Health: A Question of Health

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I AM 25 and diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. I have had acne for the past 12 years. Who is the best specialist to see - an endocrinologist or a dermatologist?

The acne is due to too much testosterone. Even though the underlying cause of PCOS is unknown, many symptoms can be effectively treated with drugs. You may benefit from extra doses of a drug that blocks the effects of testosterone. Recent research suggests a link between polycystic ovaries and an excess of insulin in the bloodstream. It doesn't matter if you see an endocrinologist or a dermatologist, but do see a specialist. There is an international support group.

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A blood test for suspected anaemia showed that my red bloods cells are too big. My doctor thinks it may be caused by too much alcohol. I drink two pints a month. What else could it be?

Other causes are shortages of two important vitamins: folic acid and vitamin B12. Occasionally, it can be a problem with the thyroid gland.

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Six months ago my blood pressure was raised and I was started on a beta- blocker tablet. The blood pressure has returned to normal, but my GP insists I continue the tablets. Is this correct?

Before starting on blood-pressure tablets you must have your pressure checked a number of times, usually over a period of months. If not, it is possible your blood pressure was not truly raised. Some people do manage to stop taking blood pressure tablets, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Discuss it with your doctor.

Please send questions to A Question of Health, `The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL; fax 0171-293 2182. Unfortunately, Dr Kavalier cannot respond to individual inquiries. Or e-mail to health@independent.co.uk

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