Forward Mid Ailments help and information support
Forward Mid have gathered a list of ailments, informing you of support groups and NHS information pages and if the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency need to be informed.
If you spot an a missing medical condition and know of a support group please let Forward Mid know.
You can select a letter to start in the section beginning with that letter, for screen readers and visually impaired there are back to top buttons at the end of every third letter. example inbetween C and D.
The letters on a grey background Q, U, W, X, Y and Z have no content and are not linked.
Acoustic neuroma is a benign non-cancerous growth, or tumour, in the brain. It is also known as a vestibular Schwannoma. An acoustic neuroma grows on the acoustic nerve (vestibulocochlear nerve), which helps control hearing and balance.
The symptoms of an acoustic neuroma can vary in severity, and tend to develop gradually. This means the condition can be difficult to diagnose.
Addison's disease is a rare, chronic condition brought about by the failure of the adrenal glands. It is also known as primary adrenal insufficiency or hypoadrenalism. For more information on Addison's disease Select either the Addison's Organisation's self help link or the NHS link.
Addison's disease can be difficult to detect at first because early symptoms are similar to symptoms of many other health conditions.
- If you have Addison disease and drive a Lorry Coach or bus you must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) For car or motorcycle licence you don’t need to tell DVLA if you have Addison’s disease.
Alzheimer's Scotland provide services and campaign actively to help people with dementia and their families and carers. Dementia is the progressive loss of the powers of the brain. There are many kinds of dementia but the most common is Alzheimer's disease. Other kinds of dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia's, Pick's disease and alcohol-related dementia's.
Alzheimer's disease is most common in people over 65 years of age, and affects slightly more women than men, there is no cure at present, medication can help with the management of Alzheimer's disease
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a type of chronic arthritis that affects parts of the spine, including bones, muscles and ligaments, it can vary, but most people experience back pain and stiffness. Ankylosing Spondylitis can be severe, with around one in 10 people at risk of long-term disability.
There is no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms and slow the process of the spine stiffening
Arthritis, or Reiter's syndrome , Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. Most people with Arthritis will experience pain and difficulty moving around, the Arthritis pain can range from very slight to very severe. Around 10 million people in the UK have arthritis and you can take control of your symptoms and continue to have a good quality of life. There are over 200 kinds of rheumatic diseases. Two of the most common forms of Arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, including children. It is not clear what causes Arthritis and there is no cure at present.
There is plenty you can do to manage your Arthritis and lead a full and active life.
Asperger and Autism syndrome are both part of a range of related developmental disorders known as autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). They begin in childhood and last through adulthood.
ASD can cause a wide range of symptoms, which are grouped into three categories:
problems and difficulties with social interaction – including lack of understanding and awareness of other people's emotions and feelings
impaired language and communication skills – including delayed language development and an inability to start conversations or take part in them properly
unusual patterns of thought and physical behaviour – including making repetitive physical movements, such as hand tapping or twisting
Ataxia means absence of order. People with Ataxia have problems with movement, balance, and speech. Anyone of any age can get Ataxia, but certain types are more common in certain age groups.
If you have acquired Ataxia, your treatment will depend on the underlying cause and how long your symptoms are likely to persist.
Behçet's disease Behçet's syndrome (now known as Behçet's disease) is a chronic condition resulting from disturbances in the body’s immune system. The immune system, which normally protects the body against infections by producing controlled inflammation, becomes over-active and produces unpredictable outbreaks of unwanted and exaggerated inflammation.
Symptoms of joint pain in cases of Behçet's disease are treated in much the same way as more common cases of arthritis. Different treatments are introduced one by one, starting with the painkiller.
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is a severe mood disorder. Individuals experience low moods, which might be characterised by depression, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of energy and social withdrawal. At other times, high, manic moods can bring confidence, energy and optimism, as well as a loss of inhibition.
Bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on someone’s life, but it’s important to note that many people who live with Bipolar disorder lead productive, creative lives.
The Brain and Spine Foundation was founded in 1992 to help the 10 million people affected by brain and spine conditions in the UK. It covers Brain tumours, Hydrocephalus (Water on the Brain), Shunts, spinal muscular atrophy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is a rare neurological illness plus many more. Brain and Spine injuries can happen to anyone.
The NHS does not have one web page for Brain and spine, this link takes you to the NHS A to Z there is a search box at top of the page for individual Brain and Spine Conditions.
Cancers there are many different types of cancer. For information on a specific cancer click the NHS link below to get started. Cancers research uk provide a free information service about cancer and cancer care for people with cancer and their families through Cancer Help UK
Cerebral palsy is a general term used by doctors to refer to a set of neurological conditions that affect a child's movement and co-ordination. Neurological conditions affect the brain and nervous system. Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects movement, posture and coordination. It is caused by damage to the brain before, during, or after birth.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, is a group of inherited conditions that cause damage to the peripheral nerves (neuropathy). Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a condition that affects the nerves in your legs and arms.
Chest, heart and stroke Scotland Chest illnesses of various kinds are the biggest single reason people use the health service. These include;
A heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. The lack of blood to the heart can seriously damage the heart muscles. If left untreated, the muscles will begin to die. The medical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction.
A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD have trouble breathing in and out. This is referred to as airflow obstruction.
Crohn's and Colitis disease NACC offers a wide range of services for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease including an information service over the telephone.
Over time, the inflammation that is caused by Crohn’s disease can damage sections of the digestive system, causing additional complications, such as narrowing of the colon.
Deafness or Hearing impaired The British Deaf Association is the largest Deaf organisation in the UK that is run by Deaf people.
Despite the fact that deafness can be socially isolating, it can take up to 15 years for people who clearly have hearing loss to get tested. And 4 million people in the UK have undiagnosed hearing loss, according to Action on Hearing Loss, the UK charity taking action on hearing loss.
