Chronic Disease

I’m Sorry, What Was That You Said?

I’m Sorry, What Was That You Said?

It’s Hearing Awareness Week 23-29 August, 2015 and there are events, screening clinics and information sessions across the country. Take a look at here for local event info.


While exploring the canals of hearing loss, we found these two infographics about Noise and Evolution of the Hearing Aid and we’d like to share them.



How Loud is Too Loud? An infographic from Safety Culture

Embedded from Safety Culture

Like this infographic?-  Jump over to Evolution of the Hearing Aid 


HIV Shared Care for GPs

HIV Shared Care for GPs

The Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) have developed a suite of resources to support GPs who provide care to HIV positive patients in their practice. Key to the HIV Shared Care for GPs model is the knowledge that improved treatment outcomes means that HIV is now considered a chronic condition. GPs, specialists, nurses, allied health and support services are involved in the management of people living with HIV and this management involves team-based interdisciplinary communication and planning.


Central to HIV Shared Care for GPs is the GP Management Plan (GPMP) for HIV - a tool that encourages comprehensive disease management using an annual cycle of care for HIV based on current guidelines including the RACGP Red Book and STIGMA Guidelines for STI testing.

HIV GPMP Audit and Shared Care Training

To evaluate the GPMP for HIV, an Audit and training package have been developed by ASHM with endorsement by the RACGP.

GPs with a caseload of five or more HIV positive patients have the opportunity to earn 40 RACGP QI&CPD Audit Points and 6 ASHM HIV Points when they participate in the Audit.

The Audit consists of three parts:

Part 1: A retrospective audit of five HIV positive patients for whom they have provided care in their practice. Each audit consists of 24 questions about the HIV management provided for that patient, and the level of communication between GP and HIV specialist or specialist service.

Part 2: Shared care training. The training consists of nine short videos from GPs, and specialist HIV services outlining how to develop a comprehensive GPMP for HIV and including the key issues in monitoring, management and best practice shared care between GPs and specialists.

Part 3: 6 months following the training component, the GP will be asked to complete a second retrospective audit of five HIV positive patients for whom they have provided care since the training.

The results will compare pre- and post- GPMP Shared Care training. GPs will receive a report that highlights their management of patients living with HIV, where their communication and monitoring needs improvement and encouraging GPs to reflect on their practice.

Participating in the Audit

The HIV GPMP Audit and Shared Care Training is available on the ASHM Learning Management System (LMS). Participants need to register for a username and password to access the LMS. Once registered GPs, and other health professionals, have access to an extensive library of online modules, training and webinars which accrue points towards their continuing professional development (CPD).

For more information, visit the ASHM Website
or contact ASHM via email hivsharedcare [at]



New Headache Diary App

New Headache Diary App

As part of their growing suite of mobile apps, Griffith University has launched a unique app that helps headache sufferers record the severity and regularity of their pain.

The app, essentially a headache diary, forms part of the ENHANCE project, which is investigating the effectiveness of managing headaches using a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and a new approach called learning to cope with triggers (LCT).

The Griffith University research team, led by Professor Paul Martin of the Behavioural Basis of Health program, aims to help people with headache become desensitised to triggers such as food, noise and stress, or to build up a tolerance to them. Read more about the EASE approach for dealing with headache triggers on the Headache Australia website.

According to Professor Martin, the new app - developed in partnership with African Startup company Wexpert Technologies, - will help improve research outcomes by directly downloading the diary into data files, enabling the research team to know when he ratings of head pain are made, rather than relying on the self reports of the participants.

“This app will benefit the ENHANCE project but will also be a very useful tool for other headache researchers around the world,” said Professor Martin.

Griffith University has also launched another app, designed to help patients with chronic fatigue syndrome better manage their illness. Called CliniHelp, it is also suitable for patients with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, allowing them to record symptoms, track them on a weekly basis, and monitor changes in their condition.


Do you suffer from headaches?

The ENHANCE project is currently seeking 120 participants between the ages of 18 and 75 years who regularly experience six or more headache days per month.

To participate or for further details, contact the ENHANCE team on (07) 5678 0727 or


upside down doll in a cardboard box. A  glooomy, shadowy image




Pumping Iron with Haemochromatosis

Pumping Iron with Haemochromatosis



Are you pumping too much iron? Well, it could mean you’re a gym junkie - or it might be that you have haemochromatosis. About 1 in 200 people of northern European origin have risk factors for haemochromatosis and people from Celtic origins are particularly susceptible - which is why haemochromatosis is often call the Celtic Curse.


Haemochromatosis is an inherited iron overload disorder that can cause fatigue, aching joints and mood swings. Absorbing too much iron over a long period can lead to serious liver and pancreatic damage, heart disease, macular degeneration and osteoporosis. But the good news is, it is treatable and as with many other chronic diseases, the earlier haemochromatosis is diagnosed, the better the treatment options.

