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Health Directory


Anaemia is the most common blood disorder, yet it can go undetected in many people because its signs and symptoms can be quite vague.

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Anxiety affects one quarter of Australians at some stage in their lives. Its mental and physical symptoms can make day-to-day life hard - yet there are a range of treatments available to make managing the condition easier.

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Appendicitis occurs when your appendix becomes infected and inflamed. It can become a medical emergency and usually requires urgent surgery to remove it. Most common in children and adolescents, the symptoms can include abdominal pain, fever and vomiting.

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Arthritis is often thought to be a single disease, but is actually an umbrella term for more than 100 medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints where two or more bones meet.

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Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that affects social interaction and non-verbal communication. While there is no cure, early intervention can reduce the impact Asperger’s has on a person’s life.

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Asthma is a condition that, when triggered, makes it hard for you to breathe. Everyone’s asthma is different – and everyone has different triggers that lead to an asthma attack. There are medications available to prevent attacks, and to relieve the symptoms of an attack.

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Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way an individual relates to their environment and interacts with others. While there is no cure, early intervention can reduce the impact autism has on a person’s life.

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Bipolar Disorder

About one in 50 Australians is affected by bipolar disorder, an illness in which you typically experience episodes of intense highs followed by intense lows. Treatments are available that help to manage the symptoms.

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Chicken pox

Chicken pox is an extremely common viral disease that begins with mild flu-like symptoms and then causes an itchy rash on the skin. It is very contagious, although there is a vaccination available. In children, the illness can be relatively minor; for adults, especially pre­­gnant women, it can be quite serious.

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Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI), passed from one person to another through unprotected sex. Many people don’t experience any symptoms of chlamydia. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious complications such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, prostatitis or epididymitis.

Once diagnosed, it is easily treatable with antibiotics.

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Coeliac Disease

One in 100 Australians are coeliacs; although up to three quarters are undiagnosed because many people experience no symptoms. Coeliac disease can be a serious immune disease affecting the small intestine. Once diagnosed, it is easily treated by eliminating gluten from your diet.

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Dementia describes a range of symptoms that affect thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Common signs of early dementia include memory loss, confusion or personality changes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

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Around one in five Australians will experience depression in their lives. There are different types of depression, and a range of symptoms. It is important to treat the condition as early as possible – and there are many treatments and support services available.

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Diabetes is a chronic condition that comes in a number of forms. By far the most common is type 2 diabetes; followed by type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes. While there is no cure, simple changes to diet and exercise, plus insulin injections if needed, can help.

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Diarrhoea involves the frequent passing of watery faeces. Commonly caused by an infection of the intestines such as gastroenteritis or food poisoning, diarrhoea can be dangerous for young children and the elderly.

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Diverticulosis (where small pockets or pouches develop in the wall of the bowel) is a very common condition that affects the large intestine (bowel). Diverticulosis usually has no symptoms, but it can lead to the very uncomfortable condition called diverticulitis (infection and inflammation of the diverticular pouches). If you have diverticulosis, there are simple dietary changes you can make to avoid developing diverticulitis.

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Eczema is an uncomfortable skin condition affecting one in three Australians during their lives. It can cause dry, itchy and scaly skin; or worse, skin can bleed, crust over and become infected. It is most common in babies and young children.

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Fibromyalgia is a condition marked by chronic pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure). Other symptoms range from extreme fatigue, sleep disturbance and joint stiffness, to difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling.

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Gastroenteritis (gastro) is a bowel infection that is commonly caused by viruses or bacteria. It causes diarrhoea and vomiting, and is usually only a short-lived condition. The main complication is dehydration. Babies and young children can quickly become quite ill with gastro.

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Gout is a painful arthritic condition that affects one or more of your joints. Anyone can get gout, but it’s most common in men over 40 and in older people who take diuretics. A ‘gout attack’ – which often comes on suddenly – will last about one week. If left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to your joints.

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Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. This vital organ regulates metabolism, produces proteins, stores vitamins and iron, removes toxins, and more. If the liver fails to function, serious illness and death can result.

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A hernia occurs when an organ like the intestine bulges out through a gap, or a weakened spot in the muscle or tissue, that is meant to contain it. The most effective treatment of hernias is surgical repair– and it is one of the most common operations in Australia.

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Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a common and highly contagious sexually transmitted infection (STI). The virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, and it can cause an outbreak of sores on the skin of your genitals. The virus remains in your body forever, although there are medicines available to help reduce future outbreaks.

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High blood pressure (hypertension)

Many Australians have high blood pressure. There may not be symptoms, so it’s important to have regular blood pressure checks. High blood pressure increases your risk of serious diseases like stroke or heart attack. You can lower your chances of having high blood pressure by making lifestyle changes.

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High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is produced naturally by the body. But when we get too much of it, it can clog the arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. The best way to avoid or reduce high levels of cholesterol is to eat a balanced diet including plenty of plant foods, and limit foods high in saturated fats.

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HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. You become infected with HIV if the virus passes into your bloodstream – which can occur through unprotected sex or sharing contaminated needles. HIV is treatable; however there is currently no cure. If left untreated, it causes severe damage and can lead to AIDS.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder which may cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. While the cause is unknown, the most common trigger is food intolerance. Treatment often includes identifying trigger foods and managing the diet to relieve symptoms.

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Lupus is a chronic disease in which your body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue and causes it to become swollen and painful. Often, it is mild and quite manageable; although symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. While there is no cure, early treatment can prevent long-term harm.

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Menopause marks the time when a woman has her last menstrual period; and results in a number of bodily changes. Typically, menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Postmenopausal women are more at risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Although multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system, its cause is unknown and there is no cure. Symptoms are unpredictable and no two cases are the same. Treatments can ease symptoms and slow down the disease, and most sufferers have 95% of life expectancy.

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Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose and in the early stages there may not be any symptoms. The symptoms most often reported include abdominal pain, bloating and swelling. The disease can affect one or both ovaries, and risk factors include age, genetic factors and child-bearing history.

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Pancreatic Cancer

The pancreas is an organ in the digestive system, joined to the small bowel by a duct. Pancreatic cancer starts in the cells lining this duct. About 2,500 Australians are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, with an average age of 71.

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Plantar Fasciitis

Also known as jogger’s or policeman’s heel, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common sources of heel pain. It occurs when the plantar fascia – the connective tissue that supports the arch on the bottom of the foot – is inflamed, torn or broken down.

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder affecting women, in which the ovaries produce an overabundance of male hormones like testosterone. Sometimes, PCOS causes cysts on the ovaries, but not always – there are many different symptoms. Treatment varies depending on the cause and primary symptoms.

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Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes red, raised, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It most commonly occurs on the scalp, elbows and knees, but can appear anywhere on the body. There is no cure for psoriasis, but it can usually be controlled with treatment.

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Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, feels and acts. Likely causes include genes and lifestyle factors; and treatment can involve medication, counselling and hospitalisation. For some people, it is a chronic, life-long condition; while for others it will only last a brief period.

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Shingles is a painful rash that usually only appears on a relatively small area of your skin, and it can only be contracted if you have had chickenpox in the past. It is extremely rare to get more than one case of shingles during your life.

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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged. This typically occurs by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

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Thrush (Candida)

Most women will experience thrush at least once in their lifetime. It’s an infection in the vagina that causes itching and soreness, and results from an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. There are things you can do to help prevent it, and you can treat mild cases with over-the-counter medication.

Thrush (candida) is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

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Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are extremely common, especially in women. Caused by bacteria entering the urinary system, most cases affect the lower urinary tract (the bladder and urethra). However, infections of the kidney are more serious. UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics.

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