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General: Why it pays to be healthy

Press Releases

Maintaining your health need not be overly expensive

Monday, 8 October – An unhealthy lifestyle can end up costing you a lot more than you may realise, warns former World Triathlon Champion and a previous winner of the women’s category of the Absa Cape Epic MTB race, Hannele Steyn.


Fit, strong and full of vigour at 52, Steyn explains a healthy lifestyle and physical activity have served her well over the years and argues that it does not have to cost a fortune to remain in peak condition. “It is often the case that when you neglect your physical wellbeing, your cost of living and medical care becomes more expensive,” she explains.


“In my personal experience, I have found that by looking after my body through better food choices, physical activity and taking advantage of preventative care benefits offered through my medical scheme and rewards programme Zurreal Platinum, I have saved a lot of money compared with the costs associated with a less healthy lifestyle.”


Steyn, a former professional athlete who is also a nutritionist, explains that sport has been a part of her life from a young age. “I was born with a congenital heart defect. However, as soon as I was well enough, all I wanted to do was run, swim and ride a bicycle. Today I cannot imagine a life without physical activity. I certainly feel worse when I don’t exercise,” Steyn says.


Drawing from her personal experience, Steyn elaborates on how an active lifestyle has considerably reduced her expenditure on healthcare.


“I am a firm believer in physical wellbeing, which has enabled me to recover more quickly from injuries and helps to keep my immune system strong. I cannot remember when last I had a common cold. Healthy lifestyle choices have definitely contributed to this. I move as much as I can and refuse to live a sedentary lifestyle,” she says. Preventative health is the answer and my medical aid scheme assists me to go for the required, yearly health check-ups, as well as joining a gym and getting rewards for it at the same time.


According to Steyn, anyone can participate and learn to love being active. “It does not matter what life stage you are at, or how well you are currently doing, you will reap rewards once you make the decision to engage in an active lifestyle.


“To start an exercise regime requires commitment and some sacrifices, but I can assure you the benefits you will gain will far outweigh the effort you put in. You just need to find something that you enjoy doing and stick to it.”


Participating in sport need not necessarily be an expensive exercise. “Yes, professional sports equipment and proper gear can be expensive, but pottering around in the garden, walking your dogs and even swimming can become your healthy activity of choice. Join your local gym, go regularly and earn loyalty points, which pays you in cash if you are a Zurreal member


“Running and cycling are two firm favourites, you will no doubt be able to find groups in your area to join. The racing seasons are actually now all year round and with Zurreal Platinum you can get up to R2 000 back per year, by taking part in selected outdoor sporting events,” says Steyn who is also the brand ambassador for Spectramed Medical Scheme and Zurreal, a holistic wellbeing and rewards programme that offers tangible rewards from day one.


“Again, a gym membership is a great idea, particularly if you would prefer to exercise in a secure and safe spot. With my Zurreal Platinum membership, my gym membership fees are refunded to me in full through the fitness benefit. This makes going to the gym highly cost-effective and an efficient way to save money directly, while also investing in my long-term health,” Steyn explains.


The adoption of a healthier lifestyle will also necessitate a change in your eating habits and the food choices you make.


“Although it might seem that processed, ready-made meals are cheaper than ‘health-marketed foods’, there are plenty of healthy options that are inexpensive. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be more affordable if you choose wisely and select fresh produce according to seasonality. Fresh dairy products, unprocessed carbohydrates and lean meats are also not necessarily more expensive than unhealthier food options. In the long run, you will be saving a lot more by erasing takeaways and unnecessary restaurant outings from your budget,” Steyn elaborates. Believe me, all the illnesses that can catch up with you by an unhealthy diet, will end up costing so much more.


“Instead of opting for yo-yo diets or even fad diets choose to live a healthier life, and that includes exercising greater control over what you put into your body. Eliminating processed, fried and high-fat and high-sugar foods from your diet. It will lower your risks of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and even some types of cancer, and may also assist in reducing medical expenditure in the long-term.”


“I love clich├ęs because they are true,” says Steyn. “One of those is ‘prevention is better than cure.’ If you take care of your body, protect it against the harmful effects of the sun and the health risks associated with bad lifestyle habits, incorporate physical activity into your life and make that decision to visit your doctor, clinic and dentist for those annual check-ups, you are investing in a better future for yourself. This is where having a good medical scheme on your side plays an important part. My Spectramed cover offers me preventative screening tests every year so I can keep an eye on my health at all times.”


“In addition, with health check rewards from Zurreal, I earn further cash-backs for taking care of my health and going for those routine check-ups. Saving and earning money for looking after my health holds tremendous appeal for me. A proactive approach to wellbeing is an investment in yourself. You cannot buy back your health once you have lost it. I am fitter, stronger and healthier than ever before, and it all comes down to believing that my healthy lifestyle is not expensive in the long run” Steyn concludes.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, November 02 @ 10:49:57 SAST (59 reads)
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General: One in two SA females iron deficient - research

Press Releases

One in two South African females is iron deficient with black women and adolescents most affected, research shows.


Low iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) which says 30% of the population is anaemic (chronic iron deficiency), while 80% does not have adequate iron levels.

The WHO notes that nearly all women in developing countries are affected by iron deficiency while more than half of pregnant women suffer from anaemia. In SA, research shows that “anaemia is most prevalent in adolescents and black women and … is also an indicator of overconsumption of dietary fat and a marker of socioeconomic disadvantage.”


