Friday, 7 May 2021

Friday, 23 April 2021

Support for Caregivers


Support for Caregivers

When a patient is faced with a serious illness or disability 80%-90% of their care is proved by family and friends.

Being a caregiver to a loved one, though immensely valuable, is not easy and can have a significant impact on the caregiver's mental and physical health.

Support for caregivers in Alberta is available through the Alberta Caregivers Association.

The Alberta Caregivers Association can be contacted at 780.453.5088 in the Edmonton area, or toll-free 1.877.453.5088. Information is available at

Monday, 22 March 2021

Diet For Depression


Diet for Depression

A recent study, published in BMC Medicine, has shown that diet counselling and modification can help 1 in 4 patients with Major Depression improve and achieve remission.

What dietary advice did they give?

  1. Increase diet quality with the consumption of 12 key food groups
  • Whole Grains 5-8 servings per day
  • Vegetables 6 servings per day
  • Fruit 3 servings per day
  • Low fat/unsweetened dairy 2-3 servings per day
  • Legumes 3-4 servings per week
  • Raw and unsalted nuts 1 serving per day
  • Fish at least 2 servings per week
  • Lean red meat 3-4 serving per week
  • Chicken 2-3 servings per week
  • Eggs up to 6 per week
  • Olive oil 3 tablespoons per day
                      1. Things to REDUCE
                      • Sweets
                      • Refined cereals
                      • Fried food
                      • Processed meats
                      • Sugary beverages
                              1. Eliminate alcohol except for red wine with meals (maximum 2 standard-size drinks per day)

                              The patients in this study modified their diet with quite intensive support and counselling from a dietitian.  This makes it difficult to say if self-imposed changes to the diet will provide the same benefit, but it can’t hurt.  They also found improvement on anxiety scores however this was not the primary outcome they were looking at.

                              There is other evidence that supports a link between a “healthy” diet and mental health.  This, however, was a randomized controlled trial so can actually establish that the dietary intervention caused the improvement seen (within the limitations of the study.)

                              Reference: Jacka et al. A randomized controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial.) BMC Medicine (2017) 15:23

                              Monday, 1 March 2021

                              The LBD PCN March newsletter is out!

                               Our March newsletter is out! Topics include:

                              - Free patient education
                              - New programs
                              - Resources
                              - COVID-19 support
                              Read it here:

                              Monday, 22 February 2021

                              Heart Disease Risk Reduction

                              Heart Disease Risk Reduction
                              by Dr. Keith Barry

                              Alberta Health has developed an online tool to help you calculate your “heart age". This represents your risk of future heart disease and cardiovascular events. It is accompanied by information on how you can reduce your risk.

                              The Heart Disease Risk Calculator can be found at:

                              Further information on reducing your vascular risk can be found at:

                              The tool does ask for your blood pressure. You can check your own blood pressure at most pharmacies or buy a home monitor. We recommend everyone check their blood pressure on a regular basis (i.e. yearly however the optimal frequency is currently unclear.) If your blood pressure is elevated persistently, write down the readings and bring them in to see your family physician for review. It is helpful to have a few different readings from a few different days as our blood pressure can fluctuate quite a bit; you cannot make much out of one single reading.  When you check your blood pressure, you should have been at rest for 5 minutes prior and should not have had any caffeine or nicotine recently. More information on measuring your blood pressure can be found at the Canadian Hypertension Education Program.

                              The tool also asks for your cholesterol. Not everyone needs their cholesterol checked and no one needs it checked yearly. If you are on cholesterol medication (Statin) you do not need your cholesterol checked ever again (the benefit is the same regardless of cholesterol levels or reduction.) This is often a test that is done too frequently and can drive healthcare costs. Most people should have their cholesterol checked starting at age 40 and then every 3-5 years thereafter. If you have certain risk factors (i.e obesity, diabetes, smoking, family history or many others) your cholesterol and cardiovascular risk should be assessed earlier. You can see your physician to determine if you should have your cholesterol checked or have had it checked in the past.  

