Managing your existing health condition

Practical advice on how a healthy diet and lifestyle can help

Organisations you can turn to for help and advice

AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a painless eye condition that causes you to lose central vision, usually in both eyes.

NHS Choices has information on living with AMD including when to seek medical advice, treating the condition and reducing the risk of developing AMD.

Organisations

ALZHEIMER’S

Dementia is a progressive neurological disease which affects multiple brain functions, including memory.

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, although a number of things are thought to increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • increasing age
  • a family history of the condition
  • previous severe head injuries
  • lifestyle factors and conditions associated with cardiovascular disease

More information and resources about Alzheimer’s are available from NHS Choices.

DEMENTIA

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. This may include problems with:

  • memory loss
  • thinking speed
  • mental sharpness and quickness
  • language
  • understanding
  • judgement
  • mood
  • movement
  • difficulties carrying out daily activities

Dementia Choices on the NHS Choices website has a wealth of information and advice about dementia.

ASTHMA

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also appear for the first time in adults. The main symptoms are:

  • wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
  • breathlessness
  • a tight chest – which may feel like a band is tightening around it
  • coughing

NHS Choices has information and advice about living with asthma including monitoring, breathing techniques, flying and financial support.

CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition where the kidneys don’t work as well as they should. It’s a common condition often associated with getting older.

NHS Choices has information on living with CKD including medication, diet, exercise, vaccinations, support groups, etc.

COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, mainly affecting middle-aged or older adults who smoke. It includes:

  • emphysema – damage to the air sacs in the lungs
  • chronic bronchitis – long-term inflammation of the airways

NHS Choices has information and advice about living with COPD including monitoring, breathing techniques, flying, financial support and end of life care.

DIABETES – TYPE 1

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar (glucose) level to become too high. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the blood. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin.

Find out more from NHS Choices about living with type 1 diabetes including your care team, lifestyle advice and support organisations.

DIABETES – TYPE 2

If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s important to look after your own health and wellbeing, with support from those involved in your care. Caring for your health will make treating your diabetes easier and minimise your risk of developing complications of diabetes. Self care for type 2 diabetes includes:

  • maintaining good physical and mental health
  • preventing illness or accidents
  • effectively dealing with minor ailments and long-term conditions.

Find out more from NHS Choices about looking after your own health and wellbeing when you have type 2 diabetes.

ECZEMA

Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked.

Atopic eczema is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday. However, it may also develop for the first time in adults. It’s usually a long-term (chronic) condition, although it can improve significantly, or even clear completely, in some children as they get older.

Visit the NHS Choices website for information and advice about living with eczema including symptoms, when to seek medical advice and causes.

HEART FAILURE

Heart failure means that the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly. It usually occurs because the heart has become too weak or stiff. Heart failure doesn’t mean your heart has stopped working – it just needs some support to help it work better. It can occur at any age, but is most common in older people.

Find out more from NHS Choices about living with heart failure including looking after your health and wellbeing, cardiac rehabilitation, monitoring, travel, support, etc.

MIGRAINE

A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Many people also have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.

There are several types of migraine, including:

  • migraine with aura – where there are specific warning signs just before the migraine begins, such as seeing flashing lights
  • migraine without aura – the most common type, where the migraine occurs without the specific warning signs
  • migraine aura without headache, also known as silent migraine – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache doesn’t develop

Find out more from NHS Choices about migraine.

OSTEOARTHRITIS

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff. It’s the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

Find out more from NHS Choices about living with osteoarthritis including living healthily, medications and regular reviews.

Organisations

Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Care

Arthritis Care helpline. Call free on 0808 800 4050 – open 10:00–16:00 weekdays

OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a minor fall or sudden impact causes a bone fracture.

Find out more from NHS Choices about living with osteoporosis including diet and exercise, getting support, recovering from a broken bone and coping with pain.

PSORIASIS

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body. Most people are only affected with small patches. In some cases, the patches can be itchy or sore.

The severity of psoriasis varies greatly from person to person. For some people it’s just a minor irritation, but for others it can have a major impact on their quality of life. Psoriasis is a long-lasting (chronic) disease that usually involves periods when you have no symptoms or mild symptoms, followed by periods when symptoms are more severe.

Find out more from NHS Choices about living with psoriasis.

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The symptoms usually affect the hands, feet and wrists. There may be periods where symptoms become worse, known as flare-ups or flares. A flare can be difficult to predict, but with treatment it’s possible to decrease the number of flares and minimise or prevent long-term damage to the joints.

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis also experience problems in other parts of the body, or more general symptoms such as tiredness and weight loss.

Find out more from NHS Choices about living with rheumatoid arthritis including medication, diet and exercise, self-management and support services.

STROKE

A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential. Effective treatment of stroke can prevent long-term disability and save lives.

Find out more from NHS Choices about stroke including recovering from a stroke, preventing stroke, caring for someone who has had a stroke and much more.

Organisations

Different Strokes – helping younger stroke survivors

Headway – the brain injury association

Stroke Action

Stroke Association

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