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Wed, 30th November 2016

Blokes, the government at last cares about us (apart from collecting our taxes). We are continually bombarded by stuff about women, breast and cervical cancer prevention, fragmenting bones, but what does anyone want to know about males. At last an enormous survey or Australian men is being rolled out.

It is called the "45 Up and Study Questionnaire for Men". Certainly a nice easy name to remember! The "Up" bit probably refers to the probing gloved index finger of the doctor who also cares, but men abhor. To say nothing of what may follow. Like a device called a trans rectal ultrasound where the prostate is carefully checked for possible cancer. Biopsies (a needle jumps out and grabs bits of the prostate for micro analysis if cancer is suspected. Ouch!). It's not as painful as having a baby.


Fingers, metal tubes or colonoscopy wires inserted in you know where. To make sure there is no cancer or warts, their early predecessor. There are six pages, simply boxes to be ticked. It covers all aspects of male health in the 45 and over group. Such as heart history, arthritis, memory, Alzheimer's, the medication you are on.

120 health professionals put it together It is the most professional and caring item I have ever received from the government (via the Medicare system). Tens of thousands of guys will be mailed. It is ongoing, but the end point will be a major publicity campaign advising guys on simple ways to help improve health and longevity.

Check their web site, It is very impressive and certainly worthwhile. Fill and return the form promptly if you randomly receive it. I already have. For once, a "plus" for the government's health department.



I have suffered dizziness for the past eight months. It started with vomiting and a temperature, and I blacked out. Gradually recovered. I've been given a tablet and asked about the Epley method (mentioned before in this column), but nobody has heard about it. What now?


It's high time you were referred to an ear specialist. Although probably a simple viral induced labyrinthitis (the balance mechanism in the inner ear), it may be something else. A fuller investigation will indicate the best intervention. Sometimes little calcium particles develop in the fluid of the semi-circular canals and lodge on tiny internal hairs causing symptoms. The Epley Manoeuvre turns the head through 270 degrees, causing the particles to lodge in a space called the utricle. Many doctors have never heard of it and it is rarely discussed in medical journals and lectures.

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I used to get thyroid tablets in a bottle, but now they come in a different package. Why all this carry on. Also, it seems they must be kept in the fridge.


Thyroid hormone called thyroxine, marketed as Oroxine has undergone recent changes. Maintaining its potency is essential. The thyroid gland is often called the "Captain of the Ship" - it governs all the other hormones in the body. The new box will contain blister strips. This means each tablet is individually sealed, and is pressed for release just before using. There are 200 tablets per box. Store box in fridge (do not freeze). Remove one strip and take the recommended daily dose.

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I inadvertently bit the tip of my tongue and it bled like the devil. Do I need to see the doctor?


We all inadvertently bite the tongue from time to time. If it bleeds, simply apply pressure with thumb and index finger. It will rapidly clot. Healing occurs often within a coupe of days, due to the huge blood supply to the head. Avoid salty foods and tart drinks for a while which may sting.

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I read the government plans a medical help line manned by nurses for a quick opinion if in sudden need. Is this political spin or genuinely worthwhile?


Of course it is political spin, but in my opinion also genuinely worthwhile. Everybody at some time, will develop symptoms which cause concern. Options are few. You simply trust to luck and hope it will vanish (which most do). Or visit the pharmacist (maybe one to 40 km away), or your own GP (and get an appointment in 10 days time), or pick up the phone and get immediate advice free of charge. Many nurses are highly skilled, accustomed to answering questions promptly and accurately. They have a bank of computers and reference screens in front of them, and ask the right questions. This can allay anxiety or direct a call to a local GP, hospital, or in a crisis, dial 000. It is a positive measure.

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I notice aching legs if I walk up a hill. An ultrasound indicates some vessels in the feet are clogging up. I don't smoke, not diabetic, and my cholesterol is normal.


Pain ("angina") due to inadequate oxygen can occur anywhere, and is caused by partial or complete obstruction of a blood vessel. I am sure your doctor may suggest you keep walking. You may be prescribed blood thinners (aspirin, maybe Iscover). This often helps. Bypass surgery and stents may be used in larger vessels. Often "collateral" circulation (other vessels) will enable enough blood to reach most parts.

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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



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