The Health News – 24 July 2015


Overview:

• The Australian Lung Foundation wants to help more people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to manage it at home, and are being targeted in a campaign to prevent ending up in hospital during winter.

• The United States-based study published in American Journal of Medical Genetics found that more youths with intellectual or developmental disabilities are being reclassified as autistic, this led to an apparent tripling in cases in recent years.

• University of New South Wales professor of sociology Alex Broom says discussing death — even in a casual setting — is important for the individual, loved ones and society as a whole.

Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 24th July 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-23/tasmanians-with-chronic-lung-diseases-targeted-in-winter/6643532

Tasmanians with chronic lung conditions are being targeted in a campaign to prevent them ending up in hospital during winter.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects more than a million Australians, and the Australian Lung Foundation wants to help more people manage it at home.

About one in three deaths due to lung disease in Australia are attributed to COPD, and ignoring a flare-up for 24 hours doubled the chance of hospital admission.

Historically high smoking rates in Tasmania mean a comparatively high number of people with severe COPD.

The foundation’s Dr Jim Markos said too many COPD sufferers were trying to grin and bare at home it when their conditions flared up.

The foundation has launched a national campaign … trying to reduce admissions, asking people to look for the signs of a flare-up.

“They can expect to have more cough, a change in the colour of their phlegm, to be more breathless, and to feel more unwell and tired.”

Dr Julia Waters from the University of Tasmania warned of the consequences of failing to care for yourself.

“If you go into hospital with an exacerbation of COPD, the statistics tell us that the people who do that are more likely than people who go into hospital with a heart attack to die in the next 12 months.” [she said]

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-23/autism-diagnosis-leads-to-increase-in-cases/6642006

The way autism is diagnosed has led to an apparent tripling in cases in recent years that does not reflect reality, researchers say.

Rather, more youths with intellectual or developmental disabilities are being reclassified as autistic, the United States-based study published in American Journal of Medical Genetics found.

University of Western Australia Telethon Kids Institute’s Andrew Whitehouse said the trend was “almost certainly the same in Australia”.

The prevalence of autism in the US was just one in 5,000 in 1975.

It leapt to one in 150 in 2002, and reached one in 68 in 2012, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This new research provides the first direct evidence that much of the increase may be attributable merely to a reclassification of individuals with related neurological disorders rather than to an actual increase in the rate of new cases of autism,” the study authors wrote.

Therefore, what may appear to be an epidemic of autism is more likely the result of shifting patterns of diagnosis over time.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from 2012 showed an estimated …0.5 per cent of Australians had autism.

That was a 79 per cent increase from 2009.

Mr Whitehouse said there was no hard evidence to suggest why autism rates were increasing, but certainly “autism is swallowing up other diagnoses”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-23/death-discussing-any-age-leads-happy-life-expert-says/6642412

Talking about death is key to busting a cultural taboo that impacts our quality of life, an expert has warned.

University of New South Wales professor of sociology Alex Broom says discussing death — even in a casual setting — is important for the individual, loved ones and society as a whole.

It comes as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) uses Family Doctor Week to encourage everyone — old or young, sick or healthy — to talk about death and dying and to make plans for end of life care.

AMA president Professor Brian Owler said it was important to break the taboo around death and dying, and get people to discuss their wishes with their families.

An advanced care plan should make clear preferences about health and personal care, including preferred health outcomes, goals, and the values of care which should guide decisions about their treatment.

The plans should also make clear who they would like to make decisions for them should they lose decision-making capacity …

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