- Previously the RNID www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk
- www.nhs.uk deaf
- If you’re deaf and drive Bus, coach or lorry licence you must tell DVLA about your condition.
- if you drive a car or motorcycle there is no need.
Diabetes UK give you the basics about diabetes, what it is, the signs and symptoms.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body produces no insulin. It is often referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. It is also sometimes known as juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes because it usually develops before the age of 40.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when not enough insulin is produced by the body for it to function properly, or when the body’s cells do not react to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body does not produce any insulin at all. Around 90% of all adults in the UK with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
- www.nhs.uk Diabetes type 1
- www.nhs.uk Diabetes type 2
- If you are treated by diet you do not need to tell the DVLA
- If you are treated with non insulin injections and drive a car or motorcycle you do not need to tell the DVLA
- If you are treated with non insulin injections and drive a Bus, coach or lorry licence you must tell the DVLA
- If you are treated by insulin injections you must tell the DVLA
Disabled children Contact a Family Scotland are the only UK-wide charity providing advice,
information and support to the parents of all disabled children.
Caring for a disabled child can make your daily parenting duties, such as feeding, toilet training and getting them to sleep, more challenging. However, advice and practical support are available to help you cope with everyday hands-on caring, as well as the wider medical, emotional and financial issues.
Epilepsy Scotland Epilepsy is defined as having repeated seizures
not just one which start in the brain.
Epilepsy affects the brain and causes repeated seizures, also known as fits. Epilepsy affects around 456,000 people in the UK. This means that about 1 in 130 people has epilepsy. Epilepsy usually begins during childhood, although it can start at any age. The cells in the brain, known as neurons, communicate with each other with electrical impulses. During a seizure, the electrical impulses are disrupted, which can cause the brain and body to behave strangely. The severity of the seizures can differ from person to person. Some people simply experience a ‘trance-like’ state for a few seconds or minutes, while others lose consciousness and have convulsions (uncontrollable shaking of the body).
There are three main types of epilepsy:
- Symptomatic epilepsy - the symptoms of epilepsy are due to damage or disruption to the brain.
- Crypto epilepsy - while no evidence of damage to the brain can be found, other symptoms, such as learning difficulties, suggest that damage to the brain has occurred.
- Idiopathic epilepsy - no obvious cause for epilepsy can be found.
Exophthalmos is a ailment that causes the eyes to protrude it is also called Thyroid eye disease.
Bulging eyeballs are usually a sign or symptom that you have an ailment which is affecting the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and controls the rate at which the body uses energy (metabolism).
When a thyroid ailment causes symptoms that affect the eyes, it is known as a thyroid eye disease or thyroid orbitopathy. One ailment that can cause thyroid eye disease and, therefore, exophthalmos is Graves’ disease. In rare cases, exophthalmos may be caused by other diseases.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic ailment of widespread pain and profound fatigue.
It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects nearly 1 in 20 people across the globe. In England and Wales, there could be up to 1.76 million adults with fibromyalgia.
Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although this ailment affects more women than men. In most cases, fibromyalgia occurs between 30 and 60 years of age, but it can develop in people of any age, including children and the elderly.
Fibromyalgia can be a difficult ailment to diagnose because there is no specific test and the symptoms can be similar to those of other ailments.
Glomerulonephritis is a condition that affects the kidneys. It happens when tiny structures inside the kidney, called glomeruli, become diseased. This can be caused by several ailments, but it is often caused by the immune system (the body's natural deference against infection and illness). Glomerulonephritis may not cause any symptoms and is often diagnosed when blood or urine tests are carried out for another reason.
The National Kidney Federation also supports the related needs of those relatives and friends who care for kidney patients.
Guillain-Barré syndrome a serious ailment of the peripheral nervous system. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system. not being able to walk unaided , needing a wheelchair loss of sensation, lack of co-ordination, loss of balance, muscle weakness in your arms or legs, problems with your sense of touch known as dysaesthesia
Hemianopia also known as Hemianopsia is loss of vision in either the right or left sides of both eyes; a common side effect of stroke or brain injury. This vision loss causes serious problems with mobility, bumping into objects, increased incidence of falls and accidents and reading problems.
Haemophilia The Haemophilia Society is the only national and independent organisation for all people affected by bleeding disorders, during, or after birth.
Hello Haemophilia is a web site for young people who have Haemophilia
with Haemophilia there are not as many clotting factors in the blood as there should be. Therefore, someone with the ailment will bleed for a longer time than usual. Haemophilia is often associated with external bleeding. However, a more common symptom is internal bleeding. This usually occurs around the joints and muscles. Internal bleeding can cause symptoms of pain and stiffness and, over time, it can damage the joints
Hepatitis A, B, C, Hepatitis A is not very common in the UK. It is more common in countries where sanitation and sewage disposal are poor, particularly countries in Africa, northern and southern Asia, central America and southern and eastern Europe. Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended if you are travelling to countries in these areas. Hepatitis A can occur at any age but mostly affects children and young adults.
Hepatitis B is uncommon in the UK and cases are largely confined to certain groups such as drug users, men who have sex with men and certain ethnic communities (South Asian, African and Chinese). In contrast, hepatitis B is common in other parts of the world, particularly China, Central and South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization estimates that hepatitis B is responsible for 600,000 deaths a year worldwide.
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. It can cause inflammation (swelling) and fibrosis (scarring) of the liver tissue, and sometimes significant liver damage. Many people do not realise they have been infected with the virus because they may not have any symptoms, or they may have flu-like symptoms that can easily be mistaken for another illness. You can become infected with hepatitis C if you come into contact with the blood or, less commonly, body fluids of an infected person.
hepatitis organisation provides information and support about hepatitis and support for people with hepatitis.
