For Spring 2013 Newsletter, please click here
Sign up to receive FREE quarterly newsletters.
It is the New Year, so it’s time for some self-improvement. Have you made New Year’s resolutions before, but failed to keep them? I would argue that a resolution is too restraining and negative, I would prefer to focus on adopting habits that keep you healthy. Let’s concentrate on the smokers amongst you. You know who you are? Have you tried quitting before or have you persuaded yourself that your genes will protect you from the ravages of cigarettes?
First, think of why you should stop smoking and then, when you have decided to (and this might be the difficult step), take the first teeny weeny step. You do not have to throw all your cigarettes away for good – although that might be one approach. Take a small step, develop a new habit and, once it is taken, you are on the road to being an ‘ex-smoker’. Keep taking little steps that help you develop little habits and you will achieve your aim.
Take Small Steps
What small steps can you take? Try these:
1. Develop a disgust for cigarettes. Spend 5 minutes each day imaging the toxic smoke filling your lungs and turning them black, and large globs of fat being deposited in the blood vessels of your brain, heart and legs. The surgeon teeing you up for an amputation operation, etc. Remind yourself of this every time you smoke.
2. Toss a coin each day. Heads you smoke that day, tails you don’t. Or, if that is too difficult, ‘tails’ you don’t smoke until midday or something similar. Keep this going for a year and you may reduce your intake by 50% (provided you don’t smoke twice as many on the smoking days). On smoke-free days, have a shower, wash your hair, put on clean clothes and enjoy the smell that you exude.
3. Take fewer draws from each cigarette (you are going to have to be honest here).
4. Make the first step to getting expert help. You can get excellent help from the following:
No matter how small your first step, it is a first step and it will be difficult – if it wasn’t, everyone would do it. Keep in mind the pluses of being an EX-smoker. Reward yourself for even a small achievement (not with a cigarette please).
Here are some of the reasons why you should quit (this is taken directly from http://smokefree.nhs.uk/why-quit/health-and-confidence/
Your lifestyle WILL improve (after the short term discomfort)
Share your own stories with Breathing Matters. We are adding a page to our website to celebrate smokers who have quit. If you would like to join our gallery of successful quitters in 2012, email us on email@example.com with your story and a photo.
The gift of an organ to a patient who is in desperate need can be life-saving. A single individual can, after their death, donate their organs to save the lives and sight of up to 7 different people. Many people in the UK are waiting for organs to be donated and, every day, three people (1000 people per year) die waiting. Whilst the majority of people in the UK would accept an organ for themselves or their children to save their lives, only 29% are actually on the organ donor list.
As well as joining the donor list http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/Consent.do), it is also important to make sure that your immediate family know that you want to be a donor. This means that, if they are asked about your wishes, they can consent to the use of your organs for donation, quickly and without any guilt, confident that this is what you would have wanted.
Recently, I asked some of my non-medical friends if they were organ donors and was surprised that that very few of them are. These are some of the reasons that they gave for their decisions and my answers to them.
1. Haven’t people woken up from severe brain injury years afterwards? I am worried that if I am a donor I will be declared ‘dead’ even though I may still have a chance of recovery.
Organs are only taken from patients that are on life support machines in Intensive Care and are declared ‘brain dead” or from patients who have died but whose organs can be removed very quickly (within minutes) after their death (realistically this is only possible if patients die in hospital, usually on an intensive care unit). It is true that some patients with severe brain injury may recover up to years later, but these patients are not ‘brain dead’, they may have wide spread brain injury or be in a ‘persistent vegetative state’, but organs would not be taken from these patients as they are not dead. Brain death is a definite diagnosis that requires a complex series of tests 24 hours apart supervised by at least two experienced, senior and independent doctors registered with the UK General Medical Council. These tests show that there is no viable brain function, the brain will not recover and the lungs and heart can not function at all without life support machines in the Intensive Care Unit.
2. My sister had a terminal disease and was allowed to die at home, her body stayed with us for a couple of days. If she had been an organ donor, this would not have been possible.
In fact, the only people that can donate organs at the moment are those that are on life support machines on the Intensive care unit who are then shown to be ‘brain dead’ or those that die in hospital whose organs can be removed safely within minutes of their deaths. Patients with terminal disease are not suitable as organ donors for many other reasons so this would not have interfered with a conscious patient’s last days with her family.
