas dinner  this year.

Intoxication

Binge drinking during holidays is very common. Especially with a summer Christmas, the excitement and fun with drinks play a big role in Australia.

However, consuming too much alcohol during a short period of time comes with many health issues. It can have both short and long term effects on your health.

The human liver is capable of metabolizing one standard drink in 1 hr, anything beyond that, our system becomes saturated and leaves us intoxicated. Binge drinking can lead to health issues like liver fibrosis, alcohol addiction, stroke and irregular heartbeats.

The easiest way out is knowing your alcohol limits. Avoid driving after alcohol consumption and drink plenty of water before and after alcohol consumption. 

Holiday stress

Unchecked stress during Christmas can give you holiday blues, doctors in Toowoomba

With several family and work commitments, social engagement, preparation and planning, the holiday period can be stressful.

Unchecked stress can lead to increased risk to depression and anxiety, sleeping disorders, loss of appetite, mood swings and poor concentration.

The best way to remain at the top of your mental health is to plan and prepare for everything beforehand, take rest, get some physical exercise and get some good sleep. Remember – you can say “no” some events as well!

Avoid accidents

With the hustle and bustle during the holiday, season accidents are common due to negligence.

The number of road accidents and household accidents are higher during Christmas. According to the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Infrastructure and Cities, December is the worst month of the year in Australia for road trauma since 1989.

Be careful on handling household equipment, avoid doing things that you’re not trained to do, read safety manuals thoroughly, seek assistance from friends and family when using a new device and above all don’t drink and drive.

In case of an accident, contact emergency services immediately. 

Increased heart-attack risks

During Christmas, the risk for a heart attack is higher due to a combination of factors like stress, lack of sleep, overeating and drinking. A publication from the University of Melbourne says that there is an increased risk of heart-related deaths over the Christmas period.

The best way to reduce your risk is to check on your food and alcohol intake, manage stress and remain physically active.

In case you notice any symptoms, inform your doctors immediately. 

Stay healthy this Christmas with GPs on Curzon

If you would like to speak to or see our doctors with any health concerns then get in touch. Our practice will be closed the Public Holidays only (25th to the 28th of December inclusive and from the 1st to 2nd of January).

Book an online appointment or call us at (07) 4633 9000 for further discussion.

Start your day one of quitting to smoke with help of GP, Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2020: How GPs can help you breathe easy again

Lung cancer is one of Australia’s biggest cancer killers. However, unlike other forms of cancer, there is a lack of awareness about this disease.

This November as we celebrate Lung Cancer Awareness Month across the globe, it brings a great opportunity to promote awareness for this deadly disease and educate people on preventing and managing it.

Thankfully we know the major cause of lung cancer – the use of tobacco. This month, our medical team from GPs on Curzon hopes to debunk some topics associated with lung cancer and how visiting a GP can be effective in helping you or your loved one to quit smoking for a healthier future. 

The use of tobacco is the major cause of lung cancer

Did you know that a single cigarette has over 600 ingredients and when burned, it creates more than 7000 types of chemicals?

Yes, a single cigarette has many cancer-causing chemicals out of which 69 of them are already known to cause cancers.

The lungs that form our body’s respiratory system are two spongy organs in the chest that take in oxygen when we inhale and release carbon-di-oxide when we exhale. So, when we smoke tobacco, this natural flow of oxygen and carbon-dioxide gets restricted causing a myriad of health issues including lung cancers in the long run.

Smoking also causes inflammation and continued smoking can build-up scar tissues which lead to physical changes in your lungs, making it difficult for smokers to breathe easy. 

A good way to notice lung cancer is to be aware of your early signs and symptoms

The best way to notice lung cancer is to be aware of lung cancer signs and symptoms

One of the worse things about lung cancer is that there are no noticeable symptoms until cancer starts spreading. However, there are still likely early signs that may tell you to perhaps visit your doctors immediately.

Look out for signs like:

  • Headaches that can also lead to migraines in worse cases
  • Unexplained loss of body weight
  • Loss of energy levels
  • Shortness of breath and changes in your breathing habit such as breath heavily while carrying out physical work
  • Wheezing when you breathe caused due to inflammation in the lungs
  • Bone pain when cancer starts spreading which can be worse during the night and with movements.
  • Chest pain that is persistent within the same area 

Saying no to smoking is a tough decision, but GPs can lead you the right way

A man breaking his habit of smoking with GP's help in smoking cessation, GPs on Curzon

It is understandable that quitting to smoke is a daunting task, probably one of the toughest things you will ever do, yet millions of people across the world have been able to do it – and so can you!

The best way to start your “breathe easy life” is to seek help from GPs. They are well-trained and experienced in providing smoking cessation treatment and can guide you with the best combinations of practices that can effectively help you stub that last smoke.

Read through on how GPs might be the best choice to start your journey. 

1) GPs can prescribe a Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy aims to reduce nicotine addiction and reduce your withdrawals that occur when you stop smoking.

This therapy comes in many forms such as patches, tablets, gums or inhalers and it would be your doctor to recommend the best form that would suit you.

2) GPs can also prescribe medications 

Medications like Bupropion are prescribed to help reduce the effects of withdrawals. These medications work by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain that makes smoking less enjoyable.

3) Support and encouragement throughout your smoke-free journey

GPs are often your first point of contact as well as acts as a mediator between many specialists. Likewise, they also form an integral part of your smoking cessation program.

They can help with behavioural support along with organising referrals to support groups such as Quitline, counseling groups or tobacco treatment specialists.

4) GPs can also advise alternative pharmacotherapies

Your “breathe easy life” with our GPs

Once you have decided to quit smoking, visit our GPs on Curzon practice and meet our GPs who can best advise on how to take the next step.

You can either make an online appointment or please call at our reception at (07) 4633 9000 for further discussions. 

Closing the gap by providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific health services in Toowoomba, Doctors in Toowoomba

Closing the gap: Our commitment to improving the health of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community

GPs on Curzon is “helping to close the health gap” by providing expert health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Toowoomba Community.

Providing Indigenous Health in Toowoomba

Indigenous Australians are more likely to have chronic diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases along with mental health issues. 

There is also a higher occurrence of diabetes and cancers including breast cancer for women and lung cancer for men among the Indigenous Australian community when compared to the non-indigenous Australians.

In view of this, we have put together a patient-centred approach to provide the best health outcomes specific to the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Toowoomba. 

Our Health Programs

At GPs on Curzon, we have established health care programs led by a team of doctors to help the community with chronic disease management, providing primary health care to anyone in the family, programs to educate and reduce tobacco and alcohol use and other specific health issues including programs to help with mental health issues. 

GPs on Curzon is a proud provider of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services, so if you’re looking for a doctor with specialist knowledge in Toowoomba, make an appointment with us. 

You can either make an online appointment with our doctors or call us (07) 4633 9000 at for further discussion.