PROFESSIONALS Brought to you by The Adviser
Your health and wellbeing are the perhaps the most important aspects to ensuring a happy and lasting life. If you take care of yourself, you can almost guarantee that you will remain healthy. Inside this feature, you will find some handy health tips and information provided by a variety of reputable sources including the Australian Government Health website.
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PROFESSIONALS Know how to treat a Redback bite REDBACK Spiders are found Australia-wide, but are most common in urban areas living under roof eaves, floorboards, shelves, flower pots or in garden sheds. Female Redback Spiders are black, sometimes brown, and can be identified by a red or orange stripe on top of their abdomen. They also have an hourglass shaped red or orange marking located underneath the abdomen. The male Redback Spider is usually light brown with white or yellow markings instead of red or orange. The female generally grows to 1cm while the male is a modest 5mm. Redback spiders are nocturnal and usually keep to their own web, however females are known to sometimes steal stored food items from other spider’s webs. The female is characteristically aggressive and is the only one capable of harming humans. The male’s fangs are incapable of penetrating human skin. More than 250 Redback Spider bites receive antivenom each year, while a number of envenomations probably go unreported because the symptoms weren’t as serious. Since Redback Spiders don’t stray from their webs often, it is unlikely that a human will
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be bitten unless they come into direct contact with the web or female spider.
SYMPTOMS The bite of the Redback Spider is highly venomous. It is characterised by intense localised pain around the bite site. Other common symptoms of a Redback Spider bite include: • Nausea • Sweating • Vomiting • Muscular • Convulsions (in weakness serious cases) • Loss of coordination
HOW DO I TREAT A REDBACK SPIDER BITE? A Redback Spider bite can be lifethreatening to a child or pregnant women, but is rarely serious for an adult.
MANAGEMENT: Keep casualty under constant observation Apply an ice pack or a cold compress to lessen the pain If the casualty is a young child, a pregnant women or if collapse occurs and pain is severe, transport the casualty to emergency medical treatment. Antivenom is available. Do not use the Pressure Immobilisation Technique The bite site is likely to remain red and itchy for a few days after the bite occurs. If symptoms are still present after 7 days, revisit your doctor.
Caring for Our Community Diabetes and you FOR our bodies to work properly we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In people with diabetes, insulin is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body.
WHAT IS DIABETES? Diabetes is a chronic disease characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood. Blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, or the body becomes resistant to insulin, or both. There are three main forms of the disease: • Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and require lifelong insulin injections for survival. The disease can occur at any age, although it mostly occurs in children and
young adults. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as juvenile onset diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. • Type 2 diabetes is associated with hereditary factors and lifestyle risk factors including poor diet, insufficient physical activity and overweight or obesity. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their condition through lifestyle changes; however, diabetes medications or insulin injections may also be required to control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes occurs mostly in people aged over 40 years old, however, the disease is also becoming increasingly prevalent in younger age groups. • G estational diabetes occu rs du ring pregnancy. The condition usually disappears once the baby is born, however, a history of gestational diabetes increases a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. The condition may be managed through adopting healthy dietary and exercise habits, although diabetes medication, including insulin, may also be required to manage blood sugar levels.
TREATMENT OR MANAGEMENT OF DIABETES Diabetes is a chronic condition requiring the use of a variety of health services for its control and for the early diagnosis and treatment of
associated complications. People with diabetes use a range of health services to control blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid levels to reduce symptoms and the risk of complications, and to enhance their quality of life. GPs are usually the initial point of contact for people with diabetes and, along with other primary and allied health professionals, will commonly manage diabetes in collaborative care arrangements. This can involve regular monitoring of a patient’s weight levels, blood levels, general health status, and more focused examinations of a patient’s eyes and feet. Where diabetes complications arise, patients will conventionally be referred, as appropriate, to endocrinologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, obstetricians and/or ophthalmologists. People with diabetes often require medication regimes to control high blood glucose levels. In addition, affected persons may also require medications to reduce high blood pressure and/ or cholesterol levels. Persons affected by type 1 diabetes require regular injections of insulin (a protein that removes excess glucose from the blood) in order to regulate their blood glucose levels (and to survive), and some persons with type 2 diabetes also require insulin in cases where their diabetic condition is difficult to control.
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PROFESSIONALS Your vitamins and minerals from A to Zinc
Vitamin K Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins that play a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels. The body needs vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism. Deficiency is rare, but, in severe cases, it can increase clotting time, leading to haemorrhage and excessive bleeding. Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, comes from plants. It is the main type of dietary vitamin K. A lesser source is vitamin K2, or menaquinone, which occurs in some animal-based and fermented foods. When people eat vitamin K1, bacteria in the large intestine convert it to its storage
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form, vitamin K2. It is absorbed in the small intestine and stored in fatty tissue and the liver. Vitamin K benefits the body in various ways including bone health, cognitive health and heart health.
Foods rich in Vitamin K • • • • • • • • •
Broccoli Brussels sprouts Cabbage Cauliflower Cereals Collards Eggs Fish Green leaf
• • • • • • • •
lettuce Kale Liver Mustard greens Parsley Romaine Spinach Swiss chard Turnip greens
GET THE JAB… With the flu season approaching, experts are encouraging the community to know how the flu vaccine works, and suggesting they get the jab. Photo: Nicholise Garner.
Flu vaccine facts WITH the 2017 Australian flu season being one of the worst on record since 2009, there is call on the community to read up on what the vaccine is, what it can and cannot do and then get the jab. In 2017, more that 220,000 cases were reported and as the flu season approaches, it’s time to start thinking about getting the ‘jab.’ Australian studies estimate a vaccination reduces your risk of getting the flu by 40 to 50 percent as the vaccine primes your immune system to recognise parts of the flu virus, so it can tackle the real thing if and when you get the flu. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about t wo weeks af ter vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. I n Febr ua r y a nd S eptember each year, The World Health Organization holds a conference with leading experts and influenza centres from around the
world to make recommendations about the composition of the next season’s flu vaccine. They look at all the current information about influenza, including the recent patterns of flu epidemics across the world, to decide which strains of flu are likely to be most common in the next flu season. Vaccines are created to protect against these strains. For countries in the Southern Hemisphere, like Australia, the information from the S eptember conference helps them plan for f lu vaccines for the following winter. After the conference, the Australian Influenza Vac ci ne C om m it te e me e t w it h t he Therapeutic Goods Administration to confirm which strains will be included in the Australian flu vaccines. This year’s flu vaccine protects against four strains of flu virus that global experts believe will be most prevalent during colder months.
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Health Professionals April 2018