3. I am worried that, if the doctors know that I am an organ donor, they will not try to keep me alive.
Every doctors’ primary responsibility is to their patients. No doctor would risk your life in the chance that you might save someone else by organ donation. The only way that you can become an organ donor is if you are declared ‘brain-dead’ by two independent doctors using specific tests, or in rare cases if you have already died and your own blood circulation has stopped, but your organs can be taken from your body very quickly, within minutes and kept cool on ice. The UK Donor Ethics Committee meets several times a year to consider ethical issues related to organ donation; they are very conscious that nothing should be done to a patient that is not in their best interests, particularly if they are on the organ donor register.
4. I am too old to be a donor, no-one would want my organs?
There is no upper or lower age limit for joining the register. Even if you are well into your 60s, some of your organs may be useful to someone. Some individuals may be chronologically old, but with hearts as good as a much younger person. It is best to be on the register and let the doctors decide if they want your organs or not than to use this as an excuse!!
So, join the NHS Organ Donor Register today. It only takes a few minutes to do this online at http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/Consent.do).
It could be the best gift you ever give.
Some of you may have read a recent press release from the investigators of the PANTHER Study in the USA. This announced that the treatment arms that included Prednisolone and Azathioprine had been stopped and patients had been taken off these treatments as they appeared to increase death rates and hospital admissions compared to the placebo treatments.
The PANTHER study was designed to test various combinations of treatment in patients with definite IPF. The four treatment groups that patients were randomly assigned to were
(1) Prednisolone and Azathioprine with N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC);
(2) Prednisolone and Azathioprine with placebo;
(3) N Acetyl Cysteine with placebo; or
(4) placebo and placebo (no active treatment).
As a result, patients left in the study are now on NAC or placebo alone.
We must emphasise that this is a press release only and the full details are not known.
We would not recommend patients to stop taking Prednisolone and Azathioprine without discussing this with their respiratory physician and making an informed decision. We will be discussing this with all our UCLH patients when they come to clinic over the next month.
The results of this study will be reported in early 2013.
We have two styles available, each designed by children, bearing the image of the Breathing Matters windmill logo.
Each pack contains 10 cards, containing 5 cards of each design. The cost is £3.99 per pack. The cost of postage and packing is £2.50.
There is limited stock available and, if you are interested in purchasing some packs, I suggest emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org asap to reserve yours now.
Click here for the Christmas Card ORDER FORM. Cheques should be made payable to “Breathing Matters UCLH Charity”.
Please send your completed order form and cheque to:
Donna Basire, Department of Thoracic Medicine, University College Hospital, UCLH NHS Foundation Trust, 4th Floor East, 250 Euston Road, London NW1 2PG
With generous support from Pad Creative: print & website design agency
Breathing Matters will be producing Christmas Cards this year – the cost of which will go directly towards research work in the Centre for Respiratory Research.
There are 2 styles available, both designed by children. Packs will include 5 of each design, totalling 10 cards per pack. All cards are A6 (14.8cm x 10.5cm) in size.
Click on ths link to see the images Charity Christmas Cards for Breathing Matters
Price per pack of 10 cards with envelopes is £3.99.
You can pre-order yours now via email@example.com
We are also looking for volunteers to sell these locally for us – if you feel you could do this, please contact Donna Basire on firstname.lastname@example.org
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) affects 10,000 new patients each year in the UK, but there is still no cure. We believe that platelets may play a role in the development of PF. Platelets are the very small cells that circulate in the blood and stick together to form a blood clot if the blood vessel is damaged. Blood clots are important to prevent bleeding, but blood clots may also cut off the blood supply to essential areas like the heart (a heart attack) or brain (a stroke), which is bad.
We know that patients with PF are more likely, than other people, to develop diseases in which platelets are too sticky, such as heart disease. We also know that PF is common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis (or scleroderma) that have sticky platelets. This suggests that platelets may play a role in PF.
We plan to study patients with PF to see if their platelets are more sticky and whether the platelets are getting stuck in their lungs. If we do find platelets sticking in the lungs, this suggests that platelets may cause PF and may help us find new treatments for this disease.
£10K from the UCLH Charity Bike Ride 2011 has been donated towards this research study.
If any UCLH patients are interested in taking part in this study, please contact Breathing Matters on email@example.com.
For more information on the study, please see the attached Patient Information Sheet
John Cooke from Dorking has Pulmonary Fibrosis and needs oxygen support. He lives in a first floor flat and struggles to get up and down the stairs. John needs a ground floor residence but his local housing authority won’t pay for him to move. John was recently interviewed on Radio Surrey. Click here to hear John’s story John Cooke Radio Surrey
Sign up to receive FREE quarterly newsletters.