Medical Hotline: November 2006

 
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Pressure monitor

Self-monitoring your blood pressure at home is now often suggested by doctors. Models with a cuff around the upper arm give a quick read out on a small screen. Take blood pressure while sitting, with the arm elevated to the level of the heart. Check, then record. If done a second or third time, leave a few minutes in between to let the arteries readjust.

Feeling faint

People commonly faint. Most are simple “vasovagal” faints, common in hot, stuffy rooms, under stress or a hot atmosphere. Most revive in a minute or less. Loosen tight belts, ties, clothing. Get more fresh air to the person, which means more oxygen to the brain, which is temporarily starved.

Dry scalp

Dry scalp is common, and may be aggravated by frequent use of alkaline shampoo or soap. Nonalkaline soaps are best. Some are designed for dry scalps. Over-washing can also be a cause. Massage the scalp with the fingers for a couple of minutes to improve circulation. Some find a mineral or 40 milligram zinc tablet a day may help. A thyroid and sugar (for diabetes) check is suggested if the skin in general is dry or hair is falling out.

Remedial massage

There are many forms of healing, and gradually the available options are widening.
Remedial massage means the muscles where there is pain are worked over, often deeply with the hands and fingers of the operator. This tends to break down muscle spasm and improves blood supply, which brings fresh oxygen and whisks away toxins and stagnating blood. Many combine this with trigger- point therapy, with deep kneading of the tender spot. The relief can be very comforting. Most operators have undergone special training.

Cervix check

Any kind of cancer is serious unless treated promptly and vigorously.
Treatment of early cervical cancers, often picked up on routine Pap smear tests, produces a good outcome in most cases, but regular checking thereafter is essential. It may be removed by cone biopsy, laser or cautery.
This is the reason why all women are encouraged to undergo regular smear tests. Treatment for cervical cancer does not lead to sterility as some fear.

Lifting libido

Lots of guys hope male hormone testostere will make their libido surge. Unfortunately, this is not really so. Not many suffer from a deficiency. Also, there is a risk it will cause prostatic enlargement. Simple measures like stopping smoking, reducing alchohol intake, getting more sleep and trying to reduce stress are the best bets. Medication to reduce blood pressure, reduce acid production and sedatives are the well-known downers. Libido loss is also common in diabetes cases, which is occurring more and more in young people. Talk to your GP.

Chinese herbs

Chinese herbal medicine has been used with reasonable success for thousands of years. Their list is totally different from the Western world. Most doctors know little about Chinese herbs. Naturopaths often recommend them. Occasionally medical journals print results of clinical trials, often with positive outcomes. Chinese herbal remedies combined with Western medicine simply offer more choices, and the patient can make up their own mind. Some believe if one method does not seem to work, another option may be worthwhile. But for a heart attack or severe chest pain, go to a hospital.