Looking at the facts of coronavirus

Medical Matters The coronavirus has taken centre stage and dominated daily news headlines as the number of cases and countries affected continues to rise. To date, over 3000 deaths have occurred globally but this is small compared to the fatality due to seasonal influenza which can be as high as 500,000 annually. Fears and concerns…

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Avoid anxiety meds dependency

Medical Matters Last September the Medical Council issued warnings about the over-prescribing of medications for anxiety and insomnia. Belonging to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, they first took prominence in 1963 with the arrival of Valium, a safer and better alternative to hitherto existing hypnotics. Its use skyrocketed along with newer versions in…

Dangers of unchecked high blood pressure

Medical Matters Have you had your blood pressure checked recently? Well, measurement of blood pressure, as we all know, is a fundamental part of the routine clinical examination – and for good reason. This is because high blood pressure or hypertension is for the most part a silent condition which, over time, may have far-reaching…

Seeking signs of sepsis

Medical Matters September has been designated ‘Sepsis Awareness Month’ in a campaign to increase knowledge and recognition by the public of one of the most common yet poorly understand medical conditions. In fact, sepsis occurs more frequently than heart attacks affecting about 17,000 people each year in Ireland and is the leading cause of death…

Checking the changes

Medical Matters   Doctors are often asked to do blood tests or checks on people as they get older to make sure all is well and give reassurance to their patients. The old adage of “prevention is better than cure” is so true and indeed early detection and treatment can also make a big difference.…

Cannabis: Food for Thought

Medical Matters Last week saw the signing of new legislation that will allow for the operation of a Medical Cannabis Access Programme in Ireland.  The law allows a medical consultant to prescribe cannabis-based products for patients who suffer with any one of three specified conditions. These include spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea due…

A habit going up in smoke

Medical Matters   It’s now just over 50 years ago since it was first announced that smoking causes lung cancer, a moment which spelled the beginning of a decline in tobacco use. Despite all of the negative effects from smoking and restrictions on its use in public places, a considerable number of people still use…