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Healthy food, healthy heart – diet tips for cardiovascular health

Missy Tysoe November 16, 2017

Healthy food, healthy Heart - diet tips for cardiovascular health

Healthy food, healthy Heart – diet tips for cardiovascular health

Healthy eating and drinking is an important part of looking after your heart. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make some changes that can improve your health. Here are some simple and straightforward tips – approved by the Heart Foundation.

Foods to watch and why:

Salt: Eating too much salt over time can increase your risk of high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Salt is found in almost every food we eat,  and in the average western diet, there is no need to add salt to food to get your intake. Salt is used for flavouring as a preservative, so  sauces, chips and packaged foods are often high in salt. If you have high blood pressure, limit your salt intake to 4g (1600 mg sodium) a day.

Cholseterol and FatsCholesterol is a fat found in your blood. Cholesterol in food has only a small effect on the bad (LDL) cholesterol in your blood, while Saturated and trans fats in food causes a much greater increase in LDL cholesterol. Eating healthy fats actually helps the cholesterol balance by decreasing LDL and increasing the good cholesterol. Reduce your intake of bad fats (trans and saturated fats) like full fat dairy, oils, takeaway, deep fried foods, pastries and sweets. Enjoy a balanced intake of good fats (unsaturated incl. omega 3 & 6) found in avocado, nuts, seeds, olive or canola oils, and oily fish.

Carbohydrates and Sugars: Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy, but there are types of carbohydrates that can spike blood sugar – this then leads to a drop in energy which is when we tend to chase that “pick me up” feeling from a snack. This cycle increases the amount of kilojoules from sugar, which heightens the risk of diabetes and obesity – both factors that contribute to  heart disease. Low GI foods means a slower release of energy, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain  breads, wholegrain cereals and wholegrain pastas. They’re all part of a healthy eating pattern that allows for more stable levels in your energy levels. Avoid sugar loaded carbs like white breads, white pastas, cakes, confectionary, biscuits and soft drinks and even juices.

What you can eat: 

The fresher the better, as most fresh fruit and veg, as well as meats and seafood – do not contain the salty preservatives, deep fried oils or refined sugars that you should be avoiding. Can the soft drink (pardon the pun) and try some infused water, tea or coffee (in moderation). The heart foundation has a selection of yummy recipes to try that provide a range of health benefits and are good for your heart (and tastebuds). They can be found here.

Remember to keep active as physical activity keeps your cardiovascular system in check. Other factors for heart disease include smoking and family history – so bin the bad habits and get checked with your GP today.

Talk with your Reliance GP about what’s right for you 43 041 333. Reliance also offers accredited dietician and nutritionist services, at both our Wyong and West Gosford clinics. Ask your GP for a referral today. 

6 Tips to prevent Sports Injury

Missy Tysoe August 30, 2017

Safe Sport – How to prevent injury in 6 simple steps

Who doesn’t love sport! We do! Probably because of the endorphins (happy hormones) released in your brain from doing exercise – but we will save that for another day. Unfortunately, sport comes with the risk of injury.  The good news is, 50% of sports injuries are preventable – that’s half if you do the maths!

Sports injuries are caused by direct impact, or the overuse of, the body part than it is structurally “designed” to withstand. There are two types of sports injuries: acute and chronic. An injury that occurs suddenly, such as falling and spraining an ankle, is known as an acute injury. A chronic injury on the other hand, is caused over a longer term overuse of the muscle or joint.

The most common injuries are;

  • joint sprains— knee, ankle, shoulder and finger injuries
  • muscle strains—hamstring, calf, quadricep
  • tendon injuries—achilles, patella and gluteal tendon pain
  • bone overuse injuries—such as ‘shin splints’ or stress fractures (particularly in the lower limbs. The impact of repeated jumping or running on hard surfaces can eventually stress and crack bone
  • mild concussions – symptoms include dizziness, headache and memory loss

6 Steps to avoid sports injury

Most sports injuries are caused by shocking the body by not warming up before strenuous activity. Other causes of injury are the incorrect use of equipment and insufficient safety precautions. Competitive or professional athletes are most at risk as their intense training regimes can strain certain muscles through overuse.
It is difficult to prevent all injuries due to the unpredictable nature of sports but it is possible to take these steps and reduce your risk of an injury.


