||I've been having a constant
pain in my both my heels for over a year. The company doctor gave some
medication (cataflam) saying it is tendonitis. Recently, my left heel
became more painful to the point of limping. What is the problem?
||Your doctor is probably right. The
heels are where the Achille's tendons of the calf muscles attach to. Any
strenuous activity can cause inflammation and hence tendonitis. If it is
very severe, you may have torn your tendons and hence, surgery would be
needed. But you would have known at the instant it happened, for
example, when you were jumping down from a high place, because of the
searing pain and the inability to walk properly after that.
Otherwise, treat with ice packs, compression with ankle guards and give
your heels plenty of rest. Medication from your doctor helps to relieve
pain and swelling.
||Does consuming doxycycline help
in acne problems? Doxycycline does not seem to be working well for me.
Is there any other stronger medication that a polyclinic doctor can
||Doxcycline is the standard antibiotic
used. You will not see the effects so soon. It takes at least 6 weeks
before you see less pimples appearing. There are retin-A creams or
antibiotic gel/solution (Erythromycin or clindamycin). If you are not
improving, ask the doctor to refer you to National Skin Centre.
||I have got bad acne problems
and there are acne scars left behind on my skin. What should I do?
||There is nothing much you can do about
scarring. However, if you are still having pimples with pus, you should
see a doctor and be on a long-term course of antibiotics that should be
taken on a daily basis.
||I am only 25 years old, yet I
am developing a circle of bald patch at the back of my head. Has this
got anything to do with my hair-washing habits?
||If you are male, you could be
suffering from early male pattern baldness (MPB), which typically
affects the back of the scalp and the front corners above the temples.
It is possible to start balding as early as 25. In this case, the only
shampoo you may want to try should contain Minoxidil, an ingredient that
stimulates hair growth. And you may want to see your doctor who can
prescribe Propecia, a hormonal pill that helps to restore hair growth in
Another rather common cause of painless hair loss is alopecia areata, an
autoimmune disorder (due to genetics) where the body starts rejecting
scalp hair. Steroid injections and creams given by a doctor may help.
Other causes of hair loss would be serious diseases such as other
autoimmune diseases, blood poisoning cases and drug reactions that would
need hospitalisation and blood tests for diagnosis and treatment.
||Is there any way to get rid the
||Yes. Products like "Rexona" and "Fa"
are effective. Besides using such products, remember to bathe at least
twice a day and wear light, comfortable cotton clothes.
||How can I lower my cholesterol
||You can lower your cholesterol level
by being more physically active. Exercise vigorously 30 minutes each
time at least three times a week. Lose weight if you are overweight and
follow a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet.
Eat more fibre which is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole
grains. Eat at least two pieces of fresh fruit, two servings of
vegetables and three servings of whole grains every day. Try to
incorporate legumes at least twice each week. Oats, legumes and fruits
that contain pectin (citrus fruit, apples and grapes) all help to lower
cholesterol because of their soluble fibre content. Use monounsaturated
fats in cooking. The two primary sources of monounsaturated fats are
olive oil and canola oil. Fish, especially cold-water ocean fish such as
mackerel, blue fin tuna and salmon, contain omega-three fatty acids that
help lower cholesterol. However, remember not to eat these fishes fried
or dipped in butter. Also, do eat at least 25 grams of soy protein every
day to help lower cholesterol levels. Choose whole soy foods such as
tofu, tempeh or soymilk, or look for foods that have added soy protein.
||I am suffering from
constipation. I have tried a high-fibre diet but it did not help. Do
laxatives have any side effects in the long term?
||With a high-fibre diet, you need to
take more fluids. You should also exercise as this helps with the
mobility of the intestines. Laxatives and enemas (injections of fluid)
artificially stimulate nerve endings in the large bowel (colon). The
colon is one of the last structures in the digestive tract. By the time
food arrives there, nothing is left but indigestible fibre and other
non-nutritive material. Laxatives remove lots of water from the colon as
well as food residue. If the person refuses to drink liquids, they risk
dehydration which can lead to fainting spells and, in some cases, death.
||I have constipation. Sometimes
I find blood when I clean the area and sometimes there is blood in the
stools. What's happening?
