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Long term conditions

Asthma

Asthma is a common condition that causes coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest and breathlessness. Most people with asthma who take the appropriate treatment can live normal lives, but left untreated, asthma can cause permanent damage to the airways

The usual symptoms of asthma are 

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest.

Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time; a few people may experience these symptoms all the time.

Treatment of asthma

There isn’t a cure for asthma. However, treatments are available to help manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be individual to you, combining medicines and asthma management in a way that works best for you

Living with asthma

Medicines are only part of your treatment for asthma. You will also need to deal with the things that make it worse. Keep a diary to record anything that triggers your asthma – this can help you to discover a pattern. Using a peak flow meter to monitor your lung function can also help. If you have repeatedly low readings in a certain situation (for example, at the end of a working day, after exercise or after contact with an animal) this may indicate the trigger.

Useful Links

  • Asthma UK: This website has been revamped to meet the needs of the thousands of people with asthma who visit the site each day, either to find important information about asthma and how to control it
  • NHS – Asthma: Further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Asthma.

These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Cancer

One in three people will be affected by cancer at some stage in their life. There are many different types of cancer and this page doesn’t cover them all, but the general information will help you to access further information and support.

You can also consult the NHS website for further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Cancer

These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a preventable disease that was responsible for many deaths in the UK. In fact, CHD is the biggest killer in the country. The NHS has a lot more info on its dedicated CHD pages.

The British Heart Foundation website also contains a lot of useful information

These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. The main symptom of COPD is an inability to breathe in and out properly. This is also referred to as airflow obstruction.

The relevant NHS pages contain a guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks of COPD from the NHS

The British Lung Foundation offers information and guidance on living with COPD

These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) condition caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is also known as diabetes mellitus. There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.

According to the charity Diabetes UK, more than two million people in the UK have the condition and up to 750,000 more are believed to have it without realising they do.

More than three-quarters of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes mellitus. This used to be known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or maturity-onset diabetes mellitus. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing as it commoner in the overweight and obese, which is itself a growing problem.

The remainder have type 1 diabetes mellitus, which used to be known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

What’s the treatment for diabetes?
It’s recognised that the sooner the blood sugar levels are brought under control, the better the long term prospects of preventing damage. Lifestyle advice about diet, weight management and regular activity is the first step.

Type 1 diabetes will require immediate insulin therapy, Type 2 diabetes will first be managed with a drug called Metformin, if lifestyle changes alone aren’t effective. There are now several other drugs used in type 2 diabetes, although eventually some type 2 diabetics will need insulin therapy as it’s a progressive disease

NHS: further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Diabetes

These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Mental Health

Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. One in four people in the UK have a mental health problem at some point in their lives, which affects their daily life, relationships or physical health.

Mental health disorders take many different forms and affect people in different ways. Schizophrenia, depression and personality disorders are all examples of mental health problems. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia generally develop in old age, whereas eating disorders are more common in young people.

Please consult our dedicated mental health support page for local and national services.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 8.5 million people in the UK. It develops gradually over time, causing joints to become stiff and painful. It can affect any joint but commonly affects the hands, knees, hips, feet and spine.

Who develops osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people who are over 50 years of age, and it is more common in women than in men. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not true. Younger people can also be affected by osteoarthritis, often as a result of an injury or another joint condition.

Useful links

  • Arthritis Research UK is the charity leading the fight against arthritis. Everything we do is underpinned by research
  • Guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks of Ostearthritis from the NHS

These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Pain

Living with Pain

The NHS website contains lots of useful information, tips and advice on living with chronic pain.

Help from your GP and use of NHS services dedicated to pain management can help make sufferers more independant, reduce the severity of pain and assist in day to day with coping with what can be a debilitating condition.

Useful Links

These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Stroke

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

Like all organs, the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.

Strokes are a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
A transient ischaemic attack (TIA), or ‘mini-stroke’, is caused by a temporary fall in the blood supply to part of the brain, leading to a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can cause symptoms that are similar to a stroke, although they don’t last as long. A TIA lasts only a few minutes and is usually resolved within 24 hours

As TIAs are serious, it is important that they are always investigated so that appropriate treatment can be given quickly. With treatment, the risk of a further TIA or a full stroke can be greatly reduced.

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