Warm Up

The warm-up is the most important and effective way to reduce injury because it gradually increases the blood flow to the muscles, which in turn increases flexibility and reduces the risk of strain.
A good warm-up session be at least 5-10 minutes long and involves gently stretching muscles or softly exercising (walking or jogging). It is best to start the warm-up slowly and build up gradually to a more brisk and energetic pace i.e. walking briefly before building up to a jog.
Once you’re warmed up, you can do some gentle stretches to lengthen the muscles and tendons. Pay particular attention to the muscles you will be using most during your sport or exercise (i.e. focus on legs for soccer, or focus on arms/shoulders/core and back for rowing. Most sports will incorporate many muscle groups).


Fuel your body with the right things

The body performs at its optimum level when it is hydrated, so drink plenty of water.
Once again, everyone is unique and you need to ensure you are getting what YOUR body needs. I keep a food diary of what I eat (I use an app called Myfitnesspal, which counts macros as well as micronutrients). I like to think of this as a fuel gage, like we have in the car, it helps me see what type of fuel sources might need topping up. On days where I am training strength and lifting heavy weights for example, I try and get as much magnesium as possible to help with muscle recovery. Magnesium can be found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and fish. Many women are low in iron, and I find my iron levels fluctuate with my hormones – so on days where I am feeling light headed I will aim to eat food sources rich in iron – red meat, seafood, beans, and dark leafy greens. If I am preparing for a sprint training session, I will try and increase my Vitamin B intake for high energy levels – mostly found in animal products like meat, poultry and seafood. It is also available in supplement form.
Everyone is different and over time you will get to know what your body needs. Reliance offers dietary advice via our nutritionist, call 43 041 333 to see a GP and get a referral.


Use  protective equipment

Protective equipment is important to prevent injury and ranges for each sport – it might be the right helmet for biking, a mouth-guard for football, shin pads in hockey, boxing gloves or protective head gear, or even simply the right shoes for running. The correct shoes can offer support to the foot and ankle, helping to prevent twisting and injury.
Everybody has a unique bone structure, and in some cases (like my own) you may need to see a podiatrist or chiropractor to assess your posture, knees or feet and ensure you are wearing the right equipment, shoes or orthotic shoe inserts for your body. Allied health professionals are available at Reliance – call 43041 333 to see a GP and you can get a referral to our podiatrist, chiropractor, physiotherapist or x-ray services all under the one roof.
Protective head gear is obviously extremely important, as helmets protect the skull and the brain from damage. This is vital in contact sports where the head may be knocked and risk concussion or serious head injury.


Get your technique right

By practicing good form and technique you can reduce the risk of injury to muscles, tendons and bones. You should consult your coach, a PT or a physiotherapist to ensure you are using the right technique to get the most out of your body with the least risk of injury. This is also important in the gym, where incorrect form can lead to repetitive strain or injury. It also helps with the skill and ability to help you excel at what you’re doing.


Know your limits 

It’s important to listen to your body and know your physical limits. When first start something new like a new sport, your body may not be used to using or stretching the muscles required, so build up your pace slowly. If you are injured, give your body time to recover and seek medical advice as to when you can return – you will do your body more harm than good by training on an injury, and it may lead to long term irreversible damage.

Cool down

While warming up increases blood flow, cooling down helps eliminate waste products like lactic acid which can build up and cause pain after an intense game or work-out. After your game, spend at least 5-10 minutes walking (or another soft exercise) to return your heart rate to a normal pace. The cool-down also helps your blood flow return to normal and replace oxygen and nutrients. This is essential for muscle recovery.
After walking you also wish to do some gentle stretching exercises to lengthen the muscles and maintain your flexibility and agility (which is vital in some sports). This may also prevent muscles feeling stiff and bulky as they increase in strength and size.


