Your Health



Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hormonal changes cause skin pores to become blocked, causing whiteheads, blackheads, pustules or cysts to develop.

Acne is related to hormonal changes and is not contagious. It usually begins during puberty, but it can start at any age and may continue into your 20s.

Acne usually appears on your face, neck, upper back or chest. Some people only have a few spots, while for others acne can be severe, emotionally distressing and lead to scarring.

Signs of mild acne may be improved with over-the-counter acne products and good skincare.

If you have persistent or severe acne, see your doctor. There are prescription treatments that can help, and these may prevent scarring if started early.



There are more than 624,000 New Zealanders suffering from arthritis and it is the greatest cause of disability in New Zealand. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

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Asthma is a common lung condition that affects your breathing and how air enters in and out of your lungs. Asthma causes wheeze and cough, and can make it difficult to breathe. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, affecting up to 1 in 4 children and 1 in 6 adults.

For more information on asthma in adults, click here

For Asthma in children, click here


B4 school check

The B4 School Check is a FREE health check for pre-school children/ tamariki after they turn four and before they start school to make sure they are healthy and can learn well at school.

The B4 School Check is done by registered nurses and will take about 45 minutes. It includes:

  • Child health questionnaire
  • Behavioural/developmental screening
  • Developmental Status (PEDS) tools
  • Hearing and vision screening
  • Measurement of height and weight recording
  • Oral health assessment – Lift the Lip
  • Health promotion and education
  • Referrals to appropriate health, education or social services and follow up
  • Immunisation

Click here for more information.


Breast Screening

BreastScreen Aotearoa is a free national breast screening programme for NZ women aged 45–69 years of age that checks women for signs of early breast cancer.

In New Zealand, you can have a free screening mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Aotearoa if you:

  • are aged 45-69 years
  • have no symptoms of breast cancer
  • have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months
  • are not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • are eligible for public health services in New Zealand.*

For more information, click here.


Cervical Smear

The National Cervical Screening Programme was set up to bring down the number of cervical cancer diagnosis and the number of women dying from it. The programme includes health promotion, smear taking, laboratory analysis of cervical smears and biopsies and management of women with abnormal smear results.

What is a smear test?

A cervical smear test is taking a sample of cells from the cervix. The cells are then examined under the microscope. If any abnormal cells are seen, treatment is provided. If not treated, the abnormal cells can develop into cervical cancer. Cervical smear test is done every 3 years, for all women of age between 25 to 70.

For more information about Cervical smear test and cervical cancer, click here.



Contraception, or birth control, is a term for the various methods used to prevent women from becoming pregnant.

Methods of Contraception:

  • Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)
  • Contraceptive implant
  • Intrauterine methods
  • Contraceptive pills
  • Barrier methods of contraception
  • Emergency contraception

Click here for more information.



Croup is a viral illness in babies and young children that causes a narrowing of the upper airways, often leading to a 'barking' cough (like a seal), hoarse voice and raspy breath.

Mild cases of croup can be managed at home but more severe cases of croup will need medication from the doctor. Because croup affects the airways, it can sometimes cause serious problems in children that requires urgent medical attention.

Click here for more information.



Dementia is a term used to describe symptoms that occur when there is a decline in brain function. This may include problems with memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform daily tasks. If you're becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if you're over the age of 65, it may be a good idea to talk to your GP about the early signs of dementia.

Dementia occurs as a result of damage to brain cells. The symptoms that develop depend on the areas of your brain that have been damaged. It is progressive, meaning the symptoms gradually get worse over time. Dementia is more common in people over 65, but it is not a normal part of ageing. Māori and Pasifika people have higher rates of dementia than Pākehā. In te reo Māori, dementia is known as mate wareware. There are a number of different types of dementia. The most common is Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment depends on the symptoms, diagnosis and cause of the dementia. Medication cannot cure dementia or repair brain damage. However, it may improve symptoms or slow down the disease for a short period of time. An early diagnosis can help you to get the most benefit from treatment. It also helps you to plan for the future and get the right support and advice.

Dementia describes a group of related symptoms resulting from an ongoing decline of your brain.

Click here for more information.



Depression is very common and can affect anyone, at any age – from childhood through to old age. It’s not a sign of any kind of weakness or fault in you. About 1 in 6 people experience depression at some time in their life. It affects women more than men, but men seem less likely to recognise the problem and seek help.

