Health update #1 2014

Order prescriptions with QR codes
The launch of QR codes on prescriptions means that, for the first time, patients all over Australia will be able to pre-order their prescription medication, instead of waiting while it is dispensed. A QR code is a secure code which contains a link to your medicine’s information for that script. To use it, you simply scan the code with your smartphone, nominate which pharmacy you wish to pick your prescription up from, and set a time and date for collection. Learn more about pre-ordering your prescriptions with QR codes.

PBS now available on smartphones and tablets
Smartphone and tablet versions of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) website are now available. Mobile device users now have the option to view the standard or mobile versions of the PBS website. The mobile version can be accessed directly via

Breast cancer screening
The age range for early detection screening has been extended from 50–69 to 50–74 years of age. The $55.7 million of extra funding will see 145,000 additional women screened over a four-year period. Well done to our Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, for lobbying so hard on this issue. You can find out more about early detection screening in your state at the Breast Screen Australia website.

Red meat and exercise
Protein loading to improve muscle performance isn’t just for athletes and bodybuilders. New research from Deakin University has shown that a diet incorporating lean red meat, combined with strength training, improves the size and strength of muscles in older women. The researchers believe the study’s results show that the combination of red meat and strength training could be the key to reducing the effect of age-related muscle loss on the risk of falls, and the ability of older women to undertake day-to-day activities such as getting out of a chair.

“If the results of our new study are as positive as we hope, this protein/ exercise combination could provide the greatest benefits in terms of ensuring that older adults can live independently and relatively disease- and disability-free into old age.”

 –  Deakin University’s Professor of Exercise and Ageing, Robin Daly

High blood pressure worse for women
A new study has found that, although high blood pressure is treated in the same way for women and men, it could be a much more dangerous condition for women. The study by scientists at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in the US has found that there are significant differences in the mechanisms which cause high blood pressure in women and men.

The tests found that women had 30–40 per cent more vascular disease compared with men who had a similar level of blood pressure elevation. This means that whatever causes high blood pressure in women is causing significantly more damage, with fewer warning signs. You can read more about this study here.