I suffer from macular disease, and treatment includes injections into my eyes. I also get dizzy spells that cause me to fall, and sometimes I get very sick too. My doctor prescribes all kinds of pills but they don’t help. Could my problem be related to the injection? I’m 83.
It is not unusual for patients who become dizzy to have regular falls.
Doctors refer to such events as “fall attacks,” and they need to be investigated at any age. But falls are particularly worrying for the elderly because it is a major cause of disability, hospitalization and fractures.
Discussion with your GP or ophthalmologist will be crucial to finding out if alternative medications are available and to determine the risks of stopping the medication altogether.
When vomiting is accompanied by dizziness or a vertigo attack, the problem may be an inner ear disorder. There may be other symptoms, such as changes in hearing, tinnitus, and even a feeling of stuffy ears. With Meniere’s disease, episodes of vertigo usually last about three hours. However, it may take a couple of days for the symptoms to completely go away. There is no specific test for Meniere’s disease, and unfortunately there is no cure either. Instead, patients are given tablets to control dizziness and vomiting, while antihistamines can be used to reduce the feeling of dizziness.
Today’s reader suffers from macular eye disease and wonders if the recurring bouts of vertigo are due to treatment
Meniere’s syndrome is a difficult condition to live with and can have a devastating effect on a person’s quality of life. Support is available from Meniere’s Society on 01306 876883 or via their website menieres.org.uk.
I am 77 years old and I am having a terrible problem when I get bitten by mosquitoes. Wherever I’m on holiday, the bites tend to spread all the way up my arms and legs, and I end up needing steroid injections to calm the itching and swelling. I take the antihistamine loratadine daily and try to use mosquito repellent most days while away. I want to do more travel but now I feel like I can’t. Can you help?
Some people suffer severely from mosquito bites, and many factors play a role in the extent to which someone is infected, including skin type, previous reactions, and genetics. The easiest way to address this problem is to avoid getting bitten in the first place.
More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…
First, cover yourself with sleeves, socks, and pants—early evening is a good time to do this. Also, avoid using fragrances such as perfume and scented toiletries as they attract insects. In tropical countries, mosquito nets are a good idea to avoid being bitten at night. You should also take antimalarial tablets in countries where this is recommended.
Wherever you are, insect repellents that contain 50 percent of the active ingredient DEET are most effective.
Taking antihistamine tablets can help reduce your body’s reaction to bites.
Varieties that do not cause drowsiness, and are designed for use during the day, are the best option, since you can take them more than once per day with your doctor’s approval.
A good bite cream also helps reduce reactions—the most effective ones contain steroids or antihistamines, and you can buy over-the-counter one percent hydrocortisone creams to put on bites that have started to swell. Some people claim that taking a vitamin B supplement helps prevent bites – there’s little scientific basis for this, but a daily tablet won’t cause problems, so it’s worth a try.
Over the past year, I’ve noticed small bumps appearing around my eyes. They don’t hurt but they do affect my confidence. I would like to have it removed but am worried about it harming my eyesight. I am 72 years old.
Removing anything from the skin comes with the potential for scarring and damage to the area – even if it’s a minor operation – and it’s true that any surgery involving the eye area can affect eyesight.
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Having said that, several thousand procedures and operations involving the eye area are performed each year in the UK and they are very successful.
Bumps usually form around the eyes near the lash line. It can mean a number of things. The most common type of bump is a sting – an infection of the eyelash follicle. This is usually very painful. Another is a chalazion, which occurs when the glands of the eyelids become blocked. It can develop from a boil that is no longer infected.
A condition called blepharitis, in which the eyelids are generally inflamed and crusty, can also be to blame. Treatment involves warming, massaging, and cleansing the eyelids—perhaps with a warm flannel—to remove oils and scales and allow the follicles to drain.
Something called milia can also form near the lash lines. These are small, protein-filled bumps that often go away on their own.
The risks and benefits of any procedure must be weighed with a specialist.
When is the right time to move on?
Is it right to start another romantic relationship if your husband or wife has dementia and can barely get to know you?
It’s a question I’ve been pondering after reading last week about the divorce of Wolfgang Porsche, the billionaire luxury car company’s CEO.
The 79-year-old divorced his partner of 16 years two years after she was diagnosed, according to reports last week. He could not cope with the changes in her behavior and reportedly moved in with a new girlfriend, 59-year-old Gabriele Prinzessin zu Leiningen.
Your immediate reaction may be horror. But taking care of your loved ones as they slowly move away from you is hard. I know dementia patients who insist their partner find someone else when they become hopelessly ill.
There are others who will not consider the relationship after the death of their partner, because that would feel wrong.
Have you been accused of moving too fast? Or maybe you never want to?
Whatever your experience, write and tell me at the email address below.
Wolfgang Porsche, pictured right, with Gabriel Prinzessen zu Leiningen, left, reportedly divorced his ex-wife two years after she was diagnosed with dementia