Around 5.4 million people in the UK are currently treated for asthma, including over 1 million children. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, characterised by variable airflow obstruction and airway hyper-responsiveness, and the presence of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness or cough.
Lower back pain can affect anyone at any age, and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It’s the UK’s leading cause of disability, affecting more than 1.1million people in the UK. Most lower back pain is caused not by damage or disease, but by sprains, muscle strains, minor injuries or a pinched or irritated nerve. It can also occur during pregnancy, or because of stress, viral infection or a kidney infection.
Bell’s Palsy is caused by inflammation of the facial nerve in the internal auditory canal, but the cause of the inflammation is unknown. It results in impairment of facial movements on the affected side, including blinking. The condition can develop at any age, and in about 70% it resolves spontaneously without treatment, but slight or moderate facial weakness may also result.
BPPV is associated with vertigo of short duration induced by a change of position. It can result in nausea and visual disturbance.
Both cancer treatment and cancer itself cause various symptoms; fatigue is the most common, followed by moderate to severe pain. Hot flushes are common in chemotherapy treatments, and many cancer patients suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth) and the associated problems of swallowing, chewing and speaking. Chemotherapy can also cause nausea and vomiting, leukopenia and neutropenia (decreased numbers of white blood cells), placing the patient at increased risk of infection.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel at the wrist, and include numbness, tingling, burning and a dull ache in the hand and fingers, usually occurring at night, often waking the patient from sleep, but can be relieved within a few minutes by shaking the hand. Pain can sometimes radiate up the forearm; other symptoms can include weakness or clumsiness of the hand, dry skin, swelling or colour changes in the hand.
Labour is a series of rhythmic, involuntary progressive contractions of the uterus. In a first pregnancy, labour usually lasts 12 to 18 hours on average; subsequent labours are often shorter, averaging 6 to 8 hours. During labour, most women need some form of pain relief.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, is characterised by severe, disturbing fatigue, and other symptoms such as musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, impaired concentration and headaches. It is thought that the causes include some infectious illnesses, such as Epstein-Barr virus (glandular fever) and viral meningitis, and some endocrine and immunological abnormalities, and abnormal pain processing.
COPD, also known as COAD (chronic obstructive airways disease) is thought to be the fourth most common cause of death worldwide. It is characterised by airflow limitation that is largely irreversible due to damage of the airways and lung tissue. The main cause is tobacco smoking, and symptoms include breathlessness, cough, sputum production, wheeze and chest tightness, which worsen slowly over time.
Colds and flu (acute upper respiratory tract viral infections) are the most common diseases in humans. Adults have two to five common colds each year. It is a short, mild illness with early symptoms of headache, sneezing, chills and sore throat, and later symptoms of nasal discharge, cough and fatigue. Influenza (flu) is caused by infection with influenza A and B viruses; it is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease, with abrupt onset of fever, chills, non-productive cough, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and fatigue.