Another SA study shows that nearly one in two women are iron deficient. “The prevalence of iron deficiency was 39.8% in all participants and females and black Africans… had a very high prevalence of 56.6% and 50.7% respectively,” researchers found.


 Recent iron testing by an Mbombela clinic showed 49% of men and women tested had low iron levels.


Iron is an essential mineral, vital for red blood cells, energy and cognitive function. Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, cognitive decline, compromised immunity, general poor health and, in severe cases, organ failure.


Iron is not easily absorbed from food while poor diet, unhealthy or overactive lifestyles, pregnancy and menstruation all contribute to deficiency. The WHO advocates supplementation but conventional tablets are poorly absorbed and may result in gastro-intestinal side effects. A study shows that iron-rich mineral water, Spatone, is absorbed far more effectively than conventional pills and research shows that consuming vitamin C may further enhance absorption.


SA Nutritional expert, Vanessa Ascencao says 100% natural iron-rich mineral water, Spatone, sourced from the pristine mountains of Snowdonia, Wales, is ideal to boost iron levels as it can be simply consumed directly from a sachet, or poured into a drink and is easily absorbed.


“Spatone Apple includes vitamin C which aids absorption, is gentle on the stomach and research shows that daily intake improves iron levels efficiently,” she added. Ascencao suggests that in addition to supplementation, exercise, a healthy lifestyle and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and organic protein may help counter deficiency.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, November 02 @ 10:47:29 SAST (64 reads)
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General: One in five women have pelvic floor damage - research

Press Releases

At least 20% of all women experience some sort of pelvic floor disorder with this figure rising to 50% in those who have had more than one child, studies show. 

Many women in developing countries do not disclose this condition due to stigma or lack of health services, while research shows pelvic floor disorders impact negatively on women’s self-esteem, relationships with their partners and their ability to work.

A study in Ethiopia and research in the US found that at least one in five women suffer from pelvic floor disorder. In Australia, it’s estimated that at least half of women who have had more than one child have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse (pelvic organs slipping from the normal position).

SA trends are believed to be similar to those recorded internationally, said urologist Dr Preena Sivsankar from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, adding that the condition can often be effectively treated.

She said pelvic floor disorders are caused by damage to pelvic muscles either during childbirth, through heavy lifting, from obesity or after a hysterectomy. The pelvic floor refers to the muscles around the bowel, bladder and uterus in women and the bowel and bladder in men.

Pelvic floor dysfunction varies in severity and symptoms include:

·       Pain during sex

·       Pain in the pelvic area

·       Leaking of urine or faeces

·       Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel

·       A dragging sensation or “bulge” in the rectum or vagina

Dr Sivsankar said The Urology Hospital had a dedicated Pelvic Wellness Clinic where specialists in  urology, urogynaecology and colorectal surgery diagnose and treat pelvic floor disorders through a  host of surgical and non-surgical options.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, November 02 @ 10:45:20 SAST (60 reads)
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General: Heart healthy diet challenged in new study

Press Releases A new global study challenges conventional thinking about heart healthy diets, finding that moderate amounts of dairy and unprocessed red meat may in fact be beneficial for longevity and cardiovascular health.


The large-scale global study, published in the medical journal Lancet, found a diet limited in refined carbohydrates, rich in fruit and vegetables and which includes moderate amounts of fat, protein and dairy may lower cardiovascular risk – the leading cause of death in South Africa, claiming 225 lives a day.


Study leader, Prof Salim Yusuf from McMaster University, Canada, said: “Thinking on what constitutes a high-quality diet for a global population needs to be reconsidered…our results show that dairy products and meat are beneficial for heart health and longevity. This differs from curent dietary advice.”


Researcher, Dr Andrew Mente, added: “People who consumed a diet emphasising fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, dairy products, and (unprocessed) meat had the lowest risks of cardiovascular disease and early death."


Mente said there was consensus on the benefits of fruit and vegetables, but research showed that moderate intake of whole fat dairy, unprocessed meat, fish and nuts may also be beneficial, while high levels of starch were harmful.


The study, which spanned 50 countries and included 218 000 adults, found the healthiest participants consumed a daily average of 8.4 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2.5 servings of nuts and legumes, 3.0 servings of dairy, 1.4 servings of red meat, and 0.3 servings of fish. It found those with the highest-quality diet had a 25% lower risk of mortality, 22% less risk of heart attack and a 25% lower risk of stroke compared to those with a poorer quality diet.


Nutritional expert, Vanessa Ascencao said fruit and vegetables remain the most prominent components of a healthy diet and unprocessed red meat should preferably be organic and hormone free and consumed in moderation. In addition to a nutritious diet, a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and supplementing with the enzyme CoQ10, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health.


Ascencao said two important studies this year confirmed CoQ10’s importance in treating cardiovascular disease and significantly lowering cardiovascular mortality risk, while the health benefits of CoQ10 are so strong that it is registered as a treatment for heart failure in Japan where it is also one of the top five used medications.


CoQ10 is a naturally occurring nutrient and anti-oxidant found in the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas and deficiency is linked to disease, poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. “A quality supplement like Biomax CoQ10 is clinically proven to double CoQ10 levels within three weeks which helps maintain healthy blood vessels, may lower blood pressure and supports the heart muscle,” said Ascencao.
Posted by E-Doc on Friday, November 02 @ 10:41:07 SAST (66 reads)
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Press Releases
Founded by a breastfeeding mom in 1984, Lansinoh® has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for more than 30 years. 

