Pittwater Pharmacy

Heart Health

Heart Health

What you eat, how much you move, whether you smoke, and controlling your
cholesterol and blood pressure can have a big impact on your heart.
Heart healthy diet
This doesn’t focus on one type of food or nutrient, but rather on what you eat
over days, weeks and months.
This style of eating is naturally low in saturated and trans fats, salt and added
sugar.It’s rich in wholegrains, fibre, antioxidants and unsaturated fats. It includes a
diet full of a variety of fruit and vegetables.
The best fats to include in your diet are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
(omega-3 and omega-6) fats. You can find these in avocados, nuts, fish and
sunflower seeds.

Being more active
Doing regular physical activity reduces your risk of having a heart attack or
developing heart disease. This helps control common risk factors, including:
● High blood pressure,
● High cholesterol, and
● Being overweight.
Regular physical activity can also help strengthen your bones and muscles. It
can help you feel more energetic, happier and relaxed.
Working your way up to 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity
(such as brisk walking) on most days of the week is recommended.
Adults who sit less throughout the day have a lower risk of early death,
particularly from heart disease.

Be smoke-free
When you quit smoking, your risk of heart attack and stroke decreases almost
straight away.

Smoking damages the blood vessels leading to your heart, brain and other
parts of your body. This makes you four times more likely to die of heart attack
or stroke and three times more likely to die from sudden cardiac death.

Cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that moves around your body in the blood.
Your body produces cholesterol naturally, and it is also found in some foods.
Cholesterol is essential for the normal functioning of your body.
Bad cholesterol can stick to the walls of your arteries, causing a build-up of
cholesterol, known as plaques. This build-up can create blockages in your
arteries and contribute to increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Eating too much saturated and trans fat can elevate blood cholesterol levels.
Saturated and trans fats can be found in foods like pizza, cakes, biscuits,
pastries and deep-fried foods.
Choose a diet with a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables and a variety of
healthy protein sources including fish and seafood, lean meat, poultry,
legumes, nuts and seeds.

Blood pressure
Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood on the walls of your arteries as
your heart pumps it around your body.
As you get older, the chances of having ongoing high blood pressure
Being regularly active helps to control high blood pressure and reduces your
chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease.
Eating a diet high in salt can lead to higher blood pressure. Having more than
5 grams of salt (a teaspoon) each day increases your risk of heart disease
and stroke.

Some additional nutrients to promote heart health include:

1. Antioxidants – Help protect against heart damage (Ubiquinol, alpha-
lipoic acid, tocotrienol vitamin E complex, carotenoids, flavonoids,
zinc, selenium and vitamins C and A)
2. Fish oil – Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation, help thin the
blood, and help oxygen travel throughout the body
3. Ginkgo biloba and ginger – Dilates blood vessels and helps control
platelet stickiness.
4. Bergamot – helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
5. Magnesium – Has a protective role in heart health.

You can’t feel symptoms such as high cholesterol or blood pressure. See
your doctor for a Heart Health Check to learn how to manage your risk factors
and improve your heart health.

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What is a Migraine?

Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause multiple symptoms. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraines can begin at any stage of life, and are more prevalent in females compared to males. Family history is one of the most common risk factors for having migraines.

Migraine Symptoms

Migraine symptoms may begin one to two days before the headache itself. Symptoms during this stage can include:

  • food cravings
  • depression
  • fatigue or low energy
  • frequent yawning
  • hyperactivity
  • irritability
  • neck stiffness

In migraines with aura, you may have problems with your vision, sensation, movement, and speech.

The next phase is known as the attack phase. Attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from hours to days. Symptoms may include:

  • increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • nausea
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • pain on one side of your head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back, or in your temples
  • pulsing and throbbing head pain
  • vomiting

After the attack phase, a person will often experience the postdrome phase. During this phase, there are usually changes in mood and feelings.

The length and intensity of these phases can occur to different degrees in different people.


What Causes Migraines?

Researchers haven’t identified a definitive cause for migraines. However, they have found some contributing factors such as a decrease in levels of the brain chemical serotonin.

Other factors that may trigger a migraine include:


Migraine Treatment

Migraines can’t be cured, but your doctor can help you manage them effectively. This can reduce the frequency of migraines and treat the symptoms when they occur. Treatments can also help reduce the severity of the symptoms.

To help reduce the symptoms:

  • Lie down in a quiet, dark room
  • Massage your scalp or temples
  • Place a cold cloth over your forehead or behind your neck

Your treatment plan may include a combination of:

  • lifestyle adjustments, including stress management and avoiding migraine triggers
  • medications without a prescription. This includes medications called triptans which were previously prescription only. (Eg sumatriptan).
  • prescription medications that you take every day to help prevent migraines
  • prescription migraine medications that you take as soon as a headache starts, to keep it from becoming severe and to ease symptoms
  • prescription medications to help with nausea or vomiting
  • hormone therapy
  • Treatments such as chiro, physio, meditation, and acupuncture

Make an appointment to see your doctor if your headaches start to affect your daily life. Migraines can be severe, debilitating, and uncomfortable. Many treatment options are available. Knowing how to prevent migraines can often be the first step in managing them


Andrew Snow B. Pharm

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Helicobacter Pylori

Helicobacter Pylori

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that can infect your stomach. It is a common condition that is present in more than half the people in the world.

Most people with a H. pylori infection will never have any signs or symptoms. It appears that some people may be born with more resistance to the harmful effects of H. pylori.

