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Asthma is a long-term medical condition that affects the lungs and airways. With millions of children and adults affected, it is one of the most common medical conditions in the United Kingdom.

According to Asthma UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for the condition. Of those affected, 4.3 million cases are adults and 1.1 million are children. These figures mean that asthma affects one in every 11 people, and one in five households across the country.

Every 10 seconds somebody is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK. Each day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack.” – Asthma UK.

Sadly, more than 1,300 people in England died as a result of asthma in 2018 (the most recent available data). These statistics can be quite frightening, but research has shown that two thirds of asthma-related deaths are preventable with the right treatment and understanding.

You may have seen our in-depth guide to the medical conditions which affect older people. Today’s article focuses specifically on asthma. We’ll look at the symptoms, treatments, and possible causes of the condition.

What Causes Asthma?

Sometimes, substances like pollen, dust, or smoke can irritate our airways. However, the airways of asthmatic people are already inflamed and sensitive to begin with. Therefore, irritants (triggers) can cause several reactions in sufferers:

All of these reactions narrow the space through which air can flow, which is what causes many of asthma’s core symptoms.

These reactions can occur as a result of asthma triggers, or at random. Common triggers also include animal fur, pollution, chest infections, certain medications, and even the weather. Asthma UK recognises several different categories of asthma:

Luckily, medication can be very effective at managing symptoms. However, around 4% of asthmatic people have ‘severe asthma’ which does not respond to the usual medication.

Anyone’s asthma can change over time, becoming more or less severe. Lots of mildly asthmatic children often find that their symptoms subside as they get older.

Learn more about the causes and triggers.

Symptoms

There are several symptoms of asthma, which vary from mild to more severe. Not everybody will experience every symptom all the time. The most common symptoms are:

Sometimes, your symptoms can become worse for a short period of time. This is commonly known as an asthma attack. These attacks can happen suddenly or gradually over a few days. They can be fatal, so it’s very important to be aware of the signs.

Symptoms of an Asthma Attack

Learn more about the symptoms.

What To Do If You Suffer an Asthma Attack

Every 10 seconds, someone in the UK has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. Research has shown that, with the correct treatment, you can control your symptoms and reduce the risk.

If you think you’re having an asthma attack you need to follow these steps, suggested by the NHS:

  1. Sit upright and try to take slow, steady breaths. Do not lie down. Try to stay calm; panicking can make it worse.
  2. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (blue) every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  3. Call 999 immediately if you don’t have your inhaler with you, if you feel worse despite using your inhaler, if you don’t feel any better after 10 puffs, or if you’re worried at any point.
  4. If an ambulance has not arrived after 15 minutes, repeat Step 2.

If your symptoms improve and you don’t require hospital treatment, you should still make an urgent appointment to see your GP or an asthma nurse.

Should you go to hospital, you will need to see your GP within 48 hours of being discharged. 1 in 6 people who receive treatment in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within two weeks. Therefore, it’s very important to discuss how to reduce your risk.

Credit to Asthma UK.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for asthma. However, there are several effective treatments that help alleviate symptoms.

The most common form of treatment is an inhaler. There are two main types of inhalers:

Some patients may be prescribed a ‘combination inhaler’. This includes a combination of a long-acting reliever and a corticosteroid preventer.

By using your inhaler correctly, you can manage your condition and reduce the chances of an attack. Taking your inhaler correctly will help with everyday tasks, such as walking up and down the stairs.

Your doctor or nurse will be able to show you the correct way to use your inhaler. You need to use the right technique for the device to actually work effectively.

If your inhalers aren’t helping with your condition, your GP might prescribe additional medicines to help. The most common tablets used to help treat asthma include:

Learn more about the treatment available.

Credit to Compound Interest

Living with Asthma

With the correct treatment, most asthmatic people can live normal lives. The most important factor is to keep your symptoms under control, by using your inhalers correctly and avoiding your triggers.

