Dr Penny Adams gives her advice
DR PENNY ADAMS OFFERS HER ADVICE ON REVERSING DIABETES, A YOUNG BOY’S OBSESSIVE FEARS, AND HOW TO GET THE BEST FROM YOUR GP
‘There is now a vaccine we can give people over 60’
I am recovering from shingles that affected my chest wall. The rash was really painful and I felt like I had the flu. Is there anything I can do to avoid getting it again?
AShingles (herpes zoster), which is caused by reactivation of the chicken pox virus, occurs in about 30 per cent of people at least once in their lifetime. There is now a vaccine that we can give people over the age of 60. It decreases the risk of developing herpes zoster by 50 per cent. The vaccine is expensive (around $200) but in some countries it is given free to people over the age of 70. It is a ‘live virus’ vaccine so it isn’t recommended for people who have a disease or who take medication that affects their immune system.
I have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Is it possible to reverse this?
AThe good news is yes. A study just published in medical journal The Lancet showed that patients who lost 15kg over a 12-month period had an 86 per cent chance of becoming non-diabetic. In addition, a lot of these patients were able to go off blood pressure medication. Weight loss is not easy and you need support so see your GP for a diet and lifestyle plan.
My 10-year-old boy has fears of witches and ghosts and avoids scary movies. He also worries something will happen to me when he’s at school; he is complaining of stomach pains on school mornings and is missings several days of school per week. Is he suffering from an anxiety disorder?
AFears of scary things like ghosts at your son’s age don’t interfere with his daily functioning and are developmentally normal. But his anxiety about harm coming to you is a problem as it interferes with his wellbeing and school attendance. See your GP for assessment. A referral to a child psychologist can help.
Sometimes I feel uncomfortable asking my GP questions and I don’t understand or feel confident about my treatment. What should I do?
AThe best GPS give time in a consultation for patients to ask questions, they provide medical information in a way that their patients can understand and they share decisionmaking. It’s so important for your health that you can communicate effectively with your GP. If that’s not happening, then you should change doctors. Ask among your friends and family for a good recommendation.