Long Term Health 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

Symptoms of Asthma

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.

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.

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/

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. 

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.

The NHS stroke Act FAST pages offer a great deal of information about stroke, including how to recognise the signs, some real stories of stroke sufferers and advice on how to live your life after a stroke. 

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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