Support is also available at Health Protection Agency for Hepatitis A, at the Hepatitis B foundation and also at Hepatitis C Trust.
Hip Replacement is a surgical procedure to replace your hip joint with an artificial version. It provides a long-term solution for worn or damaged hip joints caused by injury or disease, such as osteoarthritis, which can cause severe pain and loss of mobility.
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. The operation replaces both the natural socket and the rounded ball at the top of the thigh bone with artificial parts
Hip Replacement web site provides as a service to its visitors and is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
HIV or AIDS is a virus most commonly caught by having unprotected sex or by sharing infected needles to inject drugs.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus weakens your ability to fight infections and disease, such as cancer. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection, when your body can no longer fight life-threatening infections. There is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person, which includes semen and vaginal fluids, blood, inside the anus and breast milk. However, it is not spread easily compared to other viruses, like colds or flu.
The most common ways of getting HIV in the UK are:
- unprotected sex, including vaginal, oral and anal sex
- using a contaminated needle or syringe to inject drugs
- from mother to baby, before or during birth, or by breastfeeding
The virus enters the bloodstream, often through cuts and sores, and attacks the immune system, which protects the body against infection.
Avert is an international HIV and AIDS charity based in the UK, working to AVERT HIV and AIDS worldwide.
Terrence Higgins Trust was one of the first charities to be set up in response to the HIV epidemic and has been at the forefront of the fight against HIV, and improving the nation's sexual health, ever since.
Huntington's disease is often called HD, is an hereditary disorder of the central nervous system.
Huntington's disease is an inherited disease of the brain. There is no cure, but much can be done to help families.Both men and women with a family history of Huntington's can inherit the disease. Symptoms usually start to show during adulthood.
The disease damages some of the nerve cells in the brain, causing deterioration and gradual loss of function of areas of the brain. This affects movement, cognition (perception, awareness, thinking, judgment) and behaviour.
Early symptoms, such as personality changes, mood swings and unusual behaviour, are often overlooked at first and attributed to something else.
Huntington's disease was originally called Huntington's chorea, after the Greek word for dancing. This is because the associated involuntary movements of the ailment can look like jerky dancing.
Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid on the brain. The excess fluid puts pressure on the brain, which can damage it. The damage to the brain can result in a wide range of symptoms, including: headache being sick blurred vision difficulty walking
Hyperhidrosis as with all human ailments, there is a wide range of "normal" with some people hardly sweating at all, whilst others sweat to a much larger extent. Most normal or heavy sweating can be controlled with shop bought anti-perspirants or aluminium chloride.
When the amount of sweating is excessive and cannot be controlled by these measures it is termed "hyperhidrosis". Although some people have hyperhidrosis as a consequence of another illness, in many others it is merely due to overactive sweat glands or over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning, even though you've had enough opportunity to sleep. Most people have problems sleeping at some point in their life. It's thought that a third of people in the UK have bouts of insomnia. Insomnia tends to be more common in women and more likely to occur with age. It's difficult to define what normal sleep is as everyone is different. Your age, lifestyle, environment and diet all play a part in influencing the amount of sleep you need.
The British Sleep Society is an professional organisation for medical, scientific and healthcare workers dealing with sleeping disorders.
Joint hypermobility means that some or all of the joints have an unusually large range of movement. People with hypermobility are particularly supple and able to move their limbs into positions that other people find impossible. Many people with hypermobile joints do not have any problems and do not need treatment. However, joint hypermobility can sometimes cause unpleasant symptoms, such as:
- Joint pain
- Back pain
- Dislocated joints – when the joint comes out if its correct position
- Soft tissue injuries, such as tenosynovitis (inflammation of the protective sheath around a tendon)
If hypermobility causes these types of symptoms it is often called joint hypermobility syndrome.
The Hypermobility Syndrome Association provides information for people with Joint Hypermobility.
Kaposi's sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that can affect both the skin and internal organs. The most common initial symptom of Kaposi's sarcoma is the appearance of red or purple patches on the skin. The patches then grow into lumps known as nodules. Kaposi's sarcoma can also damage the internal organs, which can lead to a range of symptoms, depending on which organs are affected .
Kidney dialysis or failure The National Kidney Federation also supports the related needs of those relatives and friends who care for kidney patients.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are located at the back of the abdomen, behind the liver and intestines. Every day the kidneys filter your blood, removing waste products collected as part of normal bodily functions, along with any excess fluid. The waste products and excess fluid become urine, which is stored in the bladder until you go to the toilet.
knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty), a damaged, worn or diseased knee is replaced with an artificial joint.
Knee replacement is a routine operation for knee pain when the knee joint has been severely damaged, most commonly by arthritis.
Hip, knee and ankle joint replacements have become common and highly successful operations that bring many patients improved mobility and relief from pain. Thousands of hip, knee and ankle joint replacement operations take place in the UK every year. The National Joint Registry (NJR) was set up by the Department of Health and Welsh Assembly Government to collect information on all hip, knee and ankle replacement operations and to monitor the performance of replacement hip knee and ankle joints (implants).
Kyphosis and Scoliosis information and advice plus treatment and symptoms, diagnosis and causes.
Kyphosis is an ailment in which the top of the back is excessively curved and appears more rounded than normal. While some degree of curvature is normal, a curve of more than 40 degrees would be considered a sign of kyphosis.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine to one side, with the spine bending either to the left or to the right. The amount of curvature can vary from slight to severe and the curve can be in the shape of a C or S.
Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection. The labyrinth is the innermost part of the ear. It causes a delicate structure deep inside your ear called the labyrinth to become inflamed, affecting your hearing and balance. Two important parts of the The labyrinth is the cochlea – this relays sounds to the brain and is responsible for hearing and the vestibular system – a complex set of fluid-filled channels responsible for your sense of balance Symptoms of labyrinthitis include:
- vertigo – the feeling that the world is moving or spinning around you loss of balance
- hearing loss
The symptoms may be quite severe in the first week but usually get better after a few weeks. However, some cases can have much longer-lasting symptoms. This can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life and their ability to do everyday tasks.
