Word On Health – March 2017

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On this week’s Word On Health Report we look at Tinnitus, COPD, Raynauds and Head Lice.

  • Tinnitus: Paul Pennington looks at new research and calls from sufferers for greater consideration and understanding from Primary Care providers.
  • COPD: Paul looks at our most common respiratory disease and why it’s so important that more people living with the symptoms, but are, as yet, undiagnosed, seek medical help.
  • Raynaud’s: A common condition that, despite its prevalence, very few of us have ever heard of.
  • Head Lice: Figures from the NHS suggest that as many as one in three children across the UK will have head lice at some point during the year. In this week’s final Word On Health report, Paul Pennington looks at the measures parents can take to ensure these pesky parasites don’t drive them to their ‘Nits End!’

Tinnitus is regarded as a symptom and not a disease. It is the sensation of a sound in the ear or head not produced by an external source. The sound can be of any pitch or type, continuous or intermittent. Tinnitus sounds can take a variety of forms such as buzzing, ringing, whistling, hissing or a range of other sounds.  For some it can even sound like music or singing.  Sometimes sufferers only notice these sounds when it is very quiet, such as at night.  Others find that the sound can be loud enough to intrude on everyday life. Recent research suggests the incidence of the ‘symptom’ is on the increase. It’s a condition that 18% of the global population endure – it has no cure.

COPD is a term used for a number of conditions; including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD leads to damaged airways in the lungs, causing them to become narrower and making it harder for air to get in and out of the lungs.

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a common disorder in which the small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to changes in temperature. It affects between 3-20% of the adult population worldwide and there may be as many as ten million sufferers in the UK.  Raynaud’s is most commonly found in females and approximately 10% of women in the UK suffer from Raynaud’s to some degree. The condition can affect children, adolescents and adults. Many sufferers have never seen a doctor as they are unaware that their condition has a name or that there is anything that can be done to help. Raynaud’s is not, as 36% of respondents in a recent poll of 2000 people conducted on behalf of SRUK believe, contagious!

Head lice are a common problem, particularly in schoolchildren aged four to 11. It is estimated that at any one time 5% of the school population are living with an infestation but that’s not to say adults are immune from them, recent research suggests there has been a rise in the number of reported cases in adults.

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