When I eat something sweet, I feel sick. I can’t imagine why, but I avoid sugar in all foods – even a teaspoon in a cup of tea. Could It Be Diabetes?
Diabetes doesn’t usually cause symptoms of nausea in response to sugar, but regular nausea or indigestion are definitely symptoms that should be discussed with a doctor. Nausea is something we all experience from time to time from infection, from medication, or from too much alcohol.
Digestive disorders are very common and are often related to certain foods. It may not be the sugar level that is causing the problem, but the amount consumed or other aspects such as fat, acidity or spices that tend to irritate the stomach.
It may not be the sugar level that is causing the problem, but the amount eaten, writes Dr. Ellie Cannon (file photo)
Gallstones can be another cause. These are stones that form in the gallbladder, a tiny organ in the liver. If irritated, they can cause severe discomfort and nausea after heavy and fatty meals.
Regular symptoms like nausea or indigestion usually aren’t serious besides weight loss or fatigue. But the difficulty is that they can be insidious signs of underlying silent cancers.
For this reason, I would always recommend talking to a doctor about it. Checking your weight, blood pressure, blood draw, and an abdominal exam and stool test can allay concerns and rule out the ominous.
More from Dr. Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday …
Type 2 diabetes is very common and the examination is quick and easy with a blood test or urine test in the family doctor’s practice. General practitioners should offer this as a standard, especially for those at higher risk, such as those over 40 or over a certain weight. This can usually be arranged with a nurse or medical assistant.
I was diagnosed with high blood pressure five years ago and I take pills every day. I recently took a test at home and found that my blood pressure was higher than usual. I cannot contact my GP – should I increase my dose?
Do not change the tablet doses without consulting your own doctor. If you can’t get through by phone, try access via an electronic consultation or by phone later in the day and make a routine appointment.
High blood pressure is a really important issue: it puts you at long-term risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. Even if you’ve been diagnosed, it’s important to take regular blood pressure measurements, as changes in blood pressure would, in most cases, not cause noticeable symptoms.
The best way to check blood pressure is with a monitor at home. We recommend that patients measure their blood pressure twice a day for a week or two with a British and Irish Hypertension Society-approved meter. Ask your pharmacist for a recommendation. They are also available from the British Heart Foundation’s online shop (giftshop.bhf.org.uk).
A base model costs £ 19.99 which is a good value considering what a lifesaver they can be. However, it is important that you read correctly as it is easy to make mistakes. You need to put both feet on the floor, not speak to anyone, and put the cuff in the right place – there are excellent instructions on the British Heart Foundation website.
The measured values can then be submitted to the family doctor in order to decide on further medication or whether a change is necessary at all. Many general practitioner nurses monitor blood pressure and may be able to advise. If blood pressure is too high, weight loss, more exercise, and a reduction in salt intake will help, even for someone who is already on medication.
High blood pressure is a really important issue: it carries a long-term risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure, says Dr. Ellie (file photo).
My right hand feels very sore and itchy and that only goes away when I put it under hot water. Is that normal? I don’t feel it in my left hand.
Heat is a form of pain relief. It is for this reason that people have always used hot water bottles and thermal massages to relieve pain, so it’s not surprising that hot water has this effect on your pain. Heat is especially useful for what is known as neuropathic pain – pain caused by nerve damage. This is the type of pain we see in long-term diabetes or after shingles: it is a particularly burning and “hot” type of pain (so it seems paradoxical that heat would reduce it).
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A sore hand can result from neuropathic pain. Most commonly, this is a problem called peripheral neuropathy – damage to the tiny nerves at the end of the limb caused by diabetes, B12 deficiency, or an old arm injury.
If it responds well to hot water, it may be worth trying a warming cream. Capsaicin cream, which contains chemicals similar to hot chillies, is available from pharmacies. A family doctor can do blood tests and exams to help diagnose the cause of peripheral neuropathy.
I’ve seen a lot of sore and itchy hands during the pandemic thanks to reasonable advice to wash your hands thoroughly and use alcohol gel. This has resulted in a number of people suffering from hand dermatitis, which is like eczema but is a reaction to the irritants in soap and alcohol.
If this is the cause of the pain and itching, it should respond to a nighttime steroid cream. Discuss this with your pharmacist.
Another good idea is to wash your hands with an emollient instead of soap: water-based cream can be a good soap substitute.
Davinia is great for HRT help, but family doctors are better
There has been a lot of talk about menopause lately, which I welcome. This is thanks in part to television presenter Davina McCall, who appeared in a documentary that shared overt details of her own struggles. This apparently led to an increase in women’s demand for treatment.
However, following Davina’s revelations, family doctors came under fire, which I found disappointing. Activists claimed that because we are not trained for menopause, we are not offering the latest treatments. That’s not really true: we look at every aspect of our patients’ health and then develop a plan for how best to do it.
The truth is, HRT may not be the answer to every health problem faced by a woman going through menopause.
Media savvy menopause activists do a great job getting attention and write great books. But please, when it comes to medical matters, speak to a doctor.
TV presenter, pictured above, Davina McCall, who appeared in a documentary where she shared candid details about her own struggles with menopause
The other jab kids have to …
Last month I wrote that I was concerned that thousands of teenagers might have missed the vital vaccines they are supposed to have in school after spending so much time outside the classroom.
Official figures showed that uptake of the HPV vaccine – given to eighth grade students to protect against the human papillomavirus – was lower compared to the previous year.
I am pleased to announce that I understand that most of the students have now been vaccinated for both HPV and meningitis as part of catch-up programs. My teenage son got his last week – I think about how incredible it is that we are vaccinating a generation against some of the most terrible cancers that HPV causes.
If you think your child or grandchild has slipped through the net and still hasn’t got a stitch, contact your GP and ask what’s wrong.