What can my wife do to tackle her ‘tree trunk legs’ condition?
My wife has always dieted but can’t seem to lose weight – and now she’s been diagnosed with something called lipoedema.
Her doctors say nothing really can be done, and now she feels very down.
I tell her she is beautiful, but she doesn’t believe me. Can you suggest anything to help?
Lipoedema is a condition that leads to a build-up of fat in certain areas of the body, usually the legs, which can end up looking very out of proportion with the rest of the body, and the arms.
It’s quite common, affecting up to one in ten women, but poorly understood by the medical community.
Studies suggest patients go decades without a diagnosis and are often incorrectly advised to diet.
DR ELLIE CANNON: Lipoedema is a condition that leads to a build-up of fat in certain areas of the body, usually the legs, which can end up looking very out of proportion with the rest of the body, and the arms. (file photo)
Is your sense of smell still gone two years after catching Covid?
By Dr Ellie Cannon for the Mail on Sunday
I was surprised to learn this week that two-thirds of those who had Covid-19 in the spring of 2020 still have problems with their sense of smell.
And a small number say their tastebuds are still not the same – 18 months after recovering from the infection, according to a Swedish study.
It’s a problem I’ve seen often in patients a month or so after being infected but in most cases it gets better on its own after a few months.
It is not to be downplayed: our sense of smell is crucial for our ability to taste and enjoy food.
An inability to detect flavours leads to joyless, miserable meal times and can have a significant impact on people’s mental health.
I’m interested to know how many of you are still suffering with distorted or lack of smell and taste, a year after the infection has passed. Write and tell me at DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk.
Many end up believing their ‘tree trunk legs’ are a result of them eating too much when in fact calorie intake has little to do with it.
Understandably, it makes those with it feel very self-conscious.
Along with the cosmetic issue, the affected limbs can feel heavy and uncomfortable, and the skin can be tender and tight-feeling and even develop ulcers.
We don’t know what causes lipoedema, but for many women, it runs in their family.
There are similarities with the condition lymphoedema, which is excessive fluid build-up in the limbs, resulting in a puffy, swollen appearance – and treatment for the two conditions is similar.
Compression stockings and looking after the skin with moisturisers is really important, as is exercise.
Being active helps with mood and circulation, which can help relieve discomfort.
It is important patients are under a specialised service, which usually would be with lymphoedema nurses.
But services are inconsistent and in some areas there is no service at all.
Sometimes NHS trusts may accept out-of-area referrals, or private patients.
For lipoedema, recently specialists have started using specific methods of liposuction.
However, I believe this is rarely done on the NHS.
For a condition like this, a supportive partner is a huge bonus, but peer support is vital, too.
To talk to others in the same boat, get in touch with Lipoedema UK at lipoedema. co.uk.
You can also speak to Lymphcare on 01384 365 014 about compression treatments.
I take medication for high blood pressure, and at my last review the nurse recommended I also take magnesium glycinate tablets.
I am not a big fan of supplements, but I gave it a go. After four months, I can’t see any particular difference. What’s your view?
Blood pressure treatment is advised in order to prevent serious and potentially fatal health conditions that can be triggered by long-term high blood pressure, namely stroke and heart attacks.
More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…
But this doesn’t just mean taking prescription tablets. Weight loss, exercise and adopting a healthy diet, reducing caffeine, salt and alcohol are all important, as is quitting smoking.
In the body, magnesium relaxes blood vessels and therefore reduces blood pressure. Most people in the UK get enough from their diet – it’s in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and cereals.
Low magnesium can lead to high blood pressure, so if someone is found, in blood tests, to be low in the mineral, supplements may be suggested.
This can happen as a result of medication such as diuretics, which are sometimes given for high blood pressure – these increase the amount of water excreted in urine, which can inadvertently flush nutrients from the body before they’ve had time to be absorbed.
The acid indigestion tablet omeprazole can also block digestion of certain nutrients, including magnesium.
With any medication or treatment, if there appears to be no discernible benefit after a few months, it’s reasonable to go back to the person who prescribed it and ask if it’s really worth continuing.
There are at least four different types of commonly used blood pressure tablets, and if blood pressure remains high, new combinations need to be tried.
I have had blepharitis since I was a child – leaving my eyes often itchy, red and sore. People always ask me if I’ve been crying. In my 20s, I was given antibiotics which I took for a few years, and they helped.
But the doctor then stopped them, saying it wasn’t good to be on them for too long. What can I do to cure this awful problem?
Blepharitis causes inflammation of the eyelids and usually affects both eyes, typically causing burning, itching and crusting of the eyelids.
Eyes can look very red, flaky and watery and often people are susceptible to styes – painful lumps that form on the eyelid.
Do you have a question for Dr Ellie?
Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.
Dr Ellie can only answer in a general context and cannot respond to individual cases, or give personal replies. If you have a health concern, always consult your own GP.
It stops people from wearing eye make-up and contact lenses can be impossible.
Sometimes blepharitis occurs with other skin conditions such as dandruff, types of dermatitis and rosacea. It can also be linked to dry eyes.
There’s no cure as such – the only treatment is routine maintenance therapy to reduce the severity of flare-ups.
We recommend eyelid hygiene – using diluted baby shampoo and warm water twice a day to clean the eyelids. You can also buy special eyelid wipes, although having to fork out constantly can become expensive.
Alongside this, one of the best things is a warm compress – soak a face cloth in hot water, wring it out, and hold it to the eyes, massaging gently. Repeat when the cloth cools a couple of times.
Done regularly, it helps the glands and oil-producing parts of the eye work better, which in turn helps alleviate symptoms.
Help at last for women gamblers
Tomorrow marks the launch of a major charity campaign to tackle gambling addiction in women by Gamble Aware – and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
I’m increasingly worried about gambling behaviours I see in my patients, mostly due to the rise of quick-win websites, and gambling games on social media.
Millions of British women struggle with it, but research shows they’re much less likely than men to recognise the problem – and seek help.
If you suspect that someone you love might have a problem, the signs to watch out for are hiding gambling habits, losing track of time on websites – and losing money.
The National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 is a great source of support.