Out of date drugs a danger

If you keep left over or unwanted medicines at home, you may run the risk of accidental poisoning or medication mismanagement.

The drugs may also be a potential danger to young children visiting your home.

Toni Riley, spokeswoman for government-funded company Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM), said a new awareness campaign is urging people to take out-of-date drugs to their local pharmacy for safe collection and disposal.

Know the signs of type 1 diabetes

Diabetes Australia is urging Australians to know the signs of the life-threatening disease that too often goes undiagnosed.

Marking National Diabetes Week (9-15 July), Diabetes Australia’s Professor Greg Johnson, said the It’s About Time campaign encouraged people to recognise the early signs of type 1 diabetes.

“Each year hundreds of Australians, including many children, end up in hospital emergency rooms in serious, life-threatening situations because the early signs of type 1 diabetes are not recognised,” Prof. Johnson said.

Drug use rising among older people

Younger Australians' smoking and drinking habits have improved but older people are using more illicit drugs, a new report has revealed.

Figures released this week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) showed the proportion of Australians who smoked daily nearly halved from 24 per cent in 1991 to 13 per cent in 2013, but changed little from 2013 to 2016 (12 per cent).

Meanwhile, the proportion of Australians who have never smoked continued to rise from 60 per cent in 2013 to 62 per cent in 2016.

The staggering cost of unlucky breaks

A new report shows the cost of treating brittle bones in Australians aged over 50 is expected to be a staggering $3.1 billion in 2017.

And the total cost is expected to climb to nearly $22 billion by 2022.

But many of those affected were unaware they had osteoporosis and osteopenia, even after they had suffered a fracture, according to Osteoporosis Australia’s report: Osteoporosis: a burden of disease analysis.

Call for more support for people with dementia and their families

A new discussion paper calls on the federal government to fund quality respite and counselling services to ensure people living with dementia, their carers and families are well supported.

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW’s Relationships and Dementia, calls for more help for people to work through complex feelings of grief and loss.

Council set up to oversee medical cannabis

A peak industry body has been set up to oversee production, supply and distribution standards for medical cannabis products.

The Medical Cannabis Council includes health experts, researchers, and medical cannabis producers and manufacturers.

CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia and board member of the Medical Cannabis Council, Carol Ireland, said early research indicated medical cannabis could treat areas of epilepsy where conventional medicine had been largely ineffective.

Postcodes determine stroke treatment

Your postcode may determine your likelihood of suffering a stroke and how well you recover from it.

The Stroke Foundation’s report No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017 shows 12 of the country’s top 20 hotspots for stroke incidence are in regional Australia, where people are 19 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than those living in metropolitan areas.

Raising awareness of elder abuse

A new report has made 43 recommendations for legal reform to help safeguard older Australians from abuse and neglect.

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report Elder Abuse — A National Legal Response calls for a number of changes.

These include improved responses to elder abuse in residential aged care; better employment screening of care workers; and a requirement for banks and financial institutions to protect vulnerable customers from abuse.

Get a dog and stay active

Dogs are not only great companions but they can also help older people stay fit and active and spend less time sitting, a new study has found.

Senior research fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University Dr Philippa Dall and her team fitted almost 100 people aged 65-plus with activity trackers so their movement could be monitored.

They discovered that dog owners spent an extra 22 minutes a day walking (around 2,760 extra steps), compared to those without a dog.

Simple blood test to detect heart conditions

A New Zealand-based medical technology company has developed a cardiovascular test that can diagnose a condition called unstable angina – often the prelude to a heart attack.

Upstream Medical Technologies’ CEO Ruth Appleby said he simple blood test, called UARatio, would be the first in the world to enable emergency department physicians to quickly rule out heart attacks.

It was estimated the test could save hospitals around $1,500 for every chest pain patient. 

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