I have terribly swollen, red and painful legs, which the doctor said is due to cellulite, a skin infection. I’ve been given an ointment, but it doesn’t seem to help.
I’m at the end of my rope. Can you help?
Cellulitis is a relatively common infection of the skin and underlying tissues that causes swelling, redness, heat, and pain.
To get it under control, it needs urgent treatment with antibiotics, often in hospital.
But the problem can persist, which seems to be the case here. It can get so bad that walking is compromised – in fact, cellulite can be debilitating, so medical intervention is absolutely essential to avoid worsening complications.
This can come directly from the primary care physician, community nurse, or the local healthy leg or tissue viability teams – which one depends on the service provision in your area, but the primary care physician is always the first point of contact.
Cellulitis is a relatively common infection of the skin and underlying tissues that causes swelling, redness, heat and pain, writes Dr. Ellie Cannon. Shown: file image
Cellulite is usually caused by problems with blood flow to the legs. If the veins don’t properly direct blood back to the heart, fluid builds up, leading to swelling and infection.
In addition to medication, skin care is an important part of treatment, as recurring swelling and infections can lead to splitting, ulceration, and even permanent damage.
The health care providers should advise on applying moisturisers to the legs – for example, it should be applied in a downward direction as this has been proven to work best especially at night.
Compression stockings, exercise, and other lifestyle measures, such as quitting smoking and staying healthy, are also needed. No one should do this alone.
I was diagnosed with high blood pressure about 15 years ago, when I was 50, and I’ve been on medication ever since. For years I read about 125/80. I had a check yesterday and was told it was 150/80.
W.When I asked if this was too high, the nurse was very dismissive and said it was okay. Do you agree?
High blood pressure itself causes very few symptoms, but it is a significant problem, putting those who suffer from it at higher risk for stroke and heart attacks.
Large studies of the past decades have shown us that strict control of blood pressure is very important to prevent these problems.
Our blood pressure changes throughout the day – if you took it yourself at home you would see these fluctuations with fatigue, emotions and even just at different times of the day. Blood pressure is registered with two digits.
The first image shows systolic pressure – the force of the blood as the heart beats. The second is diastolic – the pressure in the blood vessels between beats. About 125/80 would be an excellent reading.
High blood pressure itself causes very few symptoms, but it is a significant problem, putting those who suffer from it at higher risk for stroke and heart attacks. Shown: file image
Ideally, the blood pressure for someone who does not have diabetes (people with diabetes have a higher risk of heart attacks, so have a lower blood pressure) should be less than 140/90.
So 150/80 is not okay because it is above this target. And there is another problem.
No one should look at just one reading and consider it good or not good. This should have been repeated, either at the time or over the course of a few appointments to determine if there has been an increase.
A one-time blood pressure reading is just one moment in time and not a true representation of what’s going on.
Ideally, at this stage, I would recommend that a patient get a home blood pressure monitor and take measurements twice a day for a week or two. Mornings and evenings are best, and keep track of your results. With this data, you can then consult with your doctor online or by phone about what to do next, if it is indeed high.
This will be much more accurate than a single clinical measurement.
Tests at the beginning of the year showed I had elevated blood sugar, and the doctor said I was at risk for diabetes.
I decided to diet and managed to lose the 3rd in three months. I just had another blood test and it showed that I still have high blood sugar. I felt deflated.
What exactly do I have to do to get into the healthy zone?
Significant weight loss is very difficult to achieve, so anyone who has managed to lose 3rd should be proud of themselves.
But in some ways, losing weight is the easy part – a crash diet can feel exhilarating and the results can be seen quickly.
The challenge is to find a way to stay healthier. This should be less strict than the crash diet so that you can enjoy life, but not a return to the diet that made you overweight in the first place.
Exercise is an important part of that. Walking and cycling is great – again, nothing too extreme, but something you can do every day and that’s fun.
It may take time for the blood sugar to change. We use a test called HbA1c to look at diabetes risk, which reflects blood sugar levels from the previous 12 weeks, so it may be that a test after three months of weight loss would not show a dramatic change.
Aim to have another test in three to six months.
It’s also important not to focus too much on a single factor. Losing weight and more physical activity have a beneficial effect in addition to blood sugar levels.
Are you protecting yourself now that the virus cases are increasing?
Are you one of two million Britons with high-risk health conditions who were advised to foreclose from March to August?
If so, I would like to know how you feel at the moment as Covid-19 cases are on the rise.
Many of my own patients have asked if they should re-isolate for health reasons. And I am also aware that there are many in these groups who have never stopped foreclosure despite official advice that it was safe to go out again.
Are you one of two million Britons with high-risk health conditions who were advised to foreclose from March to August? Shown: file image
Some doctors have called for an immediate return to protection, while many vulnerable people have themselves called for another national lockdown.
But there are also others who say they want to live their lives and make their own risk assessment, and have the freedom to choose whether or not to venture into it.
Please write to me at the email address below and let me know what you think.
No worries about stopping vaccination trials
As readers may know, I am a guinea pig in a Covid-19 vaccine study.
WRITE TO DR. ELLIE
Do you have a question for Dr. Ellie Cannon?
I had my first dose about three months ago and had to get a booster shot on September 8 – just like the process was stopped after a female participant in her thirties fell ill.
Drug company AstraZeneca has now revealed that she received a dose in June, after which she felt fine, and a second one in late August. But after tripping over it, her arms started to ache and weakness, she had trouble walking, and a headache.
Experts now say it was not a side effect of the vaccine. This may sound troubling, but I find it comforting. Trial breaks are normal for the course when a participant becomes ill. It gives the experts time to investigate what is causing it.
There are strict safety nets, and it means the other 16,000 of us are okay. And I’m getting that booster this week.