It’s important to work closely with your GP or nurse to make sure you’re using the proper inhaler technique. You should also be aware that some other medicines may put you at risk. For example, some aspirin and ibuprofen may not be suitable for asthma sufferers. Always check the packet.

If you smoke, it is crucial that you quit immediately. Smoking is a known asthma trigger, which can cause severe and frequent symptoms. For help quitting, see our Stop Smoking guide.

Exercise

Did you know that sports stars David Beckham and Bradley Wiggins have asthma? Regular exercise is a great way to manage your condition.

By raising your heart rate, you boost your lung power and improve stamina. While you might feel breathless in the short term, frequent exercise can actually reduce how often you feel breathless overall. A healthy fitness regime also reduces the chances of a cold or cough, due to a boost to your immune system.

If you’re a little apprehensive, or if your asthma has been playing up recently, it may be best to stick to moderate-intensity activities. These include swimming, walking, yoga, or team sports which allow you to take a rest between bursts of movement.

Before taking part, you should also make sure that:

If you notice your symptoms spiking at any point, you should stop, take your inhaler, and wait until you feel better before re-joining your activity.

If you are overweight, research indicates that losing weight could help you manage your condition. Losing excess weight can reduce symptoms and lower your risk of an asthma attack. In addition, losing weight and having a healthy lifestyle can also reduce your risk of other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Staying Safe At Home

personal alarm can protect people who suffer from medical conditions such as asthma. If one of our alarm users feels unwell or suffers a fall, they simply need to press their pendant button. Our 24/7 Emergency Response Team will answer the call and send help immediately.

For more information on our life-saving personal alarms, please speak to one of our friendly advisors on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our Contact Us form and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Read more: 20 Common Medical Conditions Affecting Elderly People 

VAT Exemption

Having asthma qualifies you for VAT Exemption when you order a personal alarm from Lifeline24. If you are asthmatic (or you are buying an alarm for somebody else who is) then you will not have to pay any VAT on your Lifeline alarm.

 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 26th January 2022 to reflect current information.

For wheelchair users, it can often feel difficult to engage in regular exercise. Many workouts are not designed with the disabled in mind or require special equipment to accomplish. However, there are plenty of exercises for wheelchair users that are easy to do, regardless of age.

Benefits of Exercising

Regular exercise is essential to our wellbeing. It keeps fat off and strengthens muscles. These are not the only benefits, however. Exercising can have a major effect on mental health, helping to promote positivity and combatting boredom. If you can exercise with others, you will also lessen the impact of loneliness.

You will also find that regular exercise will improve your energy levels. Whilst exercises for wheelchair users may initially result in increased tiredness – which in turn may aid with a better night’s sleep – over time your body will become more efficient. This can make it easier to finish jobs throughout the day, whilst still having time for your hobbies.

The NHS recommends wheelchair users exercise for 150 minutes or more every week.

With these benefits in mind, here are 5 exercises for wheelchair users.

Exercises for Wheelchair Users

1. Shoulder Strength

It is important to keep your shoulders and arms strong, especially if you move yourself around in your wheelchair. Not only does this exercise serve as a good stretching routine before exercise, but it also benefits the muscles in your shoulders.

You begin by sitting up straight in your wheelchair and extending your arms forwards. Keep your hands facing the floor, and pretend you are holding onto a metal bar. Stretch your arms forward as far as is comfortable. When you cannot stretch any further, raise your arms and then reach behind you. Squeeze your shoulder blades together until it becomes uncomfortable, and then return your arms to the starting position.

If you are planning to perform more exercises for wheelchair users, do this a couple of times to get your muscles properly stretched. For a full workout, repeat this exercise ten times.

2. Weight Training

When you think of weight training, you might picture bodybuilders lifting huge barbells. This could make the idea of lifting weights intimidating. However, weight training is one of the best exercises for wheelchair users. Simply picking up a couple of dumbbells for half an hour every day will build up strength in your muscles.

Furthermore, engaging in weight training will work your muscles in different ways to pushing your wheelchair. These exercises for wheelchair users help to build the muscles that support those you use every day. When all your muscles are healthy, it makes tasks easier than if you are only using the muscles for that task. It also reduces the likelihood of injury.

