Medical Hotline: March 2006


Cracked Nails

Lines and ridges on the fingernails are unattractive. They are usually the result of a defect in the nail growing bed. This can be an irritation, mild infection or toxin. Most gradually grow out. A good all-round diet and supplemental vitamins and minerals may help, but for persistent cases, a general health check is advisable.

Acupuncture Fears

Some fear acupuncture because they fear transmitted germs from needles. But acupuncture clinics have adequate sterilisation procedures guaranteeing protection from transmissible viruses. However, many clinics now use laser, which, experienced providers say, is just as effective as needle therapy.

Ulcer Care

Any ulcer in the lower limbs, especially if enlarging, needs prompt and proper management, otherwise it will become larger. Specialised ulcer clinics give the best treatment. They make a careful evaluation and give careful management. You may have varicose veins, may be diabetic, all common underlying reasons. Compression of the leg is important. After cleaning, pressure stocking or dressings are often used. This gets rid of surrounding fluid, allows oxygen and food to get to the skin. Most heal. But if left, the outcome can be serious.

Video Games

The lengthy small intestine where food is absorbed can now be viewed from a “capsule” containing a tiny video camera. The camera picks up and records disorders from the inside, and is now used in specialist centres. It may one day revolutionise diagnosis of this hard-to-get-at location. Also, imaging techniques are available that show a centimetre-bycentimetre view on-screen picture.

Hernia Helper

Some undergo open surgery for hernias, often in the groin, but they may recur. Today, laparscopic hernia repair is common. In this technique, small one-centimetre-long cuts are made, through which tubes and lights are inserted for the placing of mesh over the weak areas. This usually gives a satisfactory and permanent outcome, with patients returning to heavier duties within days.

Sweet Relief

Some believe that certain artificial sweeteners are carcinogenic (cancer causing), but no artificial sweetener on the Australian and New Zealand market is a known carcinogen. There have been many such negative reports over the past 25 years, condemning them, mostly untrue. The best diet advice is to simply reduce or eliminate any form of sweetener, sugar or otherwise.

Lost Lethargy

Many suffer lethargy and other negative outcomes of a viral infection long after the main effects have passed. Lethargy can last from days to weeks to months, but most will quickly recover. Adequate rest, exercise to whatever extent is comfortable, sensible food, and minimising or stopping alcoholic intake and no smoking will all help with recovery.

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