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Wed, 8th October 2014
 

I go on a forty minute "health kick" walk each day, mainly as part of a general fitness programme, to keep healthy and live longer. I know heaps of readers do the same. For those who have never heard of this spine tingling new idea, here are a few of the benefits.

You meet people, most doing it for the same reason or as part of the home-work-home syndrome. You get to know a few. Occasionally one may have a three minute chat. The weather, the footy, politics, the guy down the road, the birds in the trees (or the neighbors garden). You watch neighbor and their gardens, a bit less with water issues, but many still bucketing it out each day, recycling same and produce beautiful flowers and shrubs.

You pass fat people, thin people, happy and pleasant ones and ugly ones, and they probably think the same. Being a doctor, one automatically mentally diagnoses people. You can see a whopping big skin cancer on a persons nose, ear or forehead, or their colour probably indicates too much grog, prostate cancer, anaemia or thyroid disease, and in others diabetes, overweight and heart disease. It leaps out. It is not really hard.

Occasionally (if you know them a bit) you might casually suggest they see their doctor sometime. Sure as eggs, a month later they are back, with a scar on the ear, or obvious intervention on the nose! Then there is the inevitable guy who way lays you for the "kerbside consultation" - free advice on the run. I do not mind and am happy to talk for a few minutes on their issues.

Then there is the dog position. In winter they sleep in, so walking earlier is best. Summer they are up and about early, so ideally in the cool of the day. Some are friendly, others are not. If there is a sudden burning sensation around the ankle, look quick and maybe a dog is hanging to your leg. Some cling on. Others simply wait for you next day, and rush out like crazy. It is best to re-route your walking pattern rather than face the outcome. A dog psychologist told me to look at them indirectly and speak reassuringly. But that is not easy. Take the cowards way out.

At road signals, watch the drivers waiting for green. Most pick their faces, jump with the radio thudding music, scream at the guy in front, or passersby. An interesting insight into body language and bottled up road rage. Don't talk to them, for you'll get an earful of profanity.

You can watch birds nesting in hollow limbs in roadside trees, inhale the carbon monoxide of passing trucks, and be thankful you're not in Bangkok where you can't even see the cars for smog. Try and avoid busy roads. Be thankful you are alive and your legs can still carry you.

 
CONSTANT COUGH

Q: 

My little grandson aged six has suffered a perpetual cough for some months. There is a lot of disharmony in the home.

A: 

Stress is a big bogey, specially in little ones who cannot sort it all out. However, whooping cough is rising in frequency or it may be early asthma. Check again with the doctor. Certain tests and treatment are very successful. A child psychologist may also help if medical intervention fails. Most do OK.

 
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ROCKING BUB

Q: 

A friend with a baby which often wakes and yells at night has started using a device called Lullabub. This gently rocks baby to and fro and has a soothing, calming effect.

A: 

This relatively new gadget is claimed to have beneficial effects. It has been adequately trialed, and relaxes crying restless babies. It also lets the parents get some much needed sleep.

 
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HOT FLUSHES

Q: 

I am an older woman and recently underwent a hysterectomy. Now I am bugged with hot flushes for the first time in my life. The doctor said my ovaries were nonexistent.

A: 

Although ovarian function and hormonal production usually stops around 50, pelvic intervention can trigger all manner of events. Oestrogen is produced by various organs not just the ovaries. Often a short course of HT - hormonal therapy may quickly solve the issue. Dialogue with your GP

 
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BREAST CANCER

Q: 

I am terrified at the number of women in my circle specially younger ones reporting breast cancer. It is frightening

A: 

More and more cases of breast cancer in women in their forties seem to be occurring. Many are still picked up on self-examination, which means women must continue with this each month (ideally just after a period when breast are softer). Under the nipple is a fairly common spot. Mammograms are usually carried out regularly in women fifty and over, but the just over forty hit list is appreciable.

 
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BRAIN TUMOURS

Q: 

Are brain tumours becoming more common. I have heard of two cases recently.

A: 

Neurosurgeons say the figure is pretty static, but there are still many cases from late teens to mid-forties and beyond. Challenge is in early diagnosis and successful intervention. A spasmodic jerky arm may be the first and only symptom even before imaging is still negative.

 
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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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