Start small and build up to heavier weights. Get into the routine of setting aside some time for exercise every day. If you lack any dumbbells, a couple of bags of sugar or two bunches of bananas can serve as a convenient substitute. Make sure you do not rush into lifting more than you can handle. If possible, consider joining an exercise group.

3. Chest Squeeze

If you push yourself around in your wheelchair, you will already be building up your chest muscles. However, they may become strained from the motions. These exercises for wheelchair users help to prevent injury to the muscles you use every day.

A chest squeeze exercise is great for strengthening the muscles in your chest and back. All you need is a ball or balloon. If you don’t have these, you can also try it by pressing your palms together instead.

Sit up straight in your seat, with your stomach tensed, providing support for your back. Hold the ball (or balloon) at chest level, keeping a firm grip on it. Slowly push the ball forward, continuing to squeeze it. Once you have extended as far as you can go, slowly pull the ball back to your chest. Repeat this exercise ten times.

4. Side Bend Stretch

When you spend a lot of your time in a wheelchair, it is important that you strengthen your back muscles. Sometimes this can be accomplished by regular stretching. Stretching exercises for wheelchair users are limited by the chair itself. However, one effective technique is the side bend stretch.

To perform the side bend stretch, you need to sit up tall in your wheelchair. Ensure you are facing forward in your seat with your abdominal muscles contracted. Start by raising your left arm toward the ceiling, pressing your upper arm close to your ear. Keeping your arm in this position, slowly lean your upper body to the right. Go as far as is comfortable, aiming to form a “C” shape with your spine.

Hold the stretch for up to fifteen seconds, or as long as is comfortable. Slowly return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side. You can perform this stretch a few times, but don’t push yourself too far.

5. Knee Lifts

If you can use your legs, performing knee lifts can help to strengthen your thighs and calves. This can then help to improve your mobility. One of the great things about exercises for wheelchair users is that, in some cases, they may help you to move around for longer periods without sitting down.

Like many wheelchair exercises, knee lifts require you to sit up straight in your chair. Stretch your legs a little bit by raising them up, one at a time, and turning the foot in a slow circle. Do this for a few seconds, and then place both feet flat on the ground. Lift the right leg slowly, bending the knee. Raise it as far as it can go and then lower it back down to the floor. Repeat with the other foot.

Continue this exercise, alternating the legs. Imagine you are marching in place. Attempt to perform your knee lifts for a few minutes, and then take a rest. If you feel up to it, repeat for another few minutes. Stop if it becomes uncomfortable or painful.

Staying Safe When Exercising

When performing these exercises for wheelchair users, it is important to stay safe. Make sure you have enough water and check your blood sugar levels if necessary. Keep a healthy snack close by for an extra boost of energy. You should also consult your GP before starting any new exercises regimes.

Another means of staying safe when exercising – or at any time – is to purchase a Lifeline alarm. Lifeline alarms offer 24/7 protection, 365 days a year. If you have a fall or feel unwell, all you need to do is press the button on your alarm pendant. Our trained Response Team will arrange support for you by alerting your emergency contacts and, if necessary, the emergency services.

You can find out more about our lifesaving devices by checking out our in-depth guide or by getting in touch with our helpful team.

Around 26 million people in the UK have at least one long-term medical condition. This includes nearly 50% of people aged 65-74 and nearly two-thirds of those over 85. What’s more, the UK’s ageing population means these numbers will only increase in the coming years. In fact, experts predict that by 2030, around seven million older people will have at least one long-term illness or health problem. The ageing population and the increasing rates of long-term medical conditions have had a huge impact on the NHS.

Falls are a particular cause for concern. Even throughout the pandemic, falls remain the leading cause of emergency hospital admissions for older people. A fall can have a serious impact on long-term health, especially for those who suffer from a medical condition.

What Is a Medical Condition?

