Long Term Conditions

Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause a cough, wheezing, and breathlessness. The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person. Asthma can be controlled well in most people most of the time.

Asthma is caused by inflammation of the airways. These are the small tubes, called bronchi, which carry air in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma, the bronchi will be inflamed and more sensitive than normal.

When you come into contact with something that irritates your lungs, known as a trigger (see below), your airways become narrow, the muscles around them tighten and there is an increase in the production of sticky mucus (phlegm). This leads to symptoms including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • A tight chest

Read more about the symptoms of asthma.

A severe onset of symptoms is known as an asthma attack or an ‘acute asthma exacerbation’. Asthma attacks may require hospital treatment and can sometimes be life-threatening, although this is rare.

For some people with chronic (long-lasting) asthma, long-term inflammation of the airways may lead to more permanent narrowing.

If you are diagnosed with asthma as a child, the symptoms may disappear during your teenage years. However, asthma can return in adulthood. Moderate to severe childhood symptoms are more likely to persist or return later in life. Although asthma does not only start in young people and can develop at any age. 

Read more about childhood asthma and how asthma is diagnosed.


What Causes Asthma?

The cause of asthma is not fully understood, although it is known to run in families. You are more likely to have asthma if one or both of your parents has the condition.


Common Triggers

A trigger is anything that irritates the airways and brings on the symptoms of asthma. These differ from person to person and people with asthma may have several triggers. Common triggers include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, tobacco smoke, exercise, cold air and chest infections.

Read more about the causes of asthma.

Asthma can also be made worse by certain activities, such as work. For example, some nurses develop asthma symptoms after exposure to latex. This is often referred to as work-related asthma or occupational asthma.  


Treating Asthma

While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help effectively control the condition. Treatment is based on two important goals:

  • Relieving symptoms 
  • Preventing future symptoms and attacks from developing

Treatment and prevention involves a combination of medicines, lifestyle advice, and identifying and then avoiding potential asthma triggers.

Read more about living with asthma.


Who is Affected?

In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma. That is 1 in every 12 adults and 1 in every 11 children. Asthma in adults is more common in women than men.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

What is Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.

People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways, this is called airflow obstruction.

Typical symptoms of COPD include:

  • increasing breathlessness when active
  • a persistent cough with phlegm
  • frequent chest infections

Read more about the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Why Does COPD Happen?

The main cause of COPD is smoking. The likelihood of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you’ve been smoking. This is because smoking irritates and inflames the lungs, which results in scarring.

Over many years, the inflammation leads to permanent changes in the lung. The walls of the airways thicken and more mucus is produced. Damage to the delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs causes emphysema and the lungs lose their normal elasticity. The smaller airways also become scarred and narrowed. These changes cause the symptoms of breathlessness, cough and phlegm associated with COPD.

Some cases of COPD are caused by fumes, dust, air pollution and genetic disorders, but these are rarer.

Read more about the causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Who is Affected?

COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. It usually affects people over the age of 35, although most people are not diagnosed until they are in their fifties.

It is thought there are over 3 million people living with the disease in the UK, of which only about 900,000 have been diagnosed. This is because many people who develop symptoms of COPD do not get medical help because they often dismiss their symptoms as a ‘smoker’s cough’.

COPD affects more men than women, although rates in women are increasing.


Diagnosis

It is important that COPD is diagnosed as early as possible so treatment can be used to try to slow down the deterioration of your lungs. You should see your GP if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.

COPD is usually diagnosed after a consultation with your doctor, which may be followed by breathing tests.

Read more about diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Treating COPD

Although the damage that has already occurred to your lungs cannot be reversed, you can slow down the progression of the disease. Stopping smoking is particularly effective at doing this.

Treatments for COPD usually involve relieving the symptoms with medication, for example by using an inhaler to make breathing easier.

Surgery is only an option for a small number of people with COPD.

Read more about treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Living With COPD

COPD can affect your life in many ways, but help is available to reduce its impact.

Simple steps such as keeping healthy, being as active as possible, learning breathing techniques, and taking your medication can help you to reduce the symptoms of COPD.

