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

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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COPD

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a broad term to define airflow limitation that is not reversible.

A patient usually has a component of emphysema, chronic bronchitis or a combination of the two.

COPD is often associated with a history of cigarette smoking or exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The Stats on COPD*

  • Almost 1 in 5 people over 40 have COPD
  • COPD is the fourth most common cause of death in men and the sixth most common cause of death in women
  • More people are dying from COPD each year
  • COPD is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions

* The Australian Lung Foundation

Symptoms of COPD

  • Coughing
  • Feeling puffed or short of breath when performing tasks such as walking up a hill, climbing stairs or even having a shower
  • A build-up in the lungs of a sticky substance called phlegm which you swallow or cough-up

Diagnosis of COPD

According to the Australian Lung Foundation, spirometry is the gold standard for diagnosing, assessing and monitoring COPD.

The Wesley Lung Function Laboratory offers state-of-the-art lung function testing, including spirometry.

Doctors can download a referral form here

Treatments for COPD

Confirm diagnosis: The diagnosis and severity of COPD are determined by breathing tests such as spirometry, x-rays and blood tests to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Optimise function: There are no medications that will cure COPD, but they can make you feel a lot better.  Treatments can include exercise, weight and nutrition management and maintaining good sleep habits.

Prevent deterioration: Quit smoking – it is never too late. Have a flu vaccine annually and a pneumonia vaccine ever five years. See your GP and specialist regularly and ensure you have regular checks of your oxygen levels.

Develop a self-management and support plan: You should have a self-management plan agreed by you, your specialist and other health care workers.

Exacerbations

You should increase your treatment early when you become unwell – this should be part of your action plan developed by your doctor. Notify your GP.

People may be given high flow oxygen when they are extremely breathless, however this may be harmful if you have COPD.

If your doctor advises low flow rates (e.g. 0.5-2 Litres per minute) you should have a medic alert bracelet stating this.

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

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