Health

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.

You are as young as you feel, study shows

A new study suggests feeling younger than you are may slow the rate at which your brain ages.

People who feel younger than their years have greater volumes of grey matter in their brains, which is involved in hearing, emotions, decision making and self-control, aacording to research by South Korea’s Seoul National University.

They also have better memories, consider themselves healthier and are less likely to be depressed. 

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.

Hologram doctors could help you stay in your home longer

A home-based treatment trial using holographic virtual doctors is aiming to cut hospital admissions and help older people in Western Australia live independently for longer.

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the Integrum Aged Care+ trial was designed to support senior Australians with complex care needs and chronic health conditions to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

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.

Ambulance costs can be painful

If you don’t have private health insurance and need to call an emergency ambulance, you’ll likely have to pay a hefty fee that could leave you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of pocket.

But National Seniors General Manager Insurance, Chris Grice, says there are ways to protect yourself from “ambulance bill shock”.

“If you live in Queensland or Tasmania, the good news is your state automatically covers you for emergency  pre-hospital ambulance treatment Australia-wide,” Mr Grice said.

$18m registry to fast-track dementia research

Dementia Australia has welcomed the announcement of the Australian Dementia Network (ADNet), a registry and research program to accelerate dementia research in Australia.

Dementia Australia’s Maree McCabe said Australian researchers, Dementia Australia and people impacted by dementia have long held a vision for an integrated registry of researchers, studies, information, data and clinicians to ensure more targeted, effective research.

“The Federal Government’s commitment of $18 million will make this vision a reality,” Ms McCabe said.

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