3.5 Million People In The UK Are At A High Risk Of Having Life-threatening Lung Condition
Nearly 3.5 million people (7.4%) in the UK are at a high risk of having
the lung condition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are
unaware they could have it according to new research from the British
Lung Foundation (BLF). Previous research from the charity showed there
are currently 2.8 million people living with the condition who are
undiagnosed, however this new research suggests the possibility that
there is now 700,000 more than originally thought.
The Opinion Matters research surveyed over 1,000 respondents across the UK with no history
of diagnosed lung disease and asked them whether they had symptoms of
COPD such as breathlessness, a regular cough, phlegm and wheeze. Each
response was scored to reveal how at risk participants were of having
the life-threatening lung condition. It was found that 22.8% of
respondents were at a medium risk and an astonishing 7.4% were at a high
risk of having COPD and not even knowing it.
Across the total 3.5 million people found to be at high risk,
women accounted for 54% with 1.89 million in total across the UK. COPD
has been increasing nearly three times faster amongst women than men.
COPD is an umbrella term for chronic bronchitis and emphysema and can literally leave someone gasping for breath. It is currently the UK's fifth biggest killer, killing more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer each year. More worryingly, BLF research has shown that over 29 million
people (61%) in the UK have never heard of the condition.
Symptoms of COPD include breathlessness and a persistent cough.
This research also shows a staggering 28% of smokers would think their
cough was just a 'smoker's cough', a term used to downplay their
symptoms. In actual fact, a 'smoker's cough' is a symptom of COPD which
can start to develop in people as early as their late twenties. Only 4%
of smokers would think their breathlessness or cough was down to COPD.
World Stroke Organization Declares Public Health Emergency
On World Stroke Day (29. October) the World Stroke Organization (WSO) called for urgent and immediate action in the global fight against stroke by launching the "One in Six" campaign. The theme was identified to
mirror today's reality that one in six people worldwide will have a
stroke in their lifetime. Every six seconds, someone somewhere will die
from a stroke. With the fight against stroke at a crossroads, WSO
members in 92 countries around the world have united to put forth a
simple life-saving message on World Stroke Day: Do not take chances. One
in six people is at risk for stroke - it could be you. Learn the facts.
Save a life today. Act Now! The campaign is asking people to commit to
six stroke challenges:
- Know your personal risk factors: high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood cholesterol
- Be physically active and exercise regularly.
- Avoid obesity by keeping to a healthy diet.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now.
- Learn to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and how to take action.
There are 15 million people who have a stroke each year.
According to the World Health Organization, stroke is the second leading
cause of death for people above the age of 60, and the fifth leading
cause in people aged 15 to 59. Stroke also attacks children, including
newborns. Each year, nearly six million people die from stroke. In
fact, stroke is responsible for more deaths annually than those
attributed to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together. Stroke is also the leading cause of long-term disability irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or country.
Three-time Tour de France champion and stroke survivor Alberto
Contador notes "Stroke can attack anytime and at any age. The good news
is that stroke can be beaten. Not only can it be prevented, but people
who have experienced a stroke can regain their quality of life with the
appropriate long-term care and support. I am an example."
Blood Pressure Measured In Doctor's Office May Not Adequately Predict Heart Risks
Blood pressure, as measured in a medical office, does not seem to predict future heart risks, in comparison with continuous blood pressure monitoring in individuals with treatment-resistant hypertension, according to an article released on November 24, 2008 in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Between 10 and 30% of patients with high blood pressure actually have resistant hypertension, when blood pressure remains high despite administration of at least three antihypertensive drugs, including a diuretic, according to the background information in the article. When managing these patients, it is important to take blood pressure at regular intervals throughout the day to avoid the "white-coat" effect, in which a patient reports a higher blood pressure in the physician's office.
To investigate the ability of different types of blood pressure measurement on patients with resistant hypertension, 556 patients with resistant hypertension attending an outpatient clinic between 1999 and 2004 were examined. The subjects underwent a clinical exam, including a blood pressure measurement, over 24 hours, with recordings every 15 minutes during the day and 30 minutes in the night. Followup was performed three to four times per year until December 2007, with a median followup time of 4.8 years.
Out of the total, 19.6% (109) of the participants experienced a cardiovascular event or death due to cardiovascular disease. These events included 44 strokes, 21 heart attacks, 10 new cases of heart failure, and five sudden deaths. In the study, 12.6% (70) died, 8.3% (46) of the total population dying from cardiovascular disease.
The blood pressure measured in the medical office was not predictive of any of these events. However, ambulatory blood pressure was associated with both fatal and non-fatal heart events. This association persisted even after controlling for office blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. Nighttime blood pressure was better for predicting heart events than daytime pressure.
The authors note the importance of this potential finding. "This study has important clinical implications," they write. "First, it reinforces the importance of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring performance in resistant hypertensive patients. Furthermore, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring should be performed during the whole 24 hours, with separate analyses of the daytime and nighttime periods, because it seems that nighttime blood pressures are better cardiovascular risk factors than are daytime blood pressures."
"Second, it raises the question of whether therapeutic interventions directed specifically at controlling nighttime hypertension will be able to improve cardiovascular prognosis compared with the traditional approach of controlling daytime blood pressure levels," they continue. "This important clinical question should be addressed in future prospective interventional studies."
Promising Trial Results For Children's Malaria Vaccine
Two separate phase II trials of an experimental malaria vaccine in infants and young children in Africa have published promising results this week and researchers are hopeful that once regulatory approval comes through they can press ahead with phase III trials of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Biologicals' RTS,S/AS vaccine candidate in Africa.
The trials, which were conducted in Kenya and Tanzania, are part of a global effort to develop a malaria vaccine under the auspices of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI). The findings were published online in two separate studies in the 8 December issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM and were also presented on that date at the 57th annual meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) in New Orleans.
Every year, malaria kills nearly 1 million people worldwide, most of them babies and small children in Africa, for whom the vaccine is designed.
No yellow fever vaccine requirement for travellers entering Brazil
Brazil now recommends vaccination for travellers to the following areas with risk of yellow fever transmission: a) total territory of federal states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins, Minas Gerais and Distrito Federal; b) specific areas of the states of Piauí, Bahia, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
Brazil also considers that there is no risk of yellow fever transmission in the coastal areas of the states of Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.