Symptoms include:

  •       An ache or burning pain in your abdomen
  •       Abdominal pain that’s worse when your stomach is empty
  •       Nausea
  •       Loss of appetite
  •       Frequent burping
  •       Bloating
  •       Unintentional weight loss
  •       Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  •       Difficulty swallowing
  •       Bloody or black tarry stools
  •       Bloody or black vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  1. pylori bacteria may be passed from person to person through direct contact with saliva, vomit or fecal matter. H. pylori may also be spread through contaminated food or water.
  2. pylori is often acquired during childhood. Risk factors for H. pylori are related to living conditions such as:
  •       Living in crowded conditions
  •       Living without a reliable supply of clean water
  •       Living in a developing country
  •       Living with someone who has a H. pylori infection.


  1. pylori can cause conditions such as:
  •       Stomach ulcers (approximately 10% of cases)
  •       Inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis)
  •       Stomach cancer


Treatment of side effects caused by H. Pylori can be difficult. It is recommended to:

o    Reduce alcohol intake

o    Quit smoking.

o    Use topical pain relievers (Ketoprofen cream) or paracetamol for pain rather than oral anti-inflammatories such as Nurofen and Voltaren

o    Avoid caffeine

o    Reduce stress

To treat H.Pylori, you will commonly need to take a combination of two or three antibiotics, together with a drug that reduces your stomach acid. Lowering stomach acid helps the antibiotics work more effectively. This treatment is sometimes referred to as triple or quadruple therapy.

Treatment may vary depending on your past medical history and if you have allergies to any of these medications.

In some cases, standard therapies are not effective due to factors such as antibiotic resistance. Doctors and specialists may then prescribe other antibiotics that must be compounded by a compounding pharmacy.

It is suggested that H. pylori is not necessarily pathogenic and can actually exist as a harmonious part of the normal microbiome of the stomach. It only causes inflammation and damage when it becomes overgrown due an imbalance in the numbers of different bacteria. In this case, supporting a healthy stomach microbiome could prevent the adverse effects of H. pylori infection.

Numerous studies have found that certain probiotics can improve outcomes in H. pylori infection. The two specific strains that have demonstrated efficacy in this area are Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC PTA 6475.

These strains have been found to reduce H. pylori load and significantly reduce the gastritis and other gastrointestinal symptoms associated with the infection. In addition, this probiotic combination improves eradication rates when used alongside standard antibiotic therapies, while significantly reducing the side effects of therapy.

If you’re suffering from heartburn and reflux and you think you might have a H. pylori infection, talk to your healthcare practitioner.

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The Importance of Gut Health

The importance of gut health

Bacteria are organisms that seek to live in an environment that best suits their survival. Bacteria can be found in a range of locations such as soil, fruit, vegetables, fermented foods and even in the air.

As many as 1000, and possibly many more strains of helpful bacteria reside inside each one of us.  We need to consume millions of different bacterial organisms for our health. On average our gut is colonized by 10 trillion microbes of many different species, amounting to 1–2 kg in weight. We do need bacterial biodiversity in our gut and problems can arise when the balance is disturbed. Our gut plays an important role as an interface between the person and the environment.

The gastrointestinal tract in our stomach is colonised by bacteria that helps digest food, remove toxins, and process vitamins that are necessary for the functioning of the human body.  It has been shown that over 80% of our immune system is controlled by the gut from what is eaten and the bacterial present.

The intestine is colonised by billions of bacteria of different species and the balance has been shown to play an important role for the management of a range of diseases.

Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) which when given in adequate amounts can provide a beneficial health effect. There are known benefits of immune stimulation from probiotics, and it has shown to help combat a decline in the immune system due to aging.  The mechanisms probiotics work can include stimulating receptors and enzymes in our gut, reducing the ability of unwanted bacteria adhering in our gut, and altering the acid level in our gut.

Probiotics are being used with increasing frequency as a treatment for several medical conditions such as allergic diseases (dermatitis and allergic rhinitis), gut disorders, irritable bowel, autism, childhood diarrhoea, infantile colic, reflux, bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections, prevention of dental caries, and respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia.

There has been an increased incidence of allergies over the last few decades and there is significant data suggesting the range of bacteria in the human gut plays an important role. An infant’s gut bacteria at birth is highly influenced by the mother’s bowel bacteria.  Good bacteria are also passed through breastmilk to an infant.  So, the use of an appropriate probiotic during pregnancy and lactation could reduce conditions such as dermatitis in the children of allergic parents.

Another common allergy that occurs in 8% of children is a food allergy or intolerance, mainly caused by only eight foods (Wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, eggs, fish, and crustaceans).  The intestinal microbiota of allergic children has clearly been shown to be different to non-allergic children. This clearly shows that food intolerance is linked to the good bacteria in our body.

Another important factor to consider are prebiotics such as lactulose, inulin, and psyllium which are critical to create a healthy environment for probiotics. These are nondigestible food ingredients stimulating the growth and activity of bacteria in the gut.  They can be found in onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, artichoke, bananas, tomatoes, wheat, oats, soy beans, and other plants.

Antibiotics, in contrast, are compounds that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.  Certain probiotics have also been shown to help minimise antibiotic associated diarrhoea given during and after an antibiotic treatment. It has been suggested to take a probiotic two hours after an antibiotic to be most effective during an antibiotic treatment.

This information shows the importance of gut health, and how the use of the correct probiotic can help strengthen your immune system and improve the body’s response and recovery rate to infections. For more information, speak to your pharmacist or health care professional.


A very popular product to support a babys gut health is Qiara Pregnancy and Breast Feeding



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