Financial support and advice about relationships and end of life care is also available for people with COPD.

Read more about living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Want to know more?

  • British Lung Foundation: COPD

Can COPD be prevented?

Although COPD causes about 25,000 deaths a year in the UK, severe COPD can usually be prevented by making changes to your lifestyle. If you smoke, stopping is the single most effective way to reduce your risk of getting the condition.

Research has shown you are up to four times more likely to succeed in giving up smoking if you use NHS support along with stop-smoking medicines such as patches or gum. Ask your doctor about this, call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044 or go to the NHS Smokefree website.

Also avoid exposure to tobacco smoke as much as possible.

Want to Know More?

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Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) 

What is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?

 Is the UK’s biggest killer, causing around 82,000 deaths each year. About one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.

In the UK, there are an estimated 2.7m people living with the condition and 2m people affected by angina (the most common symptom of coronary heart disease). 

CHD generally affects more men than women, but from the age of 50 the chances of developing CHD are similar for men and women.

As well as angina (chest pain), the main symptoms of CHD are heart attacks and heart failure. However, not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before CHD is diagnosed.

CHD is sometimes called ischaemic heart disease.

Read more about the symptoms of coronary heart disease.


About the Heart

The heart is a muscle about the size of your fist. It pumps blood around your body and beats approximately 70 times a minute. After the blood leaves the right side of the heart, it goes to your lungs, where it picks up oxygen.

The oxygen-rich blood returns to your heart and is then pumped to the organs of your body through a network of arteries. The blood returns to your heart through veins before being pumped back to your lungs again. This process is called circulation.

The heart gets its own supply of blood from a network of blood vessels on the surface of your heart, called coronary arteries.


Why does Coronary Heart Disease Happen?

Coronary heart disease is the term that describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.

Over time, the walls of your arteries can become furred up with fatty deposits. This process is known as atherosclerosisand the fatty deposits are called atheroma.

Atherosclerosis can be caused by lifestyle habits and other conditions, such as:

Read more about the causes of coronary heart disease.


Diagnosing Coronary Heart Disease

If your doctor feels you are at risk of CHD, they may carry out a risk assessment. This involves asking about your medical and family history, your lifestyle and taking a blood test.

Further tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis of CHD, including:

Read more about diagnosing coronary heart disease.


Treating Coronary Heart Disease

Although coronary heart disease cannot be cured, treatment can help manage the symptoms and reduce the chances of problems such as heart attacks. Treatment can include lifestyle changes, such as doing regular exercise and stopping smoking, as well as medication and surgery.

Read more about treating coronary heart disease.


Recovery

If you have problems such as a heart attack, or have any heart surgery, it is possible to eventually resume your normal life.

Advice and support is available to help you deal with aspects of your life that may have been affected by CHD.

Read more about recovering from the effects of coronary heart disease.


Prevention

By making some simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of getting CHD. These include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Being physically active
  • Giving up smoking
  • Controlling blood cholesterol and sugar levels

Keeping your heart healthy will also have other health benefits, and help reduce your risk of stroke and dementia.

Read more about preventing coronary heart disease.

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Stroke

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

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.

If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have dropped
  • Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift one or both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake
  • Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms

Read more about the symptoms of stroke.


Why do Strokes Happen?

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.


Types of Stroke

There are two main causes of strokes:

  • Ischaemic (accounting for over 80% of all cases) – the blood supply is stopped due to a blood clot 
  • Hemorrhagic – a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts and causes brain damage

There is also a related condition known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the supply of blood to the brain is temporarily interrupted, causing a ‘mini-stroke’. TIAs should be treated seriously as they are often a warning sign that a stroke is coming.


Who is at Risk from Stroke?

In England, strokes are a major health problem. Every year over 150,000 people have a stroke and it is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer

The brain damage caused by strokes means that they are the largest cause of adult disability in the UK.

People over 65 years of age are most at risk from having strokes, although 25% of strokes occur in people who are under 65. It is also possible for children to have strokes.

