Reduce Your Risk of Stroke

Did you know one in four people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime? Stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged or die. The good news regarding strokes is that up to 90% of them could be prevented by addressing a small number of risk factors. We share advice below courtesy of the World Stroke Organisation on what you can do to reduce your risk of stroke.

Hypertension/High blood pressure

When high blood pressure is left untreated it damages blood vessels and can lead to a number of serious diseases including stroke. More than half of all strokes are associated with hypertension or high blood pressure so it pays to go get a simple blood pressure check and make the right lifestyle changes or go on medication now to reduce your risk of stroke.

Exercise

Just 30 minutes of exercise five times a week can reduce your risk of stroke by 25%. A whopping 1 million strokes a year are linked to physical inactivity alone.

Diet

Making small dietary changes can make a big difference to reducing your risk of stroke.  Make good food choices will help you to maintain a healthy weight, reduce your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol, all of which will help you to prevent stroke. The best diet for stroke prevention? A diet that is mostly plant-based with small amounts of meat and fish or what’s known as the ’Mediterranean Diet’.

Weight

Being categorised as overweight increases your risk of stroke by 22% and if you are obese that risk increases by 64%. Carrying too much weight increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes which all contribute to higher stroke risk.

Atrial Fibrillation

AF is a condition where the heartbeat is irregular and often very fast. AF is a major risk factor for stroke and strokes caused by AF are more likely to be fatal or cause serious disabilities.

Smoking

Smoking tobacco increases your risk of having a stroke. If you are a smoker, quitting will reduce your risk of stroke and a range of other diseases. If you live with a non-smoker, quitting will reduce their stroke risk too.

Alcohol

Globally, excessive alcohol consumption is linked to over 1 million strokes each year. Drinking too much alcohol either regularly, or as a ‘one-off’ can increase your risk of stroke.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that circulates in your blood and is contained in the food that we eat (mostly saturated fats). Stroke is linked to high levels of LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can be managed with lifestyle changes and/or medication. A blood test can tell you what your cholesterol levels are.

Diabetes

1 in 5 people who have a stroke are diabetic. Stroke and diabetes share many risk factors, most of which can be addressed with lifestyle changes and/or medication. Diabetes is diagnosed by a doctor using a simple blood test. If you have diabetes it is important that you talk to your doctor about your stroke risk and how to manage it. Diabetes can be managed with medication, diet and exercise.

Depression and stress

Depression and stress are linked to almost two times a greater risk of stroke and TIA (mini strokes). Around 1 in 6 strokes are linked to mental health.

Want to talk to your GP about your risk factors or to organise some of the simple health checks listed above? Please call Northside Health on 6652 5322 or book online or via the HotDoc app. 

 

Massage. What type is right for you?

Liz Darrington, Massage Therapist

Nobody (and no body) could argue with the health benefits of a massage with an experienced massage therapist. No doubt you’re aware of the various types of massage available. But it can be daunting working out which one is right for you. Firstly, don’t stress! Any massage will provide benefits! Secondly, if in doubt, we will talk to you to help find the massage type that will be of most benefit to you!

Remedial Massage

Remedial massage may be beneficial for migraine and tension headaches, neck and back pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica, hamstring injuries, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and repetitive strain injury. Treatments are individually tailored and may include trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage, joint mobilisation and facilitated stretching to reduce pain and improve range of motion. Liz also assesses for postural imbalances and offers advice on corrective stretches and exercises for long-term results. 

 

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Manual lymphatic drainage massage uses very light pressure applied in a certain direction to encourage the movement of lymph fluid around the body. Enhanced lymphatic circulation speeds-up the process by which waste products are carried away from the tissues and back to the heart. It can be beneficial for treating lymphoedema, fluid retention, post mastectomy lymphoedema of the arm, post-operative swelling, sinus congestion, swelling during pregnancy, and fibromyalgia. (Please note a full-body manual lymphatic drainage massage requires a 90-minute appointment.)

 

Relaxation Massage

Relaxation Massage has been found to destress the body and mind by activating the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Long smooth gliding pressure gently manipulates superficial muscle tissue to achieve a general sense of calm. Relaxation massage is not just a feel-good massage. It has many other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, increasing peripheral circulation, improving skin tone and appearance, stimulating the lymphatic system, improving gastrointestinal activity, and boosting the immune system.

 

Make a booking!

Liz is an accredited (ATMS) Remedial Massage Therapist with almost 10 years experience treating soft tissue related pain, restriction and injury. Liz is in the Northside Health clinic Mondays, Fridays and every other Saturday. She is a registered health fund provider for Australian Unity, Bupa, CBHS, Doctors Health Fund, Grand United Corporate Health and NIB. Work Cover clients welcome. For more information, visit www.coffsmassage.com
Call (02) 6652 5322 to book your next massage.

Banana Pikelets

Looking for something to do with the kids these school holidays? Get them in the kitchen! While it can be messy, teaching kids how to cook is a fantastic life skill for them to learn.
Original recipe from Best Recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs butter melted
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 bananas mashed

Method:

  1. Sift self-raising flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Whisk in sugar, butter, eggs and milk until smooth.
  3. Add mashed bananas and stir mixture well.
  4. Heat a frying pan with a little oil or butter and pour batter to form small circles.
  5. When pikelets bubble on top, flip and cook the other side until brown.

 

Our Tips:

  • To add a little extra nutrition, we suggest swapping the normal self raising flour for a wholemeal version.
  • Try reducing the sugar to 1/4 cup or swapping for an unrefined sugar such as coconut sugar, rapadura, etc.
  • To make this dairy free, use coconut oil in place of butter and swap the milk for almond or soy.
  • Use very ripe bananas for a sweeter pikelet.
  • Add in 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.
  • Puree berries for an all natural topping.

One-Pan Creamy Salmon Zoodles

Healthy?

Delicious?

Easy?

If you’re looking for a recipe that ticks all those boxes, then you’ll love this Creamy Salmon Zoodle recipe from Taste.com! The best bit is, you can have this delicious dish on the table in around 15 minutes! It’s also a great recipe to modify to suit your own tastes. We think this dish would be equally delicious with chicken or prawns, just be sure to modify amounts and/or cooking times to suit. Don’t think the kids will eat zoodles (zucchini noodles)? Then swap it out for a noodle or pasta they will eat and perhaps add grated zucchini in instead!

 

Ingredients

  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 500 grams of zoodles (To save time, you can buy packets of pre made zucchini noodles from most supermarkets).
  • 150g salmon fillets coated in cracked pepper, coarsely flaked
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped dill

 

Method:

  1. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add the cream and lemon juice to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 1-2 mins or until the cream mixture thickens slightly.
  2. Add the zucchini noodles, salmon, half the lemon zest and half the dill to the pan. Cook, tossing, for 1-2 mins or until just heated through.
  3. Sprinkle the salmon mixture with the remaining lemon zest and dill.

 

Safe Sleeping Tips to Prevent SIDS

Sudden infant death is a real concern for most new or expecting parents and rightly so. Sadly, over 3,000 Australian families experience the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child every year.

 

Red Nose Day is a Red Nose initiative that is held every August with the goal of raising funds for SIDS research and providing bereavement support to grieving parents. They also provides parents with vital information to help reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy.

 

Using the resources available from Red Nose, we have put together our top tips for keeping your baby safe while sleeping. We encourage you to share this article with friends and family who might help you with your baby’s caregiving, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your baby’s safety and wellbeing.

 

Back to Sleep

It is always advised to lay your baby down on their back for all sleeps and naps. In fact, this one tip alone has seen an 85% decrease in babies dying from SIDS. It is not recommended to put babies to sleep on their tummies or on their side.

 

Smoke Free

Need a good reason to quit smoking? It’s better for baby’s health and keeps them safer from SIDS. Never ever smoke around a baby and keep their sleeping environment free of smoke.

 

Keep Their Face Uncovered

Always keep a babies head and face uncovered. Best to keep your babies cot free of blankets, sheets, toys and pillows. If needing blankets and extra bedding to keep baby warm, it is recommended to make a short bed towards the end of the cot that goes no further than the babies neck. Sleeping bags are advised instead and can be found in a variety of sizes and thicknesses.

 

Breastfeed your Baby

If you have the choice and ability to breastfeed, it is recommended to do so. Breastfeeding for even two months can reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS by half. Better yet, baby doesn’t even need to be exclusively breastfed to benefit.

 

Share a Room not a Bed

If sharing a bedroom with your baby, it’s advised to place baby in their own cot rather than in your bed. There are tips for parents who have made the choice to co-sleep but please know it is advised against.

