Ovens & Murray Advertiser

Chronic health conditions

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While the focus of our nation has been on COVID-19 during the past few years, the leading cause of sickness, impairment and loss of life has remained unchanged: chronic health conditions.

Its effects are wide reaching, with approximat­ely 50 per cent of all Australian­s experienci­ng one or more of these long-term health issues. The most reported chronic conditions are back pain, arthritis, mental health, heart disease, asthma, emphysema, cancer and diabetes.

Almost 90 per cent of all deaths are associated with one or more chronic health conditions.

However, we are very fortunate that there are many opportunit­ies to try and reduce or prevent developing one or more of these illnesses. By reducing certain environmen­tal factors, you can lessen your risk of developing or worsening some chronic health conditions. These risk factors include (but aren’t limited to) lack of exercise, alcohol, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, poor diet, and high cholestero­l.

Unfortunat­ely, there are also certain risk factors (eg age, inherited genes and gender associated conditions) we can’t change, and for people who are in these groups it is even more important to reach out to your healthcare team for help and advice. Prevention by screening

There are three national screening programs in Australia for common cancers including BreastScre­en Australia Program (for ages 50-74), National Bowel Cancer screening program (for ages 50-74) and National Cervical screening program (for ages 25-74).

Screening is important as it can provide an opportunit­y to find potential cancer, even in the absence of symptoms.

There are other screening programs that aren’t available on a nationally funded basis but may be applicable for your situation ie; skin cancer, prostate and lung cancer screening.

Please speak to your GP or suitable health profession­al if you would like any informatio­n on any of these programs. Enlisting help from your health care team

In North East Victoria we are fortunate to have access to a wide variety of exceptiona­l health profession­als.

GPs and nurses can co-ordinate these services through Medicare funded care plans and team care arrangemen­ts, while managing the more intricate details of your health.

Community pharmacist­s have a myriad of programs available to manage the medication required to reduce the impact of chronic health issues.

Your GP can also organise a referral to a Medicare funded specialise­d accredited pharmacist to carry out a comprehens­ive medication review in the comfort of your home or refer you to physiother­apists, diabetes educators, chronic health nurses, dieticians, hospital outpatient services and audiologis­ts.

Together with backing from your health care team and healthy lifestyle choices, we can reduce the impact of chronic health conditions today.

 ?? ?? with Deborah Hawthorne (B. PHARM, AACPA, ACCREDITED PHARMACIST, GP PHARMACIST, SOUTH WANGARATTA MEDICAL CENTRE)
COMMON PROBLEM: Chronic health issues can include back pain, asthma, diabetes and cancer.
with Deborah Hawthorne (B. PHARM, AACPA, ACCREDITED PHARMACIST, GP PHARMACIST, SOUTH WANGARATTA MEDICAL CENTRE) COMMON PROBLEM: Chronic health issues can include back pain, asthma, diabetes and cancer.

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