||Constipated stool can cause slight
bleeding. If you suffer from haemorrhoids (painfully swollen blood
vessels near the anus) or piles, the bleeding could be much more. If the
blood is fresh, you should see a doctor to exclude polyp (small lump
that grows in the body), haemorrhoids and other growths in the colon,
especially if you have other symptoms like loss of weight and more
bleeding than usual.
||What are the side effects of
||Taking laxatives daily can upset your
electrolyte balance. Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium
that are dissolved in the blood and other body fluids. If the
electrolyte balance is disrupted, problems like muscle cramps, tremors,
spasms, irregular heartbeat, and in some cases, cardiac arrest will
occur. The heart stops, and unless the person receives immediate
emergency medical treatment, he or she can die.
Laxatives also remove needed fluid from the body. The resulting
dehydration can lead to tremors, weakness, blurry vision, fainting
spells, kidney damage, and in some cases death. Severe dehydration
requires medical treatment. Drinking fluid may not hydrate cells and
tissues quickly enough to prevent organ damage or death.
In addition, laxatives irritate intestinal nerve endings, which in turn
stimulate muscle contractions that move the irritant through the gut and
out of the body. After a while the nerve endings no longer respond to
stimulation. The person must now take greater and greater amounts of
laxatives to produce bowel movements. He or she has become laxative
dependent and without them may not have any bowel movements at all.
Laxatives strip away protective mucus that lines the colon too, leaving
it vulnerable to infection. Instead of laxatives, take natural fibre in
the form of a drink e.g fybrogel, metamucil or mucofalk. They contain
natural fibre from wheat.
||I have dandruff. Every time I
scratch my scalp, there will be some flakes falling off my scalp. I
tried to use anti-dandruff shampoo but once I stopped using it, there
were more flakes. What should I do?
||Try Selenium sulphide marketed as
Selsun. Use it every other day till the dandruff disappears. Pour onto
your hand and massage it onto the scalp. Leave it for three to four
minutes then shampoo it off with normal plain shampoo.
||What is dermabrasion?
||Dermabrasion helps to "refinish" the
skin's top layers through a method of controlled surgical scraping. The
treatments soften the sharp edges of surface irregularities, giving the
skin a smoother appearance. Dermabrasion is most often used to improve
the look of facial skin scarred by accidents or previous surgery, or to
smooth out fine facial wrinkles, such as those around the mouth.
||What kind of food and beverage
should I avoid when I have gastric pain?
||Try to avoid hot, spicy food, alcohol
and smoking as they tend to irritate the stomach. The cause of the
gastric pain must be determined. It could be due to side effects of
drugs or gastritis or gastric ulcer which may be due to a bacterium
called Helicobacter Pylori.
||My stomach is always gassy
after eating. What types of food are prone to producing gas?
||Food that contain indigestible
substances such as beans and some high-fibre food are prone to producing
gas. Since they can't be digested by the enzymes, the indigested food
passes to the large intestine where it is acted upon by gas-forming
bacteria. Also, take care to avoid any food that in your experience
gives you a gassy stomach.
||I have frequent headaches even
when I am relaxing. Why?
||90% of the headaches are due to
tension, migraine and cluster headaches, instead of other underlying
medical conditions. It would be in your best interests to have your
doctor check your health. You should also get your eyes examined as some
headaches are caused by vision problems.
||How can heart attacks be
avoided or reduced? What are the likely factors that can cause heart
||You can reduce your risk of getting
heart attacks by living a healthy lifestyle which should start from
By living a healthy lifestyle, you should be a healthy normal adult with
no risk of getting heart attacks. If you have high blood pressure, it
must be treated and maintained at normal levels. If you are diabetic,
your blood sugars should be controlled at normal levels. High blood
pressure and diabetes increase the risk of heart attacks.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy balanced diet with less salt and lots of fruits
& vegetables for fibre
- Reducing stress level
||My right eye is short-sighted
while my left eye is not. As a result, I have developed a "lazy eye"
syndrome. How can I solve this?
||Have your vision corrected by using
glasses with the right lens corrected and the left lens at zero or
alternatively, use contact lens for the right eye only. If you do not
correct your vision, your brain will tell you to use your left eye only
and gradually, the vision in your right eye would become worse from lack
||I have scars from previous
pimple breakouts and these breakouts are getting more and more frequent.