If you are south Asian, African or Caribbean, your risk of stroke is higher. This is partly because of a predisposition (a natural tendency) to developing diabetes and heart disease, which are two conditions that can cause strokes.

Smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise and a poor diet are also risk factors for stroke. 

Also, conditions that affect the circulation of the blood, such as high blood pressure,high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) and diabetes, increase your risk of having a stroke.

Read more about the causes of stroke.


Treating a Stroke

Treatment depends on the type of stroke you have, including which part of the brain was affected and what caused it.

Most often, strokes are treated with medicines. This generally includes drugs to prevent and remove blood clots, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

In some cases, surgery may be required. This is to clear fatty deposits in your arteries or to repair the damage caused by a haemorrhagic stroke.

Read more about treating stroke.


Life After a Stroke

The damage caused by a stroke can be widespread and long-lasting. Some people need to have a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, while many will never fully recover.

The process of rehabilitation will be specific to you, and will depend on your symptoms and how severe they are. A team of specialists are available to help, including physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and specialist nurses and doctors.

The damage that a stroke causes to your brain can impact on many aspects of your life and wellbeing, and depending on your individual circumstances, you may require a number of different treatment and rehabilitation methods.

Read more about recovering from a stroke.


Can Strokes be Prevented?

Strokes can usually be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking will dramatically reduce your risk of having a stroke. Lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels with medication also lowers the risk of stroke substantially.

Read more about preventing stroke.

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Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

In the UK, approximately 2.9 million people are affected by diabetes. There are also thought to be around 850,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.


Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes, referred to as type 1 and type 2.

You can read more information on type 1 diabeteshttps://mytype1diabetes.nhs.uk/

See Patient Information & Helpful Links page to download supporting documents.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all. In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

This topic focuses on type 2 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes usually affects people over the age of 40, although increasingly younger people are also being affected. It is more common in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern descent.


Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes can cause various symptoms. Symptoms common to both types of diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Urinating frequently, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk

Read more about symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

You should visit your GP as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.


Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin is a hormone produced by part of the pancreas, a large gland located behind the stomach. Insulin controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It moves glucose from the blood into your cells, where it is converted into energy.

In type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced to maintain a normal blood glucose level (insulin deficiency), or your body is unable to use the insulin that is produced effectively (insulin resistance).

Read more about the causes of type 2 diabetes.


Treating Type 2 Diabetes

It is important diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible. Diabetes cannot be cured, but treatment aims to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible to control your symptoms and minimise health problems developing later.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may be referred to a diabetes care team for specialist treatment, or your GP surgery may provide first line diabetes care.

In some cases of type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to control your symptoms by altering your lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet (see below).

However, as type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, you may eventually need medication to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. To start with this will usually take the form of tablets, but later on it may include injected therapies, such as insulin.

Read more about treating type 2 diabetes.


Complications

Left untreated, diabetes can cause many health problems. Large amounts of glucose can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs. Even a mildly raised glucose level that doesn’t cause any symptoms can have damaging effects in the long term.

Read more about different complications of type 2 diabetes.


Living With Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you will be advised to look after your health carefully. Caring for your health will also make treating your diabetes easier and minimise your risk of developing complications.It helps to eat a healthy, balanced dietstop smoking (if you smoke), drink alcohol in moderation and take plenty ofregular exercise.

Read more about living with type 2 diabetes.

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Mental Health

First Response – 01274 221181 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

First Response is a service that supports people experiencing a mental healh crisis. It is for people of all ages in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven. They work with you, your family and other agencies to alloow quick access to services that will support your recovery.

You can contact them directly, you do not have to have used any mental health services before.


When should I call First Response?

If you are experiencing something which makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health.

  • Mood changes 
  • Withdrawing from people 
  • Not taking care of yourself
  • Having increased thoughts about life not being worth living
  • Excessive worry 
  • Feeling out of control
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Changes in the way you think
  • Hearing voices, or seeing things that others can’t 
  • Thinking about harming yourself

Not only can you call First Response direct, a friend, carer or family member can also call the team if they are concerned about your well-being.