Painful nipples are fairly common in breast feeding and Lansinoh’s HPA® Lanolin cream has been specially developed to help soothe and protect sore, cracked nipples.  Sore nipples can either be the result of uncomfortable positioning of a baby at the breast or if a mom has extra sensitive nipples.    Whilst it is obvious that the cause of sore nipples should be addressed, Lansinoh’s HPA® Lanolin cream applied regularly will soothe and protect against painful, cracked nipples which can make breast feeding a nightmare.  A notable feature of Lansinoh HPA® Lanolin is that it doesn’t need to be wiped off prior to breastfeeding and is therefore considered to be the most pure and safe nipple cream. Unlike most other lanolin creams, Lansinoh HPA® Lanolin’s fine quality is achieved by using a unique, refining process which selectively filters out any colour and odour forming impurities and this special process is performed at low temperatures without any bleaching.  Lansinoh® HPA® Lanolin contains no added water, no chemicals and no perfume and the cream is 100% pure hypoallergenic with no smell, taste, preservatives, antioxidants or additives.  It is also advisable for nipples to be gently massaged on a daily basis for a few months prior to giving birth, to prepare them for breastfeeding. 

Leaking is a common problem for many breastfeeding moms and Lansinoh® Stay Dry Disposible Nursing Pads help to deal with these embarrassing leaks. Each nursing pad features a quilted honeycomb lining which provides leak proof coverage and the breathable waterproof layer keeps clothing protected.  The contoured shape ensures a discreet fit when wet and each pad is individually wrapped with two adhesive strips which keep the pad in place.  The nursing pads are ideal for light and medium milk flow and  Lansinoh® products are paraben, BPA and BPS free.

*Lansinoh’s HPA® Lanolin is the Number 1 bestselling nipple cream in the UK for breastfeeding mothers and is the only lanolin product to have received the British Allergy Foundation Seal of Approval.  Lansinoh® Stay Dry Disposible Nursing Pads are the number 1 selling disposable nursing pads in the USA. 
Lansinoh’s HPA® Lanolin cream is available in 10ml tubes for R94.95 and 40ml tubes for R209.95.  

The Lansinoh® Stay Dry Disposible Nursing pads are available in packs of 24 for R54.45 and packs of 60  for R124,95. All products are available from Dis-chem and select pharmacies.

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, August 14 @ 10:14:05 SAST (119 reads)
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General: Palliative care for children with cancer

Press Releases
Children are not ‘small adults’ and they deserve to have care that is designed for their needs when they are facing a diagnosis and treatment for cancer.

This is at the core of the recently released National Policy and Strategy for Palliative Care. The Cancer Alliance, with the issuing of the third in its series of toolkits focusing on the Policy, is highlighting the vital importance of the new policy in relation to children.

“The policy will only improve the care of people living with cancer if the government drives the initiative,” said Linda Greeff Chairperson of the Cancer Alliance. “We call on the government to ensure that the policy is adequately funded and that healthcare workers are trained to provide palliative care to all – adults and children.”

The Cancer Alliance, which is a grouping of 28 of South Africa’s cancer organisations, is actively involved in advocacy around cancer. The purpose of the toolkit is to ensure that the policy remains a living document that guides provincial strategy and ensures that those who need palliative care actually receive it.

The policy is clear that the following is needed in respect of children specifically:

·        Comprehensive services to allow every parent, including young and poverty-stricken mothers, to support themselves and their children;

·        More facilities providing palliative care for children;

·        An end to futile treatment that sees children suffer unnecessarily due to paternalism amongst some treatment providers, especially those who struggle to accept deaths in childhood; and

·        Training of a multi-disciplinary healthcare workforce in palliative care, tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of children.

There is a misconception that palliative care is synonymous with end of life care. In reality, palliative care is life-affirming. It improves the quality of life of patients living with a serious illness, and of their families. It prevents and relieves suffering by ensuring the treatment of pain and other concerns that arise following a cancer diagnosis, so helping people continue to live an active life with their illness.

This type of care helps to secure dignity in living, but also in dying should the illness progress.

This is particularly important in the case of children who need to deal with the possibility that they will not grow into adulthood, as well as the strain that their diagnosis brings to their parents and siblings.

“There are still substantial barriers to children accessing palliative care, and we believe these need to be addressed,” Greeff said.

The barriers include:

·        Parents’ or doctors’ misperception of palliative care, believing this means “giving up”;

·        Their age or developmental stage;

·        Legal status;

·        Dependence on parents/guardians;

·        Cultural norms;

·        Illness and disability;

·        Poverty;

·        Orphanhood or abandonment;

·        Lack of trained healthcare providers;

·        Unavailability of essential palliative care medication for children; and

·        Distance from health facilities.

For more information about the work of the Cancer Alliance and access to the toolkit, go to http://bit.ly/PalCareToolkit

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, August 14 @ 10:07:28 SAST (116 reads)
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General: Gut health linked to mental well-being -- study

Press Releases
A new global study has reinforced the link between mental health and gut bacteria and indicates that a diet rich in many different types of vegetables may contribute to improved health.

The global crowd-sourced study by the University of California of over 11 000 participants found that those who ate more than 30 different plant types a week had gut microbiomes (eco-systems) that were more diverse than those who ate 10 or fewer types of plants per week. A high diversity of gut bacteria is believed to be a sign of a healthy gut which in turn impacts on overall health.

Researchers also found that respondents with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder had more bacteria in common with others who reported similar problems, strengthening the link between mental health and gut bacteria.

Previous research has highlighted a connection between anxiety and the absence of certain healthy gut microbes, while another study found that certain gut bacteria are altered in people with PTSD. The gut is the open-ended tube leading from the mouth to the anus which includes the bowel.

