Healthy Living

Stop Smoking

Stopping smoking (smoking cessation) is one of the most important health changes a patient can make.

Smoking increases the risk of many conditions:

  • respiratory
  • cardiovascular
  • diabetes
  • cerebrovascular
  • peripheral vascular
  • cancer (lung, laryngeal, oro-pharyngeal, stomach, pancreatic, renal cell and bladder cancers)
  • Smoking cessation will have almost immediate effects on the reducing the risk of cardiovascular events.
  • The major risks can reduce within 2 to 5 years of stopping smoking but for some conditions the risk never returns to that of non-smokers.
  • 80% of adult smokers begin as children. Ensuring young people avoid smoking is important as nicotine addiction can occur rapidly at this age.
  • For every year that you continue to smoke after the age of 40, life expectancy will decrease by 3 months.

Talk to your doctor today if you wish to stop smoking.

*Information obtained from HealthPathways


Diabetes is a condition where there is too much sugar in the blood. It occurs when there is not enough effective insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone which is required to allow the body to use sugar. Untreated, diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cause blindness and nerve damage.

What are the symptoms?

  • Passing urine frequently (every hour or so)
  • Feeling thirsty most of the time
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • A tendency to get infections, especially of the skin
  • (In children) loss of weight

You can see your doctor for a simple blood test if you suspect you may have diabetes or for any advice.

Diabetes which is not managed properly can lead to damage of the heart, eyes, kidney and feet. A FREE annual diabetes nurse check is available. This is important to prevent or delay any further damage. Please ring to make a double appointment with one of our nurses.

Heart Disease

A heart attack or stroke is usually quite sudden. However, the changes in your arteries that lead to a heart attack or stroke take place over a long period of time. Most heart attacks and strokes are preventable – this is why it is important to learn what leads to a heart attack or stroke, because it will help you to understand why making lifestyle changes is so important. Knowing your personal risk of developing cardiovascular disease is also essential in order for you to reduce your risk.

Your risk of having a heart attack or stroke can range from mild to very high, based on your risk factors. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Your doctor or nurse can assess your risk factors and estimate your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

For a simple, quick heart check, go to

Contraception and Sexual Health

Consultations are free for eligible people 14-17 years.

Personal Health Checks

We recommend that all patients have regular personal health checks so that we can discuss with you how to keep yourself healthy throughout your life. These health checks include talking to you about current health issues, asking about symptoms you may have, reviewing past medical problems , discussing significant family medical problems and reviewing general lifestyle issues like diet, exercise and smoking behaviour.

We usually do some blood tests and in some cases recommend further special tests like a chest X-ray. Our suggestions for the frequency of these medicals are 1 medical before 30 years, at least 2 medicals in your 30s, every 2 years in your 40s and yearly over 50. Your doctor may suggest having a medical more frequently in some circumstances.

Routine Health Screening

Routine health screenings are done to assess your general health and to look for signs of health problems. Your primary care doctor/general practitioner (GP) can ensure you are up to date with routine vaccinations and screening examinations.

Routine Health Screening & Examinations may include any of the following:

Check weight annually if Body Mass Index (BMI) is within normal range. More frequently if participating in a weight loss management program.
Talk with your Doctor or nurse about maintaining a healthy weight.

Blood Pressure Screening
Check annually if blood pressure is less than 120/80. Check more frequently if higher.

Breast Disease
Clinical breast examination for all females with concerns about breasts.
Two yearly mammogram for all women ages 45 through 69. Ask your Doctor or nurse to enrol you in the programme.

Cervical Cancer
Regular pelvic exams with cervical smear tests every one to three years for women who are sexually active from age 20 to age 69 or older if history of cervical cancer.

Prostate Cancer
Screening men without symptoms for prostate cancer is not currently recommended in New Zealand because of the risk associated with screening and subsequent treatments. However Digital Rectal Exam and PSA test are available. Talk to your doctor.

Testicular Cancer
No formal screening programme in New Zealand but it is recommended that men 20-30 years old check themselves for lumps in the testicles.

Colon Cancer Screening
In Canterbury, there is a formal screening programme for everyone between 60 and 74 years of age which started in October 2020. However, international recommendations are that we start thinking about this from age 45. Please discuss with your doctor if you have any symptoms such as change in bowel habit and blood in your stools.

Vision/Glaucoma Screening
Glaucoma New Zealand recommends that everyone has an eye examination every 5 years until age 60, and three-yearly after that. Those with risk factors for glaucoma such as a family history of glaucoma or steroid use should be examined earlier. An optometrist will do this.
Retinopathy eye check every two years is recommended for diabetics. See your GP for a referral.

Audiology/Hearing Test
As needed.

Dental Exam
Annually (or as required if full dentures). A dentist will assist you with this.

A DEXA scan is recommended for:
– All women who are at or are experiencing or have experienced menopause, women with a family history of osteoporosis
– Women athletes who do not menstruate due to excessive exercise
– Men or women who have taken corticosteroid drugs for long periods
– Men or women with abnormalities of the vertebrae or evidence of weakened bones
– Men or women with primary hyperparathyroidism ( a condition where the parathyroid glands in the neck are overactive)
Discuss this with your GP.

We have a behavioural mental health team at our practice, working alongside our doctors and nurses. The members consist of Health Improvement Practitioner and a Health Coach. Together they can support you to make lifestyle changes to improve health such as looking at what you eat, how you sleep, personal and work stresses, smoking and alcohol. Research has shown that up to 80% of presentations to GPs involves some sort of behavioural factors. Click here for more information.