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DR JAMES WRIGHT HEALTH COLUMN No. 538
Sun, 17th February 2019
 

Questions & Answers

 
KEEPING FIT

Q: 

Is there any single way to "better health?"

A: 

It is a combination of several key points. Nutrition heads the list. A good daily spread of the low fat, high fibre foods is essential. Take adequate exercise each day. Six-eight hours sleep at night. Avoid smoking and the passive smoke of others. Drink plenty of water. Not too much alcohol. A regular doctor check for cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar and other possible "nastie". Reduce stress; relaxation and peace of mind are also vital.

 
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ASPIRIN

Q: 

I take an aspirin each day, and now have nausea and heartburn.

A: 

An aspirin per day helps reduce risks of clots, heart attack and stroke, but it may cause irritation, nausea and heartburn. This may be reduced with an "enteric coated" aspirin. Many take too much. As little as one quarter tablet per day is adequate, ideally after food. With adverse symptoms, stop for a week, then recommence. If it persists, see your doctor for a stomach examination.

 
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CHOLESTEROL

Q: 

Can herbs lower elevated cholesterol?

A: 

Many herbs have traditionally been used. Try fenugreek seeds. Experiments indicate that when fed to rats, cholesterol drops by 58%, but the seeds make up 50% of their diet - a bit extreme for humans. But if you have a cholesterol problem, inclusion of some each day may assist, ideally with a low animal fat diet and some regular exercise. Liquorice, ginger and ginseng have also been successfully used.

 
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COUGH

Q: 

I have had a nasty cough, feel "off colour", nausea and vomited a few times. After an x-ray and some tests the doctors said "mycoplasma".

A: 

This is yet another of the bugs causing lung infections, and may lead on to pneumonia. Fortunately, it is fairly sensitive to current antibiotics (erythromycin and others), although these too may cause nausea. Rest, lots of fluid, avoiding chills and Tilade aerosol for the cough all help, but follow your own GPs advice.

 
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BLACK MARK

Q: 

I have a tiny black mark in the middle of my back, and there is a lump underneath.

A: 

This is probably a sebaceous cyst, the black part being where the duct comes to the surface. The fat oxidises, and turns black. Often, if the doctor removes the plug, an enormous amount of gunky foul smelling "sebum" (fat) will come away. Alternately, it may be dissected out, a bit like a pea in a pod and quickly heals.

 
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MOUTH ULCERS

Q: 

What is the best way to eradicate painful mouth ulcers?

A: 

Rinse the mouth with weak salty water 4 times a day, and expel. Drink lots of lovely fresh water. Often placing a small cotton wool ball saturated in honey (darker the better) between cheek and gums for an hour 3 times a day (after rinsing) will soothe and heal. Try it and see. Sometimes further investigations and treatment are needed.

 
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BULGE

Q: 

I have a dark blue-black bulge on the lower part of my leg, and a few small varicose veins. Is this serious?

A: 

As long as it stays intact, it is OK. But if knocked, bleeding may be profuse. Firm pressure with a cotton wool pad, then wrapping with a crepe bandage is suggested. Then ideally have the abnormal vessels treated, for it will surely occur again. In the meantime, wear pressure hosiery. Lose some weight (if obese), more exercise, no cigarettes and plenty of fibre in the diet also helps.

 
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COLD

Q: 

If I become cold, the backs of my exposed hands often itch. The more I rub the redder they become and the more aggravated is the irritation.

A: 

Many are "allergic" to cold. Others to heat. Some to either cold or hot water. This releases histamine from "mast cells" in the body, causing an allergic skin reaction and itch. Gently apply the opposite (i.e. warmth or coolness.) Sprinkle the skin with corn flour. Antihistamines may help, and cortisone creams or moisturising applications often give relief.

 
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RUBBER BANDS

Q: 

Why do they call pile removal "rubber band ligation"? I am a sheep farmer and it sounds ominously like the horrid things we do to lambs!

A: 

As the name implies, a rubber band is indeed placed around the loosened piles ("haemorrhoids" or prominent blood vessels in the rectum.) After a few days, with no blood supply, they dry up and die, and come away. Surgeons stole the idea from farmers who "tail" the lambs in a similar manner. It works for humans and animals very effectively.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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