The study follows a review of research on the common inflammatory gut disorder Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which indicated that IBS symptoms may be alleviated through a regular meal pattern, using a nutraceutical such as turmeric extract, curcumin, and avoiding gluten, excessive fructose, lactose and gas-producing foods.

Curcumin has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for abdominal pain and inflammation and has shown in clinical studies to play a positive role in inflammatory bowel disorders. In a clinical trial, curcumin helped induce remission in patients with colitis (inflammation of the colon), while another study suggested curcumin decreased abdominal pain and improved quality of life of IBS patients.

Health expert, Vanessa Ascencao says highly bioavailable turmeric extract, Bio-Curcumin with BCM-95 (a potent extract containing the full spectrum of turmeric oils), has proven to counter inflammation, adding that a study shows that the combined use of curcumin and essential turmeric oils, such as those in BCM-95, may protect against colitis.

Ascencao suggests the following additional tips to help fight inflammation and improve gut health:

-        Take a good probiotic or increase intake of fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt or sauerkraut
-        Eat more fresh, whole food such as organic vegetables and fruit
-        Increase intake of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger or rosemary
-        Increase intake of high quality omega 3 such as Purest Omega 3
-        Eliminate processed and sugary food
-        Get enough good quality sleep, exercise daily and manage stress
-        Take a high quality anti-inflammatory supplement like Bio-Curcumin with BCM-95

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, August 14 @ 07:52:41 SAST (111 reads)
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Press Releases The recent approval of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, shocked many in and out of the healthcare industry, but pharmaceutical organisations committed to increased pricing transparency will have a competitive edge as government pushes ahead with its plans of expanding affordable healthcare to the masses.

So says Erik Roos, CEO of leading generics pharmaceutical firm, Pharma Dynamics.

“Healthcare reform challenges all of us that operate in the sector to keep and expand our place at the table. In its current form, the proposed NHI is by no means perfect and there remains a lot of uncertainty around funding, medical skills shortages, the role medical aids will play and how infrastructural problems, wastage and corruption in the public sector will be tackled. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that NHI is here to stay, which makes it imperative for pharmaceutical companies to get involved in the debate at the highest level in order to help shape a sustainable and effective healthcare system for South Africa.

“Health firms need to ready themselves for the influx of tens of millions new consumers – mostly of low income and how they are going to care for them on a sustainable basis emphasising wellness prevention and disease management as opposed to constant crisis management. Already more than 40% of deaths in our country are associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as diseases of lifestyle, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. About 80% of these diseases can be prevented if interventions are put in place to curb unhealthy lifestyle behaviours early on.

“Access to affordable care for patients is the most important component that needs to be considered in any health reform legislation, therefore a great deal of focus will be placed on the price of medication, devices and services. Providers operating in the sector need to become resilient by connecting on a large scale to the culturally diverse communities they serve while remaining cost effective,” says Roos.

The dilemma for hospitals is finding a way to provide more access while simultaneously lowering costs. Doctors are likely to get caught up in rapid industry consolidation and must adapt to new payment models, changing traditional practices. As more people gain access to medicines via NHI, generics are sure to grab a generous share of the pie, but the challenge for pharmaceutical companies will be to stay competitive by providing more cost-effective products, linked to other value-added benefits.

However, Roos warns that if government continues to award tenders solely based on price under the NHI regime, that medicine shortages and stock-outs – already a concern – could worsen.  

“This will place tremendous pressure on pharmaceutical firms, particularly suppliers of generic medication, who have already dropped their prices significantly in an environment where annual increases are highly regulated. Foreign investment is also likely to decline as multinationals withdraw from the market and as a result patients’ needs will be compromised. Shortages and supply chain breakdowns could also quickly spiral into outbreaks of disease. To counter this, government could expand tax rebates for pharmaceutical companies which will not only allow more patients to have access to affordable medication, but also ensures the sustainability of the SA pharma sector.”

The local pharmaceutical industry employs more than 9 625 full-time staff and contributes about 1.58% to the SA GDP. It also spends significantly on local socio-economic development initiatives and training medical reps and healthcare practitioners on new pharmaceutical molecules to ensure that medicines are appropriately administered. Continued pressure placed on the price of generics under NHI, could over time degrade the industry and lead to a lack of knowledge around the safe administration of treatments, putting patients at risk. 

Roos says it is imperative that the industry skilfully navigates through the NHI conundrum, while managing the expectations of the public at large.

“This seismic shift in healthcare won’t happen overnight. Globally, National Health Insurance schemes, such as those in Europe, have taken many years to implement and in SA it could take up to 14 years before the NHI is fully rolled out, even though government is pushing for a 2026 deadline.

“Universal health coverage is a global priority and more countries are adopting an NHI-type approach. Virtually all of Europe has either publicly sponsored and regulated universal healthcare or publicly provided universal healthcare. Yet, it is important to note that universal healthcare doesn’t imply government-only healthcare, since many countries continue to have both public and private insurance and medical providers. No flawless model exists, but SA must attempt to augment its existing health system to accommodate all of its residents by ensuring accessible and affordable quality care, whilst buoying the healthcare industry as a whole.

“As a company, Pharma Dynamics is committed to being an active partner with government in the expansion of universal healthcare in the country and will continue to look at ways to serve more people, operating more efficiently and streamlining costs in order to best support the NHI programme. However, much more debate is needed on how to implement the NHI policy effectively.

