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DR JAMES WRIGHT HEALTH COLUMN No.517
Sun, 12th August 2018
 

Questions & Answers

 
DARK EYES

Q: 

I often seem to develop dark areas around the eye. I also cough and sneeze.

A: 

Dark circles usually mean stagnating blood. From a bright red, it turns dull and lusterless, reflected through the skin as being dark. More aeration is needed. Allergies, often causing sneezing and clogged airways, impede circulation to the nose and tissue around the eyes. Clearing airways may assist. Simple salt water inhalations or Narium Mist (a fine nasal spray) often give relief. Drops are best avoided. Sometimes the non-sedating antihistamines can help. See the doctor if it persists for a fuller evaluation.

 
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SMS THUMBS

Q: 

My daughter has recently developed sore swollen thumb joints. She seems to spend hours a day sending her friends SMS messages.

A: 

This (and sore backs and wrists) are the coming "disease" of the millennium. Some call it "repetition use syndrome". The incessant overuse of the thumb joints causes irritation, then inflammation, swelling and pain. The simplest cure is to wind down this very specific activity. Alternate hot and cold soaks, massaging gently with a heat producing cream, paracetamol, and maybe the NSAIDS (but preferably in small doses for minimum time) help reduce pain.

 
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MISERIES

Q: 

Are there some simple tips for overcoming the "miseries"?

A: 

This is very common, and increasing as real illness subsides and psychological ones take their place. Stress is the big bogey. Ideally, get out and circulate as much as possible, preferably within a happy friendly circle. The more you talk and chatter to friends, the less depressed one becomes. Walking, engaging in any sporting activity produce positive outcomes. Music is relaxing and soothing. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps others - this is a non-drug intervention. Adequate rest, simple food, minimum alcohol also helps. Medication is probably the last resort.

 
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TUMMY ACHE

Q: 

I have discomfort in my lower abdomen. A colonoscopy revealed no abnormalities, apart from "mild diverticulosis". An ultrasound was OK. I have regularity and no fever. I exercise daily.

A: 

Diverticulosis means little outpocketings in the large bowel. These may fill with food and gas, distend and cause discomfort. High fibre foods, such as fruit, veggies, cereals and wholemeal breads help. Drink lots of water, and continue the exercises. However, abdominal wall strain from exercising can also cause discomfort. Psyllium husks (2-3 tsp a day) in water or added to food is also good. See the GP again if it persists or worsens for occasionally infection supervenes.

 
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FAITH

Q: 

Does faith and belief in a higher power play any part in medical treatment?

A: 

"As a man thinketh so is he (she)", the philosopher of old said. Many believe an overall higher power influences the universe, and after all, life had to begin somewhere. Many find a positive attitude, and involving this power make them feel better, and this results in a positive outcome, so much the better. At least it does no harm. Everybody has a high level of faith - otherwise nobody would ever post a letter or use the email or press the electricity switch.

 
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DEEP BREATHING

Q: 

We are often admonished to do deep breathing each day, but with the amount of aerial pollution around, is this safe?

A: 

Whatever is floating around out there we inhale, either with normal or deep breathing. The air contains an enormous amount of pollution, worse in urban areas with exhaust fumes everywhere. Fortunately, there is enough oxygen amongst this mess that life is sustained. It does its best to filter out what is not needed. That is also why drinking lots of water and eating sensible food are also important to help overcome this.

 
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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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Dr James Wright is associated with lovely Vimiera Retirement Village (vimieravillage.com.au) in the leafy Sydney (NSW) suburb of Eastwood. It is operated by Mediaid Centre Foundation (mediaid.org.au), a non-profit Public Benevolent Institution which provides housing for the elderly, as well as providing a large amount of health information.

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