Health: A Question of Health
Tuesday 13 April 1999
Nicotine replacement therapy, in the form of chewing-gum, skin patches or tablets that dissolve under the tongue, doubles your success rate if you are trying to give up smoking. If you use willpower alone, you have a 3 per cent chance of giving up smoking for a year or more, but willpower plus nicotine patches (or chewing gum or pills) increases this to 6 per cent. If you go to a clinic to help you stop smoking your success rate is likely to be about 10 per cent, but a clinic plus nicotine replacement puts this up to 20 per cent. A week's supply of nicotine patches costs between pounds 16 and pounds 20, depending on which brand you choose. Serious nicotine addicts may want to try nicotine nasal spray, which is available only on prescription.
I HAVE polymyalgia rheumatica and I will be taking steroid tablets for many months, perhaps years. Can you give me any advice on ways to lessen the unwanted side effects of steroids?
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) causes muscle pains and weakness, but it responds very quickly to steroids. The problem is that, as you say, you will have to take steroids for many months before you are able to stop them completely. The dose of steroids that you will need will probably be quite small, so some of the worst side effects, such as weight gain and "moon face", are unlikely to occur. One side effect of long-term steroid treatment is thinning of the bones - osteoporosis - and you should probably be taking calcium and vitamin D to help prevent bone loss. If you are past the menopause, hormone replacement therapy can be useful.
I HAVE large keloids on my chest which are irritating and ugly. Is laser treatment available for them?
Keloids are scars that overgrow, causing a thick, wide area of scar tissue that is bigger than the original injury. Lasers have been used to remove keloid scars, but the success rate is less than 50 per cent. Another way of treating them is to have triamcinolone injections into the scars. The success rate of this is at least as good as laser treatment.
Please send your questions to A Question of Health, `The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL; fax 0171-293 2182; or e- mail to email@example.com
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
May the Fourth Be With You: The internet celebrates Star Wars Day with new Twitter symbols and memes
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
In defence of liberal democracy