Cancer

What is Cancer ?

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.

There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment.You can find out more about specific types of cancer by using the links on this page.


Spotting Signs of Cancer

Changes to your body’s normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary can sometimes be an early sign of cancer.

For example, a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits are all symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor.

In many cases, your symptoms will not be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions. However, it is still important that you see your GP so your symptoms can be investigated.

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. For example, healthy eating, taking regular exercise and not smoking will all help lower your risk.

Read more about how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your chances of developing cancer.


How Common is Cancer?

Cancer is a common condition. In 2009, 320,467 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the UK. More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.

In the UK, the most common types of cancer are:


Cancer Treatment

Each specific type of cancer has its own set of treatment methods.

However, many cases of cancer are treated using chemotherapy (powerful cancer-killing medication) and radiotherapy (the controlled use of high energy X-rays). Surgery is also sometimes carried out to remove cancerous tissue.


Waiting Times

Accurately diagnosing cancer can take weeks or months. As cancer often develops slowly, over several years, waiting for a few weeks will not usually impact on the effectiveness of treatment.

Patients suspected of having cancer and urgently referred by their GP, should have no more than a two week wait to see a specialist.

In cases where cancer has been confirmed, patients should wait no more than 31 days from the decision to treat to the start of their treatment.

In 2010-11, 95.5% of patients who were urgently referred for suspected cancer were seen by a specialist within 14 days of referral.

In the same period, 98.4% of patients receiving their first treatment for cancer began their treatment within 31 days. For breast cancer, 99.1% of people began their treatment within 31 days of diagnosis.


Cancer Services

Find local cancer support services

Find specialist cancer hospitals 

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Reading Well for People With Long Term Conditions

Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause a cough, wheezing, and breathlessness. The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person. Asthma can be controlled well in most people most of the time.

Asthma is caused by inflammation of the airways. These are the small tubes, called bronchi, which carry air in and out of the lungs. If you have asthma, the bronchi will be inflamed and more sensitive than normal.

When you come into contact with something that irritates your lungs, known as a trigger (see below), your airways become narrow, the muscles around them tighten and there is an increase in the production of sticky mucus (phlegm). This leads to symptoms including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • A tight chest

Read more about the symptoms of asthma.

A severe onset of symptoms is known as an asthma attack or an ‘acute asthma exacerbation’. Asthma attacks may require hospital treatment and can sometimes be life-threatening, although this is rare.

For some people with chronic (long-lasting) asthma, long-term inflammation of the airways may lead to more permanent narrowing.

If you are diagnosed with asthma as a child, the symptoms may disappear during your teenage years. However, asthma can return in adulthood. Moderate to severe childhood symptoms are more likely to persist or return later in life. Although asthma does not only start in young people and can develop at any age. 

Read more about childhood asthma and how asthma is diagnosed.


What Causes Asthma?

The cause of asthma is not fully understood, although it is known to run in families. You are more likely to have asthma if one or both of your parents has the condition.


Common Triggers

A trigger is anything that irritates the airways and brings on the symptoms of asthma. These differ from person to person and people with asthma may have several triggers. Common triggers include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, tobacco smoke, exercise, cold air and chest infections.

Read more about the causes of asthma.

Asthma can also be made worse by certain activities, such as work. For example, some nurses develop asthma symptoms after exposure to latex. This is often referred to as work-related asthma or occupational asthma.  


Treating Asthma

While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help effectively control the condition. Treatment is based on two important goals:

  • Relieving symptoms 
  • Preventing future symptoms and attacks from developing

Treatment and prevention involves a combination of medicines, lifestyle advice, and identifying and then avoiding potential asthma triggers.

Read more about living with asthma.


Who is Affected?

In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma. That is 1 in every 12 adults and 1 in every 11 children. Asthma in adults is more common in women than men.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

What is Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.

People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways, this is called airflow obstruction.

Typical symptoms of COPD include:

  • increasing breathlessness when active
  • a persistent cough with phlegm
  • frequent chest infections

Read more about the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Why Does COPD Happen?

