Pressure: warding off a silent killer

Medical Matters   Do you keep an eye on your blood pressure? High blood pressure (hypertension) is one the biggest contributors to heart and stroke disease and premature death. While having high cholesterol is often talked about, its negative effect is much less significant than hypertension. Last year saw new guidelines being introduced by several…

Screening is a vital part of protection

Medical Matters   The recent controversy regarding the Cervical Check programme in Ireland has brought into focus the importance of cancer screening programmes. But in particular, it has also emphasised the limitations with interpretation of screening tests and the need for ongoing quality assurance. The Pap smear test was introduced in the 1940’s and is…

Measles – make sure 
you vaccinate
Medical Matters   An outbreak of measles earlier this year has highlighted the importance of children getting immunisation with the MMR vaccine. Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that gives rise to cold like symptoms, a fever and a rash, and usually affects children but can occur at any age. While in most cases…
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More about that frog 
in your throat…

Ear, nose and throat complaints can be a source of much discomfort and are frequent accounting for a significant proportion of GP visits. One of the most common symptoms is a sore throat that in the majority of cases is caused by viral infections and doesn’t generally require treatment with antibiotics. Gargling with salty water…

Seeking a ripe old 
age

Medical Matters   What is the secret to longevity or healthy ageing? For centuries, scientists have searched for a so-called ‘elixir of life’ that could maintain our youth and halt the ageing process. The complexity of ageing and its genetic and biological determinants are being increasingly explored in population studies, though finding magic bullets to…

Oireachtas advice – the medical realities of abortion

Medical Matters   The government has set forth its intention to have a referendum on the Eight Amendment to the Constitution later this year. As it currently stands, the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act (2013) allows for the termination of pregnancy in cases where there is a real and substantial risk of loss of…

The boon of the bean

Medical Matters   Coffee is one of the most widely drank beverages in the world and indeed in Ireland is consumed by about 75% of the population. While many of us are familiar with the caffeine boost we get from coffee, it is actually only one of up to 1000 bioactive compounds it contains that…

Only skin deep

Medical Matters   Skin is the largest organ in the human body and its visible appearance often reflects on our health and vitality. If eyes are the window to our souls, so too skin can mirror something deeper about our general health. We subject our skin to sun, rain, wind, deodorants and perfumes and probably…