Q: I have very bad acne and I have tried, unsuccessfully, all kinds of treatment for it. I was told to try zinc supplements.
A: Zinc does improve acne in some people. You are likely to be deficient if you are a vegetarian. The phytates in vegetables interfere with the absorption of zinc. You could start with 10-15 mg supplements and see if you improve in a month or so. Higher doses are likely to cause nausea.
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HAIRY GIRL :
Q: My one-year-old daughter is very hairy. She was born like that.
A: It may be a genetically inherited condition called “congenital hypertrichosis” which basically means being born with too much hair. For the first two years the hair increases and may become darker. It then spontaneously decreases and can disappear during adolescence. It can also be due to hormonal imbalances, steroids, or thyroid malfunction. You can rule these out with blood tests.
Q: I have a few skin tags in my armpit. Are they cancerous?
A: Skin tags are harmless. They are likely to appear if you are an older person, diabetic or pregnant. They can be left alone. They are not cancerous. They need to be removed if they get snagged on clothing. It is better to get them removed by a doctor rather than trying to remove them yourself.
FIT ATTEND COLLEGE:
Q: I have seizures. Now that I am going to college I have to stay away from home. I am a bit anxious.
A: Epilepsy is not a constraint against higher education. To stay safe, inform your room mates and hostel warden about your condition. Make sure you take your medications on time. Carry them in your bag if necessary. Do not miss or delay doses. Do not drive bikes or cars. Do not drink alcohol. If you follow all this you should be safe.
Q: Will eating eggs raise my cholesterol levels?
A: Eggs contain cholesterol but eating an egg a day is unlikely to cause much harm. Your cholesterol is more likely to rise from transfats found in snacks and fast food and lack of exercise.
Q: I want to start a 800 calorie diet to loose weight. I have been working with a dietician. Are there any side effects?
A:You should first have a medical check up to make sure you do not have any other diseases. Very low calorie diets can help with weight loss initially, but they usually cannot be sustained in the long term. Once you return to a normal diet, the weight may creep up again. Side effects are fatigue, nausea, constipation diarrhoea and sometimes gall stones.
Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)