“Government’s obligation to provide universal healthcare can be complemented by leveraging the expertise of the private sector and optimising business models to bring in more patients and reduce overall system costs. There is a great need for medicine availability, skilled medical human resources and quality care. A comprehensive approach should be taken in which the quality of the healthcare system is improved simultaneously with the rollout of the NHI, in order to benefit every South African,” concludes Roos.

Posted by E-Doc on Thursday, July 26 @ 14:28:24 SAST (89 reads)
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General: Fight high lupus deaths with healthy lifestyle - expert

Press Releases

A new study has found that the chronic auto-immune condition, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly known as lupus, is a leading cause of mortality in females which until now has gone largely unrecognised.


And, although there is no known cure, a leading SA health expert says pursuing a healthy lifestyle, including a diet and supplements that counter inflammation, may help.


The study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, found that 28 411 female deaths from lupus in the US from 2000 to 2015 were excluded from official statistics because the condition is under reported.


“Patients with [lupus] die prematurely of complications such as cardiovascular events, infections, renal failure, and respiratory diseases [and] these proximate causes of death may be perceived to be unrelated to [lupus], when in fact the disease or the medications used for it predispose to them,” researchers noted.


The study found that among women aged 15-24 years, lupus was the leading chronic inflammatory disease, ranking higher than diabetes, [HIV], chronic lower respiratory disease, nephritis, pneumonitis, and liver diseases.


Lupus is characterised by the body’s immune system attacking its own healthy tissue, triggering inflammation, pain and damage to skin, joints, organs or blood vessels. Symptoms are wide ranging and include fatigue, skin rash, fever arthritis, heart, kidney and lung problems, seizures, and blood cell and immunological abnormalities. The cause is unknown but may be linked to environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors. There is no known cure but medical treatment and lifestyle changes may help manage it.


Nutritional expert, Vanessa Ascencao says a healthy, balanced diet, exercise, high quality supplements and medical support may help combat the deadly symptoms of lupus. Additionally, to help counter inflammation – a major characteristic of lupus -- Ascencao suggests powerful Bio-Curcumin with BCM-95, a highly bioavailable turmeric extract, also shown to support brain health. Ascencao suggests these tips for good health:


-        Avoid fried, oily and processed foods and eat less red meat, dairy and sugar.

-        Choose fresh, organic and unprocessed foods and eat more vegetables, especially dark leafy greens.

-        Increase intake of fresh fruit, including berries and pomegranates which are high in antioxidants.

-        Eat foods rich in omega 3 such as wild caught salmon or tuna and choose a potent supplement such as Purest Omega 3. Eat lots of healthy fats such as avo, seeds, nuts and olive oil.

-        Try probiotic foods such as kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut and use bone broth in soups.

-        Use herbs, spices and herbal teas or choose a potent green tea extract Origine 8.

-        Choose quality iron and vitamin B and D supplements to boost immunity, energy and concentration.

-        Exercise to help reduce stress and improve joint health and sleep at least eight hours a night.

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, July 10 @ 13:27:20 SAST (102 reads)
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General: Robotic surgery comes out tops in cancer control research

Press Releases
Robotic surgery provides better results than conventional procedures in the removal of cancerous prostate glands, new research shows.

In a review of 104 studies, representing almost 230 000 patients and published in the World Journal of Urology recently, researchers analysed the outcomes of robotic-assisted procedures compared to laparoscopic and open retropubic radical prostatectomies (removal of cancerous prostate).

The review looked at major complications, operative time, length of hospital stays, blood loss, transfusions, conversions, rate of post-operative erectile dysfunction and incontinence, cost and positive surgical margin (PSM) which indicates whether the entire extent of the cancer was extracted during the operation.

“For PSM and peri- and post-operative complications, [robotic surgery] demonstrated better results than [open surgery] and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy,” noted the report.

Urologist and robotic surgeon, Dr Francois Duvenage said the results echoed the experience at The Urology Hospital, Pretoria -- the first institution in Africa to obtain a robotic surgical system which has conducted over 1 300 procedures since 2013.

“Robotic-assisted surgery is well known to be minimally invasive with less side effects. This study indicates it may also be able to better control cancer. The aim of the operation is to remove the prostate and all the inherent and surrounding cancer and this research shows that robotic surgery is leading in this regard.”

The review is in line with other research on robotic surgery which shows improved erectile function and urinary continence compared to open surgery.

Just over 4% of all South African men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime and an average five South African men die from prostate cancer every day.

In addition to prostatectomies, robotic surgery is offered at The Urology Hospital for partial nephrectomies, (removal of cancerous parts of the kidney) and cystectomies (removal of the bladder). It is the only specialised hospital of its kind in SA, comprising 23 urologists, 10 of whom are trained in robotic surgery – the highest concentration of robotic surgeons in the country.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, June 01 @ 11:23:15 SAST (104 reads)
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General: Intensive care ambulance designed especially for children now operational

Press Releases
Netcare 911’s new paediatric intensive care ambulance proves its worth

Tuesday, 29 May 2018 - A new Netcare 911 paediatric intensive care ambulance has been specially designed and equipped to safely transport critically ill children who need to be transferred between hospitals to receive specialised care at an appropriate medical facility.

“The Netcare 911 team identified a need for such an ambulance as children have very specific needs,” says Shalen Ramduth, director of business development and support services at Netcare 911, and one of the prime movers behind the introduction of the new vehicle.

“A great deal of thought went into the design, with every consideration being given to ensuring that we can safely care for our critically ill young charges and that they are comfortable while being transported. The result is a dedicated paediatric intensive care ambulance, which we understand is the first of its kind in the country,” notes Ramduth.

