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Thoracic Medicine

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Sleep Medicine

Latest News

Often times when we can’t sleep or we feel tired throughout the day, there are common “quick fixes” which we use to help us fall asleep easier and give us an extra boost in the morning. However, some of these habits can often be detrimental to your sleep health, affecting you not just at night, but throughout the day as well.

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New research has found that the less we sleep in midlife, the faster our brains can decline and lead to cognitive impairment in old age.

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“What is happening in YOUR sleep?!? How can you really know? Ever thought of using a sleep app? There are some misunderstandings to what data is relevant when using sleep apps so understanding the limitations are IMPORTANT. "It is always recommended to follow up with a sleep study to be sure nothing is missed. “

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A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) may raise the risk of osteoporosis, particularly among women or older individuals, according to a new study. OSA is a condition that causes brief interruptions in breathing during sleep. If left untreated, OSA can raise the risk for stroke, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.  New research shows that OSA may also increase the risk of osteoporosis.

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Insomnia predisposes individuals to increased risk of stroke and this association is profound among young adults – up to eight times greater among insomniacs 18 to 34 years old.  The results of a recent study underscore the clinical importance of identifying and treating insomnia.

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Heavy drinking damages the body in many ways. In addition to liver failure, alcoholics are at a much greater risk of developing pneumonia and life threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), for which there is no treatment. Researchers suspect that alcoholics are more susceptible to these lung diseases because the immune system in the lung is no longer strong enough to protect from infection and damage, but, it had been unclear why the immune system in the lung fails.

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Bronchiectasis

What is Bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is abnormal widening of the airways. This is often caused by chronic infection of the airways, most commonly caused by bacteria.

This chronic infection causes chronic inflammation of the airways.

Inflammation damages the lung and can result in bronchiectasis.

Due to the damage and widening of the lungs, mucous is not cleared from the lungs as effectively as normal – leading to a buildup of mucous.

Symptoms of Bronchiectasis

The main symptom of Bronchiectasis is a chronic cough producing mucus.

Other symptoms include:

  • sinusitis/nasal inflammation and fatigue
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing up blood

An important feature of bronchiectasis is acute episodes of worsening symptoms known as exacerbations.

These exacerbations may be set off by a head cold, but often there is no clear cause.

Testing for Bronchiectasis

Your doctor may send you off for x-rays, CT scans or High Resolution CT scans.  Any abnormal widening of the airways is usually visible off these scans.

Your doctor may also wish to send some of your mucus away for testing to test which bacteria is causing the infection.

It is recommended that patients have breathing tests from time to time to monitor disease progress.  The frequency of testing will depend on deterioration and exacerbation rate for the individual patient.

Treatments of Bronchiectasis

One of the most important treatments for bronchiectasis is mucous clearance which can usually be effectively treated with physiotherapy.

Quite often an individual program can be created that includes:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Physical exercise
  • Postural drainage of the chest
  • Active breathing
  • Huffing
  • Coughing
  • Other physiotherapy techniques.

Exercise

Exercise is another great treatment for bronchietasis and patients can benefit greatly from participating in a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Medications

Medications such as inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids and occasionally corticosteroid tablets may be used to control asthma-like symptoms such as inflammation. Speak to your doctor about which medication is right for you.

Vaccines

Patients with bronchiectasis should have annual flu vaccines and pneumococcal vaccines every five years.

Breathwise Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Breathwise Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a multi-disciplinary program of exercise and education for people with lung disease that runs at The Wesley Hospital.

Working with an experienced team of medical specialists, physiotherapists, nursing staff, occupational therapy, clinical psychologists,and pharmacists, this program will address the primary aims of pulmonary rehabilitation, which are to reduce the disability and handicap of people with chronic lung diseases and to restore patients to the highest possible level of independent functioning.

About the Program

You will need to attend twice a week for 8 weeks. The program will start off gently and will provide you with a home exercise program so you can remain fit and healthy once you have completed your program.

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