Medical attention for any injury is vital – visit an emergency department for urgent matters, or for mild injuries come and see a doctor. At Reliance we have a range of allied health professionals available under the one roof at both our Wyong and West Gosford clinics with access to chiro, physio, podiatry, nurses and xrays. We also have the excellent GP Dr Fady Malak with a background in orthopedics, who specialises in sports injury and his consultations are fully bulk billed. Call 43041333 to book. 

Author: Melissa Tysoe


Reliance Health Staff & Medical Practioners

Australian Physiotherapy Association – Sports Injuries Retrieved 30 August from website

Sports Medicine Information How can I avoid a sports injury?  Retrieved 30 August from website

American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Overuse injuries, burnout in youth sports can have long-term effects (2014) Retrieved 30 August from website


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Tags: bone bursitis gym health injury joint muscle muscle tear prevention sports injury tendon tendonitis warmup workout

Healthy Holidays – What you need to know about Travel Vaccines and Prescription Medication before you jet off

Missy Tysoe July 13, 2017

Check-up before you check-out

As many of us have learned the hard way, it is common for travellers to become sick while overseas. It can be difficult to seek proper medical advice in the middle of jungle, and sometimes, travel illnesses can be life-threatening. You can reduce your risk of becoming ill by getting the right medical advice and vaccinations. Ideally, you should give yourself at least 8 weeks before your departure date for all your vaccinations, and some vaccines may take longer to take effect, but it’s never to late to get a check-up.

If you have any pre-existing or chronic health problems, you should have a check-up with your GP before you travel. Call 43041 333 to see a Doctor. Your GP will help ensure your conditions are stable and develop a plan for managing your conditions while travelling. You should also obtain a letter from your doctor with the details of any prescription medication you will be carrying with you, and assure you have an adequate supply of your medication for the duration of your trip.

pap smears and sexual health

Prescription Medication

If you require prescription medicine, it is important you have an adequate supply with you for the duration of your trip. It’s illegal to take Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines out of Australia unless the medicine is for your personal use. Check with the embassies of the countries you’re visiting to make sure your medicine is legal there, and try and do this a month in advance as some embassies have a long turn-around time. Make sure you carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you’ll be taking and stating the medicine is for your personal use or the personal use of someone with you (for example, a child). Leave the medicine in its original packaging so it can be easily identified, this will save you time at customs too.

Travel Vaccinations

Vaccinations are a safe and important part of looking after your health. Vaccines can be general, or specific to a destination or activity. Some countries require proof of vaccination against specific diseases as a condition of entry. You’ll need to check the travel advice for your destination, or the embassy or consulate of the countries you intend to visit or transit. If you are not vaccinated, you may be refused entry or required to have the vaccination at the border.

  • Vaccines against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella are provided as part of Australia’s, childhood vaccination program but a booster may be required depending on your age. The seasonal influenza vaccine is funded by the government for those at high risk of developing complications from influenza.
  • Travellers to some countries should be up to date with hepatitis and typhoid vaccines, including any country where bottled water is recommended.
  • Some vaccines require more than one dose, so it is important to start the course well in advance of travel. These include hepatitis B and rabies. Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for frequent, high risk or long-term travellers. If travelling where rabies exists and animal exposure is possible, consider pre-exposure rabies vaccine.
  • Other vaccines may be destination specific. Proof of yellow fever vaccine is required for entry to some parts of Africa, South and Central America and the Caribbean. See our country-specific travel advice for details. Japanese encephalitis vaccine is used for high-risk or long-term travel in Asia, and a meningitis vaccine may be recommended for certain destinations in Africa or elsewhere.