Ramduth explains that Netcare 911 operates a number of intensive care ambulances staffed by paramedics experienced in critical care, for patients whose health is so compromised that they require an intensive care environment while en route between hospitals to, as far as possible, ensure that they remain stable and safe during their transfer.

“These ambulances have highly specialised life support equipment and essentially provide an intensive care environment for patients. Since their introduction a couple of years ago, they have safely transported hundreds of patients between hospitals,” he adds.

“While our standard ICU ambulances can be used to transfer paediatric patients, we wanted to develop an ambulance that was specifically suited to meet the needs and requirements of child patients. The new paediatric intensive care ambulance can therefore also accommodate medical technologies specifically for children.

It can, for example, carry a paediatric corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, for children who require both heart and respiratory support. Provision is also made to incorporate an incubator for babies who may require this form of support.

“The design of the ambulance supports a sterile ICU environment and the vehicle is routinely decontaminated through a rigorous infection prevention programme to maintain this.

“For the comfort of the child over longer distance transfers, the interior of the vehicle has been decorated with familiar cartoon characters and has warmer lighting in order to provide an environment that is as familiar, tranquil and as calming as possible. There is also a fold-down DVD entertainment system, and a bar fridge has been fitted to keep refreshments cool.”

According to Ramduth, the new Netcare 911 paediatric ambulance was commissioned some four weeks ago and has already proved to be an invaluable resource, having been used to safely transport a number of sick young patients requiring intensive care en route.

“The ambulance has been used successfully for transfers from centres not only around Gauteng but also from as far afield as the North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State provinces.

Like the other Netcare 911 intensive care ambulances, the paediatric team attending to children during transportation, is specifically trained and has highly specialised skills, to seamlessly transfer critically ill or injured paediatric patients between medical facilities.

“We are using our more experienced advanced life support paramedics for our paediatric team, who, in addition to having undergone special ICU training, are known to work exceptionally well with children. These crews ensure sick and highly vulnerable paediatric patients are in the best possible hands during transfer,” observes Ramduth.

The paediatric ICU ambulance, a modified Volkswagen Crafter, has been fitted with attractive and comfortable racing-car type bucket seats with three-point harnesses. These are used by the critical care paramedics attending to the patient as well as any passengers, such as a parent, who may need to accompany the patient on the journey.

 “The VW Crafter was selected for its long wheelbase and spacious cabin, which gives the paramedic team plenty of room in which to work and space for specialised equipment to be carried if necessary. It offers a high degree of comfort for the patient and critical care team, particularly over longer distance transfers. The vehicle is furthermore reliable and offers excellent road holding characteristics and occupant safety,” says Ramduth.

 “Nothing is more important to Netcare 911 than our vulnerable patients and we have developed units such as paediatric ICU ambulances, to ensure they are provided with quality and safe care,” he concludes.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, June 01 @ 11:14:38 SAST (113 reads)
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General: The SpineCor Scoliosis Brace â�ï¿&

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MER Healthcare Consulting has introduced the new Scoliosis SpineCor Brace to the South African market. SpineCor is 3 dimensional dynamic brace used to help prevent progression of a curve in Idiopathic Scoliosis for adolescents and degenerative painful scoliosis in adults.

In light of International Scoliosis Awareness Month in June, MER Healthcare Consulting will be introducing the SpineCor Brace in South Africa, to provide a new treatment option for patients and parents of patients who are living with idiopathic Scoliosis. The Brace is designed to help treat and prevent progression of the curve in idiopathic scoliosis patients. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. The device is a three-dimensional soft dynamic brace that provides the same efficiency as rigid braces in stabilising and improving curves during treatment in young teens between the ages of 10 – 17 years of age. 

MER Healthcare Consulting founder, Dr Moira Robertson, remarks ‘’Scoliosis, is a 3-dimensional deformity of the spine, so requires a 3 dimensional approach to help treat this condition. Current available treatment in South Africa use mostly hard bracing which in most cases is 2 dimensional treatment. Our patients have been relying on hard bracing despite the 22 year existence of SpineCor bracing worldwide. The public are not aware of it but this month, we have committed ourselves to ensuring that all are educated about scoliosis and what can be done to treat and manage this condition effectively.”

The key benefit and advantages of using the SpineCor Brace is compliance, it is dynamic and comfortable, it prevents progression of the curve, and children can still play sport while wearing the brace and it helps relieve pain in adult scoliosis. Using SpineCor, patients can lead a daily and normal life.

 ‘’We would like to inform and educate the public more about scoliosis and the SpineCor Brace. The brace is effective in the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis and readily available to adolescents and adults living with idiopathic Scoliosis’’ Concludes Robertson.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, June 01 @ 11:11:59 SAST (85 reads)
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General: Potent SA green tea extract voted among worldâ�

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A highly potent South African green tea extract, Origine 8, produced in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains in Mpumalanga, has been voted as one of the world’s top new products at one of Europe’s most prestigious natural health trade shows.

Developed to help fight disease and boost health and vitality by Coyne Healthcare in alliance with scientists and medical experts, Origine 8 is one of the worlds’ most potent and effective green tea extracts.

Launched this year in the UK, Origine 8 was selected among the top three new products in the Judges Choice Awards at the Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show (NOPE) in London. A record 330 new products were judged by a panel of leading health industry experts, highlighting the significance of Origine 8’s achievement.

