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Chiesi has developed a range of medicines across a number of therapy areas including cystic fibrosis (CF), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and cardiovascular disease.

 

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease in which a faulty gene causes the lungs and digestive system to clog with mucus. It affects more than 10,000 people in the UK.1

 

Symptoms usually appear in the first year of life, and vary in severity. They include persistent coughing and wheezing, recurring chest and lung infections, gastrointestinal symptoms and poor weight gain. Babies are now screened for cystic fibrosis at birth, as part of the NHS newborn screening programme.

 

Treatments are now available to prevent or reduce long-term damage from infections, and other complications, and to make the condition easier to live with. 

  

Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition in which the colon and rectum become inflamed and can develop small ulcers. Symptoms may include recurring diarrhoea, abdominal pain, tiredness and fatigue, loss of appetite and weight, anaemia.

 

For some people, the condition has a significant impact on their everyday lives. Some may go for weeks or months with very mild symptoms, or none at all, followed by flare-ups where the symptoms are particularly troublesome.2

 

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is when the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing them to swell painfully. The hands and feet are usually the first to be affected, and joints can eventually be permanently damaged. Some 400,000 people in the UK live with RA, which is more prevalent in women than men and is most common in the over-40s.3

 

The symptoms usually come and go, varying between mild discomfort and flare-ups that are painful enough to impair mobility and everyday activities. There’s no cure, but early diagnosis and treatment can relieve the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

 

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting one in three people over the age of 45.4

 

The disease damages the cartilage that allows joints to move easily, and mostly occurs in the knees, hips and hands. It causes bony growths around the edge of the joints, and mild inflammation (synovitis) of the surrounding tissues.

 

The symptoms vary greatly. Although there is no cure, the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be eased by treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, physiotherapy and surgery.

 

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that affects the bones, muscles and ligaments of the spine. The joints connecting the spine to the pelvis become inflamed, causing pain and stiffness in the neck and back. Untreated, this causes the neck and back to become rigid, and can lead to arthritis in the hips and knees.

 

AS tends to first develop in teenagers and young adults, with most cases first starting in people aged 20-30, with only a minority of cases affecting adults over 45. AS is three times more common in men than women. There are about 200,000 diagnosed cases in the UK.5 Although, there’s no cure, there are treatments that can prevent the symptoms from interfering with daily life. These include physiotherapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and medication.

 

Cardiovascular disease is a term that covers a range of conditions that affect the normal circulation of blood.

 

Heart attacks and strokes are amongst the most common causes of death in the UK, and are caused by a combination of different factors.

 

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major risk factor, and is usually defined as a sustained pressure of 140/90mmHg or more. Although it often gives rise to no symptoms, high blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in England.6  The incidence increases with age, and is higher in people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin.

 

High blood pressure can be treated, or prevented, by making changes to your lifestyle, and medicines are also available to help lower blood pressure.

 

Angina is a chest pain caused by a restriction to the blood supply to the heart, usually because the arteries have hardened and narrowed. Risk factors include old age, smoking, obesity and a fatty diet.

 

The most common symptom is chest pain, often triggered by exercise. Angina affects one in 12 women over 65, and one in seven men of the same age.7

 

References

  1. http://www.cysticfibrosiscare.org.uk/what-is-cystic-fibrosis/ [Accessed November 16]
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ulcerative-colitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed November 16]
  3. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/pages/introduction.aspx [Accessed November 16]
  4. http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/data-and-statistics/data-by-condition/osteoarthritis.aspx [Accessed November 16]
  5. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Ankylosing-spondylitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed November 16]
  6. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blood-pressure-%28high%29/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed November 16]
  7. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/angina/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed November 16]