Will my skin be cleared of these scars with the help of medication and
can the frequency of breakouts be reduced?
||If your face is covered with
pus-filled pimples most of the time, you need to be on long term oral
antibiotics like tetracycline or doxycycline. If it is just monthly
small outbreaks, you can get your doctor to prescribe antibiotics
(topical erthromycin or clindamycin) for you to apply on your face as
soon as it occurs.
Deep scars cannot disappear. They heal, lighten and sometimes, a
depression on the skin appears after that. Superficial ones heal with
less obvious effects on the skin and can probably be covered with
foundation. The important thing is not to let the condition evolve to a
stage of pus- filled pimples at which the scarring is deep.
||I have been sneezing throughout
the day for more than a year. I have tried nose spray, medicine, vitamin
and honey (with lemon) but to no avail. What is my problem? What should
||You have probably become allergic to
something in the air - most likely, house dust mite which is found
everywhere. If your sneezing is bad, you can buy some Chlorpheniramine
at the pharmacy to stop the sneezing bout. This is not a cure but a
relief only. There are no permanent cures at the moment unless the
allergen is removed permanently from the air you breathe.
||I have sweaty palms, feet and
underarms. Will electrolysis help to solve this problem permanently?
||Iontophoresis is a method that uses
low intensity electric current (15-18 mA), supplied by a D/C generator,
and applies it to the palms and/or soles immersed in an electrolyte
solution. The procedure has to be repeated regularly, initially in 20
sessions several times a week, gradually spacing out the interval
between treatments to one to two weeks. The results vary. Many patients,
suffering from light or moderate hyperhidrosis, are happy with the
method, while some may consider it too time-consuming or inefficient,
and comparably expensive. It is difficult to apply in axillaries and
impossible to use to diffuse hyperhidrosis of the face or the trunk or
thigh region. If you are interested, this treatment is available at the
National Skin Centre.
Another method is sympathectomy, one that interrupts the nerve tracks
and nodes (ganglia) which transmit the signals to the sweat glands.
Basically, this can be achieved for all locations in the body, but only
the nerve nodes responsible for the sweat glands of the palms and the
face are accessible without the need for a major surgical procedure.
Today, the treatment of choice for moderate to severe palmar and facial
hyperhidrosis (but also axillaries, especially if combined with palmar
sweating), is a surgical procedure known as Endoscopic Thoracic
Sympathectomy. The endoscopic technique is safe, if performed by a
surgeon experienced in this type of procedure, and leads to definitive
cure in nearly 100% of patients, leaving only a minimal scar in the
Individuals with combined hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles have a
good chance to improve the sweating of their feet after an operation.
Isolated plantar hyperhidrosis can, however, only be cured by Lumbar
Sympathectomy, an open abdominal procedure.
||I have varicose veins and I
have just gone for an operation to remove the affected spots. Is it
advisable for me to fly now? Am I prone to DVT on flights?
||Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) refers to
the formation of a thrombus (blood clot) within a deep vein, commonly in
the thigh or calf. The blood clot can either partially or completely
block the flow of blood in the vein. DVT is more common in the elderly
and the very overweight, but healthy young people can develop it as
well. Some people are not born with vital blood-thinning substances and
are therefore always more susceptible to blood clots. Some medicines,
such as the contraceptive pill and HRT, can marginally increase the risk
of developing DVT. Although anyone can develop DVT on a flight, certain
people are more vulnerable, including pregnant women, people who are
overweight, those whose feet do not reach the floor (because the seat
puts more pressure on the backs of their legs), the elderly, smokers and
those with coronary artery diseases and certain blood conditions.
You have varicose veins which are dilated superficial veins due to
faulty valves. Varicose veins generally do not lead to DVT.
When travelling, all should move their legs frequently and contract
their calf muscles by moving their ankles in all directions. The thigh
muscles should be moved by moving the hips and knee joints.
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