To view vaccines by destination, click here

Flight cabin pressure and blood clotting

Some medical conditions or medications may increase the risk of getting a blood clot during a flight.  Conditions that may increase the risk of clotting include; heart conditions, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, deep vein thrombosis, pregnancy, recent surgery, old age, and chronic inflammatory diseases. Medications that may increase your risk of blood clotting include; certain types of oral contraceptives (the pill), cancer treatments, heart medication and anticoagulant such as warfarin. Talk with your doctor about whether you need to take extra precautions.

Travel Insurance for Health

It is recommended to take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart Australia. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you will be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Note that travel insurance companies may not cover you for pre-existing medical conditions so take this into account before travelling as you may be liable for payment of any overseas treatment required for pre-existing medical conditions. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Ensure you have all your vaccines up to date before you travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller’s medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs, and some countries may not have access to sanitary medical facilities or English speaking health professionals.

Jet Lag

Jet lag is the unwelcome aftermath of a long flight through different time zones, and although it is uncomfortable it is quite common and completely normal. The good news is, it usually disappears  within 1-3 days of arrival. And those seemingly annoying flights with stop-overs can be the perfect excuse to catch a break and move around. Jet lag is caused by the individual’s daily rhythm of activity being disrupted from their “real” time at the destination.The patient may experiences fatigue, disorientation, sleep difficulties, impaired concentration and physical performance, anxiety, loss of appetite and constipation.

During the flight

  • Fluids: Reduce alcohol and coffee to a minimum. Minimise dehydration by drinking two or three glasses of water per sector. Carbonated drinks cause bloating through expansion of stomach gases
  • Food: Eat only when hungry and even miss a meal or two. Eat the lighter, more digestible parts of your meal and avoid fatty foods and rich carbohydrate foods.
  • Dress: Wear loose clothing, long skirts or comfortable trousers, light sweaters. Avoid girdles or restrictive clothing. Wear comfortable shoes and take them off in flight. Circulation pantyhose are advisable for those at risk of developing clots in the calf veins, but it is best to speak to your doctor about preventative measures if you are at risk of clotting.
  • Sleep: Try to sleep on longer sections of the flight. Close the blinds, wear an eye mask and ask for a pillow, the sunlight helps regulate the sleep hormone in your brain and it may interfere with your sleeping rhythm.
  • Activity: Take regular walks around the plane and exercise at airport stops. Keep feet up when resting and exercise by flexing major muscles of legs. Rest without napping during daylight sectors.
  • Special body care: Frequently wet face and eyes. Use moisturizers to reduce feeling of dehydration. People with contact lenses should carry a lens case and saline solution in case of drying out.
  • Ear or sinus pain can occur when flying with a cold. The discomfort can be minimised by using a nasal decongestant spray prior to take off and landing.
  • Upset stomach: A peppermint tea may assist your bowels to relax.

If you suffer from motion sickness, this is due to an imbalance in the middle ear and can be treated with medication. Speak to your doctor about your options – call 43041 333 or make a booking online


Reliance Health Practitioner Staff

Australian Government Website, Smart Traveller Advice

Australia Government Department of Health, Vaccines and Immunisations

World Health Organisation 


Author: Melissa Burt (Tysoe)



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Tags: australia health hepatitis holiday immunisation jet lag medication overseas prescription rabies travel travel insurance travel vaccine vaccine yellow fever

Vitamin D in Pregnancy, Infancy and Childhood

Missy Tysoe May 9, 2017

Vitamin D in Pregnancy, Infancy and Childhood

If you avoid the sun, suffer from dairy intolerance, or follow a strict vegan diet, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in building strong, healthy bones, absorption of calcium in the intestine, muscle strength, and the function body’s nervous and immune systems.
Research has shown that low vitamin D in pregnancy, infants, children and adolescents is associated with a wide range of health problems that can extend into adulthood.