 

Firm & Clean Bed

Babies should always be put to sleep on a firm and clean environment. Never put baby to sleep on a bean bag, propped up on a pillow or on a lounge. It isn’t recommended to fall asleep holding a baby either, so be sure to move yourself and baby to a safe sleep surface if that might happen. Need to borrow a bed? Just keep any adult bedding and pillows away from your baby.

 

There’s a lot of little things you can do to keep your baby as safe as possible and dramatically reduce their risk of sudden infant death. Be sure to check out the Red Nose website for visual guides and further information on topics such as wrapping your baby and tummy time.

 

Northside Health have services for expecting parents, new babies and children and we are happy to discuss any concerns you might have, however big or small. Make a booking today online, via the HotDoc app or by calling (02) 6652 5322.

Bedtime Golden Milk

Having trouble falling asleep each night? This Bedtime Golden Milk recipe from Healthline might be just what you need to alleviate your anxiety and help you have a more restful night’s sleep.

 

Golden Milk Benefits:

  • Fights inflammation
  • Protects against oxidative damage and sleep deprivation
  • Promotes relaxation and lowers anxiety levels

 

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 2 cups milk of your choice (whole, coconut, almond, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh, peeled ginger
  • 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup

 

Method:

  1. Warm the milk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and honey or maple syrup in a small saucepan until warm.
  2. Whisk well to dissolve all spices and honey.
  3. Divide into two mugs and enjoy!

 

 

Exercise as Medicine Program

Would you like to reduce your pain and improve your feelings of well-being? Do you have painful osteoarthritis of your hip or knee?

Northside Health is working on a joint program with the local PHN regarding Exercise As Medicine. Extensive research shows that exercise benefits people with osteoarthritis pain, even those with severe pain or with changes seen on x-ray.

Exercise has been shown to be is as effective in relieving pain symptoms as medication and anti-inflammatory drugs; with the added benefit of fewer side effects.

Exercise can help to:

  • Increase muscle strength
  • Reduce pain
  • Prevent muscle wasting &  loss of fitness
  • Improve balance
  • Improve joint range of motion
  • Improve wellbeing.

This program assesses your ability to take part in varying forms of exercise and tailors a program that is unique to you, your abilities and your availability so that you can take advantage of those benefits. The program is overseen by our medical, nursing and allied health staff.

If you are over 50 and have osteoarthritis of the hip or knee and want to be part of this free program. Please contact Nurse Julie or Nurse Karla on 6652 5322.

Superfood Roast Tray

We know superfoods are good for us but incorporating them into our diet may not be this easy. This no fuss recipe from Taste is super simple and could easily be whipped up mid week!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch baby beetroot, trimmed & quartered
  • 500g sweet potato, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus extra to scatter
  • 1 orange, juiced, zest finely grated
  • 4 x 180g salmon fillets (skin on), boned
  • 1/2 bunch kale, trimmed
  • 300g brussel sprouts, halved
  • Thick Greek-style yoghurt, to serve
  • Chia seeds, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place beetroot and sweet potato on a baking paper-lined baking tray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle over 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and salt. Roast for 15 minutes or until slightly tender.
  2. Combine orange zest and juice, and 1 tbs oil in a bowl, season then add salmon and turn to coat. Line another tray with baking paper and spread over kale leaves. Drizzle with 1 tbs oil, then top with salmon and drizzle over marinade. Toss sprouts with remaining 1 tbs oil, and remaining 1/4 tsp cayenne. Season with salt, then add to beetroot tray.
  3. Place both trays in the oven, with vegetables on the bottom shelf (underneath salmon), for 15 minutes or until salmon is just cooked, kale is crisp and vegetables are tender.
  4. Add salmon and kale to beetroot tray and scatter with chia seeds. Combine yoghurt with extra cayenne, and drizzle tray with a little oil to serve.

Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that is developed after a person has experienced a traumatic life event.

PTSD Facts & Figures:

  • People who have experienced sexual or physical abuse are more likely to develop PTSD than people who experienced unintentional trauma.
  • Serious car accidents are the leading causes of PTSD in Australia.
  • About 25% of people exposed to a traumatic event develop PTSD.
  • Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men.
  • About 12% of all Australians will experience PTSD at some point in their life.
  • PTSD can affect people of all age even children and teens.

