Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand men and the second most common cancer in men worldwide1,2. It occurs more commonly in men over the age of 50 years, although causes more problems if it occurs at a younger age. If caught early, prostate cancer can be well managed and is usually cured2.

What is the prostate and what does it do?

Only found in men; the prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder. It produces one of the components of semen.

What is a PSA blood test?

PSA = prostate specific antigen which is measured by a blood test. The prostate gland makes PSA. Higher than normal levels of PSA can be caused by: an infection of the prostate gland; an enlarged prostate (not cancer) or by prostate cancer. It is used as a screening tool.

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

Family history plays a role, so if you had a brother, father or close family member that has had prostate cancer, you are at greater risk.

There’s no absolute way to prevent prostate cancer, however eating healthy, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy weight and not smoking may help2.

What are the signs and symptoms of prostate problems?

Early on in prostate cancer there are no symptoms, which is why it is important to get your PSA level checked by your doctor. Once the cancer grows, the following problems may occur:

-Going to the toilet more often

-Poor urine follow

-Trouble starting or stopping peeing

-Getting up often in the night to pee

However, these symptoms can also be a result of an enlarged prostate which is often not cancerous3. Your doctor will confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment

Prostate cancer can be treated. Finding it early and getting treatment can save lives, however not all prostate cancer needs to be treated3. The choice of treatment depends on informed patient decisions after they have been given information about the potential advantages and disadvantages associated with each approach, along with personal preferences1.

References

  1. UpToDate
  2. Health Navigator. https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/p/prostate-cancer/
  3. Ministry of Health. Accessed 14/09/2017 from http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/prostate-cancer

Can you afford to take a week off work sick?If the answer is no then perhaps it is time for you to get your seasonal flu vaccination.

The flu is more than just a ‘bad cold’. Although there are similar symptoms the flu is usually much more severe. These symptoms can include, a cough, headache, fever or chills, body aches and pains, fatigue and generally feeling run down and miserable. The flu is a serious illness that can result in hospitalisation and sometimes death. Even if you don’t end up in hospital, the flu can keep you in bed for a week or more. This can not only prevent you from working but also from other commitments.

The flu can affect anyone no matter how healthy. Although those with underlying health conditions are more at risk. As we are unable to predict year to year how severe the flu season may be it is important to ensure effective protection is maintained. Seasonal flu vaccinations are recognised as being the single most effective way of reducing the impact of the flu. For those in high risk groups including over 65 year olds and pregnant women the vaccination is free, and for others it is a cheap price to pay to prevent you having to take a week off work.

So is it time for you to get your seasonal flu vaccination? If so head into Hillcrest Pharmacy and we will get you sorted this flu season.

Vaccine Injection

What is Cholesterol

Cholesterol, we all have it, in fact it is needed for good health. However more is certainly not better in terms of cholesterol. So how does our body make cholesterol? We get fats from our diet, liver enzymes process these fats into essential components used by our bodies, including cholesterol. For some of us our bodies make too much cholesterol due to either a high fat content in our diet or/and an overactive enzyme system for the processing of fats in our liver. These excess fats and cholesterol circulate in our blood and are oxidised in much the same way metal is oxidised as rust. This ‘rusty fat’ deposits in our arteries causing them to clog up, increasing the risk for heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.

Cholesterol Lowering Medication – Statins

The more fats in our blood the more rusty fat deposits in our arteries and the more risk. By lowering the blood fat and cholesterol we can slow down the rate of rusty fat deposits. The most common and effective way of lowering cholesterol is with a group of drugs called Statins. Statins include Pravastatin®, Simvastatin®, Atorvastatin®, and Rosuvastatin®. Statins reduce the cholesterol made in our livers by blocking the enzyme that makes cholesterol. This means there is less cholesterol or fat in your blood stream, that then won’t react with oxygen and the ‘rusty fat’ will not deposit in your artery walls.

Statins are well researched and have the best outcomes for lowering cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by about 40%. Some people may experience side effects, these can be managed and the benefits of Statins strongly outweigh any side effects. If you’re on Statins and are experiencing side effects talk with us at Hillcrest Pharmacy and we will work with you to help combat these.