The main cause of COPD is smoking. The likelihood of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you’ve been smoking. This is because smoking irritates and inflames the lungs, which results in scarring.

Over many years, the inflammation leads to permanent changes in the lung. The walls of the airways thicken and more mucus is produced. Damage to the delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs causes emphysema and the lungs lose their normal elasticity. The smaller airways also become scarred and narrowed. These changes cause the symptoms of breathlessness, cough and phlegm associated with COPD.

Some cases of COPD are caused by fumes, dust, air pollution and genetic disorders, but these are rarer.

Read more about the causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Who is Affected?

COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. It usually affects people over the age of 35, although most people are not diagnosed until they are in their fifties.

It is thought there are over 3 million people living with the disease in the UK, of which only about 900,000 have been diagnosed. This is because many people who develop symptoms of COPD do not get medical help because they often dismiss their symptoms as a ‘smoker’s cough’.

COPD affects more men than women, although rates in women are increasing.


Diagnosis

It is important that COPD is diagnosed as early as possible so treatment can be used to try to slow down the deterioration of your lungs. You should see your GP if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.

COPD is usually diagnosed after a consultation with your doctor, which may be followed by breathing tests.

Read more about diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Treating COPD

Although the damage that has already occurred to your lungs cannot be reversed, you can slow down the progression of the disease. Stopping smoking is particularly effective at doing this.

Treatments for COPD usually involve relieving the symptoms with medication, for example by using an inhaler to make breathing easier.

Surgery is only an option for a small number of people with COPD.

Read more about treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Living With COPD

COPD can affect your life in many ways, but help is available to reduce its impact.

Simple steps such as keeping healthy, being as active as possible, learning breathing techniques, and taking your medication can help you to reduce the symptoms of COPD.

Financial support and advice about relationships and end of life care is also available for people with COPD.

Read more about living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Want to know more?

  • British Lung Foundation: COPD

Can COPD be prevented?

Although COPD causes about 25,000 deaths a year in the UK, severe COPD can usually be prevented by making changes to your lifestyle. If you smoke, stopping is the single most effective way to reduce your risk of getting the condition.

Research has shown you are up to four times more likely to succeed in giving up smoking if you use NHS support along with stop-smoking medicines such as patches or gum. Ask your doctor about this, call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044 or go to the NHS Smokefree website.

Also avoid exposure to tobacco smoke as much as possible.

Want to Know More?

Back to Self Care 

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Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) 

What is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?

 Is the UK’s biggest killer, causing around 82,000 deaths each year. About one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.

In the UK, there are an estimated 2.7m people living with the condition and 2m people affected by angina (the most common symptom of coronary heart disease). 

CHD generally affects more men than women, but from the age of 50 the chances of developing CHD are similar for men and women.

As well as angina (chest pain), the main symptoms of CHD are heart attacks and heart failure. However, not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before CHD is diagnosed.

CHD is sometimes called ischaemic heart disease.

Read more about the symptoms of coronary heart disease.


About the Heart

The heart is a muscle about the size of your fist. It pumps blood around your body and beats approximately 70 times a minute. After the blood leaves the right side of the heart, it goes to your lungs, where it picks up oxygen.

The oxygen-rich blood returns to your heart and is then pumped to the organs of your body through a network of arteries. The blood returns to your heart through veins before being pumped back to your lungs again. This process is called circulation.

The heart gets its own supply of blood from a network of blood vessels on the surface of your heart, called coronary arteries.


Why does Coronary Heart Disease Happen?

Coronary heart disease is the term that describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.

Over time, the walls of your arteries can become furred up with fatty deposits. This process is known as atherosclerosisand the fatty deposits are called atheroma.

Atherosclerosis can be caused by lifestyle habits and other conditions, such as:

Read more about the causes of coronary heart disease.


Diagnosing Coronary Heart Disease

If your doctor feels you are at risk of CHD, they may carry out a risk assessment. This involves asking about your medical and family history, your lifestyle and taking a blood test.