“Medical condition” is a very broad term. It can refer to any kind of disease, disorder, injury, or illness, including mental illnesses. The older we get, the more likely we are to suffer from at least one medical condition. Some medical conditions are fairly mild and may not make much difference to your day-to-day life, while other medical conditions require intensive treatment.

But what are the most common medical conditions in the UK?

Common Medical Conditions in Older People

Advances in healthcare have helped people in the UK live longer than ever before. As a result, medical conditions have become a more common feature of older life. Thankfully, there is more support than ever for people living with the most common health conditions.

It’s important for us all to understand the most common medical conditions so that we are able to spot the symptoms and get medical assistance when we need it. Furthermore, we should understand how to prevent common illnesses and how to live with them.

Here’s our guide to the most common medical conditions affecting older people.

Table of Contents

Arthritis Asthma Blindness Cancer
Chronic Bronchitis Chronic Kidney Disease Coronary Heart Disease Deep Vein Thrombosis
Dementia Diabetes Epilepsy High Cholesterol
Hypertension Motor Neurone Disease Multiple Sclerosis Osteoporosis
Paget’s Disease of Bone Parkinson’s Disease Shingles Stroke

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions among older people, affecting 10 million people in the UK. It causes joint pain and inflammation which can restrict your movement.

There are two common types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Among older people, osteoarthritis is more common. This is because osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear; after all, the older we are, the more we have used our joints. Around eight million people in the UK have this type of arthritis. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the lining of the joints.

Arthritis Symptoms

Symptoms of arthritis include:

“Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis. It affects people of all ages, including children.” – NHS Choices

The risk of a fall increases if you have arthritis. Therefore, people with medical conditions like arthritis (especially those who live alone) should ensure that they can always call for help if they need it. A personal alarm system lets you call for help 24/7. You simply need to push the red button on your pendant, worn around the wrist or neck, and our 24/7 Response Team will respond. For extra peace of mind, there is the Fall Detector alarm, which will call the Response Team automatically when it detects a fall.

A member of the team will assess your situation before taking the appropriate action. This usually means contacting your loved ones and informing them that you require urgent assistance. The team can also contact the emergency services when required.

Read more – Arthritis: A Useful Guide

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2. Asthma

Asthma occurs when the body’s airways are sensitive to allergens and become inflamed. This inflammation can cause a painful and frightening asthma attack, which causes the airway muscles to tighten and narrow, making it hard to breathe. Most people can manage their asthma very effectively with proper medication. However, asthma left unchecked can be fatal. On average, 3 people die every day from an asthma attack in the UK.

Asthma Symptoms

Symptoms of asthma include:

Older people are susceptible to asthma and should be on the lookout for symptoms, especially during the winter months. Asthma can worsen during and after a bout of cold or flu.

Having a Personal Alarm could make a crucial difference if you suffer from an asthma attack. You can press your pendant button, which will instantly raise an alert with our Response Team. They will communicate with you over the loudspeaker and arrange for help immediately. Should you collapse or fall while wearing a Fall Detector, your device will send an alert call automatically.

Read more – Asthma: A Useful Guide

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3. Blindness

Around two million people are living with sight loss here in the UK, with 360,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted.

The leading cause of blindness is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which affects more than 600,000 people in the UK. AMD occurs when deposits build up on the macula (a small area at the centre of the retina). AMD can also be caused by abnormal blood vessels developing under the macula.

Other medical conditions can cause sight loss too – such as glaucoma and diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy damages the retina, leading to sight loss. Treatments for sight loss vary depending on the cause, but may include:

Early diagnosis of potential blindness is vital, so please seek medical attention if you notice any change to your vision. Of course, we should all have regular eye tests to ensure that our eyesight is healthy. The NHS recommends that people have an eye test every two years at the very least.

Sight loss can be very challenging to deal with. Luckily, there are several excellent support groups out there that can help – such as the RNIB.

Read more – Blindness: A Useful Guide

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4. Cancer

Did you know that 1 in 2 people will develop a form of cancer at some point in their lives? There are over 200 types of cancer, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.

