Dr Penny Adams tackles your health questions
DR PENNY ADAMS TACKLES SNORING, SIGHT AND SCRATCHY SKIN HEAD-ON
‘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?
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?
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?
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
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?
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.