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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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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