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Thoracic Medicine

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

Sleep Medicine

Latest News

A recent study has shown that adaptive servoventilation (ASV) may be harmful in heart failure patients with central sleep apnoea. The results indicated a 10% annual risk of cardiovascular death in ASV patients compared with 7.5% in the control group. The overall survival and hospitalisation rate was not different between the groups.

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Researchers find that having sleep apnea while pregnant could make the baby prone to metabolic disease as an adult. The study suggests that reoccurring oxygen deprivation, during pregnancy causes long-term changes in the offspring's liver's ability to maintain blood glucose level.

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Symptoms of depression and insomnia are the strongest predictors of having frequent nightmares, a new study concludes. A nightmare disorder may occur when repeated nightmares cause distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning.

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Navigational brain cells that help sense direction are as electrically active during deep sleep as they are during wake time, scientists have discovered. Such information could be useful in treating navigational problems associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

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A team of neuropsychologists at Saarland University have shown that even a brief sleep of 45 to 60 minutes can significantly improve retention of learned material in memory

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People exposed to prolonged periods of shortened sleep have significant increases in blood pressure during nighttime hours, researchers report.

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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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