Unlocking Good Health in the New Year

Unlocking Good Health in the New Year

The New Year brings great opportunities to make changes to your health. In Western culture New Years Resolutions often revolve around making promises to oneself to make changes to their lifestyle to improve health. These can include:
Stopping smoking
• Stopping or drinking less alcohol.
• Losing weight or getting fitter
• Eating more healthily
• Getting more sleep or rest
• Getting a regular check up with a doctor.
Getting a regular check-up with a doctor is crucial for identifying potential health conditions. Unfortunately, many people believe that their doctor will automatically test for all conditions and therefore know if you have any health concerns. This is not the case for most people.
People often only seek help for their health when they either feel sick, have relative or friend recently diagnosed with a health a condition or need a medical check-up for a job or a visa. The doctor will then test for what would usually relate to the symptoms, or what is required for the medical certificate for a new job or a visa.

Why don’t doctors automatically check for all conditions?
This is usually a result of being very busy, needing to address the problem that the person presents with and the patient not asking for the tests they would like done. Certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, are more common and are routinely screened for in regular health tests. However, some conditions, like hepatitis B, are more common in certain groups such as migrants, and often go unchecked by doctors. This is partly due to hepatitis B being asymptomatic for a long time, coupled with a misconception among some doctors that all migrants undergo hepatitis B screening during immigration health examination, when in fact, it is not the case for most migrants.
As a patient you can ask to be checked for any conditions that you are concerned about or have perhaps been diagnosed with before coming to Australia.
As we know around 70% of people living with hepatitis B in Australia were born overseas and around 26% of all people living with hepatitis B in Australia do not know they have the infection, it is time to get a hepatitis B test if you do not know your status, yet. Hepatitis C is also an asymptomatic chronic condition that is not routinely checked. Luckily there is a cure for hepatitis C if you tested positive. If you do not have hepatitis B you may be able to get a free hepatitis B vaccination to protect you from getting the virus.
Start the New Year knowing what you need to do for your health. Whilst people would generally not want to be infected by this virus – it is better to know than not know so you can look after your liver and protect yourself from developing liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Ask your doctor if they have a record of status for hepatitis B or C. If they don’t, ask to be checked – it may save your life.

For more information about hepatitis B please visit our website www.eccq.com.au/bbv. You can email us at health@eccq.com.au

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