Author Archives: admin

Mobility Shop to support

The Mobility Shop is proudly supporting the McGrath Foundation by releasing an electric mobility scooter with a complete ‘McGrath Pink’ paint job, to raise money to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia and increase breast awareness in young Australian women.

The ‘Metro Four’- available from March 2011- is a medium sized pedestrian scooter that is designed to be taken out on the street or inside a shopping centre. The machine itself is produced by Pride Mobility, one of the leading manufacturers of disability scooters, and boasts both reliability and performance all in a pink package. Ten percent of the RRP (approximately $299) of each unit sold will be donated to the McGrath Foundation.

 “When we first sat down to draft up the scooter concept we all understood it would have to feature a pink paintjob. Everyone on the design team was a little nervous regarding the choice,” says the Manager of Mobility Shop, Ryan Besso. “It stands out, that’s for sure, but that is exactly the point: we want people to see a bright pink scooter and say, ‘oh, that’s the machine that supports the McGrath Foundation.”

“Australia in general is a generous country- whether it be a crisis or a campaign there are people out there who stand to support the cause- we are hoping that this scooter not only provides direct assistance to the McGrath Foundation, but also acts as a ‘donation-beacon’ and encourages those who see it to give to this cause,” says Ryan.

McGrath Foundation spokesperson and board member, Tracy Bevan, is excited to see the pink Metro Four hit the streets.“We’re always looking for innovative ways to raise awareness for the McGrath Foundation and help spread our message of breast awareness,” said Tracy.

“The sale of the pink scooters and our Corporate Friendship with Mobility Options will help us to continue supporting Australian families experiencing breast cancer, while also brightening up the streets of Australia with a touch of hot pink”.

Australia will begin to see pink scooters roaming the streets in early 2011. If you would like more information on the Metro Four- or electric mobility scooters in general- contact Mobility Shop on 1300 133 505 \ contact@mobilityshop.com.au or visit www.mobilityshop.com.au.

About the McGrath Foundation:

The McGrath Foundation was co-founded by Jane and Glenn McGrath after Jane’s initial recovery from breast cancer. The McGrath Foundation raises money to place McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia, as well as increasing breast awareness in young Australian women. For more information on how you can help make a difference, please visit www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

This scale is one measure of daytime sleepiness drawn up from criteria published by Dr. Murray Johns in 1991. It lists a number of ordinary tasks and asks the patient to rate the probability that they will fall asleep during such an activity.  It is simple and the tasks chosen are universal so can be used to rate sleepiness across a wide range of people who, naturally, live unique lifestyles.  The degree of sleepiness is graded by the individual from 0-3:

0 = would never doze
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing

The questionnaire is arranged thus:

 Activity    Grading
 Sitting and reading  0-3
 Watching television  0-3
 Sitting inactive in a public place  0-3
 As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break  0-3
 Lying down to rest in the afternoon  0-3
 Sitting and talking to someone  0-3
 Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol  0-3
 In a car, stopped for a few minutes in traffic  0-3
 Total  0-24

A total score of 1-9 is within the normal range however scores above 10 indicate further medical investigation.  Sleep Apnoea, the obstructive form discussed in another article on this site, is one cause of a high score on this scale. However there are abundant and diverse causes including narcolepsy, malignancies, hypersomnia, hypothyroidism or even lack of sleep itself. Other symptoms may guide a medical practitioner in the vast differential diagnosis associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.

Falls and the Elderly

Falls are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in our aged community. These become more likely with age due to a number of factors including reduced muscle bulk, reduced proprioception and reflexes, vision loss, psychological players and the use of some medications amongst others. It is key to prevent falls in the elderly for they, in many cases, have serious sequelae notably fractures of the hip and head injuries.

Besides age, other factors can also put an individual at risk of having a fall. A propensity to faint for any medical reason such as the administration of drugs used to treat hypertension may.  These may induce postural hypotension which could induce syncope if an individual stood quickly from a sitting or lying position. The use of bifocals can also potentially cause a fall, such as if an individual was to look through the wrong lens when attempting a more difficult maneuver such as walking down a flight of stairs. In cases, being in a hospital environment itself can produce a fall. Often, falls can recur and fear of falling can become a significant barrier to being able to undertake activities of daily living.

As a serious issue, prevention of falls should be considered carefully. This may be achieved by decluttering the home and removing any potential trip hazards. Modifications may also be made in the home such as the use of bars and rails. If deemed appropriate a change to medications or interventions could be undertaken for any other medical condition that could potentially precipitate a fall. An appropriate level of exercise and balance training is also beneficial in most cases. If a fall does occur the wearing of hip protectors can also be used to reduce the risk of hip fracture.

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea is a disorder wherein a patient ceases to breath or respiratory rate falls to an abnormal level whilst asleep. There are different forms of Sleep Apnoea of which Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (or OSA) is one.  Others not considered in this article are Central Apnoea and a mixed form of Sleep Apnoea.

OSA is due, as its name suggests, to an obstruction of the upper airway particularly by structures surrounding the oral cavity and pharynx. The obstruction itself may occur for a wide range of reasons such as increased soft tissue presence in the upper airway, decreased muscle tone or even craniofacial features of some characterized syndromes. It is more common with increasing age and can be exacerbated by alcohol use before bed.

The effect of an upper airway obstruction is the ceasing or slowing of the respiratory rate often followed by gasping as an individual attempts to deal with intermittent periods of hypoxia. In some cases, OSA is first identified by an individual’s snoring by their partner at night. This is not present in all situations but may prompt medical investigation for OSA. Similarly, patients with OSA often develop excessive daytime sleepiness due to the interruptions to sleep that apnoeas cause. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is one means by which level of daytime sleepiness can be determined and measured whereby situations like falling asleep during a conversation with a friend, in front of a television programme or even behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can be quantified.  Apnoeas are thought also to act in contributing to hypertension.

Interestingly, an individual with OSA may not actually be aware of the interruptions to sleep that are occurring, particularly in REM sleep where the muscles of the palate, tongue and pharynx are considerably relaxed, and yet feel extremely tired during daytime. For this reason, it is important in a suspected case to undertake a sleep study from which a polysomnogram can be taken and used to diagnose the condition.  As mentioned previously, there are other types of Sleep Apnoea including Central Apnoea which require unique treatment plans.  There are also conditions which present similarly such as Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnoea which is a feature of heart failure that should be investigated thoroughly by a medical professional.

Once properly diagnosed, there are a number of treatment options that can be trialed. These include surgery, if deemed appropriate, to remove any tissue blocking the flow of air, the use of plates and dental type appliances to assist in airway patency and lifestyle modifications such as weight reduction and reduced alcohol consumption.  Often the use of a CPAP machine is indicated. Through specialized masks, these provide continual positive pressure through the nasal or oral cavities to assist in maintaining upper airway patency at night.