Left or right bundle branch block is an abnormal pattern seen on the electrocardiogram (ECG), which indicates that the cardiac electrical impulse is not being distributed across the heart in the normal way.
Left or right bundle branch block can be significant for two reasons. First, the presence of Left bundle branch block most often indicates the presence of underlying heart disease. And second, the Left bundle branch block itself can cause the heart to work less efficiently - especially in people who have certain types of heart disease.
Left bundle branch block mainly affects older adults.
Leukaemia is cancer of the white blood cells. Acute leukaemia means the ailment progresses rapidly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment. Acute leukaemia is classified according to the type of white blood cells that are affected by cancer.
There are two main types:
- lymphocytes – mostly used to fight viral infections
- myeloid cells – which perform a number of different functions, such as fighting bacterial infections, defending the body against parasites and preventing the spread of tissue damage
Limb Disability is when a limb has been amputated, A limb can be amputated because of Trauma, Car crash or Armed forces, from diabetic ulcers when the limb has gone gangrene or from Atherosclerosis. There are a few more very rare ailments that may require a limb to be amputated.
The Limbless Association provides information and support to the limb-loss community. We aim to support people of all ages and backgrounds through a variety of existing programs and services.
liver cancer The British Liver Trust is the national charity working to reduce the impact of liver disease in the UK through support , information and research .
Primary liver cancer is a rare but serious type of cancer that mostly affects older people. The initial symptoms of liver cancer are often vague and non-specific. They include: unexplained weight loss, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, jaundice – yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes In many cases, cancer of the liver does not cause noticeable symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. Secondary Liver cancer is where cancer starts in another part of the body then spreads to the liver, the most likely types of cancer that spreads are; bowel, breast, pancreas, stomach, lung, ovary or skin cancer.
Lupus or Systemic lupus erythematosus People diagnosed with lupus normally remain under medical care with continuing medication. Many symptoms have less impact as a result, but side effects can often occur. Lupus can adversely influence the lives of those who suffer the illness, their families & friends.
Lupus is an uncommon, complex and poorly understood ailment that affects many parts of the body and causes many different symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms of lupus include: fatigue, skin rash, joint pain and swelling. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that it is caused by problems with the immune system (the body’s natural defence against illness and infection). In people with lupus, for reasons that are not clearly understood, the immune system starts to attack healthy cells, tissue and organs. As with other more common autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are responsible for triggering the onset of lupus in certain people. There are several types of lupus. The main types are: discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus.
Lymphoedema the Lymphoedema Support Network website. If you have developed lymphoedema, you are not alone; it is estimated that well over 100,000 men, women and children in the UK are living with the ailment. Although lymphoedema is a long term ailment, with the right information, support and treatment there is much that can be done to improve both swelling and other symptoms.
If lymphoedema is left untreated, there is a risk that it may worsen over time. Lymphoedema is not curable, but there are ways to control and manage symptoms that can also help to improve quality of life.
Macular degeneration Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a painless eye ailment that leads to the gradual loss of central vision. Central vision is used to see what is directly in front of you, during activities such as reading or watching television for example. The central vision becomes increasingly blurred leading to symptoms including: difficulty reading printed or written text (because it appears blurry) colours appear less vibrant difficulty recognising people's faces AMD usually affects both eyes, but the speed at which it progresses can vary from eye to eye.
Marfan syndrome affects several different parts of the body, You will usually have a doctor who co-ordinates your treatment programme and makes sure that every aspect of the syndrome is closely monitored and treated, if necessary. Skeletal problems that develop as a result of Marfan syndrome can sometimes cause significant pain and discomfort. They may also affect your appearance, which some people find affects their confidence and self-esteem called altered body image. There are a number of ways that the skeletal symptoms of Marfan syndrome can be treated
(MFS) is a disorder of connective tissue. Connective tissue holds all parts of the body together and helps control how the body grows.
Myalgic Encephalitis or Chronic fatigue syndrome causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion) that affects everyday life and doesn't go away with sleep or rest. For most people, symptoms will improve over time. Myalgic Encephalitis is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis. Myalgia means muscle pain and encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Both CFS and Chronic fatigue syndrome are commonly used terms. There is no cure for Chronic fatigue syndrome , but treatment can ease the symptoms, which include muscle pain and headaches
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association 0ur information centre gives you clear, balanced information about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
Myasthenia gravis is an uncommon ailment that causes certain muscles to become weak. With treatment, most people can lead a normal life.
Myasthenia gravis literally means 'grave muscle weakness'.
The ailment can affect any muscles that you can control voluntarily. Muscles that you cannot control voluntarily, such as the heart muscles, are not affected.
Myasthenia gravis most commonly affects the muscles that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expression, chewing, swallowing and talking, and the muscles in the arms and legs and sometimes the lungs.
The Muscular Dystrophy UK gives support and advice and a listening helpline
Myocardial Infarction or Heart attack A heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. The lack of blood to the heart can seriously damage the heart muscles. If left untreated, the muscles will begin to die. The medical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction. Symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest pain: the chest can feel like it is being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and the pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back
- Shortness of breath
- Overwhelming feeling of anxiety
Most heart attacks occur in people with coronary heart disease, which is caused by arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is a serious ailment where the arteries become narrowed and hardened by the build-up of clumps of cholesterol, called plaques. The two arteries that supply the heart are called the coronary arteries. People with hardened and narrowed coronary arteries are said to have coronary heart disease (CHD).
