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Long Term Conditions ~ Annual Reviews

If you have a long-term health condition you will be invited in for your annual review during the month of your birthday. However, in the meantime, if you are concerned about your health do not wait to be called for your annual review, either call the practice or call 111.

Long Term Conditions (LTC) are health conditions that can impact on a person’s life, and may require ongoing care and support. We organise appointments and provide support for people who have an LTC’.

Chronic Disease Management for:

Asthma

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

Symptoms of asthma

The usual symptoms of asthma are

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest.

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.

Treatment of asthma

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

Living with asthma

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.


Asthma UK – this website has been revamped to meet the needs of the thousands of people with asthma who visit the site each day, either to find important information about asthma and how to control it

Asthma – an excellent resource with useful video, audio, images and references relating to asthma.

NHS – Asthma – further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Asthma.


These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a preventable disease that was responsible for the deaths of 88,000 people in the UK in 2008 (British Heart Foundation CHD Statistics 2010). In all, 191,00 died from heart and circulatory disease in the UK. Death rates are highest in Scotland and North of England and lowest in the South of England. CHD is the biggest killer in the country.

British Heart Foundation – Vinne Jones’ hard and fast hands-only CPR

There are videos available on all aspects of BHF and heart disease on the BHF video site


Audio MP3 Downloads

Now you can download and listen to podcasts free from the BHF – either on the move or in the comfort of your own home. We have a few examples below.

Controlling Cholesterol

Giving Up Smoking

Risk Factors & Heart Disease

“The British Heart Foundation is Britain’s leading charity fighting heart and circulatory disease – the UK’s biggest killer. The BHF funds research, education and life-saving equipment and helps heart patients return to a full and active way of life. The charity relies on donations to continue its vital work.”


Home Blood Pressure Monitoring

The BHS recommends that only properly validated BP monitors be used both in the clinic and at home. All the monitors listed on their website have been clinically validated. This means that all the machines, regardless of their cost, give reliable readings when used correctly. Please note that added cost does not equate to added accuracy.

View a list of clinically validated BP monitors


CHD – Healthtalkonline – Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people’s experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.

CHD – an excellent resource with useful video, audio, images and references relating to CHD.

NHS – further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of CHD.

British Heart Foundation – our vision is of a world in which people do not die prematurely of heart disease. We will achieve this through our pioneering research, our vital prevention activity and by ensuring quality care and support for people living with heart disease.


These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Cancer

One in three people will be affected by cancer at some stage in their life. There are many different types of cancer and this page doesn’t cover them all, but the general information will help you to access further information and support.


Macmillan Cancer Support – The cancer line and how it can help

There are videos available Macmillan and the support they offer on the Macmillan Video Site

There is further information and educational videos on the Cancer Research UK Video Site


Cancer – Healthtalkonline – Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people’s experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.

Cancerhelp – free information service provided by Cancer Research UK about cancer and cancer care for people with cancer and their families. Information is formatted in such a way that makes understanding the website an easy process

Macmillan Cancer Support – Europe’s leading cancer information charity, with over 4,500 pages of up-to-date cancer information, practical advice and support for cancer patients, their families and carers.

NHS – further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Cancer


These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

COPD Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

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.


What is COPD?

NHS – guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks of COPD from the NHS

British Lung Foundation – information and guidance on living with COPD


These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a preventable disease that was responsible for the deaths of 88,000 people in the UK in 2008 (British Heart Foundation CHD Statistics 2010). In all, 191,00 died from heart and circulatory disease in the UK. Death rates are highest in Scotland and North of England and lowest in the South of England. CHD is the biggest killer in the country.

British Heart Foundation – Vinne Jones’ hard and fast hands-only CPR

There are videos available on all aspects of BHF and heart disease on the BHF video site


Audio MP3 Downloads

Now you can download and listen to podcasts free from the BHF – either on the move or in the comfort of your own home. We have a few examples below.

Controlling Cholesterol

Giving Up Smoking

Risk Factors & Heart Disease

“The British Heart Foundation is Britain’s leading charity fighting heart and circulatory disease – the UK’s biggest killer. The BHF funds research, education and life-saving equipment and helps heart patients return to a full and active way of life. The charity relies on donations to continue its vital work.”


Home Blood Pressure Monitoring

The BHS recommends that only properly validated BP monitors be used both in the clinic and at home. All the monitors listed on their website have been clinically validated. This means that all the machines, regardless of their cost, give reliable readings when used correctly. Please note that added cost does not equate to added accuracy.