Publisher of Natural Products Magazine and spokesperson for the awards, Dominic Roberjot, said: “I think it’s a truly outstanding product. I am very impressed. It is right up there with the best and I believe it has huge potential for growth in Europe and the UK.”

Origine 8 is a polyphenol-rich extract, providing the equivalent of 25 cups of green tea in a single daily capsule. Green tea’s potent anti-oxidant effects have been scientifically shown to help slow the ageing process and improve overall health. A clinical study by South Africa’s University of the North West found that the catechins from a single dose of Origine 8 stayed in the bloodstream for 24 hours compared to six hours in the case of regular green tea extracts.

Origine 8 is produced from live green tea within six hours of harvest through the patented Phytofare extraction process in the eco-friendly Senteeko Tea Estate in Mpumalanga. The entire process, from farming to harvesting to extraction, happens at one location, ensuring the highest levels of integrity and efficacy of the plant nutrients. It is further enhanced by a world-renowned, clinically-proven nutraceutical delivery system, Liposome, which ensures maximum bioavailability and stability of the extract.

Kevin Coyne, founder and CEO of Coyne Healthcare, said it was significant that Origine 8 was so highly regarded by industry peers at such a prestigious European natural health event: “Origine 8 is a true breakthrough in not only potent green tea supplementation but in overall health. We’re extremely humbled that the international natural health industry has recognised this.”
Posted by E-Doc on Friday, June 01 @ 11:04:04 SAST (119 reads)
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General: Sanofi selected 10 start-ups to elaborate innovative solutions to improve the ac

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General: Lung cancer: it also affects the non-smokers

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General: Large numbers of South Africans with high blood pressure remain undiagnosed

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“Know your numbers” this World Hypertension Day

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, May 18 @ 09:38:49 SAST (65 reads)
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General: Fight disease, live longer with a polyphenol-rich diet

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Powerful plant-based compounds called polyphenols - found in superfoods such as green tea and in the Mediterranean diet – may protect against heart diseases, diabetes, cancers and help prolong life, according to extensive research.

Polyphenols are found in green tea, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, herbs, olive oil, omega 3 fats, dark chocolate and turmeric and are believed to be behind the incredible success of the Mediterranean diet, shown to promote longevity, good health and weight loss.

A wealth of research presented in a recent report outlines the longevity benefits of polyphenols, including their impact on helping strengthen immunity and lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and inflammation. A recent Italian study found a polyphenol-rich diet was associated with “reduced mortality risk”.

A report published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information notes that studies “strongly suggest that long term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols offer protection against development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases,”

But, not everyone ingests enough polyphenols. Research shows that 87% of Americans don’t consume the recommended intake of vegetables, 76% fall short on fruit intake -- highlighting the need for improved diet and supplementation.

Health expert Vanessa Ascencao says in addition to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, supplementing with a potent green tea extract such as polyphenol-rich Origine 8 may help defend against disease such as cardiovascular disease, depression and cognitive decline. She says studies show green tea may also help lower blood sugar levels, reduce unhealthy cravings and help fight cancer.

“Origine 8 is packed with polyphenols and is the most powerful and bioavailable green tea extract available. One daily capsule offers the health benefits of up to 25 cups of green tea,” she said.

Ascencao suggests the following tips for improved health:

·        Eat lots of polyphenol-rich food such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
·        Eat fresh and organic food where possible.
·        Supplement with potent green tea extract Origine 8 which offers 12 times greater absorption than other extracts and remains active in the body for 24 hours.
·        Increase intake of virgin olive oil and good fats such as coconut oil, nuts and seeds.
·        Avoid foods high in sugar, processed and deep-fried food as they counter the anti-oxidant process.
·        Add spices such as thyme and turmeric to meals or choose a potent turmeric extract supplement.
·        Increase daily probiotic intake.
·        Have dark chocolate in moderation.
·        Exercise daily, avoid excessive stress and aim for eight hours of sleep a night.

Origine 8 is available nationally at leading health stores, pharmacies and Dis-Chem.

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, May 15 @ 09:16:59 SAST (193 reads)
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General: Prestigious international accolades for Netcare's environmental sustainabil

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Group is working towards becoming a model for sustainability within the SA healthcare sector

Friday, 11 May 2018, Private healthcare group, Netcare, has been internationally recognised for its environmental sustainability programmes, winning four Climate Champion Awards – two gold and two silver awards – in the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge organised by Global Green Healthy Hospitals (GGHH).

Globally, this achievement has only been equalled by one other organisation, namely Dignity Health based in the United States.

GGHH is an international network of some 1 017 members in 52 countries on six continents, representing more than 32 000 hospitals, healthcare facilities, health systems and health organisations. All of these institutions are dedicated to reducing their environmental footprint and promoting public and environmental health.

The 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge was launched at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015, and Netcare was one of five founding participants in Africa. The 2020 Challenge aims to mobilise healthcare institutions around the world to reduce their own carbon footprint, become more climate resilient, and exert leadership to help every society transition to a low carbon energy future. There are currently 163 member participants in the 2020 Challenge, representing the interests of more than 14 000 hospitals and health centres in 24 countries.  

“The prestigious awards give international recognition to those health institutions which play a leading role in the drive toward a global low carbon health sector and a healthy climate through environmentally sustainable healthcare initiatives,” Netcare Group’s CEO, Dr Richard Friedland, says.

Netcare received two gold awards for Climate Resiliency and Climate Leadership, and two silver awards for Renewable Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction. GGHH, which is a project of Health Care Without Harm, says that the awards recognise Netcare as, “a global leader in the movement towards climate-smart healthcare”.