Risk factors for CHD include:
- High-fat diet
- Being overweight or obese
Heart attacks are very common and are one of the leading causes of death. The British Heart Foundation supply information on Myocardial Infarction. It is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
Motor neurone disease Motor neurone disease is a rare ailment that progressively damages the nervous system, causing the muscles to waste away. Motor neurone disease occurs when specialist nerve cells, called motor neurone's, stop working properly. Motor neurone's control important muscle activity such as:
As the ailment progresses, people with motor neurone disease will find these activities increasingly difficult, and eventually impossible, to do. Exactly what causes the motor neurone's to stop working properly is unclear, but several theories have been suggested. Find out about the possible causes of motor neurone disease. In its early stages, motor neurone disease causes symptoms such as:
- A weakened grip, which can cause difficulty picking up or holding objects
- A general feeling of tiredness
- Muscle pains and cramps
As the damage progresses, the symptoms become more debilitating. In the final stages, a person with the ailment will be unable to move their body (the medical name for this is total body paralysis) and their breathing difficulties will get worse
Motor Neurone Disease is a neurodegenerative disease. Symptoms can include loss of movement, speech impairment, and eating difficulties.
- Relapsing remitting Multiple sclerosis
- Secondary progressive Multiple sclerosis
- Primary progressive Multiple sclerosis
About the disease
Multiple sclerosis is a ailment of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). The central nervous system controls the body's actions and activities, such as movement and balance. Each nerve fibre in the central nervous system is surrounded by a substance called myelin. Myelin helps messages from the brain to travel quickly and smoothly to the rest of the body. In Multiple sclerosis, the myelin becomes damaged. This disrupts the transfer of these messages.
Multiple sclerosis Scotland gives advice and support to families and friends
Narcolepsy is a long-term (chronic sleep) disorder that disrupts a normal sleeping pattern. Symptoms of narcolepsy can be mild or severe, and include:
falling asleep suddenly, without warning (known as ‘sleep attacks’)
excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
temporary muscle weakness when responding to emotions such as laughter and anger (cataplexy)
Narcolepsy is a relatively rare ailment. However, the exact number of people who are affected by narcolepsy is unknown because the ailment often goes unreported or is not diagnosed correctly.
It is estimated that narcolepsy affects 1 in 2,000 people worldwide, which is the equivalent of 25,000 people in the UK. It is also estimated that around 80% of people with the ailment are undiagnosed. Narcolepsy affects men and women equally. The ailment usually begins during adolescence (the teenage years), although it can sometimes start earlier. Cases of narcolepsy that have started later (during middle age) have also been reported.
Narcolepsy Association gives advice and support on how to manage the ailment.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body. The lymphatic system is part of your immune system. Clear fluid called lymph flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains infection-fighting white blood cells known as lymphocytes
Optic neuritis is the inflammation of the nerve that leads from the eye to the brain, this is part of the general term Neuromyelitis optica, causes a reduction or loss of vision, and can affect both eyes at the same time. Other symptoms include eye pain, which is usually made worse by movement, and reduced colour vision where colours may appear ‘washed out’ or less vivid than usual.
Osteoarthritis Treatment for osteoarthritis aims to relieve pain, reduce disability and provide support to help you live as active a life as possible.
The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) has developed a set of standards for good osteoarthritis care (Link below).
These are designed to help people of all ages with osteoarthritis lead independent lives and to be as healthy as possible. They recommend that everyone should have access to:
information, support and knowledge to improve bone and muscle health and to enable them to manage their own ailment.
the right services that enable early diagnosis and treatment
ongoing and responsive treatment and support
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has also produced guidance for the management of osteoarthritis. (link below)
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but treatment can ease your symptoms and prevent them from affecting your everyday life. The main treatments do not involve medication and consist of; access to the right information, exercise to improve your fitness and strengthen your muscles weight loss, if you are overweight. If your osteoarthritis is mild or moderate, you may not need any other treatment. Your GP can give you advice about managing your symptoms by making changes to your lifestyle. These may be enough to keep the ailment under control.
The Arthritis Research Campaign (arc), founded in 1936 provide information to family and friends and also to the general public.
Osteoporosis is an ailment that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and fragile and more likely to break (fracture). These fractures most commonly occur in the spine, wrist and hips but can affect other bones such as the arm or pelvis.
Bone is a living tissue that is constantly repairing itself. This process is called bone turnover. There are cells which break down old bone (osteoclasts) and cells which build new bone (osteoblasts). This process requires a range of proteins and minerals, which are absorbed from the bloodstream.
Approximately 3 million people in the UK are thought to have osteoporosis, and there are over 230,000 fractures every year as a result. Although commonly associated with post-menopausal women, osteoporosis can also affect men, younger women and children.
The National Osteoporosis Society is the only UK wide charity dedicated to improving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis
Paget's disease of the bone is a ailment where the normal cycle of bone renewal and repair is disrupted. In some cases, this can cause the affected bone (or bones) to become weakened and deformed.
Bone pain is the most common symptom of Paget's disease. It most commonly affects the pelvis or spine and it is usually worse when lying down.
There is no cure for the ailment but the symptoms can be controlled by painkillers and a range of medications that help regulate bone growth.
The Paget's Association is the one UK organisation that focuses solely on this ailment. It acts as a resource for those with Paget's disease of bone,offering high quality information and support when necessary.
Parkinson's disease The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a clinical guideline for Parkinson’s disease(link Below). The guideline provides comprehensive evidence-based information on the benefits and limitations of the various methods of diagnosing, treating and caring for people with Parkinson’s disease. This helps health professionals and patients decide on the most appropriate treatment.