Signs & Symptoms

According to Beyond Blue, people with PTSD often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, similar to the fear they felt during the traumatic event. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions, such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic when reminded of the event.

A person with PTSD experiences four main types of difficulties:

  • Re-living the traumatic event – They might have unwanted and recurring memories, such as nightmares or vivid images.
  • Being overly alert or wound up – This might mean sleeping difficulties, irritability and lack of concentration. They might be on constant look out for danger.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event – Certain activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings associated with the event might bring up painful memories and will be avoided, if possible.
  • Feeling emotionally numb – The person loses interest in day-to-day activities, feels cut off and detached from friends and family, or feels emotionally flat and numb.

Managing PTSD

With the right help, a person living with PTSD can learn to manage their anxiety. Anyone feeling severe stress, panic and anxiety regularly after a traumatic event, should speak with their doctor. Ignoring your condition or trying to block out these painful memories on your own can be detrimental in the long run so we always advise speaking with a health professional for effective treatment. Treatment usually involves psychological treatment but medication can also be prescribed in some cases.

If you know someone going through PTSD, your support is important. By providing care and support, you allow that person with PTSD to focus on their recovery.

If you would like to chat with your GP here at Northside Health about PTSD, please call 6652 5322 or use the HotDoc to arrange an appointment.

If you are feeling suicidal or need crisis support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. https://www.lifeline.org.au/


Resources:
https://www.sane.org/information-stories/facts-and-guides/post-traumatic-stress-disorder
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/types-of-anxiety/ptsd

Reducing Your Risk of Bowel Cancer

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and like all cancers, there’s no sure fire way to stop Bowel Cancer ever happening to you. But there are modifiable risk factors with bowel cancer that you can change starting today.

Below are eight tips courtesy of Bowel Cancer Australia regarding diet, lifestyle choices and screening that can reduce your odds of being one of 5,375 Australians who will lose their battle with bowel cancer this year alone.


1. Get Moving

Over half of all men and women over the age of 55 are insufficiently active. Being physically active not only helps with weight management but decreases the risk of colon cancer by 16%. Aim to be physically active where the heart rate is elevated, every day for 30 minutes or more.


2. Consume More Wholegrains

Of all the grain foods consumed, only a third of them are wholegrains that are high in fibre. Eating 3 servings of wholegrains a day, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread, can reduce your risk of bowel cancer by 17%.


3. Eat More Dairy

A staggering amount of men and women are not having enough serves of dairy each day. Not only is dairy great for bone strength but consuming dairy products and taking calcium supplements decreases the risk of bowel cancer by 13%. If you’re intolerant or don’t eat dairy, consider consulting a nutritionist regarding alternative sources of calcium appropriate for you.


4. Get Screened

Did you know that only 40% of people invited to participate in the tax payer funded National Bowel Cancer Screening Program actually do? The fact is those participating in bowel cancer screening programs reduce their risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16% compared to those who didn’t. Removing bowel polyps larger than 1 centimetre (cm) may lower the risk of bowel cancer as they’re unable to become precancerous and develop into bowel cancer in the future.


5. Cut Back The Meat Intake

Limit your red meat amount to 500 grams cooked per week and avoid processed meat if you can. Eating processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami and some sausages has been strongly linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer.


6. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

Consuming approximately two or more alcoholic drinks per day increases your bowel cancer risk. Consider having alcohol free days and limit your alcohol intake to 2 drinks or less per day.


7. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese increases bowel cancer risk. Monitor your body mass index (BMI), waist circumference or waist-hip ratio and keep them within healthy ranges to reduce your bowel cancer risk.


8. Quit Smoking

No good ever comes from smoking and it’ll be no surprise that smoking increases bowel cancer risk. For heavy smokers, smoking 40 cigarettes (two packs) per day increases the risk of bowel cancer by around 40% and nearly doubles the risk of bowel cancer death. Best to ditch the cigarettes for good and watch your health improve in all areas.


Need a little extra motivation to make these lifestyle changes? Why not check out Bowel Cancer Australia’s 12 Week Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge to help you!

If you’ve had recent changes in bowel habits, noticed bleeding in your stools or other symptoms, please make an appointment with your Northside Health GP. Appointments can be made online or via the HotDoc app.