Health Quaries

Some Health Quaries & Answers


Not a death knell :
Q: My 54 year-old widowed mother has been diagnosed with diabetes. She works as a secretary. Following the diagnosis she has given up her job and sits at home staring at the television. She insists she is very sick.

A: The diagnosis may have been a shock and she may be feeling depressed. You have to explain to her that it is not a terminal disease. It can be easily brought under control with a 1,500 calorie diet, regular exercise (walking for 40 minutes a day) and the prescribed medication.

This way she can lead a long and healthy life. Failure to adhere to this may result in complications.

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Fat, but can’t walk
Q: I have arthritis of the knees. Walking is painful, so I have been taking rest. In the process, I put on 15kg. Now the doctor says I must lose weight. I cannot walk. Dieting is not effective at all. What am I to do?

A: You can lose only a certain amount of weight with dieting alone. If you are sitting at home with nothing else to do, the hunger pangs can be devastating. You could purchase a recline exercise cycle. In that you actually sit with a backrest and cycle. It is easy on the knees. Two hours of cycling and a calorie-restricted diet will guarantee weight loss!

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Do sunglasses help?
Q: Do wearing sunglasses in India help in any way?

A: Sunglasses are not just fashionable. Good quality glasses with ultra violet protection prevent premature ageing of the eye, cataract formation and yellowing of the sclera.

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Stop smoking
Q: My leg feels numb and I cannot walk more than 100m without feeling pain. I am 26 years old and smoke around 20 cigarettes a day.

A: The nicotine and other poisonous chemicals in cigarettes constrict the blood vessels. When the main blood vessels are affected intermittent claudication (pain on walking a certain distance relieved by rest) develops. When the blood supply to the nerves is affected tingling and numbness develops. It is better for you to stop smoking altogether. It offers no benefits, is expensive and in your case is adversely affecting your health.

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Lots of red blood cells
Q: I have been suffering from drowsiness and feel uneasiness in the chest in the morning hours. I have consulted doctors and after various pathological tests found that I have excessive haemoglobin (last test reveals 21.0 g/dl). I was told I had polycythemia and was advised to remove 250ml of blood from my body twice a week. This is frightening and I do not understand why a high haemoglobin count is considered bad and not healthy.

A: Polycythemia is a condition in which there is a net increase in the total number of red blood cells in the body. This may be a response to low oxygen levels in the body as a result of smoking, renal or liver tumours, haemangioblastomas in the central nervous system, heart or lung diseases, or endocrine abnormalities. It can occur in athletes who dope themselves with high testosterone levels. High levels of haemoglobin increase the viscosity of the blood. This can lead to blockages and strokes. If you live at a high altitude, are a smoker, or have any of the correctable causes listed above, you can be cured once the underlying disease is treated. Otherwise removal of the blood at regular periodic intervals is the only solution.

Help, I’m bald
Q: I have lost a great deal of hair and am now bald. Can I use minoxidil?

A: Hair loss and hereditary baldness do respond to minoxidil. The problem is that the lotion has to be applied regularly. The hair which grows is fine and silky (lanugo hair) and tends to fall out soon after the applications are stopped.

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: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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