The NICE guideline states that if you have Parkinson’s disease, a healthcare professional, such as a Parkinson’s disease specialist nurse, should provide you with help. They should:
regularly check how your medicines are making you feel and make changes to your medication if necessary
be a point of contact and support for you and your family or carers, and come to see you at home when appropriate
give you reliable information about Parkinson’s disease, its symptoms and treatments,
Wider issues that can affect people with the disease and their family or carers
Parkinson's Disease Society has wide range of publications, including information sheets, booklets and DVD's, answer questions on all aspects of the ailment, helping people with Parkinson's, their families and carers
Petit mal seizures is the term given to a staring spell. It is most commonly called an absence seizure. It is a brief, usually less than 15 seconds, disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Petit mal seizures occur most often in people under age 20, They may occur with other types of seizures, such as grand mal seizure), twitches or jerks , or sudden loss of muscle strength.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is an age-related ailment. It occasionally occurs in people in their 50s but is more common in people over 60, and especially in those in their 70s and 80s.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is two to three times more common in women than in men. It is more widespread among white people, particularly those of Scandinavian descent, and it is much less common in black people.
The cause of polymyalgia rheumatica is unclear. However, it is thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.
The Arthritis Research Campaign (arc), founded in 1936 provide information to the general public.
- serious road accidents,
- violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
- prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
- military combat
- being held hostage
- terrorist attacks
- natural disasters, such as severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis
- witnessing violent deaths
Any of the above can cause a disability,
PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.
Respite Care is any sort of help and support that enables a person to take a break from the responsibility of caring for somebody else.
Caring for someone can be a full-time job and, like any job, you sometimes need to take a break.
You may feel guilty or apprehensive about taking a break from the person you are looking after. However, it is important to remember that if you go too long without taking a proper break, you may become ill, anxious or depressed. This can make life more difficult for you and the person you are caring for.
There are a number of different types of respite care:
Some might have waiting lists and some may not be available locally.
- Residential respite care is where the person being cared for goes away to live and be looked after by someone else for a while.
- Emergency respite care is where care is provided when someone is cannot fulfil their caring responsibilities due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness.
- Domiciliary care is where support is provided in the home to help out with some of the carer’s responsibilities for a few hours.
- Day centre care is where the person being cared for spends time at a centre to allow the carer to have a few spare hours of their own time.
Restricted Growth (Dwarfism) can be caused by several different medical ailments. Some children with restricted growth may be eligible for treatment with human growth hormone. There are two main types of restricted growth:
- Proportionate short stature (PSS) – a general lack of growth
- Disproportionate short stature (DSS) – a problem with the way certain bones grow
Proportionate short stature (PSS) If someone has PSS, the length of their trunk (abdomen and chest) will be in normal proportion with the legs, but they will have a general lack of height. The most common cause of PSS is being born to small parents. PSS can also occur when the body does not produce enough growth hormone.
Disproportionate short stature (DSS) occurs when there is a problem with the way joints and bones grow. Certain limbs may be shorter, or the trunk may be particularly short. Generally, there may be a severe lack of height. Conditions associated with DSS are usually caused by a faulty gene. Many children born with DSS have parents of average height and the faulty gene occurred by chance.
Girls with Turner syndrome and children with a genetic abnormality known as SHOX gene haploinsufficiency have a mild form of DSS.
Around 30,000 people in the UK have a restricted growth ailment that causes DSS.
If the legs are particularly short, DSS can be treated with a leg-lengthening procedure, although there is uncertainty about the safety and effectiveness of this.
Restricted Growth Association (RGA). The RGA is a UK based charity that provides vital information and support to improve the quality of life for persons of restricted growth, and their families.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a ailment that causes pain and swelling in the joints. Hands, feet and wrists are commonly affected, but it can also damage other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can make your joints feel stiff and can leave you feeling generally unwell and tired.
The ailment is estimated to affect 400,000 people in England and Wales and occurs more frequently in women than men. It is most common between the ages of 40 and 70, but it can affect people of any age.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This is when your immune system, which usually fights infection, attacks the cells that line your joints, making them swollen, stiff and painful. Over time, this can damage the joint itself, the cartilage and nearby bone.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually vary over time. Sometimes, symptoms only cause mild discomfort. At other times, they can be very painful, making it difficult to move around and do everyday tasks. When symptoms become worse, this is known as a flare-up or flare. A flare-up is impossible to predict, making rheumatoid arthritis difficult to live with.
National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society provides support and information for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, their families, friends
Rickets is a rare disease that affects bone development in children. It causes the softening and weakening of bones, which can lead to deformities, such as bowed legs and curvature of the spine.
Rickets in adults is known as osteomalacia (soft bones).
The most common cause of rickets is a lack of vitamin D or calcium in the diet. These minerals are essential for a child to form strong healthy bones. Less commonly, children can be born with genetic forms of rickets or develop rickets if underlying ailments affect the absorption of vitamins and minerals
For most children, additional vitamin and mineral supplements can usually treat rickets successfully.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern. It is characterised by episodes of depression that recur at the same time each year. SAD is sometimes known as 'winter depression' because the symptoms are more apparent during the winter. As with other kinds of depression, two of the main symptoms of SAD are a low mood and a loss of interest in ordinary things. Other symptoms of SAD include:
- Being less active
- Putting on weight
- Sleeping more
SAD affects people mostly in the winter, the symptoms are worse in the winter months. SAD sometimes affects people in the summer, although this is rare.
The symptoms of SAD often start as the days begin to get shorter in the autumn. They are worst during December, January, and February. For most people with SAD, the symptoms start to improve by spring time, then disappear.
In the UK, it is thought that SAD affects around 7% of people. It tends to affect mainly younger people, especially those in their twenties. Depression in general affects twice as many women as men. This figure is likely to be the same for SAD.
Like any type of depression, SAD can be a difficult ailment to live with. Symptoms can make you feel tired, stressed and unhappy. However, a number of treatments and medications are available, including:
- Light therapy: treatment with bright light
- Talking therapies: such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Lumie provides information and equipment for light therapy and its benefits this is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
Self Management UK is the leading charity in self management support for people living with long-term health conditions. We work with patients, carers, healthcare professionals, clinicians and commissioners creating sustainable communities where people have the skills and confidence to live better lives.