Cancer is a disease where cells in the body replicate abnormally and form a mass known as a tumour. These abnormal cells multiply, either causing the tumour to grow or the cancerous cells to spread through the bloodstream.

Cancer Symptoms

Here are some common cancer symptoms to look out for:

Smoking is one of the leading causes of cancer. If you are a smoker, there is no time like the present to quit smoking.

Thanks to medical research, cancer survival rates have been steadily improving for decades. Sadly, the survival rate is generally lower for older people. Therefore, it’s very important to catch symptoms early and begin treatment as soon as possible. Please take a look at our guide to coping with cancer, an article we hope will help those affected by this condition.

Read more – Cancer: A Useful Guide

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20 Most Common Medical Conditions - Cancer

5. Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis is a condition that affects the lungs and airways. It’s one of several lung conditions which come under the umbrella of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Most cases of bronchitis develop as a result of an infection that irritates the bronchi (airways), causing an overproduction of mucus. The body tries to shift this excess mucus via coughing. Chronic bronchitis is when this coughing continues daily for several months of the year, for two years or more.

Bronchitis Symptoms

Look out for the common symptoms of chronic bronchitis, which include:

Smoking makes you more likely to develop chronic bronchitis and other COPD conditions. Therefore, the most important thing to do if diagnosed with chronic bronchitis is to quit smoking. Cigarettes will only make the condition worse and it will take longer to disappear. Alongside this, you should also ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet to help prevent lung infections in the first place.

If you have chronic bronchitis, you should make sure that you get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and treat any headaches or fever with paracetamol or ibuprofen – but don’t use the latter if you have asthma.

Read more – Bronchitis: A Useful Guide

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6. Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is quite common among older people here in the UK. There are several other medical conditions that affect the kidneys and can lead to chronic kidney disease. These conditions include kidney infections, high blood pressurediabetes and kidney inflammation.

According to Kidney Care UK, around 64,000 people in the UK are receiving treatment for kidney failure – this is stage 5 chronic kidney disease, where kidney function is less than 15%.

Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms

Unfortunately, symptoms for the early stages of CKD are quite rare. In most cases, the condition is diagnosed during a blood or urine test for other medical conditions. As the condition progresses, you may suffer from:

If you suffer from any of the symptoms above or notice any other worrying changes to your body, you should see your GP as soon as possible.

There is no cure for CKD right now, but there are treatments which can relieve the symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. Options include medication, living a healthy lifestyle, dialysis or a kidney transplant in severe cases.

Read more – Chronic Kidney Disease: A Useful Guide

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7. Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death here in the UK. According to the NHS, coronary heart disease (CHD) is what happens when fatty substances build up in the arteries, blocking the blood supply to the heart.

Certain lifestyle choices and other medical conditions can cause CHD. Risk factors include:

If you are at risk of CHD, your doctor might carry out an assessment. This could involve a treadmill test and one or more different scans. They’ll also ask you questions about your family history and lifestyle. The main symptoms of coronary heart disease are anginaheart attacks and heart failure.

In order to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, you might need to make important lifestyle changes. For example, everyone should take part in regular exercise and eat a balanced diet. Those who smoke should stop smoking as soon as possible. There are also several types of medication or surgery options to help treat CHD.

The knock-on effects of CHD can appear out of nowhere and can be fatal. If you have a Personal Alarm, you can raise the alarm as soon as you feel any chest pain, and help will be on its way within seconds. Remember, a Fall Detector Pendant will detect a sudden fall and automatically raise an alarm for you. Having this technology can make a huge difference should you suffer from a heart attack. We also offer a GPS alarm, which allows you to call for help both in your home and on the go.

Read more – Coronary Heart Disease: A Useful Guide

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8. Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in your deep veins, most commonly in one of your legs. This medical condition is most common in people over the age of 40, and can also lead to further complications, including pulmonary embolism.

There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of DVT. These include obesity, blood vessel damage, being inactive for long periods of time, and a family history of blood clots.