Who is most at risk of vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is possible if you or child:

Deliberately avoids sunlight

Wears clothing that covers most of the skin

Spends long periods indoors because of disability or illness

Lives in Victoria or Tasmania

Has naturally dark skin

Has a medical condition or takes medication that affects vitamin D levels, such as obesity, liver or kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease

An infant, child or adolescent with at least one of these risk factors may need a test to check vitamin D levels – your doctor will know whether the risk is high enough to necessitate a test. If you are pregnant with at least one risk factor, you should ask about a vitamin D test at your first antenatal visit.
If you had at least one risk factor during your pregnancy AND your baby is fed only with breast-milk, your baby may need vitamin D drops. Around 400IU of vitamin D (10mcg) a day is usually sufficient. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend that your baby has a blood test for vitamin D.


Vitamin D, sunlight, food, bone health



During pregnancy, the mother’s body adapts naturally to cope with the requirements of the growing baby. If you have normal levels of vitamin D during your pregnancy, you will be able to provide the right amount both for your own health, and for your baby’s needs. If your vitamin D levels are low during pregnancy, your baby is also likely to be vitamin D deficient.
Infants, children and adolescents
Infancy, childhood and adolescence are periods of rapid bone development and growth, so adequate vitamin D is essential at these times. Severe vitamin D deficiency in infants and young children can lead to rickets, a disease that causes weak and deformed bones (‘bow-legs’) that are prone to fracture. Children with vitamin D deficiency can also suffer pain in the bones and muscles, and muscle tiredness and weakness. Deficient children may not grow and develop at the normal rate, and may be late teething. They are also more likely to get chest infections and suffer from other health problems.


What are the best sources of Vitamin D?

  • Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D for Australians of all ages, including breast-fed babies and infants. The amount of sun exposure needed will depend on skin colour, the time of year, time of day, whether the skin is covered (with clothing or sunscreen) and location. For more information on sun protection for babies and children, read the blog here.
  • Food is a poor source of vitamin D for most Australians. Some types of oily fish, including salmon and mackerel, naturally contain vitamin D, as do eggs, meat and liver. Fortified Dairy including most milk, and some grain products have vitamin D added to them.

How to keep your vitamin D levels up during Pregnancy
Being outside for 5-10 minutes on most days in summer with your arms exposed at mid-morning or mid-afternoon will maintain your vitamin D at normal adult levels during pregnancy. In winter, up to 40 minutes exposure at mid-day may be required, depending on your skin type and where in Australia you live.

Keeping Vitamin D levels up in Infants, children and adolescents
Although breast-milk is highly beneficial, it contains very little vitamin D. Breast-fed infants rely almost entirely on safe sun exposure for their vitamin D requirements. Infants who are fed only with formula should get all of the vitamin D that they need from formula milk. Older infants who are on a mainly solid food diet, as well as children and adolescents, are dependent on sunlight for most of their vitamin D needs.
It isn’t possible to make a single recommendation for safe sun exposure that is suitable for all Australian infants, children and adolescents, so some general advice has been developed1. Outdoor play and physical activity throughout the year is recommended for these age groups and this carries many other benefits! In summer, a hat and sunscreen should be worn, and most outdoor time should be spent in the shade.
Can vitamin D deficiency be treated?
Regular outdoor play or exercise for infants, children and adolescents and pregnant women (with sun protection if the UV index is high) is the best way to correct mild vitamin D deficiency. Your doctor may also recommend a daily vitamin D supplement. Severe deficiency may need treatment with a high dose of vitamin D to begin with, followed by a regular lower dose to maintain normal levels. Please consult a Doctor before doing so. To book an apoointment call 43041 333
It is important that you discuss with your doctor anything about your own or your child’s lifestyle or health that may have caused vitamin D deficiency, and ways in which these might be changed to prevent deficiency occurring again.