What is self-management?
The systematic process of learning and practicing skills which enable individuals to manage their health condition on a day-to-day basis, through practicing and adopting specific behaviours which are central to managing their condition, making informed decisions about care, and engaging in healthy behaviours to reduce the physical and emotional impact of their illness, with or without the collaboration of the health care system.
Self management programme is for people who are living with a chronic (long-term) ailments. The aim is to support people who have a chronic ailments by:
increasing their confidence improving their quality of life helping them manage their ailment more effectively.
Chronic health ailments are ailments that can be controlled but not cured. Living with a chronic ailment can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, as well as on their family and carers. Common chronic ailments include the following.
- Any long-term condition
- A web based support system to manage at your own pace.
- Carers support
- Support from healthcare profesionals to help management
- Training from health care profesionals
- Young carer Support
- All the support can be found at selfmanagementuk.org/ formaly Expert Patients
- www.nhs.uk find information about referrals
Slipped Disc also called a prolapsed or herniated disc, occurs when one of the discs of the spine is ruptured (splits) and the gel inside leaks out. This causes back pain and can also cause pain in other areas of the body.
The spine is made up of 24 individual bones called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of each other. Discs are the protective, circular pads of cartilage (connective tissue) that lie in between the vertebrae. The discs are responsible for cushioning the vertebrae when jumping or running. The spinal cord is a collection of nerve fibres that are attached to the brain and are protected by the spine. Nerve fibres from the spinal cord pass between the vertebrae as they take and receive messages to and from different parts of the body.
The discs are made from a tough, fibrous case, which contains a softer, gel-like substance. A slipped disc occurs when the outer part of the disc ruptures (splits), allowing the gel inside to bulge and protrude outwards between the vertebrae. The damaged disc can put pressure on the whole spinal cord or on a single nerve fibre. This means that a slipped disc can cause pain both in the area of the protruding disc and in any part of the body that is controlled by the nerve that the disc is pressing on.
Slipped discs are most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50. The ailment affects twice as many men as women. A slipped disc occurs most frequently in the lower back, but any disc can rupture, including those in the upper back and neck. Around one-third of adults in the UK have lower back pain, and a slipped disc is responsible in less than 1 in 20 cases.
BackCare is a registered charity that aims to reduce the burden of back pain by providing information and support, promoting good practice
Sjögren's Syndrome is a disorder of the immune system (the body’s defence system against infection). White blood cells attack the body’s tear and saliva glands, which reduces the amount of saliva and tears produced. This causes a dry mouth and dry eyes, along with other related symptoms.
In women (who are most commonly affected), the glands responsible for keeping the vagina moist can also be affected, leading to vaginal dryness.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease. This term refers to any disease caused by a faulty immune system attacking the body’s healthy cells and tissues.
Health professionals classify Sjögren's Syndrome as either:
- Primary Sjögren's Syndrome, when the ailment develops by itself and not as the result of another ailment
- Secondary Sjögren's Syndrome, when the ailment develops in combination with another autoimmune ailment, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
The cause of Sjögren's Syndrome remains unknown, but research suggests that the ailment is triggered by a combination of genetic, environmental and possibly hormonal factors.
The British Sjögren's Syndrome Association (BSSA) was founded in 1986, as a registered charity, to raise awareness of the disease and support research into its cause and treatment.
Spina Bifida is a term that is used to describe a series of birth defects that affect the development of the spine and central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain, nerves and spinal cord. The spinal cord runs from the brain to the rest of the body and consists of nerve cells and bundles of nerves that connect all parts of the body to the brain.
During the first month of life, an embryo (developing baby) grows a primitive tissue structure called the neural tube. As the embryo develops, the neural tube begins to change into a more complicated structure of bones, tissue and nerves that will eventually form the spine and nervous system.
However, in cases of spina bifida, something goes wrong with the development of the neural tube and the spinal column (the ridge of bone that surrounds and protects the nerves) does not fully close. Spina bifida is a Latin term that means split spine.
There are different types of spina bifida, including:
spina bifida occulta
spina bifida meningocele
Myelomeningocele is the most serious type of spina bifida. It is estimated that it affects one baby in every 1,000 that are born in Britain. In myelomeningocele, the spinal column remains open along several vertebrae. The membranes and spinal cord push out to create a sac in the baby’s back. Sometimes the sac is covered with membranes called meninges, although it often remains open, leaving the nervous system vulnerable to infections that may be fatal.
In most cases of myelomeningocele, surgery can be carried out to close the defect. However, extensive damage to the nervous system will usually have already taken place. Damage can result in a range of symptoms including:
partial or total paralysis of the lower limbs
bowel incontinence and urinary incontinence
loss of skin sensation
Most babies with myelomeningocele will also develop hydrocephalus, which is a ailment where there is excess cerebrospinal fluid. The build-up of cerebrospinal fluid is caused by problems with the development of the neural tube. Hydrocephalus needs to be treated with surgery because the extra pressure that the fluid places on the brain can cause brain damage.
ASBAH is the leading UK registered charity providing information and advice about spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
Spinal Injuries Association Provide Help and guidance for those with Spinal injuries. SIA believes that the best support for spinal cord injured people comes from their peers. For this reason, the majority of our services are delivered by spinal cord injured people who share their lived experiences for the benefit of newly injured people.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness and a progressive loss of movement. There is no cure, but therapy and support are available to help manage the ailment. Spinal muscular atrophy causes the motor neurone's in a certain area of the spinal cord to deteriorate. This results in progressive muscle wasting and loss of ability to move parts of the body.
