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Wed, 7th May 2014
 

Food doesn't taste like it was when I was a child. Everything seems like cardboard. I do not enjoy my meals, and eat because I must to stay alive. Have you ever made these comments? Heaps have, and deplore the way in which food is mass produced, sold and prepared these days. But there is some good news, some light at the end of the tunnel, so do not despair.

Today, food is certainly mass produced in world wide markets, frozen, thawed, stored for months and carried in boats and planes. But the cause of personal food dissatisfaction is often us, the individuals. The food is often OK but our senses and appreciation of taste and smell have dulled. Why? There are many reasons. Aerial pollution is probably one. This is inhaled by the system, and reacts adversely on our nervous system, the part of the body that lets us appreciate sense of smell, taste, touch, and other sensations. Knock these out, and we are off to a bad start, whatever is in the food.

Second comes infection, often unrecognized. There may be an acute episode, say a viral or bacterial throat, nasal or tonsillar infection, or it may linger on in a sub acute unrecognized form for months. Germs produce toxins which adversely affect nerves. Taste and smell sensory end-organs are located in the lining of the mouth and nose. These are the common ones, but there are heaps of others, some very complex, and potentially dangerous.

So what to do? See your doctor for an evaluation. A diagnosis may lead to a management plan which may help. Now remember, the body constantly strives to keep everything normal and in balance, so is working in your favour.

Here are some simple tips. Gargle the throat with warm salty water three times a day. Drink lots of water to swish germs and toxins from the system. Eat sensible foods. Smoking and too much booze dull nerve receptors, so be sensible. But also, the body may lack adequate amounts of zinc. So a 40 mg tablet of zinc a day is often valuable. These are available from pharmacists and health food shops. If there is inadequate zinc in the soil in which food is grown, food will be deficient, and so will the body. Adequate zinc, may lead to better taste and smell receptor sensitivity. A long time patient of mine awoke one day after five years of tastlesness. Cured! Do not give up.

 
THUMB NAIL DENT

Q: 

I have developed an indentation in my thumb nail which seems to become bigger as I inadvertently keep fiddling with it.

A: 

Leave it alone, and the nail will gradually grow. Keep trimming it, and eventually the base of the indentation will level out. Nails continually expand and contract with water contact, and certain chemicals have a negative effect, such as nail polish removers and detergents.

 
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SAND RACING

Q: 

For many years I engaged in racing in the soft sand. Now, sometime later, I can hardly walk due to pain in the knees and hips.

A: 

Healthy sporting past-times often have a long term penalty. You have developed osteo-arthritis from the constant pressure on the big joints. Once damaged it is forever. However, medical intervention such as glucosamine and chondroitin (capsules from the pharmacist or Health Food store), pain killers like paracetamol and careful use of the NSAIDS will bring temporary relief. Often the final cure is joint replacement. This usually gives an excellent outcome. Again, with intensive specialist care, there is a big price tag.

 
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PERIODONTIST

Q: 

I have been referred to a periodontist by my dentist but am not certain why.

A: 

The dentist is unhappy about your gums and the roots of the teeth. Little pockets may develop at the gum margins. Germs track down and gradually infect, destroy and loosen the roots. The depth of the pockets is measured, the teeth cleaned (often this takes two visits), and may be under local anesthetic the first couple of times. Instruction is given on daily cleaning and flossing. Cost may be around $175-$200 a visit, but what value can be placed on healthy teeth.

 
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ALDARA CREAM

Q: 

A friend had a mark on the forehead which the doctor said was a skin cancer. Cream was prescribed, and after a few weeks it had healed, although looked a mess for a while.

A: 

Aldara cream has been successfully used for some time for treating superficial skin cancers There is a local reaction for several weeks, but then subsides and the appearance is back to normal. The cream works on the body's immune system. It does not leave a scar. I prefer surgical removal, but that often leaves a scar, although if carried out by a plastic surgeon this is less likely.

 
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VARICOSE VEINS

Q: 

I have obvious veins in my thighs which I dislike, probably the product of having four children when younger. What is your advice?

A: 

Removal of superficial vessels, especially if small even though prominent, is widely treated with laser therapy. Injection treatment is also successful. It depends on your personal feelings. Some hate them, others do not care too much and overcome the issue by wearing slacks.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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