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Ellie Cannon: Is the painful spotted skin on my thighs and groin a sign of a serious problem?


A while ago, I noticed patches of spotted skin on my upper thighs. I called my doctor, who said nothing to worry about. In the past two weeks they have spread to my groin area, and I have developed pain in the area as well. I spoke to the practice nurse, who said there were signs of poor blood flow to the legs. What could be the cause of the problem?

In some cases, mottled skin is normal and harmless. For example, it can occur in the legs of children and young adults in cold weather, but it goes away once they are in a warmer environment.

However, it is not normal when it appears on the abdomen or around the genitals in someone who has not previously had it. It requires further investigation by a doctor.

If the rash is present all the time and does not go away in warmer temperatures, then there is a potentially serious underlying cause.

Doctors often associate this rash with autoimmune diseases that affect blood vessels and circulation. These conditions include lupus, or, more commonly, a disease called antiphospholipid syndrome.

Today’s reader noticed patches of mottled skin on their thighs that have spread to their groin and they have pain in the area (stock photo)

Both diseases cause small blood clots to form inside the blood vessels under the skin, which results in a red pattern that appears as a rash.

GPs can look for these conditions using blood tests, as well as more common autoimmune problems such as rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors are also likely to check for blood clotting abnormalities.

Many doctors send pictures of the rash to their local dermatology service for a quick professional opinion. It may be helpful to request this to move things forward.

I have a severe vitamin D deficiency and two weeks ago my GP prescribed a six week course of cholecalciferol. But I’ve noticed that since then, my left ankle has been a little slower later in the day – are these problems related? I am 83 years old and have a heart condition so I have age related aches and pains.

Vitamin D has a range of important functions. If its main roles are to help bones absorb calcium properly, making them strong and hard, as well as strengthening muscles and teeth.

Studies show that many elderly people in the UK are deficient in Vitamin D. Our main source of it is sunlight. Therefore, if people are not going out as much because of weakness, they are at risk of not getting enough.

More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…

We get some vitamin D from our diet, but only a small amount via foods such as egg yolks and oily fish.

Taking more vitamin D than you need can cause too much calcium to build up in the body. This can harm the bones, kidneys, and heart.

But an overdose will only happen if you have been taking Vitamin D for a long time. I think six weeks is too short for this to happen.

A stiff or sluggish ankle is most likely caused by other health problems. The ankle, like all joints, can be affected by osteoarthritis as well as other types of arthritis such as gout. But a vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate aches and pains in the bones and joints. Swollen ankles can also cause the joint to feel sluggish.

Swelling in this area is common in older adults for many reasons – from heart problems to lack of movement, which allows fluid to build up. Ankle swelling can also be a common side effect of medications such as the blood pressure pill amlodipine.

For the past two months, I have had severe headaches. They tend to come on at the end of the day, but the pain lasts up to a week. I am nearsighted and wear glasses most days. I recently moved my office to a very windy and stuffy place, but could something serious be causing my headaches?

Headaches are very common and are rarely a sign of anything serious. Having said that, it is always important to look out for other symptoms that accompany a headache.

If the headache occurs at the end of the day – after a full day in the office – this may indicate that the problem is related to the environment. Another sign of this is that headaches do not appear on weekends or on holidays.

Write to Dr. Eli

Do you have a question for Dr. Eli Cannon? Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk

Dr. Cannon cannot engage in personal correspondence and her responses must be taken in a public context.

There are ways to reduce eye strain, such as taking regular breaks from the screen and wearing special lenses.

It is not unusual for people to experience certain symptoms when they are in one place but not another. Experts call this phenomenon “sick building syndrome.” It is thought to be caused by a combination of lack of ventilation, uncomfortable temperatures, and pressure.

It is especially common in open-plan offices where there is poor ventilation, bright lights, and lots of dust. This type of health problem is the employer’s responsibility – and you should talk to a manager about it.

Building sickness syndrome is usually associated with tension headaches, which feel like a constant ache on both sides, and can be experienced by anyone who is stressed, dehydrated, eats irregularly, or is in poor posture when sitting at a desk.

The Archbishop’s honesty regarding depression is a blessing

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the service at Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the service at Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday

In his Good Friday sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, pictured above, spoke about his mental health, revealing that taking antidepressants helps him feel “like an average kind of person.”

Referring to the fucking ass in AA Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh, he added that the pills “bring me back to Eeyore than something much worse”.

I know from speaking out about my use of antidepressants—which I consider to be anxiety—that people are surprised doctors have such mundane problems. Likewise, some might assume that the Archbishop is immune to these daily challenges. Of course we are not.

Some people say that no one needs to take antidepressants and that such mental illnesses can be treated through life improvement. But, fortunately, a confession like the archbishop’s – from someone well versed in prayer and philosophy and whose life is devoted to higher forms of thought – shatters this illusion.

Run bowel exams…and stay tuned

Last month I wrote about the importance of bowel cancer screening and reminded all of you to get tested if you are sent one.

I was asked to do this after reading that a third of people don’t bother. Tests are sent to people aged 56 to 74 every two years in England, but readers have written stories of loved ones who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer, despite testing negative.

While the tests are very accurate, they are not 100 percent foolproof. Screening is just one part of detecting bowel cancer early. The other is to watch for changes in bowel habits and seek help when something is wrong.

If there is blood in the bathroom, bloating, or a change in toilet activity, go to your GP. Don’t assume all is well after a negative screening test.

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