Diabetes can be a scary topic for most people, and chances are you know someone who has some form of diabetes. Diabetes is very manageable – either by altering your diet, taking medication or injecting insulin. This needn’t be scary, and is so important for your health.

Diabetes is when you have too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Most of the food we eat is converted into glucose and travels through our bloodstream to the parts of our body that need energy. To help the glucose get out of the bloodstream and into the cells of the body that need energy, we produce insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and it keeps the blood glucose level in the normal range. When you have diabetes, the body is not making enough insulin to use-up the glucose, which means the cells don’t get the energy they need. Often the signs of diabetes and the consequences of poor diabetic control are not visible and this is the scary part. Poor diabetic control can lead to kidney, heart, circulation and sight problems to name a few.

There are two types of diabetes – type I and type II.

Type I Diabetes

The pancreas stops making insulin. Generally, if you get diabetes at a very young age, usually it is Type I diabetes and you require daily injections of insulin.

Type II Diabetes

The pancreas gradually reduces the amount of insulin it is making. This can be hereditary, related to your lifestyle or poor diet. This type of diabetes is often managed by altering your diet to start with, along with medications that stimulate your body to produce more insulin and/or increase the body’s response to insulin.

Taking Control

Blood glucose testing is an important part of diabetic control, however, this can become a chore. Speak with your Remadee team today about why it is so important to keep on top of your blood glucose levels. Your Remadee team is here to help with blood glucose meters, free batteries and explaining your medication (diabetic or otherwise).

There are many different medications that people can take – either prescribed by a doctor or obtained from the pharmacy. All medications have risks and benefits and it is important to be aware of these so that you can get the most out of your medication and ensure you are taking it correctly. Pharmacists are the medication experts, and at Remadee we have a clinical team available to answer all your medication queries.

Ideally, when you start a new medication you should be given the answers to the following questions:

  • What is my medicine called?
  • What is it for?
  • When and how do I take it?
  • What impact does driving have on this medication?
  • What happens if I stop this medicine?
  • What side effects do I need to be aware of?

Multiple Medications

Often people take several medications and it is important to check that the combination can be taken safely together (including any herbal preparations). Using the same pharmacy consistently helps as they will keep a record of all your regular medications. If you are unsure, ask one of our pharmacists.

Medicine Use Review

If you have recently been in the hospital, prescribed a new medication from your GP or a Specialist or if your medications are all running out at different times, this is a good time to come into the pharmacy for a Medicine Use Review. A Medicine Use Review is a one-on-one consult with our Clinical Pharmacist where you can ask any questions about your medicine, and a time to check that you are taking things correctly (including your vitamins etc).

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among New Zealand women and the third most common cancer in New Zealand. It causes 600 deaths every year1.

What is it and how is it caused?

Cancer occurs when some of the cells in the body start to grow out of control. These cells form a lump called a tumour2. Some breast cancers grow slowly and some grow much faster.

Some women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer because they have family members who have had it. However, most women who develop breast cancer have not had any relatives with the disease.

Risk factors2

  • Being female
  • Getting older (females)
  • Previous history of breast cancer
  • Increased number of abnormal cells in the breast ducts
  • Family history of breast cancer

Symptoms of breast cancer2

  • Lump or lumpiness
  • Thickening of the tissue
  • Nipple changes, such as skin dimpling
  • Blood-stained discharge from the nipple
  • Rash on nipple, or rash and/or redness on breast
  • Painful area

Treatment2

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone treatment

The treatments used depend on the type and size of breast cancer, whether or not it has spread and certain patient factors which you can discuss with your doctor.

 

References:

  1. Ministry of Health. Accessed 14/09/17 from: http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/breast-cancer
  2. Health Navigator. Accessed 14/09/17 from: https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/b/breast-cancer/

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.


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