Conditions & treatments

Another good reason to give up smoking

New research has shown smokers are at much greater risk than non-smokers of suffering from a form of irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes one third of strokes in Australia.

The international study, which includes data from Australia, has found that for every 10 cigarettes smoked a day, the risk of atrial fibrillation rises by 14 per cent.

Chronic wound cases expected to soar

Australians over the age of 65 are being urged to seek health care advice about chronic wounds during Wound Awareness Week (15-21 July 2018).

Chronic wounds were alarmingly common and cost Australia’s health system an estimated $3 billion each year, Wounds Australia’s Anne Buck said.

Wounds were defined as cuts or breaks in the skin that didn’t show signs of healing within 30 days or kept recurring. The number of sufferers was expected to soar due to Australia’s ageing population because people aged 65 and over were most at risk.

Call for hospitals to test for diabetes

Hospital emergency departments and GP clinics should conduct more routine screening to diagnose the 500,000 Australians unaware they have a potentially deadly disease, according to Diabetes Australia.

People could have type 2 diabetes for up to seven years before diagnosis and in that time many people would begin to develop debilitating complications, Diabetes Australia’s Professor Greg Johnson said.

These included heart attacks and strokes, eye damage and blindness, foot ulcers and limb amputation, and kidney damage.

Sleep disorder linked to dementia brain changes

Obstructive sleep apnoea has been linked to structural brain changes seen in the early stages of dementia, new Australian research has revealed.

The study’s authors, from the University of Sydney, said the research provided evidence that screening older people for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and providing treatment where needed may help prevent dementia.

OSA is a condition in which the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, which stops breathing and is known to reduce blood oxygen levels.

Don't struggle with reading the fine print

If you’ve struggled to read fine print or mistakenly worn clothes inside out or back to front, you may be one of the 70 per cent of Australian adults who need to have their eyes checked.

New research from Galaxy has shown difficulty reading fine print is the most common problem with 51 per cent, followed by being unable to see the TV menu clearly (22 per cent) and having difficulty seeing while driving (21 per cent). However, one in four (24 per cent) are worried about the possibility of needing to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Debilitating disease recognised with a national day

Australian researchers have joined forces to raise awareness of a disease putting older people at risk of crippling injuries.

The Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research (ANZSSFR) designated Wednesday, 4 July as Sarcopenia Australia Day.

Sarcopenia is a combination of low muscle mass and weakness in older adults, causing functional problems and putting them at high risk of falls, fractures, disability, hospitalisation and even death.

The Veronicas raise their voices as Dementia Australia ambassadors

Music artists Jessica and Lisa Origliasso of singing duo The Veronicas were named Dementia Australia’s newest Ambassadors at an event at Parliament House in Canberra today.

Dementia Australia’s Maree McCabe said using Jessica and Lisa’s personal experience would help raise awareness and advocate for the more than 425,000 Australians living with dementia, their families and carers.

“The lack of understanding about dementia in the community impacts on the quality of life and healthcare outcomes for people living with dementia, their families and carers,” Ms McCabe said.

Probiotics may halve bone loss, study finds

A new study has shown probiotics can halve bone loss from osteoporosis in older women.

Osteoporosis is characterised by porous and weak bones, which can cause them to break even when subjected to low loads, such as a fall from standing height. Most women over 80 years of age have the disease.

But researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden believe it is possible to cut age-related bone loss in elderly women in half if they receive health-promoting bacteria, known as probiotics.

'Toilet humour' helps beat incontinence stigma

The Continence Foundation of Australia is using ‘toilet humour’ to help people overcome the social stigma surrounding the issue of incontinence.

The foundation has appointed comedian and actor Bev Killick ambassador for the government-funded Laugh without Leaking campaign as part of World Continence Week (18 to 24 June 2018).

Ms Killick, who says she has lived with incontinence all her life, wants people to start talking about their bladder, bowel and pelvic floor problems.

What's that? Men's hobbies could be sending them deaf

Popular hobbies such as going to the footy, car races, live music gigs and DIY jobs around the home may be sending Aussie men deaf - but they’re just not listening to the warning signs.

As part of Men’s Health Week (June 11-17), Australian Hearing is urging men to have their hearing checked.

“Almost twice as many men as women suffer hearing loss – and excessive noise is a leading cause,” said Dr Brent Edwards, director of the National Acoustic Laboratories, the research division of Australian Hearing.

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