Key symptoms include constantly feeling down or hopeless, loss of enjoyment or interest in doing the things you used to enjoy doing, negative thinking and sleep problems. You may feel so bad that you have thoughts of self-harm or even suicide.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and the support and treatment you need will depend on how severe your symptoms are. Depression can usually be treated with a combination of psychological therapies, lifestyle changes and antidepressant medication.

If you’re depressed, it’s important to get help – the sooner you do, the sooner you'll start to feel better. Remember: there is hope. Many people have come out the other side of depression and have gone on to enjoy happy, healthy lives.

For more information, click here.



Diabetes is a disease where your body cannot control blood sugar level properly. It occurs either when your body cannot produce enough insulin or your body does not respond to insulin.

Poorly controlled Diabetes can be life threatening. Diabetes can lead to other health conditions, including kidney failure, eye disease, foot ulceration and high risk of heart disease.

There is no cure for Diabetes, but there are ways to control the disease.

Please click here for more information on Diabetes.



Gout is a common and painful form of arthritis. It causes severe joint pain and swelling, especially in your toes, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. If left untreated, gout can cause serious damage to your joints, kidneys and quality of life.

Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in your blood. The uric acid forms crystals in your joints. High uric acid levels are mainly due to genetic factors. While common in Māori and Pasifika men, gout is not normal – see your doctor if you have the symptoms. If you have more than two attacks of gout per year, your doctor may prescribe a medication to prevent further attacks by lowering your uric acid levels.

If left untreated gout can cause permanent damage to your joints and harm your kidneys. With effective treatment, a gout attack may be controlled within 12–24 hours. Medication and lifestyle changes can help prevent gout attacks.

For more information, click here.



High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the force of your blood against your artery walls is too high, too often. Ongoing high blood pressure puts stress on your heart and can lead to health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

High blood pressure usually doesn't have symptoms, so the best way to find out if you have high blood pressure, is to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can do this for you.

Untreated high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems including heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

For more information, click here.


IGT or Pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes is when the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is higher than normal. This means you are at much higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Early signs of regular high blood sugar levels can include: extreme thirst, needing to urinate often, dry skin, feeling hungry, blurred vision and feeling drowsy.

If you have noticed some or all of these symptoms, visit your doctor.

People who are overweight or who have obesity are at higher risk of developing pre-diabetes. This is due to excess energy (from food and drinks) being stored as fat around your body’s organs and tissues. Over time, these fatty deposits can damage key organs, such as your pancreas, and lead to your body’s cells becoming insensitive to insulin. This leads to your blood sugars rising, causing pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is treated by changing your lifestyle where needed. This could delay you developing diabetes by 3–4 years or even prevent you developing it. Healthy lifestyles are made up of healthy eating, active living, a healthy body weight and being smoke-free.

For brochures on pre-diabetes, click here and here


Immunization and Vaccines

Immunisation with a vaccine is recommended for everyone through their lives. It protects you, your family and your community. It also helps protect future generations by reducing or even completely wiping out diseases.

Vaccines stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies to a particular disease, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. You develop immunity to that disease, but you don't have to get sick first. This is what makes vaccines such a powerful medicine. Read more about vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases.

Click here for more information.


Lipids / Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. Most cholesterol is made by your body, but eating fatty foods can lead to high cholesterol levels. Your arteries may clog up with the fatty cholesterol and which increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You cannot tell or feel if you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol usually does not have symptoms. The only way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test. With treatment and lifestyle changes, the risks of complications from high cholesterol are much less.

What is the treatment for high cholesterol?

Your doctor will assess your risk of heart attack or stroke based on your lipid profile results and other risk factors such as age, sex, blood pressure, smoking and diabetes. Your doctor may give you medication to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

You can reduce your cholesterol by making changes to your lifestyle such as: Eating healthy foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables, low or reduced fat milk, lean meat, nuts and seeds. Avoid takeaways and deep fried foods, cakes, biscuits, pastries and chips. Reduce red meat, cheese and butter. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercising regularly. Do not drink too much alcohol.

What is a lipid test?

For Cholesterol brochure, click here.



Menopause simply means the end of a woman’s menstrual periods. It is a significant hormonal milestone that offers a good opportunity to assess your health and plan for the next phase of your life.