This is the third consecutive year that Netcare has won Climate Champion Awards, having received a gold award for Climate Leadership in 2015, and two gold awards in 2016, for Climate Resiliency and Climate Leadership.

Dr Friedland says the 2017 GGHH awards affirm the Group’s continued progress in attaining its sustainability goals and the increasing contribution Netcare is making towards reducing its environmental footprint, while working towards becoming a model for sustainability within the South African healthcare sector.

“The Netcare sustainability team has shown outstanding commitment to the advancement of sustainability practices not only within our Group but also regularly engages with other South African institutions and organisations, including the National Department of Health, to share information about our sustainability initiatives,” Dr Friedland notes.

GGHH says the 2020 Challenge participants are leading the transformation to climate-smart healthcare facilities around the world: “By using their innovation, ingenuity, investments and voice, they are reducing their climate footprint, developing low-carbon models of care, adapting to stand resilient to a changing climate and advocating for policies to protect the future health of the planet.”

”The Climate Champion Awards received by Netcare are in no small part attributable to the efforts of our Group’s sustainability team while credit is also due to our staff members for their commitment to delivering healthy and sustainable services to our patients and making these accolades possible,” Dr Friedland concludes.

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, May 15 @ 09:13:20 SAST (141 reads)
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General: International Nurses Day - 12 May 2018

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Nurses: A voice to lead - Health is a Human Right 

Nurses are healthcare leaders and must use their voice to ensure health is provided as a basic human right. This is the message of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) ahead of International Nurses Day on Saturday. The theme of this year’s Day is ‘A voice to lead – Health is a Human Right”. 

SAMA encourages all South Africans to acknowledge the massive role nurses play in society.

“Nurses play a critical role in the provision of healthcare in South Africa. They make remarkable contributions to ensuring the health and wellness of patients and often deal with the social determinants of health such as poverty, unemployment and ethnicity. We cannot overstate their importance enough,” says Dr Mzukisi Grootboom, chairperson of SAMA. 

Nurses are often the only health professionals accessible to many people in their lifetime. They are particularly well placed, and are often the most innovative, in reaching populations which are underserved and disadvantaged.

The decisions nurses make multiple times a day in everyday practice can make a vital difference in the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire system. Nurses are at the core of attaining the best balance in quality and access. 

“Despite their importance the socio-economic welfare of nurses is poor or inadequate in large parts of the world. They work in very difficult situations and in many places there is a dire nursing shortage. South Africa has 39.3 nurses per 10,000 population, but a high percentage of them work in the private sector; there are acute shortages in especially rural areas,” notes Dr Grootboom.

Research has shown that hospitals with a higher ratio of nurses to patients have lower mortality rates, and indicates that lower nurse staffing, increased workload, and unstable nursing unit environments are linked to negative patient outcomes, including falls and medication errors.

Improved work environments and reduced ratios of patients to nurses are associated with increased care quality and patient satisfaction. 

“Because of their importance and proximity to communities we call on all nurses to be the voice that leads and guides health as a basic human right,” concludes Dr Grootboom.

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, May 15 @ 09:07:22 SAST (113 reads)
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General: Get moving to counter disease

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With obesity and chronic disease a major threat to health in South Africa, a top nutritional expert has urged sedentary South Africans to kick start a healthy regime on World Move for Health Day on May 10.

World Move for Health Day was introduced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to emphasize the importance of fitness and a healthy lifestyle. In line with a frightening global trend, many South Africans are affected by chronic disease and obesity due, in part, to deteriorating lifestyles, reduced physical activity, smoking and diets characterized by processed and sugary foods.

Posted by E-Doc on Tuesday, May 15 @ 09:04:40 SAST (78 reads)
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General: Robotic surgery: preserving erectile function and urinary control

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General: Aspen highlights keys to boost investment and competitiveness in the pharmaceuti

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Posted by E-Doc on Thursday, March 01 @ 11:31:15 SAST (99 reads)
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Global festival provides a unique opportunity for scientists to discuss their latest research with the broader public.

Posted by E-Doc on Thursday, March 01 @ 08:40:55 SAST (104 reads)
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General: Technology and language help identify depression - study

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Posted by E-Doc on Wednesday, February 28 @ 10:48:41 SAST (199 reads)
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General: Recurring kidney stones may be fatal -- study

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Patients who suffer from recurring kidney stones are at elevated risk of renal disease and possible death, according to recent research.

Posted by E-Doc on Wednesday, February 28 @ 10:36:09 SAST (109 reads)
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General: Dentistry for everyone

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Name: Dr Maria Pestana

Posted by E-Doc on Wednesday, February 28 @ 10:29:23 SAST (125 reads)
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General: Become your baby's skin care specialist

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It takes special care and attention to keep a baby’s skin soft and healthy

Posted by E-Doc on Wednesday, February 28 @ 10:21:32 SAST (130 reads)
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General: Recurring kidney stones may be fatal - study

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Patients who suffer from recurring kidney stones are at elevated risk of renal disease and possible death, according to recent research.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, February 16 @ 08:53:37 SAST (133 reads)
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General: Show You Care for Rare this February

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On 28 February 2018, Rare Diseases South Africa (RDSA) will launch its 11th annual Rare Disease Day. This year’s theme is ‘research’ which aims to improve research efforts, advocating for timely and accurate diagnosis and intervention as well as early detection, thereby enhancing patients' quality of life through correct medical treatment.

Posted by E-Doc on Friday, February 16 @ 08:51:00 SAST (104 reads)
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