Slapped syndrome a danger in pregnancy
I amgoing through menopause, but rather than hot flushes my main symptom is insomnia — in particular I amhaving trouble getting to sleep. Is this common? INSOMNIA is quite a common symptom of menopause. It used to be thought that it was a direct result of sleep being disturbed by hot flushes, but it is now known that it can occur independently of hot flushes, although the exact cause is yet to be determined. Usually menopause-associated insomnia tends to resolve after a few years, as a woman’s hormones stabilise. However, you should have a medical check-up to rule out any underlying condition. If no cause is found, try the standard measures to improve your sleep including cutting out caffeine, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, ensuring the bedroom is dark, developing a ‘‘ wind-down’’ sleep ritual and perhaps practising relaxation techniques. Linda Calabresi is a GP and editor of MedicalObserver . Send your queries to email@example.com I have just been told that a child in my eight-year-old daughter’s class has slapped-cheek syndrome. How dangerous is this? I have a 10-month-old baby as well, is this likely to be a problem for him? SLAPPED-CHEEK syndrome is also known as parvovirus B19 or Fifth Disease. It usually only affects school-aged children, and causes a mild rash (which resembles slapped cheeks — surprisingly enough). Usually 60 to 70 per cent of adults have antibodies to the parvovirus that indicate they have previously had the disease, and are therefore immune. Children, even infants, who catch the disease usually only have mild symptoms. It is more of a problem in adults who might also experience arthritic symptoms and the real danger is for pregnant women, particularly those at fewer than 20 weeks. Should these women contract the disease they are at risk of miscarriage. If you have an affected child you should keep them at home to avoid potential contact with pregnant women, and if you are pregnant and come into contact with the disease see your doctor. I have recently been diagnosed with the dry form of macular degeneration. I was told there was no treatment available and I feel rather helpless. Have you any suggestions, as it is rather distressing waiting for the slow degeneration that may eventually lead to the loss of my sight? IN terms of treatment for dry macular degeneration, I’mafraid it is largely correct that there are no recognised treatments for this form of the disease. There has been some research that suggests taking certain antioxidants and zinc supplements can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and its progress, so that’s worth a try. Other measures include stopping smoking, making sure your blood pressure is normal and eating a balanced diet. It’s important to understand the nature of this condition to get a perspective on your prognosis. Macular degeneration causes legal blindness rather than true blindness because it is the central vision that is affected; generally the peripheral vision is preserved. Also with the dry form of the disease, which accounts for 90 per cent of cases, the progress tends to be very slow — extending over years — and is usually asymmetrical, so one eye tends to remain better than the other. This differs from the more aggressive ‘‘ wet’’ macular degeneration, where fluid leaks into the retina causing rapid deterioration of sight and for which there is now a treatment. Sometimes a person with the dry form can develop fluid leakage, wet macular degeneration, so it’s important to get checked regularly by your eye specialist.