Resources: Medical Journal Australia

Vitamin D in Pregnancy – consumer information leaflet


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Tags: bones children dairy deficiency food health immune system infant intolerance muscle pregnancy pregnant sunlight vegan vitamin d

Reliance Living Initiatives for our people

Missy Tysoe August 15, 2016

Reliance Living Initiatives for our people

Blog (4)

Health & Wellness

At Reliance we care about our people’s well-being and have a variety of health and wellness initiatives to ensure that we provide a happy and healthy environment for our team. The wellbeing of our employees can influence their contribution to patients and the community. We aim to create an environment in which our people are happy, healthy and thriving. We want our people to enjoy their working environment, and to bring the best of themselves to their roles every day.

Benefits of worksite wellness programs for employees include:

  • Improved physical fitness
  • Effective weight management
  • Increased stamina
  • Lower levels of stress
  • Increased well-being, self-image and self-esteem


Health & Wellness incentives offered at Reliance:

  • Fresh fruit delivery every week
  • Clinical Pilates classes on Friday at lunchtime-class runs for 45 minutes but you can feel free to do a shorter class during your break
  • Anytime Fitness gym program-reimbursement on attendance
  • Intouch Hair voucher-50% of cut and finish
  • Free flu shots for you and your family
  • Free and Discounted Physiotherapy & Excercise Physiology offers (see below)

Click here to view Reliance Living initiatives flyers

Get fit and healthy anytime with Reliance

We have around 25 staff and practitioners participating in our Anytime Fitness gym reimbursement program. If you are not already signed up and would like to join, please contact the marketing team.

Did you know exercise can boost productivity and engagement in the workplace?

Increased alertness and energy

One way that exercise can help boost productivity at work is through alertness. When you exercise, you are also increasing blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen your awareness and make you more ready to tackle your next big project. Exercise can also give you more energy.

Promote optimum physical health

Being in your best physical health will help improve your overall work ability. Not only can exercising help reduce body weight and the risk for certain medical conditions, you also will have improved cardiovascular health, which will give you more stamina to meet the physical demands of your job. This will also reduce your risk of becoming injured on the job and allow you to meet the expectations required for your position.


We are always looking for additional incentives for our people and are open to feedback and input regarding inclusions. Please email with any ideas.

Personal development

Personal development of our people is important at Reliance. Our pathway to vocational training program offers specialised seminars for practitioners and is also open to all employees and the local community. These valuable topical seminars help educate our community about various health related conditions and preventative measures.

Reliance has recently introduced the Reliance Mentoring Program. Mentoring is a proven approach to drive valuable learning and development for both mentees and mentors while significantly benefiting the organisation.

Reward & Recognition

At Reliance we value our people’s wellbeing and as such wish to reward and recognise them appropriately.

Reliance wish to foster an enjoyable environment in which employees can continually improve whilst increasing positive engagement of employees and encouraging best practice sharing and internal promotion. High performers who consistently demonstrate the Reliance corporate values are recognised and rewarded on a monthly and annual basis.


As part of the Reliance staff wellness initiative, Platinum Physiotherapy is excited to offer the following for all Reliance Health team members (includes reception, administration, management, doctors, nurses, specialists and allied health practitioners):

  • FREE EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY – Book in with Daniel for free consultations until the end of September to help get your health back on track.
  • FREE CASUAL CLINICAL PILATES –  Book into any Pilates class for free when booked no more than 3 business days prior.
  • BULKBILLED PHYSIOTHERAPY – No gap fee when booking in for physiotherapy with Kim or Helen using an eligible EPC.
  • DISCOUNTED ONGOING PILATES – Pre-book an ongoing class day/time for a minimum of 4 weeks for a discounted rate of $20 per class (RRP $35).
  • DISCOUNTED PRIVATE PHYSIOTHERAPY – 20% discount for all physiotherapy consultations where not eligible for an EPC.

Simply book in at reception or by call ext 1316.


Download the pdfs below to view our full list of culture initiatives for our people:

Health & Wellness Incentives

Staff Development & Training

Rewards & Recognition (3)


Internal Communications (1)


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  • This development is supported by financial assistance from the Australian Government under the GP Super Clinics Program.

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