Lifestyles changes to help

Statins are the number one therapy for the treatment of high cholesterol. Lifestyle changes can also aid in reducing cholesterol. These are mainly:

  • Weight loss if overweight
  • Stopping smoking.

 

High cholesterol is risky, however, the good news is it can be managed. If you are worried about your cholesterol or want to know more come and see us at Hillcrest Pharmacy.

The information contained on this site is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice or advice in relation to the health or care of any person. The information is generalised and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional clinical advice. If you have any questions relating to the information you should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. The information is derived from a number of sources. Hillcrest Pharmacy has endeavoured to ensure that all information is from reliable and reputable sources.

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Listeria has been in the news recently after lettuce was recalled due to a contamination. But what exactly is Listeria? What can it cause and who in particular is at risk? We hope to ease some of the hysteria around listeria for you and to help you keep informed and safe.

What is Listeria?

Listeria a type of bacteria that is widely found in the environment in soil and water and can cause a type of food poisoning. There are six known species of Listeria, however only L . monocytogenes is known to cause illness in humans. Listeria, unlike other contaminating bacteria continues to grow at refrigerator temperatures.

Listeria can be mild or severe however it rarely affects healthy individuals. But it can be more dangerous for pregnant women and their fetuses, newborns, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system and can be life threatening.

What are the symptoms of Listeria infection?

Listeria has a long incubation period and as a result the illness normally occurs between 2 to 8 weeks after eating contaminated foods. The symptoms are different depending on which part of the body is affected.

People with Listeria infection in the brain and spinal cord can have:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Weak muscles on one side of the body, trouble walking or shaky hands
  • Seizures

People with Listeria infection in the bloodstream can have:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Pain in joints and muscles

People with Listeria infection in the digestive system can have:

  • Fever
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Pain in joints and muscles

Should I see a doctor or nurse?

Call a doctor or nurse if you have any of the symptoms listed above and you are pregnant, older, have a serious medical condition, or take medicines that weaken the immune system.

Call a doctor or nurse if your newborn baby:

  • Gets sick with a fever or any of the other symptoms listed above
  • Acts differently from normal, such as feeding less than usual, breathing faster than usual, or looking sleepier than usual

Treatment

Listeria can be diagnosed through a few different tests depending on your symptoms and medical requirements; these include blood test, spinal fluid sample, stool sample or even brain imagery. Pregnant women, newborn babies, and people with serious Listeria infections are treated with IV antibiotics. Healthy people with Listeria that affects the digestive system don’t usually need treatment. The infection usually goes away on its own in about 2 days.

Prevention

Prevention is best and the risk of Listeria can be reduced by paying attention to food hygiene. This includes ensuring correct storage, preparation and cooking of food (for more information on this please visit http://www.mpi.govt.nz/food-safety/food-safety-for-consumers/tips-for-food-safety/). For those in high-risk groups it is recommended to avoid certain foods, these include:

  • Deli meats
  • Uncooked seafood
  • Refrigerated smoked fish products unless cooked
  • Paté
  • Soft cheeses such as camembert, brie, feta and blue vein.
  • Unpasteurised milk or dairy foods.

You should also talk with your healthcare professional about which foods to avoid.

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For more information contact your healthcare professional.

The information contained on this site is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice or advice in relation to the health or care of any person. The information is generalised and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional clinical advice. If you have any questions relating to the information you should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. The information is derived from a number of sources. Hillcrest Pharmacy has endeavoured to ensure that all information is from reliable and reputable sources.

Cure Kids Red Nose Appeal is upon us! For the next few weeks you will start to see little red noses pop up around the place and for a very good reason. Cure Kids are focused on raising funds to enable high-impact medical research to help find the cures our kids need. Our kids are our future and each one ought to have a healthy childhood.