Signs of menopause:

For some women, a change in their periods is all they notice as they go through menopause. However, because the female hormones affect other parts of your body, you may also have any of the following symptoms:

  • Hot flushes; these feel like someone has poured hot water into your veins. They can start in your face and neck and spread all over your body or be a sudden feeling of heat all over. Many people feel embarrassed and think others will notice, but it's usually not noticeable.
  • Sweats, which often go with flushes and are common at night.
  • Loss of libido (sex drive).
  • Dryness in your vagina and around your urethra can lead to uncomfortable sex, bladder infections or wetting your pants sometimes.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Palpitations – your pulse or heart may feel like they are racing, or you may feel faint or dizzy from time to time or get ringing in your ears.
  • Mood changes – you may feel tired, irritable, depressed, tearful or angry; this can be from hormonal changes, because you are not sleeping well or because you are adjusting to change.
  • Skin – your skin may look more tired and be less firm, and the hair on your head, armpits and legs may get thinner.
  • Bones – you won't feel it, but your bones may start getting thinner (osteoporosis). Much later you may break them more easily or start to get shorter (loose some of your height) or find it hard to straighten up.

For more information, click here.



Obesity is a medical term used to describe being too heavy for height. Obesity increases your risk of acute and chronic health problems. According to The World Health Organization, obesity is an epidemic, prevalent in both adults and children. In New Zealand, 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 10 children are obese, one of the highest obesity rate in the OECD.

Obesity in adults is associated with a long list of health conditions including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • ischaemic heart disease (IHD)
  • stroke
  • several common cancers
  • osteoarthritis
  • sleep apnoea
  • reproductive abnormalities.

Obesity in children increases the likelihood of:

  • being obese as an adult
  • abnormal lipid profiles
  • impaired glucose tolerance
  • high blood pressure
  • musculoskeletal problems
  • asthma
  • psychological problems including body dissatisfaction, poor self-esteem, depression and other mental health problems.



Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become thinner and weaker than normal. This means that they can break easily, such as after a small bump or fall.

Click here for more information.


Prostate Cancer

Every year 3000 men are found to have prostate cancer and 600 die from the disease. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in New Zealand men. Some prostate cancers are slow growing and post no real health problems. However, others are fast growing and can cause serious symptoms or be life threatening.

Prostate cancer is more common in men aged over 50, but is more likely to cause problems if it occurs in younger men. If caught early, prostate cancer can be managed well and can usually be cured. However, not all prostate cancer needs to be treated.

Maori men are more likely than non-Maori men to die of prostate cancer because it is often found too late to cure. Men who live in rural areas are at greater risk than those who live in urban areas because they have less access to health services.

If you have any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately:

  • Pain on urination
  • Blood in your urine
  • Inability to urinate

For more information, click here.


Reflux (GORD)

Reflux (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) refers to inflammation of the lining of oesophagus due to stomach acid leaking up from the stomach. Untreated reflux disease can lead to serious complications. It’s important to seek early treatment. A combination of medication and lifestyle changes are used to treat GORD.

GORD is diagnosed when heartburn is experienced consistently two or more times a week. Regular heartburn is more common in smokers, pregnant women, heavy drinkers, those who are overweight and those aged between 35 and 64 years. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid leaking up from the stomach to the oesophagus. This 'acid reflux' can cause damage to the lining of the oesophagus. Treatment for GORD is primarily by medication; lifestyle changes may also be necessary.

For more information, click here.


Safer Sex and STI

Practising safer sex can protect you from getting, or passing on, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and also reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancy. However, it is impossible for any method to be 100% effective, which is why it is called ‘safer sex’ rather than safe sex.

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting an STI. You're most at risk if you have a new sexual partner or don't use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, when having sex.

Click here for more information.


Skin Health

Skin cancer is the most common cancer affecting New Zealanders. However, if you protect your skin from the sun throughout your life, you will greatly reduce your risk of skin cancer. When found early, most skin cancers can be successfully treated. See a doctor if you notice dark, pigmented moles or skin spots, or ones that are crusted or bleeding. Over 90% of all skin cancer is due to excess sun exposure. Protect your skin from the sun by being SunSmart and remembering to 'slip, slop, slap and wrap'. When found early, most skin cancers can be successfully treated. See a doctor if you notice dark, pigmented moles or skin spots, or ones that are crusted or bleeding.

Skin cancers are classified into two groups – melanoma and non-melanoma (which includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma ). Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer and is the cause of more than 2 in 3 skin cancer deaths. Do regular skin checks so that you get to know your skin and notice any changes.

See types of skin cancer



Smoking kills more people in NZ each year than road crashes, alcohol, other drugs, suicide, murder, drowning and earthquakes – all put together!

Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult, it is one of the best things you can do for your health, your family and friends. 350 deaths per year are related to second-hand smoking in New Zealand.

Please phone to speak to one of our trained nurses to discuss the most suitable appointment for you.

For more information on cessation of smoking, click here