View a list of clinically validated BP monitors


CHD – Healthtalkonline – Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people’s experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.

CHD – an excellent resource with useful video, audio, images and references relating to CHD.

NHS – further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of CHD.

British Heart Foundation – our vision is of a world in which people do not die prematurely of heart disease. We will achieve this through our pioneering research, our vital prevention activity and by ensuring quality care and support for people living with heart disease.


These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Diabetes

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.

According to the charity Diabetes UK, 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


Diabetes UK – How to take a blood glucose test

There is further information and education on the Diabetes UK Video Site

Diabetes – Healthtalkonline – Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people’s experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.

Diabetes UK – largest charity in the UK devoted to the care and treatment of people with diabetes in order to improve the quality of life for people with the condition

NHS – further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Diabetes


These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Hypertension

High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it.

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

As a general guide:

  • high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80)
  • ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg

Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different. What’s considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else.

Risks of high blood pressure

If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.

Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:

If you have high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions.

Check your blood pressure

The only way of knowing whether you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test.

All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every 5 years. 

Getting this done is easy and could save your life.

You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:

  • at your GP surgery
  • at some pharmacies
  • as part of your NHS Health Check
  • in some workplaces

You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.

Find out more about getting a blood pressure test

Things that can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure

It’s not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but there are things that can increase your risk.

You might be more at risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • do not do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • smoke
  • do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep
  • are over 65
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • are of black African or black Caribbean descent
  • live in a deprived area

Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.

Treatment for high blood pressure

Doctors can help you keep your blood pressure to a safe level using:

  • lifestyle changes
  • medicines

What works best is different for each person.

Talk to your doctor to help you decide about treatment.

This patient decision aid (PDF, 132kb) can also help you to understand your treatment options.

Lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure

These lifestyle changes can help prevent and lower high blood pressure:

  • reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet
  • cut back on alcohol 
  • lose weight if you’re overweight
  • exercise regularly
  • cut down on caffeine
  • stop smoking

Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take 1 or more medicines to stop their blood pressure getting too high.

Osteoarthritis

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: a real story

Who develops osteoarthritis?

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.


Arthritis Research UK – Arthritis Research UK is the charity leading the fight against arthritis. Everything we do is underpinned by research

NHS – guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks of Ostearthritis from the NHS

Arthritis Care – Arthritis Care exists to support people with arthritis. They are the UK’s largest organisation working with and for all people who have arthritis.


These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Stroke/Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)

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 NHS Stroke Act FAST pages offer a great deal of information about stroke, including how to recognise the signs, some real stories of stroke sufferers and advice on how to live your life after a stroke.

NHS – Stroke

Chest Heart & Stroke Charity (N.Ireland)

Chest Heart & Stroke Charity (Scotland)


Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)

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.

What next?

We are fortunate in that we have already embedded “digital first” solutions into our new way of working (such as online consultations or utilising text with links and video). This has enabled our clinical team to be more responsive to patients’ needs for clinical input. 

You need take no action until we contact you. If you have a long-term condition and we have your mobile number you will receive a text or an email address from us with further information, instructions and if applicable, links to relevant questionnaires. Otherwise we will contact you by letter.

How will it work?

If you are sent a link to a questionnaire and you complete it, it will be securely submitted to a clinician for review.

Can the entire process be completed remotely?

No. Blood tests are one of the elements of a review that need a face to face appointment. You will be advised if a blood test is necessary and you will be asked to book this with reception.

Many of the long-term condition reviews ask for a recent blood pressure reading. Home readings are considered the “gold standard” for measuring blood pressure and we ask that you please do consider purchasing a blood pressure monitor. These can be found on Amazon, or your local chemist can advise. The Omron monitors we use in the surgery can be purchased for around £25.

What if I am not managing and feel unwell with my condition?

Remote annual reviews are just that – an annual check in and review of your condition followed by a medication review.

If you are unwell or concerned, you should contact the medical team as usual, or if you are unsure, call 111

When will I hear back from the specialist?

You will be advised of the outcome of your review by either phone or email. This may take up to four weeks and will either:

  • notify you that the review is complete, and no further action is required or
  • request a phone call to discuss a management plan or
  • request that you book a face to face appointment. 

What if I do not have a mobile or email?

Where we do not have either a mobile or email contact for a patient, we will contact them by letter. We are hoping that this will be very few patients. Please do go to the ‘update contact details’ page on our website to ensure we have the most up to date contact information for you. This will help us so we can better help you.