                              Wednesday, 17 February 2021

                              Do you have hip and/or knee pain? GLA:D Canada may be for you!

                               Do you have hip and/or knee pain?

                              GLA:D Canada is an 8-week education and exercise program for those with stiff and/or painful knees and/or hips or those with knee and/or hip osteoarthritis and was developed from the GLA:D (Good Life with osteoArthritis in Denmark) program. Research shows participants report less pain, reduced use of pain killers, fewer individuals on sick leave, and being more physically active.

                              If you think you would benefit from this program, ask your PCN doctor for a referral!

                              Tuesday, 9 February 2021

                              From daily pain to daily gain – how accessing the right care changed a life

                              From daily pain to daily gain – how accessing the right care changed a life


                              Lynn had been dealing with discomfort in her legs and feet for several years and, like many, chalked it up to the joys of ageing. She became used to not sleeping because of the pain running down her legs and feet at night and feeling miserable all day from the pain. As the intensity of the pain grew, it affected every aspect of her life. She stopped doing activities she once enjoyed because the pain was too much. It wasn’t an excuse for not exercising; it was a definite reason not to remain physically active. Like many, she felt like rest would help, when in fact, it did the opposite. “The more I did nothing, the worse the pain was,” remembers Lynn. She was quick to add that doing nothing was the worse thing she could have done.

                              Lynn lived with this hardship much longer than she needed to. She didn’t want to sit around any longer, watching the pain take over her life. Hoping for relief, she went to a massage therapist. The massage therapist suggested a chiropractor instead. Lynn found herself at the chiropractor’s office three times a week and felt even sorer after each visit. X-rays showed arthritis had set in. She tried the fixes she knew about first, but massage and chiro were not helping. Lynn eventually talked to her family doctor, who recognized the type of support Lynn needed and recommended she see Adrien, the exercise specialist at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network (PCN).

                              Even though the doctor’s referral was sent to the PCN when COVID-19 first appeared in Alberta, and we faced our first period of business shutdowns and self-quarantine, Lynn was able to see the PCN exercise specialist right away and in-person at the PCN office. Lynn was put through a complete exam of her back, hips, posture, and gait analysis, given coordination and balance tests, as well as manual muscle testing for her lower body. Adrien determined that Lynn’s symptoms were valid, and she was suffering a high level of pain, considering the severity of her symptoms. Following the assessment, Adrien provided Lynn with specific exercises known as the McGill Big 3 for core strengthening and online workout videos, specifically certain ones Adrien has posted on the LBD PCN YouTube channel.

                              Adrien provided Lynn with the tools she needed to start on the path back to health. Adrien prescribed exercise, and, in Lynn’s words, even though she doesn’t like being told what to do sometimes, she took Adrien’s advice and got to work. Lynn committed to exercising every day, and after only about 6 weeks, she is thrilled to say that the constant pain is gone. If she tweaks something or moves too quickly the wrong way, she can feel it still there, but the daily pain is no longer. Lynn only had to see Adrien at the PCN twice; that’s all it took for Lynn to understand what she needed to do.

                              Both Lynn and Adrien are happy with her progress and agree that she doesn’t need to continue coming to the PCN, “I’m done with him,” Lynn laughs, referring to Adrien and his expert advice and support. She was prepared with the knowledge and tools Adrien provided, including teaching Lynn to be accountable to herself. “Sometimes things go sideways in life, and we need someone to tell us what to do to get back on track,” Adrien assured Lynn that if she ever needs help again, the PCN door is always open.

                              Lynn is grateful that her family doctor referred her to see Adrien at the PCN and thrilled he could help her out of a life of pain and misery. “Adrien gave me the tools and a plan for managing my pain. My gains are achieved through exercise and sticking to it. I am grateful for his inspiration and knowledge and will take them forward with me as I continue to grow stronger.”

                              If you would like to access the Exercise Specialist’s services at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network, please talk to your family doctor, and ask for a referral.