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Health Defence Blog

Welcome to the Health Defence Blog - a blog about health, wellness and a healthier you. Brought to you by the Health Defence team at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, you'll find up-to-date information on a range of topics from what's in your food to the latest advice on e-cigarettes!

Do you really know what a stroke is? Or what on earth C.O.P.D. stands for? 'HealthSketch' brings you health education videos - providing a unique and visual way of learning about a range of health conditions.  

Every day in Scotland:

  • 120,000 people struggle to breathe because of chronic chest illness;
  • Every 55 mins someone in Scotland will have a heart attack; and
  • Every 45 mins someone in Scotland will have their first stroke.

Yet, many of us are sketchy on the facts and what these illnesses actually are. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) has recently partnered with HealthSketch to secure funding and provide information for their educational video clip on C.O.P.D. (watch it below).

**Update: since this blog went live, three new videos have been developed. Scroll down to watch them. 

Who are 'HealthSketch'?

HealthSketch was developed by three junior doctors based in the UK, who believe that "the first step to improving your health is understanding."

HealthSketch works by using short video clips, where diagrams of illnesses such as C.O.P.D. and stroke are 'sketched' out - providing a simple yet effective explanation of these complex health conditions.

Scroll down to watch the HealthSketch videos on C.O.P.D., Stroke, I.P.F and CPR!

What is C.O.P.D.?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, shortened to C.O.P.D., is an umbrella term for a group of conditions which cause long-term damage to the airways. In C.O.P.D. the airways are narrowed, due to a variety of causes, so the air breathed in cannot flow freely in or out of the lungs. C.O.P.D. includes:

  • Chronic bronchitis: the lining of the bronchi are irritated and inflamed and produce excess mucus which blocks the airways.
  • Emphysema: damages the alveoli and the lung’s ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.
  • Lung damage which is caused by chronic asthma. Usually the airways return to normal between asthma attacks. Sometimes, however, the chronic inflammation can cause a permanent obstruction to the airways.

For more information about C.O.P.D. and other respiratory conditions, read the 'Common Chest Conditions' section on the CHSS website.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. As a result brain cells get less of the oxygen and nutrients that they need. Some brain cells can become damaged and others can die.

There are two types of stroke:

  • Ischaemic stroke – this type of stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries which carries blood to the brain. About 85 in every 100 strokes are ischaemic.
  • Haemorrhagic stroke – this type of stroke occurs as a result of bleeding within or around the brain from a burst blood vessel. Approximately 15 in every 100 strokes are haemorrhagic.

Click here for more information on stroke conditions and TIA's (mini strokes).

New videos!

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, often shortened to IPF, is a scarring or thickening of the lungs, for which there is no known or identified cause.

  • Idiopathic = of unknown cause
  • Pulmonary = of the lungs
  • Fibrosis = thickening or scarring of the tissue

CPR – Simple Steps to Save a Life 

Sudden out of hospital cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. It occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, causing the person to collapse, become unconscious, and stop breathing or stop breathing normally.

Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of sudden death with only one person in every twenty surviving to return home to their loved ones. If left untreated it will inevitably result in death.

Watch this video for a step-by-step guide on what you can do to help save a life.

Want further information? Phone our Advice Line Nurses for confidential health advice on Freephone 0808 801 0899.

***Disclaimer: always seek medical advice before starting a new diet, exercise regime or medication. The information in these articles is not a substitute for professional advice from a GP, registered dietitian or other health practitioner.

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