Information for Doctors

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Thoracic Medicine

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

Sleep Medicine

Latest News

TSGQ registered nurse and polysomnographic technician Travis Bell joined 612 ABC radio presenter Kelly Higgins-Devine to discuss sleep disorders on 2nd February 2015.

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Scientists have found that that activation of cholinergic neurons - those that release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine -- in two brain stem structures can induce REM sleep in an animal model. Better understanding of mechanisms that control different sleep states is essential to improved treatment of sleep disorders.

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Going to bed early could help individuals avoid repetitive negative thinking, according to a recent study. According to the authors, repetitive negative thinking is "defined as an abstract, perseverative, negative focus on one's problems and experiences that is difficult to control."

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In a recent US study results indicated that poor sleep may be an early warning sign for addictive and “regretful” behaviour; such as alcohol problems, illicit drug abuse and sexual behaviour. US researchers reviewed the sleep patterns of 6500 adolescents in combination with drug and alcohol habits, between 1994 and 2002.

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Scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) have discovered a link between sleep loss and cell injury. Results of a new study find sleep deprivation causes the damage to cells, especially in the liver, lung, and small intestine. Recovery sleep following deprivation heals the damage.

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New research confirms that sleep disturbances are linked to pain and depression, but not disability, among patients with osteoarthritis (OA).  Results from a new study found that poor sleep increases depression and disability, but does not worsen pain over time.

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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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