Surgery: the last resort

QI have severe pain in my right knee. The doctor says it is osteoarthritis, the knee is damaged and that I need a knee replacement. Not only is it expensive, but I am also only 47 years old.

By YOUR HEALTH - Dr Gita Mathai
  • Published 20.06.18
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I have severe pain in my right knee. The doctor says it is osteoarthritis, the knee is damaged and that I need a knee replacement. Not only is it expensive, but I am also only 47 years old.

Replaced joints work well, and last 15 years or more. You could try losing weight to attain your ideal BMI (weight divided by height in metre squared x 23). Apply a capsaicin-containing ointment and then hot fomentations to the joint several times a day. You could go for regular physiotherapy and then continue to do the exercises at home. Joining yoga classes is also a good idea. Try to manage as long as you can with these non-invasive measures. Replacement is major surgery and not to be taken lightly.

Stone galled

I have a gallstone that is 2.5cm in size. It does not cause any symptoms.

Gallstones can suddenly cause obstruction, infection and severe pain. You could wait till your stone becomes symptomatic before opting for surgical treatment. There are some medical treatments for gallstones like orally administered bile acids. The problem is that they have to be taken for two years or more. Sometimes the stones can be broken down with lithotripsy, though only your surgeon can decide which line of treatment you need to pursue.

Fever chart

I feel I have a fever every day. I am hot and tired.

It is sweltering outside because of summer. If the outside temperature is more than the body temperature (98.4°F), you will feel hot and tired.

Try staying indoors and drinking plenty of lightly salted beverages. Buy a thermometer and record your temperature every day for a week when you feel feverish. Then take the record and go to your doctor. In fever, the temperature has to be more than 100°F. Remember, your palm is not a thermometer.

Yearly vaccine

How often do you have to take the flu vaccine?

The flu season states around September and lasts till March. The virus frequently mutates, so a new vaccine is released every year. Everyone needs to be immunised once a year. It is particularly important for children under 12 and those over 60 years as they are more likely to develop complications after the viral flu. Children can develop pneumonia and diarrhoea. Elders can develop pneumonia. Any preexisting conditions like diabetes or lung diseases can worsen.

Dream diet?

I found a dream diet that guarantees 10 kilos weight loss in a month.

Most "dream diets" that claim to help you lose that many kilos in a very short time are just that - dreams. They are difficult to sustain. Usually, once you go off the diet, you often not only regain the lost kilos but you might acquire a few more!

Substitution of shakes for meals is also not a good long-term solution. A sustainable long-term diet is one which is close to your regular eating habits, supplies 80 per cent of your regular calories and has no high-calorie snacks. If you are hungry, try filling up on fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate a healthy lifestyle as well. Add an hour of exercise with aerobic activity, weight training, flexion and stretching to lose weight faster and keep it off.

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