Further tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis of CHD, including:

Read more about diagnosing coronary heart disease.


Treating Coronary Heart Disease

Although coronary heart disease cannot be cured, treatment can help manage the symptoms and reduce the chances of problems such as heart attacks. Treatment can include lifestyle changes, such as doing regular exercise and stopping smoking, as well as medication and surgery.

Read more about treating coronary heart disease.


Recovery

If you have problems such as a heart attack, or have any heart surgery, it is possible to eventually resume your normal life.

Advice and support is available to help you deal with aspects of your life that may have been affected by CHD.

Read more about recovering from the effects of coronary heart disease.


Prevention

By making some simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of getting CHD. These include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Being physically active
  • Giving up smoking
  • Controlling blood cholesterol and sugar levels

Keeping your heart healthy will also have other health benefits, and help reduce your risk of stroke and dementia.

Read more about preventing coronary heart disease.

Back to Self Care 

Click on the following links for other Long Term Conditions

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Stroke

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

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.

If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have dropped
  • Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift one or both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake
  • Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms

Read more about the symptoms of stroke.


Why do Strokes Happen?

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.


Types of Stroke

There are two main causes of strokes:

  • Ischaemic (accounting for over 80% of all cases) – the blood supply is stopped due to a blood clot 
  • Hemorrhagic – a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts and causes brain damage

There is also a related condition known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), where the supply of blood to the brain is temporarily interrupted, causing a ‘mini-stroke’. TIAs should be treated seriously as they are often a warning sign that a stroke is coming.


Who is at Risk from Stroke?

In England, strokes are a major health problem. Every year over 150,000 people have a stroke and it is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer

The brain damage caused by strokes means that they are the largest cause of adult disability in the UK.

People over 65 years of age are most at risk from having strokes, although 25% of strokes occur in people who are under 65. It is also possible for children to have strokes.

If you are south Asian, African or Caribbean, your risk of stroke is higher. This is partly because of a predisposition (a natural tendency) to developing diabetes and heart disease, which are two conditions that can cause strokes.

Smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise and a poor diet are also risk factors for stroke. 

Also, conditions that affect the circulation of the blood, such as high blood pressure,high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) and diabetes, increase your risk of having a stroke.

Read more about the causes of stroke.


Treating a Stroke

Treatment depends on the type of stroke you have, including which part of the brain was affected and what caused it.

Most often, strokes are treated with medicines. This generally includes drugs to prevent and remove blood clots, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

In some cases, surgery may be required. This is to clear fatty deposits in your arteries or to repair the damage caused by a haemorrhagic stroke.

Read more about treating stroke.


Life After a Stroke

The damage caused by a stroke can be widespread and long-lasting. Some people need to have a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, while many will never fully recover.

The process of rehabilitation will be specific to you, and will depend on your symptoms and how severe they are. A team of specialists are available to help, including physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and specialist nurses and doctors.

The damage that a stroke causes to your brain can impact on many aspects of your life and wellbeing, and depending on your individual circumstances, you may require a number of different treatment and rehabilitation methods.

Read more about recovering from a stroke.


Can Strokes be Prevented?

Strokes can usually be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking will dramatically reduce your risk of having a stroke. Lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels with medication also lowers the risk of stroke substantially.

Read more about preventing stroke.

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Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

In the UK, approximately 2.9 million people are affected by diabetes. There are also thought to be around 850,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.


Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes, referred to as type 1 and type 2.

You can read more information on type 1 diabeteshttps://mytype1diabetes.nhs.uk/

See Patient Information & Helpful Links page to download supporting documents.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all. In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

This topic focuses on type 2 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes usually affects people over the age of 40, although increasingly younger people are also being affected. It is more common in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern descent.


Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes can cause various symptoms. Symptoms common to both types of diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Urinating frequently, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk

Read more about symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

You should visit your GP as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.


Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin is a hormone produced by part of the pancreas, a large gland located behind the stomach. Insulin controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It moves glucose from the blood into your cells, where it is converted into energy.

In type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced to maintain a normal blood glucose level (insulin deficiency), or your body is unable to use the insulin that is produced effectively (insulin resistance).

Read more about the causes of type 2 diabetes.


Treating Type 2 Diabetes

It is important diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible. Diabetes cannot be cured, but treatment aims to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible to control your symptoms and minimise health problems developing later.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may be referred to a diabetes care team for specialist treatment, or your GP surgery may provide first line diabetes care.

In some cases of type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to control your symptoms by altering your lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet (see below).

However, as type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, you may eventually need medication to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. To start with this will usually take the form of tablets, but later on it may include injected therapies, such as insulin.

Read more about treating type 2 diabetes.


Complications

Left untreated, diabetes can cause many health problems. Large amounts of glucose can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs. Even a mildly raised glucose level that doesn’t cause any symptoms can have damaging effects in the long term.

Read more about different complications of type 2 diabetes.


Living With Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you will be advised to look after your health carefully. Caring for your health will also make treating your diabetes easier and minimise your risk of developing complications.It helps to eat a healthy, balanced dietstop smoking (if you smoke), drink alcohol in moderation and take plenty ofregular exercise.

Read more about living with type 2 diabetes.

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Mental Health

First Response – 01274 221181 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

First Response is a service that supports people experiencing a mental healh crisis. It is for people of all ages in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven. They work with you, your family and other agencies to alloow quick access to services that will support your recovery.

You can contact them directly, you do not have to have used any mental health services before.


When should I call First Response?

If you are experiencing something which makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health.

  • Mood changes 
  • Withdrawing from people 
  • Not taking care of yourself
  • Having increased thoughts about life not being worth living
  • Excessive worry 
  • Feeling out of control
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Changes in the way you think
  • Hearing voices, or seeing things that others can’t 
  • Thinking about harming yourself

Not only can you call First Response direct, a friend, carer or family member can also call the team if they are concerned about your well-being.

Cancer

What is Cancer ?

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.

There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment.You can find out more about specific types of cancer by using the links on this page.


Spotting Signs of Cancer

Changes to your body’s normal processes or symptoms that are out of the ordinary can sometimes be an early sign of cancer.

For example, a lump that suddenly appears on your body, unexplained bleeding or changes to your bowel habits are all symptoms that need to be checked by a doctor.

In many cases, your symptoms will not be related to cancer and will be caused by other, non-cancerous health conditions. However, it is still important that you see your GP so your symptoms can be investigated.

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. For example, healthy eating, taking regular exercise and not smoking will all help lower your risk.

Read more about how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your chances of developing cancer.


How Common is Cancer?

Cancer is a common condition. In 2009, 320,467 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the UK. More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.

In the UK, the most common types of cancer are:


Cancer Treatment

Each specific type of cancer has its own set of treatment methods.

However, many cases of cancer are treated using chemotherapy (powerful cancer-killing medication) and radiotherapy (the controlled use of high energy X-rays). Surgery is also sometimes carried out to remove cancerous tissue.


Waiting Times

Accurately diagnosing cancer can take weeks or months. As cancer often develops slowly, over several years, waiting for a few weeks will not usually impact on the effectiveness of treatment.

Patients suspected of having cancer and urgently referred by their GP, should have no more than a two week wait to see a specialist.

In cases where cancer has been confirmed, patients should wait no more than 31 days from the decision to treat to the start of their treatment.

In 2010-11, 95.5% of patients who were urgently referred for suspected cancer were seen by a specialist within 14 days of referral.

In the same period, 98.4% of patients receiving their first treatment for cancer began their treatment within 31 days. For breast cancer, 99.1% of people began their treatment within 31 days of diagnosis.


Cancer Services

Find local cancer support services

Find specialist cancer hospitals 

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Reading Well for People With Long Term Conditions

Home Blood Pressure Monitoring

If you are worried about your blood pressure and have your own BP machine at home, please use the attached sheet to record your readings and hand in to reception or pop it in our post box. Please ensure you had added your name and date of birth. There are full instructions on the form to guide you.