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Asthma is a common condition that causes coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest and breathlessness. Most people with asthma who take the appropriate treatment can live normal lives, but left untreated, asthma can cause permanent damage to the airways
The usual symptoms of asthma are
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time; a few people may experience these symptoms all the time.
There isn't a cure for asthma. However, treatments are available to help manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be individual to you, combining medicines and asthma management in a way that works best for you
Medicines are only part of your treatment for asthma. You will also need to deal with the things that make it worse. Keep a diary to record anything that triggers your asthma - this can help you to discover a pattern. Using a peak flow meter to monitor your lung function can also help. If you have repeatedly low readings in a certain situation (for example, at the end of a working day, after exercise or after contact with an animal) this may indicate the trigger.
Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.
Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis.
1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way.
Spotting signs of cancer
Changes to your body's normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms can sometimes be an early sign of cancer.
Symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor include:
But in many cases your symptoms will not be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions.
Read more about the signs and symptoms of cancer.
Reducing your risk of cancer
Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death in the UK and worldwide. CHD is sometimes called ischaemic heart disease or coronary artery disease.
The main symptoms of CHD are chest pain, heart attacks and heart failure. You can also have other symptoms, such as heart palpitations and unusual breathlessness. However not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before CHD is diagnosed.
Preventing coronary heart disease (CHD)
You can reduce your risk of getting CHD by making some simple lifestyle changes.
Treating coronary heart disease (CHD)
Coronary heart disease cannot be cured but treatment can help manage the symptoms and reduce the chances of problems such as heart attacks.
Treatment can include:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. The main symptom of COPD is an inability to breathe in and out properly. This is also referred to as airflow obstruction.
Symptoms of COPD
The main symptoms of COPD are; increasing breathlessness, particularly when you're active; a persistent chesty cough with phlegm – some people may dismiss this as just a "smoker's cough"; frequent chest infections and persistent wheezing.
Without treatment, the symptoms usually get progressively worse. There may also be periods when they get suddenly worse, known as a flare-up or exacerbation.
Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) condition caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is also known as diabetes mellitus. There are two types of diabetes - type 1 and type 2.
More than two million people in the UK have the condition and up to 750,000 more are believed to have it without realising they do. More than three-quarters of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes mellitus. This used to be known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or maturity-onset diabetes mellitus. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing as it commoner in the overweight and obese, which is itself a growing problem. The remainder have type 1 diabetes mellitus, which used to be known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
What's the treatment for diabetes?
It's recognised that the sooner the blood sugar levels are brought under control, the better the long term prospects of preventing damage. Lifestyle advice about diet, weight management and regular activity is the first step.
Type 1 diabetes will require immediate insulin therapy, Type 2 diabetes will first be managed with a drug called Metformin, if lifestyle changes alone aren't effective. There are now several other drugs used in type 2 diabetes, although eventually some type 2 diabetics will need insulin therapy as it's a progressive disease
Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. One in four people in the UK have a mental health problem at some point in their lives, which affects their daily life, relationships or physical health.
Mental health disorders take many different forms and affect people in different ways. Schizophrenia, depression and personality disorders are all examples of mental health problems.
Children & young adults
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 8.5 million people in the UK. It develops gradually over time, causing joints to become stiff and painful. It can affect any joint but commonly affects the hands, knees, hips, feet and spine.
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people who are over 50 years of age, and it is more common in women than in men. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not true. Younger people can also be affected by osteoarthritis, often as a result of an injury or another joint condition.
Chronic or persistent pain is pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment.
Most people recover from pain following an injury or operation, but sometimes the pain carries on for longer or comes on without any history of an injury or operation.
If you have been struggling with pain for more than 12 weeks, there are many services that can help. We welcome you to make an appointment to see your GP so you can discuss your pain in all its forms.
Read some advice from PainSupport on preparing for your GP appointment.
A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Like all organs, the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.
Strokes are a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
The best ways to help prevent a stroke are to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke and not drink too much alcohol.
A transient ischaemic attack (TIA), or 'mini-stroke', is caused by a temporary fall in the blood supply to part of the brain, leading to a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can cause symptoms that are similar to a stroke, although they don't last as long. A TIA lasts only a few minutes and is usually resolved within 24 hours
As TIAs are serious, it is important that they are always investigated so that appropriate treatment can be given quickly. With treatment, the risk of a further TIA or a full stroke can be greatly reduced.