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Sun, 12th May 2019
 

Questions & Answers

 
BURNING

Q: 

I have terrible burning near my breast-bone and the doctor says "an operation may be needed for reflux."

A: 

Reflux means acid regurgitates from the stomach into the lower end of the food tube. Untreated it leads to ulceration, possible Barrets disease a possible fore-runner to cancer. It is often treated by acid suppression to start. PPI (proton pump inhibitors) are often dramatically effective. The Lancet now says it can often be used to prevent surgery, the so-called fundo-plication operation, now done by laparoscopy. Just the same, be guided by the doctor.

 
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SCAR

Q: 

I have developed an ugly scar where I had an abdominal operation which looks hideous in swim gear. Is it forever?

A: 

Nothing is forever. Some people scar badly, called "keloid" which often widens and becomes raised during and after healing. Steroid injections often reduce it, but plastic surgery often holds the key. Special effort, after removing the ugly scar, is made to prevent it from recurring, hopefully a scar will remain which in time becomes almost invisible. Talk to your GP.

 
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HONEY

Q: 

I have seen some honey in health food shops and chemists with a "UMF 16" rating. What does this mean?

A: 

It stands for "Unique Manuka Factor", and the higher the figure the greater its antibacterial activity. Dark honey, especially Manuka from North New Zealand and also one from tea tree in Australia have special healing properties. They are widely used on scratches, minor infections and ulcers. Manuka is the "tree" from which it came, and is not a brand name. Honey has many additional anti-oxidant valuable properties.

 
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ELECTRIC BLANKETS

Q: 

Is it safe to use magnetic blankets with electric blankets?

A: 

I have been using both for the past couple of years, and am still alive, fit and well. Also, the magnets often ease back pains from any cause, although will not necessarily "cure" the cause. Heat also reduces pain.

 
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LUMP

Q: 

I have a lump on my back. The doctor says it is a lipoma and should be removed. Is that cancer?

A: 

Lipoma is a "fatty tumour" or simple non-cancerous lump where fat cells have joined up and turned hard. It can be simply shelled out, and vanishes, usually never to recur. Do not be panic stricken.

 
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BITTERS

Q: 

Any good simple cure for stomach upsets and nausea?

A: 

According to a recent letter, try half a cup of warm water and a few shakes of Angostura bitters. Swill around the mouth before swallowing. Angostura bitters was developed as a medicine for upset stomachs in 1850 in the town of Angostura, Venezuela. It quickly moved to Trinidad where it still operates. It is the only firm in the whole of the Americas with a Royal Warrant. Queen Elizabeth II visited the factory. Contents are secret but orange peel and nutmeg are 2 of the 5 ingredients. Give it a try! Cannot hurt!

 
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BURSITIS

Q: 

I have a painful lump behind the knee. The doctor is having an ultrasound and is talking about inserting needles. It was called bursitis.

A: 

This means tendons rubbing against tissue become inflamed causing fluid to develop producing a lump. An ultrasound x-ray will often indicate its extent. The fluid may be aspirated (sucked out). Sometimes, hydrocortisone is injected in to reduce discomfort, inflammation and help healing. Most do OK but keep in touch with the doctor.

 
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VITAMIN E

Q: 

Does vitamin E offer protection after a heart attack?

A: 

Daily use of 400-800mg of vitamin E appears to offer protection in patients with proven arterial narrowing, but a low dose of say 50mg gives no protection at all especially in smokers. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, sucking up dangerous "radicals", and helps arterial hardening called atherosclerosis, with risks of a heart attack. But the dose must be adequate. It is also widely dispersed in nature especially in wheat germ and green veggies.

 
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ASTHMATIC

Q: 

I am a lifelong asthmatic, and have been taking prednisone for the past 30 years. Now I have developed a skin itch.

A: 

Today, doctors prefer to keep oral intake of prednisone to a minimum, as long term it may cause bone weakening, fluid retention causing a full facial appearance, possible cataracts and other side effects. However, the aerosol (mist) forms require much smaller doses which enter the lung directly relieving symptoms. Asthmatics should be under regular medical supervision, with treatment changes carried out when appropriate. Nevertheless, many Australian asthmatics are probably under-treated, so please be guided by your GP or thoracic specialist. New treatments are constantly appearing.

 
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CHEST PAIN

Q: 

How does a person know if chest pain is serious or not?

A: 

Most do not know. Persisting chest pain, especially if crushing in nature, behind the sternum or the left side, radiating to the neck or left arm is typical of angina or an impending heart attack. Prompt medical checking is advisable. Nevertheless, excess acid regurgitating into the food tube is a common and non-serious cause. It is better to know for sure. A prompt medical check either with your GP or the ER of a major hospital is the best bet. When sorted out, treatment may often be simple and straightforward.

 
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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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