In addition, smoking can cause serious damage to blood vessels. To lower your risk of deep vein thrombosis and several other medical conditions, you should seriously consider quitting.

DVT Symptoms

Here are the most common symptoms of deep vein thrombosis:

  1. Pain, swelling and tenderness in one of your legs
  2. A heavy ache in the affected area
  3. Red skin – particularly at the back of your leg, below the knee
  4. Warm skin in the area of the clot
  5. A mild fever

One common treatment involves blood-thinning medication, which makes it harder for the blood to clot and prevents existing clots from increasing in size. Alongside your medication, you will also need to make some lifestyle changes.

Read more – Deep Vein Thrombosis: A Useful Guide

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9. Dementia

Dementia is a progressive disorder that affects memory and overall brain function. It is relatively common in older people, affecting around 1 in 14 people over 65. This increases to 1 in 6 people over the age of 80.

The most common and well-known form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia is another type of dementia that develops as a result of a stroke or blood vessel deterioration.

Dementia Symptoms

Symptoms of dementia include:

Nearly one million people in the UK live with dementia, 90% of whom are 65 or over. If you notice any of the symptoms above, you should visit your GP as soon as possible, especially if you are over 65. An early diagnosis will help you get the best results from treatment while giving you more time to prepare for the future.

The symptoms of dementia can be frightening for you and your loved ones alike. Personal Alarms can offer peace of mind – especially the new GO GPS Alarm. If you ever get disoriented or become confused about your surroundings, you’ll be able to press your pendant for help. Our expert Response Team are trained to provide reassurance and take action quickly.

Read more – A Guide To The Different Types of Dementia

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10. Diabetes

Older people are susceptible to developing diabetes. In fact, half of all people with diabetes in the UK are over 65. Diabetes is a lifelong condition, which occurs when the body doesn’t have enough insulin. This could be because the pancreas isn’t producing enough, or because the body is resistant to the insulin it produces. Diabetes affects an astonishing 3.9 million people here in the United Kingdom.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the body attacks the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is when the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin it makes doesn’t work properly. This is the more common type of diabetes – affecting around 90% of diabetics.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem among older people, and a large proportion of newly diagnosed diabetics are from the older generation. In fact, one in 10 people over 40 are now living with this medical condition.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

To help prevent type 2 diabetes, the NHS encourages the following lifestyle changes:

  1. Healthy eating Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet and reducing sugar and fat intake
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight If you are carrying excess weight, lose it gradually by eating healthily and exercising frequently
  3. Exercising regularly It is important to stay active; perform both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities

Read more – Diabetes: A Useful Guide

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20 Most Common Medical Conditions - Diabetes

Credit: World Health Organization

11. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can cause seizures. Did you know epilepsy is most common in those at opposite ends of the age spectrum? It is most prevalent in young children and people aged over 65. In fact, 25% of people with epilepsy are over 65. Every day, 87 people are diagnosed with the condition.

Epilepsy can be caused by head injuries, strokes, tumours, or certain infections. You’ll normally receive a diagnosis if you’ve had two or more seizures. This is because many people have a one-off epileptic seizure during their lifetime.

There are several medications that can help to control epilepsy. In fact, these medications help eight out of every 10 people with epilepsy to control their seizures. If you have epilepsy, you should follow these steps to manage your condition:

Please remember that if you have a seizure and you currently hold a driving licence, you have a legal responsibility to inform the Driving and Vehicle Licence Authority.

A Fall Detector could be particularly useful to sufferers of epilepsy and similar medical conditions. This device will automatically raise an alert if it detects a fall. Our Response Team will then send help to your home immediately.

Read more – Epilepsy: A Useful Guide

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12. High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is created by your liver and is also found in some foods. Lipoproteins in the blood carry cholesterol around the body. There are two types of lipoproteins: low density and high density. You might have heard of “good” and “bad” cholesterol – “good” refers to high-density lipoproteins while “bad” refers to low-density lipoproteins.

