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Thoracic Medicine

Think you might have a breathing disorder or just looking for more information?

Sleep Medicine

Latest News

Office workers with more light exposure at work had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace.

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Can you be sleep deprived without knowing it? Sleep is not always prioritised however the implications can be devastating. Even one night sleep deprived can be impacting your body on a variety of different levels; physically and psychologically. The only way to know if you are getting consolidated sleep is to monitor with specialised equipment what is happening when you are asleep.

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In what may be the largest study of sleep problems among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at UC Davis have found that widely undiagnosed sleep disorders may be at the root of the most common and disabling symptom of the disease: fatigue. Study paticipant reports of sleep disorder frequency, sleep patterns and complaints of excessive daytime sleepiness suggest that sleep problems may be a hidden epidemic in the MS population.

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A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, this is only the second "sleep node" identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.  Using designer genes, researchers were able to 'turn on' specific neurons in the brainstem that result in deep sleep.

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Insomnia can cause chronic inflammation, which can lead to weight gain, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and earlier death. This study finds that curing the insomnia reduces the inflammation and hopefully reduces disease. It also found the best way to cure lack of sleep is through the use of a common psychotherapy treatment - cognitive behavioural therapy.

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Getting enough sleep is important to people of any age, but it is especially so for teenagers, with insufficient sleep possibly being linked to obesity as an adult.

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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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