This week is Haemochromatosis Awareness Week and to help inform and educate, we’ve posted this short animation developed by Haemochromatosis Australia explaining the symptoms, risks and treatment options:





This video is a fantastic resource for GPs and heath professionals when explaining haemochromatosis to newly diagnosed patients.

For more information and other resources including Clinical Guidelines and fact sheets go to Haemochromatosis Australia 



@HaemAus on Twitter


Haemochromatosis Australia on Facebook


Did you know that famed American author Ernest Hemingway suffered from haemochromatosis? Read an article from Fighting Celtic Curse about Hemingway and his genetic disorder.



What is a Standard Drink?

What is a Standard Drink?

How do you measure a Standard Drink- this infographic shows the actual alcohol content in a std drink

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have released an infographic about the number of standard drinks in any one alcoholic beverage. Based on the National Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (2009) the plain facts may surprise some people.

Read the NHMRC FAQs here for more information on risks associated with alcohol consumption and find out whether there is such a thing as safe drinking levels.


Follow NHMRC on Twitter



Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia @DANAnews1

Australian Drug Foundation @AustDrug



Celiac or Coeliac? - Don’t play Dr Google

Celiac or Coeliac? – Don’t play Dr Google

May is ‘Celiac Awareness Month’ in the USA, but we thought we take the opportunity to talk about ‘Coeliac Awareness’ here in Australia too.

Accredited Practising Dietitian Sally Marchini is our guest blogger this month.Find Sally at 


Recent evidence demonstrates that 1 in 60 Australian women and 1 in 70 Australian men have coeliac disease and yet about 80% of them are undiagnosed. One of the key reasons that so many go undiagnosed is that they make a decision to put themselves on a gluten free diet without first being medically diagnosed for coeliac disease because it ‘makes them feel better’.  It is for this reason that awareness of coeliac disease and its complications is so important. Coeliac Australia advises:


“Feeling better when you remove wheat or gluten from your diet does not necessarily mean you have coeliac disease. You should consult with your doctor to investigate all potential causes for your symptoms.”


The population should be made aware that there’s no health benefit in going gluten free unless you’ve first been tested for coeliac disease.  Because there is evidence that “No Effects of Gluten in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity After Dietary Reduction of Fermentable, Poorly Absorbed, Short-Chain Carbohydrates”, it is really very important to have coeliac disease medically ruled out before starting on a low-FODMAP*or gluten/wheat free diet.


Many people I see in my practice are not aware that if you are coeliac it only takes as little as one one-hundredth of a slice of bread’s worth of the protein gluten to cause villous atrophy (an inflammatory response to gluten) that can lead to longer term health issues, which may not be enough to cause symptoms. Those longer term health concerns include malnutrition, anaemia, osteoporosis, infertility, pregnancy issues, liver failure, infection and cancer, and 2014 evidence shows that coeliacs are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease related to chronic inflammation. This reinforces the need for a strict gluten free diet, and is why dietitians and doctors should encourage people to be tested for coeliac disease before trialling a low-FODMAP diet for their Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms that have many in common with coeliac disease symptoms.


Those on a non-coeliac gluten free (or fructan free as the case may be) diet who have been tested negative for coeliac disease can feel safe that they only have to avoid the gluten containing grains to suit their individual levels of symptom tolerance.

You can read more about diagnosis of coeliac disease here on the Coeliac Australia website.

The good news is that the research team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute are working on making diagnosis of coeliac disease much easier. You can read more about that here.


My take-home message?

Please don’t play Dr Google and trial a gluten free diet without first checking with your doctor to ensure your longer-term health.


*FODMAPs = fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates (fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols




Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association @ALMALifestyle

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research @WEHI_research



5 Reasons To Get Tested For Hep C

5 Reasons To Get Tested For Hep C

Many people with hepatitis C don’t know they have it. Early diagnosis and intervention can help reduce the effects of complicated chronic hep C-related illnesses.

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. If your liver isn’t functioning properly, the health consequences can be extremely serious.

Viral hepatitis indicates that hepatitis has been caused by a virus. There are several types of viral hepatitis including A,B,C,D and E.

WIth hepatitis C, you may not know you have been infected, but you may start to notice symptoms once the disease has become chronic (after 6 months).

Symptoms of hep C may include:

  • lethargy (tiredness)
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • soreness under the upper-right ribs
  • fever and flu-like symptoms
  • pain in the joints

People with chronic hep C remain infectious throughout their lives and  can potentially pass the virus onto others.

Hepatitis C is spread through the following:

  • blood  contact  (most commonly through sharing infected injecting equipment)
  • tattooing, body piercing with equipment that has not been sterilised properly
  • sharing toothbrushes or razors with tiny amounts of blood on them
  • needlestick injuries in the health care setting
  • sex (where there may be blood contact)
  • occasionally mothers can pass the virus to their babies during the birthing process

There are treatments available for hepatitis C and the sooner you get tested the better.

Talk to your GP and get tested today.


5 Reasons to Get Tested for Hep C