Ask the doctor:
Professor Kerryn Phelps has answers for readers’ questions on anger management, flying with babies, falls in the elderly and sleep needs.
readers’ health questions answered
QDo you have any tips on anger management? I look after my grandkids to help my children, but find myself getting upset at their untidiness and reluctance to help. I’ve tried running round the garden screaming, which helps, but I don't want my grandkids to suffer from my temper. D.O. Step back from the responsibility for your grandchildren for a while. It is your children’s turn to parent their children. Help out when it suits you, by all means, but on your own terms. Explore activities you enjoy and the time you spend with your grandchildren will be better quality time.
QMy husband and I want to take our baby to China, but are worried about the long flight. He is four weeks old, but sleeps well and would not disturb others. J. P. There is no fixed rule, but my advice is to wait until six weeks when you are both in a routine and his first immunisations are done. At that visit, your GP can give him a check-up to identify any potential health problems before you travel. Pre-book a seat with a travel cot. Breastfeeding is convenient for travel, but if he is bottle fed, carefully plan supply for the trip.
QI get pain in my hips and buttocks when I climb stairs. It never happens when I’m walking. Is it sciatica? O.S. This type of pain could be caused by nerve irritation, muscle strain, bursitis or arthritis in the hip or low back. You need to see your doctor or physiotherapist for an assessment.
QI read fruit and vegetable juice can cause irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhoea and stomach pain. My daughter replaces meals with juice. Is this healthy? K.R. The effect of juicing depends on what you juice and how. If you remove the pulp, you miss out on fibre and nutrients, and you can consume more kilojoules, resulting in weight gain. Juicing can cause gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhoea. Also be careful of rapid blood sugar increases if you have diabetes. Whole fruits (two per day) and vegetables (five per day) are better for your health.
QIs it bad to eat standing up? Often I have no time to eat any other way. W.W. Whether you sit or stand while you eat is not crucial. It is more important to eat mindfully, with healthy food choices, chew carefully and don’t rush. If weight control is an issue, a study has shown people who sit, eat meals more slowly and consume fewer kilojoules.
QMy 84-year-old mother keeps falling. She is very independent and doesn’t want to go into a home, which I respect. She is hard of hearing and I’m wondering if this could affect her balance. Would a hearing aid mean she can continue living independently for longer? V.E. Your mother needs to have a comprehensive geriatric assessment. Her GP can get this started, but she may need extensive investigation and correction of possible strength, co-ordination and balance problems. Aged care assessment teams can be mobilised by her GP and an occupational therapist can give her ideas for improving safety around the house.
QWhat is the best amount of sleep, or is it different for every person? N.P. Sleep deprivation is bad for your physical and emotional health. Most adults need seven to nine hours of good quality sleep. Some people need less, others need more to function at their best and this tends to vary with age. Here is a guide:
It is important to eat mindfully, with healthy food choices, chew carefully and don’t rush.
● Teenagers: 8-10 hours ● Adults: 7-9 hours ● Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours