Asthma: Paying the price

Why are NHS prescriptions not free for people with asthma and other chronic diseases? A friend with diabetes gets all of her prescriptions for free. I have asthma and must pay for mine.

Threadworms: Preventing them spreading

My six-year-old son may have threadworms, as he has been scratching a lot. A friend told me to get mebendazole. How can I ensure that our other two children don't catch them too?

Retina: A sight concern

Having lost the sight in one eye when I was 17, due to a detached retina, I am concerned about the sight in my other eye. Early this year, I was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in that eye and referred to hospital, where I had scans but no treatment. Finally, I was referred to a specialist who did another scan. He suggested an injection into the eye, but said there was no guarantee it would work, and I could lose my sight altogether.

Cystitis: Any prevention methods?

Cystitis is beginning to rule my life. I have had at least four attacks in the past year, and the most recent was the worst. For 24 hours, I was passing more blood than urine. I drink cranberry juice until it is coming out of my ears, and I have had a kidney and bladder scan, which did not show anything wrong. Antibiotics always solve the problem, but I usually have to endure a couple of days of agony before I can get a prescription. Is there some way of preventing cystitis? Sometimes it happens after I have sex.

Allergies: What's the cause?

Is it possible to have a mild food allergy that only brings on symptoms intermittently? I sometimes develop a runny nose and itchy throat soon after eating certain foods. The symptoms are mild and don't really trouble me, but it would be nice to know what causes them.

Genetic illness: Insurance problems

An insurance company has refused to give me a mortgage and critical illness insurance because some members of my family have a genetic condition called myotonic dystrophy. Several years ago I had a genetic test which showed that I do not carry the myotonic dystrophy gene and I will therefore not develop the disease. Are insurance companies allowed to refuse insurance on the basis of genetic illnesses?

Floaters: Cause for concern?

Two doctors and two opticians have told me I have floaters. Everybody seems to disregard them and one doctor said it was due to old age. Can you advise me on possibilities for the future?

Nutrition: Finding the right therapist

I want to find an alternative therapist to help me with nutritional issues, but I don't know how to find a good one. Should I see a dietician, a nutritionist or a nutritional therapist? I need to know that they are properly qualified.

Bloody eyes: No need for concern

A co-worker is getting frequent bloodstains in part of her left eye. They appear unexpectedly and last for about 10 days. Her GP and a specialist told her not to worry as long as there is no eye pain or discomfort. I have doubts, and I wonder if this is masking more serious problems. She is in her late fifties and overweight. Her blood pressure is normal. She does not smoke and hardly drinks alcohol. She likes good coffee but only has one a day. She is not too keen on exercising. She wears glasses and has several pairs.

Kidney pain: Any solutions?

I am 83 years old and in generally good health, but for the last 10 years I have been suffering from severe pain in the left kidney region. Despite numerous hospital investigations I have been told that my kidneys are working properly and that there is no evidence of stones, though during one investigation after a particularly severe episode some blood was found in my urine. My doctor has recently told me that the probable cause is a dilated kidney pelvis that has been there since birth. I have been prescribed ibuprofen which I take to counter the pain, which occurs at any time of the day or night almost daily. Is it wise to continue taking this medication so frequently, or is there anything else I can take?

Tiredness: What's the cause?

I have been to two different doctors in the past month complaining of feeling generally run-down. The second doctor listened to my heart and lungs, felt my belly, tested my urine but couldn't find anything wrong. Now I've begun to sweat heavily in bed. I work long days behind a desk, but in the evening I just want to lie down and sleep. Until a few months ago I was full of energy and up for anything. I am 35 years old, a non-smoker, and consider myself to be perfectly healthy.

Drinking problem: Ageing or alcohol

After 20 or so years of regular drinking at the pub, I find now that I am intolerant of bitter. Do I need to worry about what beer might have done to my insides over the years, or is this just a sign of ageing?

Hernia: Are meshes removable?

In July 1984 I had left and right inguinal hernias repaired separately. In October 2004 they were repaired again with a single mesh. Since January 2006 I have had constant severe pain in my right testicle (treated with Pregabalin). In early July this year I developed pain down both legs and I now have to walk very slowly. I believe the mesh is snagging nerves is it possible to remove it?

Frozen shoulder: Information and advice

I've been diagnosed with frozen shoulder and would appreciate any info or advice on its cure. Should I try to carry on normally, forcing the shoulder into painful positions? Or should I avoid any movement that causes pain?

Breathing problems: Car crash related?

My 13-year-old son says that when he lies flat on his back he has difficulty breathing, but he is fine with a pillow under his head. We were involved in a car accident last year where he had seatbelt injuries and I wonder whether it could be anything to do with that. He is not keen to go to the doctor as he thinks this will involve having tests/scans (which he had a lot of after the accident as he suffered from double vision). Should I take him to the doctor despite his fears?

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