I freeze constantly. I’m going to sit in my living room with the central heating on and get cold sticks.
It prevents me from leaving the house as I can wear two thick coats and still shake. Is something wrong with me?
Any dramatic change in your body should give rise to a talk with a doctor, especially if it is severe enough to affect normal activities, such as going outside.
My first thought would be if there was a problem with the thyroid gland – a butterfly-shaped gland in front of the neck that is responsible for regulating metabolism.
Thyroid conditions cause changes in the way we feel temperature.
If it becomes underactive – producing fewer of the hormones it normally produces – you will begin to feel the cold much more than before.
This can occur suddenly and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain and a change in bowel habits and even concentration problems.
Thyroid disease can be easily diagnosed by a blood test that a doctor can arrange. Feeling a cold can also be related to anemia when the blood does not carry enough red blood cells.
This is often due to lack of iron in the diet or loss of excess blood in periods. Again, this can be detected in blood samples by a general practitioner.
Any dramatic change in your body should give rise to a talk with a doctor, especially if it is severe enough to affect normal activities, such as going outside. [File photograph]
Other reasons for being cold can be from medications such as beta blockers or blood thinners, or from significant weight loss.
Suffering from anorexia feels very cold due to lack of body fat.
There are certain vascular diseases associated with extreme cold, such as Raynaud’s disease or peripheral artery disease, but this tends to be a specific feeling of coldness and numbness in the fingers and toes.
I recently visited my doctor when I had discovered four lumps above my ear. My doctor said they were age-related – I’m 77 – and harmless.
But my hairdresser still seems worried. Can I have them removed?
It is wise to be suspicious of lumps, and often it is our hairdressers or beauticians who notice them first.
The most common type of lump in the scalp is sebaceous cysts, also called skin cysts.
These occur when fluid accumulates in a small pocket under the skin – when the process of skin release and renewal does not happen as it should in a small area, leading to the accumulation of dead skin cells and oils.
However, it is important that a doctor has seen the lumps – it could simply be via a good quality photo – and diagnosed them correctly, as skin cancer should be ruled out
It is assumed that almost everyone has at least one at a time.
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We usually recommend leaving them lying as they are benign and do not cause problems. They often disappear by themselves.
If they are very visible or uncomfortable, or grow large, a general practitioner may refer them to be removed.
Under local anesthesia, a small incision is made on the top of the cyst and the contents are removed. This can leave a small scar.
Apart from cysts, lumps in the scalp in older age can be senile keratosis.
These are rough, warty lumps that can occur in anyone and again are so common that most people over the age of 60 have at least one.
However, it is important that a doctor has seen them – it could simply be via a good quality photo – and diagnosed them correctly as skin cancer should be ruled out.
My five-year-old grandson is struggling to go to the bathroom.
When I babysit her, I see how she strains for a while and then ends up in tears of pain. Does her parents give her a bad diet?
Exertion and discomfort are the classic warning signs of constipation that are common in children.
Not drinking enough water, not eating enough fiber or problems associated with potty training or toilet habits, such as being afraid to go to the toilet at school, are reasons.
The problem can occur in families, suggesting that there may also be a genetic element.
It affects up to a third of children of primary school age and is important to treat as it can lead to many problems.
Sometimes constipation in a child is due to underlying health conditions, so if it is regular and lasts a long time, it should definitely be discussed with the doctor.
Children at this age should drink at least a liter plus a little more fluid a day, preferably water. [Stock image]
Fruits, vegetables and high-fiber breakfast products are good foods to offer.
Children at this age should drink at least a liter plus a little more fluid a day, preferably water.
A common laxative like a macrogol can be prescribed by a doctor for a few months to help establish a regular pattern and relearn comfortable toilet habits.
It is important that a child learns to feel comfortable and comfortable going to the toilet, which is why it is crucial to improve quickly.
There is an excellent gut and bladder charity for children called ERIC, which offers counseling to families with bowel problems, including constipation.
Use things like a wall card that can be marked every time a child goes to the toilet, and rewards can help a five-year-old as they respond well to praise (and stickers).
Had two jabs and Covid? You still need a booster
A few people have asked me if they need a booster if they have been double-jabbed and then caught Covid.
Well, it is true to say that people in this situation have been ‘boosted’ by being infected with the virus.
Studies suggest that two doses of the vaccine, plus infection, provide superior immunity than both things alone.
But we do not know how long that immunity lasts, and we do not know if it is better than the immunity from three doses (the first two plus a booster).
Studies suggest that two doses of the vaccine, plus infection, provide superior immunity than both
Basically, there are so many question marks about this right now that it is safest just to get the booster.
Some suffer from side effects, as with the initial doses, but unlike Covid, they are quite harmless.
If you’re in line for a booster, it’s because Covid poses a greater risk to you, so make sense. Get the plug!
Good to talk, but pills work
There was a big hoo-ha last week about an extra guide in the recommendations for treating depression.
Official advice to doctors now makes it clear that we should offer non-medical treatments, such as talk therapy, meditation and exercise, before offering antidepressants, due to the risk of side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
This is not new. Every doctor I know intends to do this anyway.
Official advice to doctors now makes it clear that we should offer non-drug treatments, such as talk therapy, meditation and exercise, before offering antidepressants due to the risk of side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
In cases where we do not, it is not because we do not bother to offer other treatments, it is because there are no other treatments.
The demand for psychological therapy is at a record high level and there is not enough to go around – a quarter of patients wait more than three months for a first therapy appointment, according to the latest NHS figures.
Antidepressants can often help patients cope with a time of crisis while waiting for a place to come up.
However, I was pleased to see an important provision in the new guidance – physicians must respect patients’ choices, including a preference for medication over therapy.
That’s how it is for many. While not perfect, we must not rule out the benefits of antidepressants. In many cases, they are life-saving.