Lipomas: living with lumps

I have several lumps on my lower arms, one on the base of my back and several on my thighs. Previously I've been told these were lipomas. Now three more small lumps have come up in a row along the middle of my inside forearm and my doctor has brought up the possibility that they could be an autoimmune disease that affects the connective tissue. I also have permanent hypothyroidism. Do you think this diagnosis is possible, and if it is, what kind of disease?

Cholesterol: cheaper statin is just as effective

My wife takes a statin tablet to lower her cholesterol. For reasons of economy, it has been suggested that she change from Lipitor (also known as atorvastatin) to simvastatin. Is there any difference in their effects?

Osteomalacia: how do 'soft' bones come about?

My mother has been diagnosed with osteo-malacia - her bones are too "soft". What is the difference between brittle and soft bones?

Dizziness: Does my lifestyle have anything to do with it?

Why is it that whenever I bend down and then stand up suddenly I feel dizzy?I have had a normal ECG and blood test. I am a 58-year-old man, a smoker, slim build and reasonably fit. I work in an office and walk for two to three hours a day.

Knee care: why is my knee making noises?

My left knee has started to give me trouble, especially when I am squatting in the gym and going up and down stairs. If I bend the knee, there is a gently crunching and grinding sound behind the kneecap. I am 22 years old and healthy, although slightly overweight.

Verrucas: how do I get rid of them?

I swim three times a week at my local pool, but I have developed a couple of verrucas on my foot. I tried a Wartner freezing kit, but I found it too painful, and it did not work. Can you suggest something painless that will remove verrucas?

Menopause: has it begun?

I am 48 years old and my periods are now erratic (they used to be regular) and the blood is brown (not red). Does this mean that I am no longer fertile and can come off the mini-pill?

Fibromyalgia: Why am I in so much pain?

Since the birth of my child on New Year's Day 2005, I have experienced muscle and bone pain all over my body. I have been to my GP and have seen a bone/arthritis specialist who arranged an MRI scan on my ankles, but they cannot find anything wrong. A GP friend of mine has told me it may be fibromyalgia, for which there is no cure. The pain gets worse when I am tired. I was perfectly healthy before the pregnancy. I weighed nine stone before the pregnancy and around 12 stone after.

HIV: is there a morning after pill for HIV?

As a parent of two teenagers, I am worried about their risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Is there an effective "morning-after pill" for HIV which can be taken if a condom breaks and you think there is a risk from your partner?

Tinnitus noise: Why have tinnitus suffers been abandoned?

I suffer a horrendous level of tinnitus noise to both sides of my head. The only treatment for tinnitus at the moment is so-called "noise management" using "white noise" generators. These help, but the relief is temporary. Why has the NHS and medical research deserted people like myself?

DVT: can flight stockings prevent thrombosis?

I am going to be flying to Bangkok and Melbourne soon - two flights of nearly 12 hours each. Should I be wearing compression stockings?

Tinnitus noise: Why have tinnitus suffers been abandoned?

I suffer a horrendous level of tinnitus noise to both sides of my head. The only treatment for tinnitus at the moment is so-called "noise management" using "white noise" generators. These help, but the relief is temporary. Why has the NHS and medical research deserted people like myself?

Joint care: running on glucosamine

I am an urban runner, covering 25-30 miles a week. Although my knees are holding up well (I'm only 26), I know that running on hard surfaces is punishing to knees and hips. Some of the people I run with take glucosamine tablets. I wonder if I really should be taking sometime to prevent problems later in life.

Conjunctivitis: will antibiotics help?

Is it necessary to use antibiotic ointment to treat conjunctivitis? From time to time we get an outbreak of sticky, red eyes in our family. Sometimes we get chloramphenicol antibiotic ointment on prescription, and this seems to clear it up. But last week, on holiday, the conjunctivitis cleared up after cotton wool and boiled water.

Vaccines: allergic to the yellow fever jab

My 34-year old daughter and family are about to move to Kenya. The travel jabs didn't affect her husband or children but she suffered an extreme reaction to the yellow-fever jab, in the form of an arthritis-like joint pain and swollen lymph glands. Tests have concluded that this was nothing worse than a bad allergic reaction and should pass within six months. She is small-boned and very thin: could she have had too great a dosage for her body mass? I hope to go to Kenya to visit, but am now concerned about my own possible reactions to the jab. I am 61 and, unlike my daughter, not small. What is the likelihood of a genetically linked allergic reaction? And is there an allergy test I could have?

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