Dr Penny Adams tack­les your health ques­tions

DR PENNY ADAMS TACK­LES SNOR­ING, SIGHT AND SCRATCHY SKIN HEAD-ON

Good Health Choices - - Contents - If you’d like one of our ex­perts to an­swer your ques­tion, email it to good­health@bauer­me­dia.co.nz No per­sonal cor­re­spon­dence will be en­tered into.

‘He com­plains of be­ing tired all the time’

‘Re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa is caused by faulty genes and can be in­her­ited’

My hus­band’s a ter­ri­ble snorer. He com­plains of be­ing tired all the time and was re­cently di­ag­nosed with high blood pres­sure. Could th­ese prob­lems be linked?

A

It sounds as if your hus­band has ob­struc­tive sleep ap­noea. Dur­ing sleep, the mus­cles at the back of the throat can re­lax and tem­po­rar­ily block the air­flow, lead­ing

to mul­ti­ple in­ter­rup­tions to sleep, as well as day­time sleepi­ness. It can also cause high blood pres­sure. Ask your GP to re­fer your hus­band for a sleep study. Treat­ment in­volves wear­ing a mask at­tached to a ma­chine that blows

air into the mouth and throat to keep the air­way open.

I’m about to turn 49 and for the past two years have had very heavy pe­ri­ods. Should I be con­cerned, or is this just the lead-up to menopause?

A

Heavy pe­ri­ods do some­times oc­cur in the five years be­fore menopause (per­i­menopause), how­ever to be on the safe side they should al­ways be in­ves­ti­gated. You need a blood test to check your iron lev­els and thy­roid func­tion. You should also get a pelvic ul­tra­sound to ex­clude ab­nor­mal­i­ties with the uter­ine lin­ing (en­dometrium). Treat­ment op­tions in­clude a hor­monere­leas­ing IUD, en­dome­trial ab­la­tion (which de­stroys the uter­ine lin­ing), or hys­terec­tomy.

At 53, I’ve been di­ag­nosed with early-stage re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa with night blind­ness. How will it progress? Will my 21-year-old daugh­ter get it? Is it true that cod liver could help?

A

Re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa is the col­lec­tive name for a group of dis­eases that af­fect the cells of the retina. It ini­tially af­fects night vi­sion, then leads to tun­nel vi­sion and can even­tu­ally cause blind­ness. The rate at which this oc­curs varies and can­not be pre­dicted. Re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa is caused by faulty genes and un­for­tu­nately can be in­her­ited; at the mo­ment, there is no known cure. Re­search has so far failed to show any ben­e­fit from sup­ple­ments such as cod liver oil. For more in­for­ma­tion and sup­port, you might like to visit

blind­foun­da­tion.org.nz.

I’ve re­cently been treated for sca­bies, but af­ter two ap­pli­ca­tions of 5 per cent per­me­thrin, spaced a week apart, and wash­ing all my bed li­nen and clothes, I’m still itchy. What should I do?

A

Even when sca­bies are cor­rectly treated, the itch can re­main for up to four weeks. This is be­cause the skin can de­velop an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to the mites. If this is the case for you, it should re­spond to the ap­pli­ca­tion of a strong steroid cream. If symp­toms per­sist, it may be that re­in­fec­tion has oc­curred. Your GP can pre­scribe an oral med­i­ca­tion called Iver­mectin if your case is par­tic­u­larly re­sis­tant to treat­ment.

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