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Hearing Loss in Adults

Our senses become less acute as we get older. An estimated half of Australians aged 60-70 years have some hearing loss, and this increases to 80% for those over age 80. Severity, of course varies. Hearing loss can be ‘sensorineural’ (affecting the cochlea and or nerve), ‘conductive’ (blockage in the middle ear) or a mixture of the two. Generally, age-related loss is sensorineural and other risks include past noise exposure, a family tendency (genetics), ear trauma and chemical exposure.

As we age the hair cells in the inner ear become less effective. This change cannot be reversed. Typical symptoms are difficulty hearing voices, usually picking up speech in a crowded room or when there is background noise (e.g. television). Sometimes those with the affected person notice it first because they have to keep repeating themselves.

Hearing loss can be isolating as many feel (incorrectly) embarrassed about asking for speech to be repeated. Collectively, we tend to be less accepting of hearing loss than visual loss and the need for glasses. There is no valid reason for this.

Hearing can be assessed by an audiologist. Depending on circumstances you may need a referral from your GP. Apart from a proper hearing test in a sound proof booth, there are no other specific tests usually.

Treatment is use of a hearing aid. Waterproofing, size, directional microphones, etc vary with the price. When is a hearing aid needed? That depends on the person and how they and those around them are affected.

Chat with your GP about any concerns you have with your hearing.

For Mums – To – Be Why no alcohol is the best option

There is a lot of information out there and as soon as you become pregnant everyone seems to be an expert on the subject!

Instead of relying on the urban myths or stories from your friends-mums-neighbours-colleague, when it comes to giving your child the best possible start in life, it’s important to focus on the research evidence.

Australia’s national guidelines, developed by health professionals, say that for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, no alcohol is the safest option.

This is because alcohol can affect your unborn baby for life.

There is no safe type of alcohol, no safe amount, or no safe time to consume alcohol during pregnancy.

Alcohol can also reduce fertility in both men and women. If you’re planning a pregnancy or having difficulty conceiving, why not reduce your alcohol intake to see the difference it can make.

If this news was an unplanned, but welcome, surprise and you had a few drinks before learning of your pregnancy don’t be alarmed. Talk to your doctor, midwife or health professional, and make sure you’re receiving good routine antenatal care.

It’s important to remember that it is never too late to cut down or stop drinking alcohol during your pregnancy.

Even a small change can make a big difference for you and your baby.

RUOK? Day September 13th 2018

R U OK?Day is our national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, “Are you ok?” and support those struggling with life . Taking part can be as simple as learning R U OK?’s four steps so you can have a conversation that could change a life.

The day is about inspiring people to start these conversations every day of the year.

Got a niggling feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it.

By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up. If they say they are not ok, you can follow our conversation steps to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask.

Every woman needs to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Make sure you do.

It can be difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer because the symptoms are ones that many women will have from time to time, and they are often symptoms of less serious and more common health problems.

But we do know that ovarian cancer is NOT a silent disease. Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer report four types of symptoms most frequently:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain.
  • Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating.
  • Needing to urinate often or urgently.
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount.

If you have any of these symptoms, they are new for you and you have experienced them multiple times during a 4-week period, go to your GP. To help track these symptoms, download our Symptom Diary now. Ovarian Cancer Australia’s Symptom Diary helps you to monitor your symptoms. You can then take the completed diary to your doctor to assist with diagnosis.

Other symptoms to be aware of

The Symptom Diary will also help you to track any other symptoms that are not usual for you. These may include:

  • Changes in your bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Bleeding in-between periods or after menopause
  • Back pain
  • Indigestion or nausea
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Pain during intercourse

Be aware — but don’t make yourself sick with worry

It is important to remember that most women with these symptoms will not have ovarian cancer. Your doctor should first rule out more common causes of these symptoms, but if there is no clear reason for your symptoms, your doctor needs to consider the possibility of ovarian cancer.

If you are not comfortable with your doctor’s diagnosis or you are still concerned about unexplained persistent symptoms, you should seek a second opinion.

You know your body better than anyone else, so always listen to what your body is saying and trust your instincts.

What is My Health Record?

My Health Record is an online summary of your key health information.

When you have a My Health Record, your health information can be viewed securely online, from anywhere, at any time – even if you move or travel interstate. You can access your health information from any computer or device that’s connected to the internet.

My Health Record brings together health information from you, your healthcare providers and Medicare.

This can include details of your medical conditions and treatments, medicine details, allergies, and test or scan results, all in one place.

Healthcare providers like doctors, specialists and hospital staff may also be able to see your My Health Record when they need to, including in an accident or emergency.

Information from healthcare professionals
Healthcare providers such as GPs, specialists and pharmacists can add clinical documents about your health to your record, including:

an overview of your health uploaded by your doctor, called a shared health summary. This is a useful reference for new doctors or other healthcare providers you visit
hospital discharge summaries
reports from test and scans, like blood tests
medications that your doctor has prescribed to you
referral letters from your doctor(s).
Information from Medicare

Up to two years of past Medicare data may be added to your record when you first get one, including:

  • Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) information held by the Department of Human Services
  • Medicare and Repatriation Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (RPBS) information stored by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
  • Organ donation decisions
  • Immunisations that are included in the Australian Immunisation Register, including childhood immunisations and other immunisations received.

Information you can add to your record
You, or someone authorised to represent you, can share additional information in your record that may be important for your healthcare providers to know about you. This includes:

  • contact numbers and emergency contact details
  • Current medications
  • Allergy information and any previous allergic reactions
  • Indigenous status
  • Veterans’ or Australian Defence Force status
  • Your advance care plan or contact details of your custodian.

What to expect when logging into My Health Record for the first time
The first time you log into your My Health Record there may be little or no information in it. There may be up to two years’ worth of Medicare information such as doctor visits under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), as well as your Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) claims history. If you choose, you can remove this information after you log in.

Information will be added after you visit your GP, nurse or pharmacist. You can add your personal health information and notes straight away.

Uploading old tests and scans
Your medical history, such as older tests and scan reports, will not be automatically uploaded to your My Health Record. Only new reports can be uploaded by participating pathology labs or diagnostic imaging providers.

Talk to your doctor or our reception staff about uploading a shared health summary to your My Health Record. This summary can capture important past health information such as results from previous tests or scans, which can be shared with your other treating healthcare providers.

Cervical screening has changed in Australia. The Pap test has been replaced with a new Cervical Screening Test every five years. The latest medical and scientific evidence shows that having a Cervical Screening Test every five years is just as safe, and is more effective than having a Pap test every two years.

The test is a quick and simple procedure to check the health of your cervix. For you, if you have ever had a Pap test before, the way the test is done will look and feel the same.

Although it will feel the same for you, the way your sample is stored and tested is different. The latest medical and scientific evidence shows the new Cervical Screening Test is more effective at detecting the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical abnormalities, at an earlier stage.

Do I need a Cervical Screening Test?
If you are a woman aged 25-74 years of age and have ever been sexually active you should have a Cervical Screening Test every five years until the age of 74.

Your first Cervical Screening Test is due at 25 years of age or two years after your last Pap test. If your result is normal you will be due in five years to have your next test.

Where can I get more information?
If you have any questions about the new Cervical Screening Test, book an appointment to talk with your doctor.

Find out more about the Cervical Screening Test or call 13 15 56.

Cervical Screening home page.

Please Welcome Dr Darryl to The Pines Family Practice
Dr Darryl D’Souza graduated from the University of Queensland Medical School in 2007. Prior to his General Practice qualification, he was training to specialise in Emergency Medicine but moved to focus on General Practice as he felt he could offer more to preventative and chronic disease management. He obtained specialty qualification in Rural General Practice in 2013 and has been practicing for 5 years as a General Practitioner in Queensland and New South Wales. He still involves himself with acute and critical care medicine primarily in rural and remote communities throughout Australia, particularly with far north Queensland and rural Western Australia. He is confident with addressing most health and lifestyle issues and has had much experience and interest with Tropical medicine and Infectious Diseases, Indigenous health, Travel medicine/advice, Child health, Men’s health and Preventative health. Darryl is an engaging and empathic young doctor who loves meeting people from all walks of life and all ages. He firmly believes that continuous learning and teaching is the key to keeping a sharp mind while respecting the mind, body and soul is the key to great health and well-being.
Prior to his career as a medical doctor, Darryl attained an Honours degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry and spent a few years in childhood leukaemia research. He has also obtained a Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene through the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and is currently completing a Master in Public Health and Tropical Medicine through James Cook University. He hopes to further his learning by supplementing procedural and minor surgical procedures for skin cancer care to his practice.