High cholesterol is a medical condition that occurs when there is too much “bad” cholesterol in the body. A number of lifestyle choices and medical conditions can lead to high cholesterol. These include:

Age can also increase your chances of having high cholesterol, as the risk of your arteries narrowing is much higher. The best way to lower high cholesterol or prevent it in the first place is by living as healthily as possible.

This includes staying active by exercising or taking part in sporting activitieseating healthy foodslowering your alcohol intake and trying to stop smoking.

Read more – Cholesterol: A Useful Guide

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13. Hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common medical conditions in the UK. According to the NHS, more than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure. However, many people won’t even realise it. The only way to find out is by having your blood pressure checked. Therefore, it’s very important to have regular check-ups with your GP, especially if you are in a high-risk group.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Noticeable symptoms of hypertension are rare. In fact, the only time someone will notice symptoms of hypertension is when their blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. This is known as a hypertensive crisis. Symptoms of hypertensive crisis include severe headaches and anxiety, chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.

Hypertension puts significant strain on the blood vessels, heart, and other vital organs like the kidneys. As a result, people with high blood pressure are at higher risk of the following medical conditions:

Here are some ways to prevent and manage high blood pressure:

The NHS recommends that all adults over 40 get their blood pressure checked at least every five years.

With a Personal Alarm, if you have chest pains or feel unwell, you can raise an instant alert by pressing your red button. Our Response Team will contact your loved ones and/or the ambulance service to come and assist you.

Read more – Hypertension: A Useful Guide

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14. Motor Neurone Disease

Motor neurone disease is a rare neurological condition where the nervous system degenerates over time. It leads to muscle weakness and loss of mobility. Motor neurone disease, also known as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), occurs when the motor neurons that control activities like walking and speaking stop working.

MND Symptoms

Symptoms include:

The causes of motor neurone disease are still unknown. However, we do know that it affects more men than women and that it occurs most often in people between the ages of 50 and 70. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for MND, but several treatments can minimise symptoms and slow the condition’s progress. Despite being one of the rarer medical conditions on this list, it’s relatively well-known, thanks to high-profile MND patients such as Stephen Hawking.

Read more – Motor Neurone Disease: A Useful Guide

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15. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. The main symptoms are a wide range of problems with vision, movement and balance.

There are currently more than 100,000 people in the UK living with the condition. The MS Society estimates that 5,000 more people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis each year. That’s approximately 14 people every day. This means that around one in every 600 people currently has multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Symptoms of MS include:

Currently, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, although research into possible cures is ongoing. In the meantime, there are a number of treatments that can help to control the condition. Treatment options will depend on the individual’s symptoms among other factors.

A personal alarm system can be a great reassurance for people with multiple sclerosis and their families. If you need help in an emergency, you need only press your Lifeline Alarm button. Our 24/7 Response Team will send help quickly, giving you the confidence you need to keep living independently.

Read more – Multiple Sclerosis: A Useful Guide

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16. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is one of the most common medical conditions affecting older people. More than three million people across the UK have osteoporosis, with more than 500,000 people receiving hospital treatment for fragility fractures every year as a result. This condition develops slowly over time and is often left undiagnosed until a fall causes a bone fracture.

This is because osteoporosis weakens the bones. Losing bone mass is a natural part of the ageing process, however, some people lose density faster than normal.

Women are more likely to have osteoporosis because they lose bone density rapidly after going through menopause. Luckily, certain medications can help to strengthen the bones. Many people also take calcium and vitamin D supplements to maintain bone health.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, certain exercises can help combat the condition:

Osteoporosis and Falls

Falls are quite common among people with medical conditions like osteoporosis. Should you suffer from a fall, you may be unable to get back up or reach for your phone to call for assistance. Having a pendant button around your wrist or neck allows you to get help quickly after a fall. For added security, we would suggest the GPS Alarm, which includes built-in fall detection. This advanced device lets you call for help wherever you are.

Read more – Osteoporosis: A Useful Guide

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17. Paget’s Disease of Bone

Paget’s disease of bone disrupts the normal cycle of bone renewal. It’s triggered by a flaw in the bone cell regeneration system, which causes bone weakness and even bone deformity.