In light of this Hillcrest Pharmacy and Remadee are supporting Cure Kids Red Nose Appeal. From today until the 18th of November 2016 at Hillcrest Pharmacy 5% of all gift sales will be donated to Cure Kids to help give all New Zealand’s children the healthy childhood needed.

So pop in and see the team at Hillcrest Pharmacy and support Red Nose Appeal this November.

Read more about all the great work Cure Kids do at http://www.rednoseday.co.nz/

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Iron Deficiency Anaemia

The body requires three things to produce red blood cells – iron, vitamin b12 and folic acid. Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen around the body. Oxygen is carried from the lungs to the body and then the red blood cell carries carbon dioxide back from the body to the lungs. Red blood cells are important. If we don’t have enough red blood cells, this is called anaemia. If the body does not have enough iron, then not enough red blood cells are made – this is called iron deficiency anaemia.

Cause

Iron deficiency anaemia is caused by either a reduction in the amount of iron you get from your diet, reduced absorption or blood loss. Iron is present in red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, lentils and beans. It is easier for our body to absorb iron from red meat than from plant sources. Blood loss can be a result of (but not limited to) significant bleeding during menstruation, lactation or excessive blood donation. Reduced iron absorption can occur due to gastritis, coeliac disease, Helicobacter pylori infection or after bariatric surgery.

Most of the bodies iron is found in circulating red blood cells. In the first stages of iron deficiency, iron stores are depleted without causing anaemia. This is because there is still enough iron circulating in your blood. At this stage, you may feel fatigue or reduced exercise tolerance. Your doctor may do blood tests for ferritin which is a measure of your bodies iron stores. Once more iron loss occurs, so too does anaemia.

Anaemia symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Shortness of breath on exertion
  • Vertigo

If you have extremely low iron stores, you may have some of the symptoms above.

Who is more likely to be low in iron?

  • Women (compared to men)
  • Pregnant women
  • Adolescents
  • Coeliac disease or other stomach problems
  • Chronic users of anti-inflammatory drugs (increased risk of blood loss)
  • Anti-coagulant medications (increased risk blood loss) 

What to do

If you experience the symptoms above, you may be low in iron. It is important that you talk to your doctor and get a blood test to confirm iron deficiency as too much iron can be toxic.

Iron tablets

If you are confirmed as being low in iron, you may be prescribed iron tablets. Often these can cause stomach problems, such as nausea, diarrhoea, constipation or flatulence. However, it is important that treatment is continued in order to treat the underlying cause. Remember, your red blood cells are important!

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The information contained on this site is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice or advice in relation to the health or care of any person. The information is generalised and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional clinical advice. If you have any questions relating to the information you should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. The information is derived from a number of sources. Remadee has endeavoured to ensure that all information is from reliable and reputable sources.

Thrush is something that as women we generally don’t like to talk about it. However it is a common condition for women, so for Women’s Health month we have our Clinical Pharmacist Kate shedding a little light on thrush.

Vaginal Thrush

Often referred to as “thrush”, vulvovaginal candidiasis, is a common condition for women. It is the second most common cause of vaginal inflammation (behind Bacterial Vaginitis). 90% of vaginal thrush is caused by Candida albicans which causes symptoms by overgrowth in the vaginal area.

Signs you may have vaginal thrush include:

  • Itching or soreness around the vaginal area
  • A “cottage cheese” like discharge
  • Pain or discomfort when you have sex.

A number of factors can cause vaginal thrush:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Diabetes mellitus (particularly if your blood glucose levels are not well controlled)
  • Irritation during sex
  • Body wash, deodorants or soap
  • Lowered immune system
  • Tight fitting underwear or clothing (e.g. exercise tights)
  • During pregnancy

Not all vaginal infections are thrush, so it is important to speak with one of our Hillcrest Pharmacist’s to determine if you have thrush.

Treatment

Vaginal thrush is easily treated, and if you have had it before you can get treatment from your Hillcrest Pharmacist. It is a fungal infection, so we use anti-fungal medications to treat it. These can include taking a capsule by mouth or by inserting a cream or pessary (vaginal tablet) into the vagina using an applicator. Cream can also be used on the outside of the vagina to relieve itching. Treatment usually works within a couple of days.