Motor neurone's are nerve cells that connect the brain and spinal cord to the body’s muscles. The motor neurone's send out electrical signals to the muscles, which tell the muscles when to contract and relax.
In people with Spinal muscular atrophy, the motor neurone's deteriorate, causing the link between the brain and muscles to break down gradually. As the link between the brain, spinal cord and muscles breaks down, the muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up and moving the head are used less and less and become weaker or shrink (atrophy).
The management of Spinal muscular atrophy currently focuses on the symptoms and providing supportive care. For example, breathing exercises and support can help to reduce the risk of chest infections, and a feeding tube may be needed for babies that are unable to swallow.
In the UK, it is estimated that there are between 5,500 and 6,000 people with Spinal muscular atrophy at any one time. There are also several charities that can provide information and support, such as Families of SMA, The SMA Trust and The Jennifer Trust.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a network of families, researchers, clinicians and other professionals who are determined to make a difference.
Tourette's Syndrome is an ailment affecting the brain and nervous system (a neurological ailment) that is characterised by involuntary, random sounds and movements, known as tics. It usually begins in childhood. Tics can be:
- Phonic (making sounds) – such as grunting, coughing or shouting out words
- Physical – such as jerking of the head or jumping up and down
- Simple, involving moving only one muscle or uttering a single sound
- Complex, involving a series of physical movements or speaking a long phrase
Most people diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome have a combination of physical and vocal tics, which can be both simple and complex.
The tics do not usually pose a serious threat to a person’s physical health, although physical tics, such as jerking of the head, can often be painful. However, children and adults affected by Tourette’s syndrome can experience associated problems such as social isolation, embarrassment and low self-esteem.
Tourette's Action provide information and support for families and friends.
Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), or 'mini-stroke', is caused by a temporary fall in the blood supply to part of the brain, leading to a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can cause symptoms that are similar to a stroke, although they don’t last as long. A transient ischaemic attack lasts only a few minutes and is usually resolved within 24 hours.
The main signs and symptoms of a Transient Ischaemic Attack can be remembered by the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time:
- Face. The face may have fallen on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped
- Arms. The person with suspected stroke may not be able to raise both arms and keep them there, due to arm weakness or numbness.
- Speech. There may be slurred speech
- Time. It is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms
If signs and symptoms last longer than 24 hours, it is regarded as a full stroke. It's difficult to know exactly how common a transient ischaemic attack is, as many people who have transient ischaemic attack symptoms do not seek medical help. Approximately one person per 1,000 in the population is thought to suffer a transient ischaemic attack each year. This equates to more than 50,000 occurring in the UK each year. On average, a GP sees three cases per year, and an average hospital manages around 1,000 cases.
If you have the symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack, seek medical attention urgently. These are a warning signs that further transient ischaemic attack or a full stroke, may occur soon.
Without treatment, there is a one in 10 chance that you will have a full stroke within four weeks of have a transient ischaemic attack. A stroke is a serious ailment and can cause permanent disability. In some cases, strokes can be fatal. Approximately 9% of all deaths in men and 13% of deaths in women in the UK are caused by strokes. Strokes are serious, it is important that they are always investigated so that appropriate treatment can be given quickly. With treatment, the risk of a further transient ischaemic attack or a full stroke can be greatly reduced.
The Stroke Association is the only UK wide charity solely concerned with combating stroke in people of all ages.
Tremors Essential is a ailment where a part of a person’s body shakes or trembles uncontrollably when it is held up against gravity.It is a common movement disorder that for most people is a minor nuisance, but it does get gradually worse with time. At its most severe, essential tremor is disabling and makes it very difficult to perform daily activities.
Essential tremor usually affects the arms and hands, although it can also affect other body parts, including the:
- Sometimes, the voice can also sound shaky
There is no cure for essential tremor, but medicines can be used to help improve the symptoms in at least half of people with the ailment. See treatment of essential tremor for more information. Everyone has a very minor tremor when carrying out daily activities. For example, your hands will shake slightly when you hold them out in front of you. This is normal.
Sometimes, the everyday level of tremor can become more noticeable, particularly in older people. Noticeable tremor is also normal and it is often caused by a raised level of adrenaline in the body, which can happen when a person is stressed, anxious or angry. It can also occur when a person is taking certain types of medication, such as inhalers for asthma.
Essential tremor is more severe than normal tremor. It can be made worse by the same factors that cause normal tremor, such as stress and anxiety. Essential tremor gradually gets worse over the years. Eventually, the tremor may become so severe that carrying out normal, everyday activities can become difficult. For example, activities such as writing, drinking a glass of water or tying shoelaces may become particularly challenging.
The National Tremor Foundation aim to offer a support and advice to all sufferers of tremor irrespective of age or type.
Visibility is an organisation to support children with Visual Impairment and their parents that live in Scotland.
The term Visual Impairment refers to someone who is blind or partially sighted. It does not refer to someone who is short-sighted (myopia) or long-sighted (hyperopia).
Visibility has been working with blind and partially sighted people for 150 years and provides a range of services and opportunities for people who have experienced sight loss. We have a variety of services available including social, recreational and learning opportunities for people to take part in. Visibility also provides information to family, friends and professionals.
Lothian Sound is a weekly audio recording of news and events read mainly from the Edinburgh Evening News. A Scottish charity, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Lothiansound is run entirely by Volunteers and supplied free of charge to over 550 Listeners. To Listeners who are registered blind or partially sighted, even the postage is free, thanks to the Post Office "Articles for the Blind" arrangement. Each tape begins and ends with a short piece of music called 'Waiata Poi', played by James Galway, by courtesy of BMG Classics. Apart from news items, there is a Scottish quiz and notices from like-minded organisation's. These can vary from holidays for visually impaired people to audio-description in local theatres or telephone numbers/addresses to contact for useful information.
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