Paget’s disease is a common bone condition that usually affects the pelvis, spine, and other areas of the body. It is a very common condition in the UK, mostly affecting people over the age of 50. The condition affects 8% of men and 5% of women by the age of 80.

Paget’s Disease Symptoms

Symptoms include the following:

These symptoms of Paget’s disease can trigger a fall, which can be very dangerous if there is nobody around to help you. Having a Personal Alarm can help people who suffer from Paget’s disease and other medical conditions. Simply press the red button on your pendant to call for assistance. Our Response Team will answer the call, assess your situation and arrange for help to come to you as quickly as possible.

Read more – Paget’s Disease of Bone: A Useful Guide

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18. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive condition that damages certain parts of the brain. According to the NHS website, there are around 130,000 people in the UK living with Parkinson’s disease. That’s 1 in every 500 people.

The main cause of Parkinson’s is a loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in dopamine, an important chemical in the brain. The condition is most common in middle-aged and elderly people.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

The most common symptoms to look out for are:

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, there are treatments available that can reduce the symptoms and help those affected to maintain their quality of life for as long as possible.

Read more – Parkinson’s Disease: A Useful Guide

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Lifeline Fall Detector Alarm annual plan

19. Stroke

Having a stroke can be life-threatening if you don’t seek medical attention straight away. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of your brain is cut off. Without blood, brain cells can be damaged and may even die.

Strokes are particularly common among older people. The average age for suffering a stroke is 74 for men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For women, however, the average age is slightly higher: 80. Across the UK, strokes are a leading cause of disability, with around two thirds of all survivors being left with a disability of some kind.

Symptoms of Stroke

It’s very important to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke. The sooner you get treatment, the better the outcome is likely to be. As mentioned, strokes can be life-threatening, so it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible. Memorise the signs of a stroke with the word FAST:

It’s absolutely vital to call 999 if you notice any signs of a stroke. Wearing an alarm pendant ensures that you can call for help even if there’s no one around or you’re unable to reach for the phone. Our Response Team will take care of everything, by calling the emergency services and notifying your loved ones. They’ll also be able to inform the paramedics of any other medical conditions you have, as well as any allergies and medications you take.

Read more – Stroke: A Useful Guide

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20. Shingles

Shingles is a skin condition that is very common among older people, especially those over the age of 70. This is because your body’s immune system becomes weaker as you age.

Shingles is caused by the same virus which causes chickenpox. Therefore, only those who have had chickenpox can develop shingles. The infection will usually cause a painful rash and/or blisters to form on your skin, which may become extremely itchy.

If you have shingles, the affected area will feel quite tender and you may experience sharp stabbing pains every now and then. Other symptoms include a burning and tingling feeling in the affected areas, as well as a high temperature and a general feeling of being unwell.

The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner treatment can begin. The NHS suggests using calamine lotion as this has a cooling, soothing effect on the skin and can relieve the itchy feeling. If your blisters are weeping, you can use a cloth or flannel which has been cooled with tap water to relieve discomfort.

People aged 70-78 are eligible for a free shingles vaccination with the NHS. This is the best way of avoiding the condition.

Read more – Shingles: A Useful Guide

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Staying Safe at Home

personal alarm can protect people who suffer from medical conditions like those mentioned in this article. If one of our alarm users feels unwell or suffers a fall, they can press their pendant button and our Response Team will arrange help immediately.

For more information on our life-saving personal alarms, send an email to  info@lifeline24.co.uk or speak to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our handy contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

You can order a Lifeline alarm online today. Alongside the standard pendant alarm, we also offer an automatic fall detector alarm and a GPS alarm for peace of mind wherever you go. There is also a landline-free version of our standard alarm system, ideal for those who do not have an active landline connection.

 

 

Editor’s note: This article was updated on 10th January 2022 to reflect current information.

Want to order your alarm or have a question? Get in touch!