It is important that these medications are right for you, and in some cases you may have to alter how you take them (for example in pregnancy) so talk to one of our Hillcrest Pharmacist’s about your treatment options.

Prevention

  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Avoid strong soap and bodywash in the vaginal area
  • Salt water baths may help to soothe the inflammation
  • Avoid tight fitting underwear and clothes whilst you have thrush as they restrict air flow
  • Avoid using tampons whilst you have thrush – use sanitary pads

If you think you may have thrush, approach one of our staff in store and a pharmacist will have a private conversation with you to discuss treatment options.

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The information contained on this site is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice or advice in relation to the health or care of any person. The information is generalised and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional clinical advice. If you have any questions relating to the information you should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. The information is derived from a number of sources. Remadee has endeavoured to ensure that all information is from reliable and reputable sources.

Hillcrest Pharmacy is proud to be able to sponsor the Independent Living Centre at Hillcrest High School. This centre supports students at Hillcrest High School aged between 13 and 20 who have significant intellectual disabilities.

This centre spend considerable time on developing self care, social and independent skills. Through fundraising the kids area able to practice these skills on the 2 camps each year. This allows opportunities to focus on important daily living skills.

Alongside the ILC also has an outstanding Performing Arts Programme where they hold an annual concert. This year’s concert is “Out of Africa” and is on Thursday 13th of October and is one part of the fundraising effort. Not only will it b a 2-hour show extravaganza but there will also be raffles for some amazing prizes donated from the community. If you want to RSVP to this amazing show get in touch on 07 857 0297 ext 846.

We were lucky enough to get two of these amazing kids Aaron and Darya in to receive a cheque and prize gift basket from the Hillcrest Healthcare Pharmacy owner Tom. We wish you all the best of luck for Thursday, keep up the great work!

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October is all about Women’s Health, so we got Kate along to talk about a problem that many have unfortunately experienced, UTIs.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Often we call these “cystitis” which means an infection of the bladder, or simply as a “bladder infection”. This occurs when bacteria infect the bladder or the urinary tract (which takes urine from your bladder out of your body) and causes swelling and irritation. Normally, there are bacteria present in the opening of the vagina, but when these bacteria get into the warm, damp environment of your urinary tract they can quickly multiply and travel up into your bladder, causing a UTI. If you are pregnant, have diabetes, or bowel or kidney disease, you are more likely to get a UTI.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) will often cause:

  • Burning or stinging when passing urine
  • Increased need to pass urine
  • Urgency to pass urine
  • Passing only small amounts of urine at a time

Tips to make you feel better when you have a UTI

  • Drink plenty of water (this helps to flush the bacteria out of your urinary tract)
  • Rest and keep warm
  • Avoid having sex until the infection clears
  • Pain relief can be taken if needed
  • Avoid alcohol, fruit juices, strong coffee and fizzy drinks as these can make your urine more acidic

Treatment

Often UTI’s can be treated without medications. Mild infections can be treated with Ural sachets which alkalinise the urine (make it less acidic).

Other treatment options involve antibiotics, which you can get from your Remadee Pharmacist. This requires a one-on-one private consultation with an accredited Pharmacist.

How to stop it happening again

  • Drink plenty of water – 8 glasses a day
  • Empty your bladder each time you go to the toilet
  • Drink cranberry juice regularly to stop the bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract (caution with some medication)
  • Pass urine after having sex
  • Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the need – try not to hold on

Caution!

Untreated urinary tract infections can lead to kidney infections and this can be serious. See your doctor if symptoms do not improve or if the UTI keeps coming back.

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Thanks to everyone who entered our in store BBQ competition. A massive congratulations to the winner Pam Smith!

Here is Pam collecting her prize from Hillcrest Pharmacy shop manager Sarah, we hope you and your family get to enjoy a lot of great BBQs over the upcoming summer months.

To everyone else who entered this great competition we have sent your entries away for the national draw where there are 30 of these BBQs to be won! So good luck and stay tuned.

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