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DR MARTIN SCURR solutions your well being questions

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For a number of months, I’ve been experiencing signs my GP can’t clarify, together with coronary heart palpitations, chest ache, weight reduction and my toes turning purple. 

Assessments for an overactive thyroid had been inconclusive. Might my signs be brought on by an undiagnosed hiatus hernia? I’m 65 and in any other case wholesome.

Lynne Rees, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan.

Your concern about your unexplained signs is comprehensible, however let me reassure you that additional investigation ought to assist affirm a prognosis.

The load loss — from 8 st 3 lb to 7 st, as you point out in your longer letter — is critical, given that you’re consuming effectively. 

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This symptom, in frequent with the center palpitations, does level to an overactive thyroid gland because the doable trigger.

Your symptoms do not suggest you have a hiatus hernia, which is where the abdominal organs slip up through a weak spot in the diaphragm and into the chest, causing symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux (pictured)

Your signs don’t recommend you might have a hiatus hernia, which is the place the belly organs slip up by way of a weak spot within the diaphragm and into the chest, inflicting signs reminiscent of heartburn and acid reflux disorder (pictured)

One other issue to contemplate is that widespread bone ache (together with, for example, the chest ache you point out) happens in as much as 15 per cent of individuals with an overactive thyroid. 

(I’ve not been capable of finding a reference to purple toes on account of thyroid issues — it could be these are as a consequence of an unrelated circulation challenge.) 

Moreover, your signs don’t recommend you might have a hiatus hernia, which is the place the belly organs slip up by way of a weak spot within the diaphragm and into the chest, inflicting signs reminiscent of heartburn and acid reflux disorder.

On the idea that your thyroid is the trigger, the apparently unconnected signs mirror the truth that this gland (which sits within the entrance of the neck) produces hormones that affect some key physique features, together with coronary heart charge and metabolism. 

This may well be a reason the blood test was inconclusive, as a number of treatments and pills, including zoledronic acid, a drug given intravenously for osteoporosis, have been reported to cause changes in thyroid function tests

 This could be a purpose the blood take a look at was inconclusive, as numerous therapies and tablets, together with zoledronic acid, a drug given intravenously for osteoporosis, have been reported to trigger adjustments in thyroid operate assessments

For quite a lot of causes, the gland can produce an excessive amount of of those hormones, inflicting the kind of signs you’ve skilled.

The inconclusive blood assessments for thyroid operate are the sticking level right here, and I’d recommend asking your GP to repeat them. 

Needing a repeat thyroid take a look at is frequent when lab assessments produce surprising outcomes (the take a look at you need is the one which checks ranges of thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH).

In your longer letter, you point out that you just had intravenous drug therapy for osteoporosis in July 2019, and once more in 2020.

This could be a purpose the blood take a look at was inconclusive, as numerous therapies and tablets, together with zoledronic acid, a drug given intravenously for osteoporosis, have been reported to trigger adjustments in thyroid operate assessments.

The connection between your osteoporosis therapy (if it did certainly embody zoledronic acid) and the timing of the thyroid operate blood take a look at is necessary, as it could clarify why the take a look at was inconclusive. My suggestion is that you’re investigated as soon as once more.

For a number of years, I’ve had two small sores, one on my proper temple and one on my proper ear. My GP handled them with a freezing spray, however they got here again. The apply nurse calls them sunspots. Ought to I be involved?

Nigel Fortnam, by way of e mail.

I’m all the time at pains to emphasize that treating any pores and skin situation should be a spectator exercise — that’s, a GP wants the affected person in entrance of them because it’s exhausting for anybody to make a judgment with out seeing the issue.

Nonetheless, it’s seemingly that your GP and the apply nurse are right, that the pores and skin lesions you describe are sunspots moderately than native pores and skin cancers, though they could be the legacy of a lifetime of solar publicity.

These spots are in all probability each actinic keratoses, often known as photo voltaic keratoses, that are benign manifestations of harm brought on by ultraviolet mild (UV mild), and which will be eliminated with cryotherapy — the freezing process you describe.

The skin lesions you describe are sunspots rather than local skin cancers, even though they may well be the legacy of a lifetime of sun exposure

The pores and skin lesions you describe are sunspots moderately than native pores and skin cancers, though they could be the legacy of a lifetime of solar publicity

The concept is that first freezing the world, then permitting it to thaw, then freezing it once more destroys the cells in that area.

It’s important to not over-treat sufferers by making use of this method for too lengthy, as this will trigger a scar. However under-treatment might lead to recurrence.

A freezing time of 5 or ten seconds is often enough, and I think that your physician has been treading warily.

When there are recurrences, your physician might resolve to ratchet up the therapy, with two freeze-thaw cycles in a single session in future, which will be more practical at absolutely eradicating the lesions.

Write to Dr Scurr 

Write  to Dr Scurr at Good Well being, Each day Mail, 2 Derry Avenue, London W8 5TT or e mail drmartin@dailymail.co.uk — embody your contact particulars. Dr Scurr can not enter into private correspondence.

Replies needs to be taken in a basic context and all the time seek the advice of your individual GP with any well being worries.

In my opinion… GPs should maintain seeing sufferers head to head

In-person consultations are important not just for diagnosing pores and skin circumstances (see letter above), however for all complaints. They’re as necessary to medical care as prognosis itself and should be preserved.

Some years after I certified as a physician, it turned obligatory for these desirous to enter basic apply to endure coaching for sure particular abilities.

A cornerstone of that coaching was to check the work of psycho-analyst and doctor Michael Balint and his guide, The Physician, His Affected person, And The Sickness.

This units out the concept the very means of a medical session will be in itself a type of therapy — in different phrases, there’s one thing magical within the appointment that’s therapeutic.

Because of the pandemic, the ‘distant’ GP session has really arrived and is clearly right here to remain. However because the chairman of the Royal Faculty of Basic Practitioners, Professor Martin Marshall, reminded us in a current — paradoxically digital — convention, the emphasis on cellphone and video session is risking the lack of key components of basic apply.

For me, this loss consists of that sixth sense, a sense that there’s one thing unsaid which may be the true purpose the affected person has booked an appointment. Their posture, manner and look can supply important clues.

Equally, the non-verbal cues from the docs themselves — help, empathy, understanding — can solely occur when head to head with a affected person.

In fact, there’s a spot for conducting some components of care on-line (for instance, easy questions on therapy updates). However as Professor Marshall mentioned: ‘The connection between a affected person and their GP is as necessary as a scalpel is to a surgeon.’

The non-public connection is an important part of medical care that we should honour and preserve.

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