Chronic Health Conditions

A chronic health condition is one that has been (or is likely to be) present for six months or longer, for example, asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and stroke. Chronic conditions are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia.

Chronic conditions are becoming increasingly common due to our ageing population, as well as our changing lifestyles. The increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, combined with their long-term and persistent nature, and their impact on quality of life and overall health, is placing increasing pressure on individuals, families, our communities and the health system.

Optimum Intake’s Approach:

Optimum Intake’s new approach recognises that there are often similar underlying principles for the prevention and management of many chronic conditions. As such, we encourage our clients to have yearly Nutrition Check-Ups, just like you would regularly service your car to make sure it is running well or to identify if any areas need extra attention and take action before it turns into something more concerning. Optimum Intake’s dietitians support our clients to work towards taking charge of their health in the prevention of chronic illnesses by reviewing their food patterns and eating behaivours. We will form a plan of action to help those who have a current chronic condition, enabling them to better manage through dietary interventions.

Current evidence:

In 2014–2015, more than 50 per cent of Australians reported having at least one chronic condition, and 1 in 4 (23 per cent) reported having two or more chronic conditions. The likelihood of having one or more chronic conditions increases with age, and in Australia’s ageing population there is a corresponding increase in multimorbidities. Almost 1 in 3 Australians (29 per cent) aged 65 and over reported having three or more chronic diseases, compared with just 2.4 per cent of those aged under 45. Having more than one chronic condition is associated with worse health outcomes, more complex disease management and increased health costs. These statistics support the need for a lifestyle revamp in how Australians are currently managing their health and work towards preventive strategies. Focusing attention toward prevention activities, while continuing to ensure chronic conditions are well managed, will provide better health, social and economic outcomes for all Australians.

Determinants of Health:

How we eat and how often we move, is not the only determinant to living a healthy life. The determinants of health fall into four main categories:

• Physical environment — for example, housing, sanitation and the natural and built environments;

• Social environment — for example, education, employment, political structures, relationships and culture;

• Economic factors— for example, income, expenditure and affordability; and

• Individual characteristics — for example, sex, genetics and physical or mental determinants

 

Medicare Rebates and your GP:

Collaborating with your GP, Optimum Intake Dietitians can help you take charge of your eating, to place you in the best position to ensure that your body receives optimum nutrition alongside optimum enjoyment from food and eating. Medicare supports the collaboration of Allied Health Providers, such as dietitians, who will work with your GP to devise a managment plan to put in place the supports you need to prevent and manage your chronic conditions, through a referral process.

The Medicare items are designed for patients who require a structured approach and to enable GPs to plan and coordinate the care of patients with complex conditions requiring ongoing care from a multidisciplinary care team. Your GP will determine whether a plan is appropriate for you.

There are two types of plans that can be prepared by a General Practitioner (GP) for Chronic Disease Management (CDM):

  1. GPManagement Plan(GPMP); and
  2. Team Care Arrangements (TCAs). If you have a chronic (or terminal) medical condition, your GP may suggest a GPMP.  If you also have complex care needs and require treatment from two or more other health care providers, your GP may suggest TCAsas well.

To find out more information speak with your GP, or call us on 0499008451. The rebates will support your financially to access our services and take charge of your health.

Diabetes

We help people living with diabetes feel more confident with their day to day management of this condition, and bring back the joy in eating. We offer services to people living with Type I Diabetes, teenagers and adults with Insulin Resistance, those diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, women with Gestational Diabetes through pregnancy or individuals who are wanting to reduce their risk of developing diabetes through food and healthy lifestyles.

If you identify with any of the above diabetes conditions it is important that you have a solid understanding of what diabetes is, how it affects your body, your long term health and how food plays such an important role in all of this.

We have created a unique individualised program that is designed to assist you in reducing your HbA1c, fasting blood glucose, body weight, systolic blood pressure, improve diabetes knowledge and reduce need for diabetes medication. The program is suitable for those with Type II Diabetes or Insulin Resistance and want to learn how to better manage your diabetes, or would like review information learnt from previous education or simply to update your knowledge. Research has shown that participating in regular education sessions can help to take control of your diabetes and make positive changes to your health and lifestyle such as exercise, diet, blood glucose monitoring and compliance with medications.

We make it easy for you to understand so you can make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the foods you eat and managing your carbohydrates/medication/insulin levels.

chronic-health-conditions

Heart Disease

While heart and blood vessel disease is the number one killer in Australia, there is lot you can do to reduce your risk. Whether you have existing heart disease, high cholesterol or triglycerides, high blood pressure, a family history of these conditions or just want to prevent heart problems in the future, our Accredited Dietitians can help you optimise your food choices that improve the health of your heart, why also prioritising the enjoyment of eating.

It is therefore essential that you understand which foods contain the ‘good’ heart protective fats and which foods contain the ‘bad’ cholesterol promoting fats. We can help you identify these foods and work with you optimise your intake of healthy fats that promotes the heart protective properties to help reduce your risk of heart disease or better manage your cholesterol and blood pressure. Taking some small changes and doing it consistently, really does lead to heart health improvements and at times can reduce your need for medication.

Get in touch with us today to start feeling more in control of your heart health care through our optimised nutrition support.

Cancer

Optimum Intake Dietitians are here to support you to eat well both during and after cancer treatment, and as your nutritional needs change. Good nutrition can have a huge impact on your overall physical, mental and emotional health during and after cancer treatment. Some of the ways in which gaining support from our dietitians can help you includes:

  • Maintaining muscle strength,
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and energy levels
  • Manage the side effects of treatment and speed up recovery
  • Managing changes in appetite, taste and other side effects
  • Heal wounds and rebuild damaged tissues – this is important after surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or other treatment
  • Improve your body’s immune system and ability to fight infections
  • Reduce the risk of cancer coming back.
  • Keep mealtimes flexible and as enjoyable as possible
  • Provide guidance on safe food handling
  • Prescription of vitamin or mineral supplements

During cancer treatment and recovery, you need to adapt what you eat to cope with your body’s changing nutritional needs. Plan to have our dietitians form part of your treatment team, we will be here to support you throughout this time, to optimise your nutrition and create a more enjoyable mealtime experience.

Stroke

Optimum Intake Dietitians are here to help make sure you are getting adequate nutrition and to provide strategies to enhance your mealtime experience following a stroke. We work alongside your speech pathologist and occupational therapist to form part of your multidisciplinary team, creating a supportive approach to recovery. Dietitians provide guidance around particular types of foods and drinks, whether your need to eat more or less food and if taking nutritional supplements is necessary.

We know that after a stroke, eating might be more of a challenge due to experiencing:

  • Problems using your arms or hands, making it difficult to eat and drink.
  • Problems with memory and thinking, which might mean you forget to eat and drink.
  • Loss of appetite – you may not feel hungry.
  • Swallowing problems

These challenges may make it difficult to get all the nutrients you need. This can slow down your recovery. When eating becomes difficult, nutrition suffers. If you need texture modified foods or drinks, as prescribed from your speech pathologist, our dietitians can help you with meal preparation strategies to ensure optimised nutrition. Provide strategies and guidance on healthy eating as to improve your health and reduce your risk of having another stroke.

Optimum Intake Dietitians can support you in our clinics or in the comfort of your home. Call us to find out how we can best support you after your stroke.