Dementia: Is there anything I can do?

I am a lady of 62. My problem is my personal pronouns. If I talk about a man, I call him her, and a woman, I call her him. Even when I write it down, I get it wrong. If there are theirs, yours, I get them the wrong way round. If there are several in a sentence, I am confused. It used to be now and again, but now I do it all the time. I also find stringing sentences together difficult. At the beginning, I realised I was saying it wrong, but now I don't realise it. I don't want to live my life in dementia. Is there anything I can do?

Prostate cancer: Is it hereditary?

My father died of prostate cancer and I want to do everything possible to avoid getting it. He developed his first symptoms in his late fifties, but it took a couple of years before cancer was diagnosed. What is the likelihood that I will get it? What can I do to prevent it? Is it linked to diet?

Anaemia: Would more iron in my diet help?

I am a female in my fifties and have noticed an increase in hair loss over the last few years. I try to eat a healthy diet, but I have a minimal intake of red meat. Although I have never been clinically anaemic, whenever I try to donate blood I am rejected on the grounds that I am on the borderline of anaemia. I have read that low iron levels are associated with hair loss. Would more iron in my diet help?

Hot Flushes: Why can't I continue with HRT?

For many years, since the menopause, I have taken Livial tablets and I have felt very well with them. I recently visited my GP and she told me to stop using them. Since then I am getting three or four hot flushes every day. Is there a good reason why I can't continue to take Livial?

Rhinitis: Why am I sensitive to cold air?

I am acutely sensitive to cold air. The effects are immediate and the colder the air the worse things are. I flinch on exposure to the cold at this time of year as if sniffing smelling salts. This is followed by a thumping headache and painful soreness in the eyes and nostrils. Further exposure can result in heavy nasal congestion and pain spreading all around my eyes, jaws and teeth. I am confined to the house from October to June and even in summer have to be wary of air-conditioning. The problem started after a spell in hospital due to pneumonia and a pulmonary embolism. Can you offer any help as to what it might be, what has caused it and what can be done?

Back Pain: Why is it affecting my balence?

I am 62. For years I have been plagued by a problem which seems to be related to balance. I have long had a rather bad sense of balance, but the specific problem which bothers me is an inability to walk more than a mile or so without finding it harder and harder to stay upright, accompanied by considerable fatigue in the lower back and legs, which gets harder and harder to control. If I don't sit down I become quite distressed, but recover after a rest. I am generally quite healthy otherwise.

Sight loss: will blueberries do any good?

I am 74 and have been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (the dry form of the disease). My vision is slowly getting worse and I am finding it more and more difficult to read. Are there any nutritional remedies that will slow down the progression of this disease? I have heard that blueberries are good, but I don't want to spend time or money on hopeless remedies.

Hair loss: does my diet matter?

Some of the hair on my legs has disappeared. On each leg the bare skin extends from a centre line starting below the knee and radiating outwards around to the back and down to the ankle. What could this be caused by? My GP discounted poor circulation, as I have a good pulse in each foot. I hardly ever eat meat but I do eat fish."

Headache: ice-cream makes my head hurt

Whenever I drink more than a few sips of an ice-cold drink, I get a headache. It lasts for perhaps half a minute and then goes away. The worst cause is a Mcdonald's milkshake, which causes the headache after a few sips. Is there a cure for this?

Cystic fibrosis: faulty genes are in the family

Recent publicity about cystic fibrosis has made me wonder. A distant cousin was born with cystic fibrosis about 20 years ago. He died in his teens. My sister and I are now in our mid-twenties and we will both probably have children within the next couple of years. Is there a chance we could have a child with cystic fibrosis? Is there a test we could have to find out?

Multiple sclerosis: are my eye problems a symptom of MS?

I woke up with a sore left eye, and vision in that eye became a bit blurry. The eye hurt when I looked to the side or up. After 24 hours, I went to casualty and was told I had inflammation of the optic nerve. I was not treated, and was told that it would recover within a few weeks. It did, but when I looked this up on the internet I saw that it can be a first sign of multiple sclerosis.

Diarrhoea: what causes it?

My mother and I have had dental problems that prevented us from eating solid food. We were prescribed antibiotics and told to stick to a liquid diet. We both used a meal-replacement powder, Complan, to supplement our diets. However, we both experienced diarrhoea within a couple of hours of having this drink. Why is this?

Pacemakers: hanging on the telephone

My brother has been fitted with a pacemaker. He was told that he should not use a telephone on the side of the pacemaker. Unfortunately, that side is the only side that he can hear on - he is nearly deaf in his other ear. He has acquired a hands-free phone, but he finds it difficult to use. I can understand a ban on cordless or mobile phones, but I can't understand how a conventional phone could interfere with a pacemaker.

Blackouts: fainting fear

I was using the cross trainer at the gym and I developed a strange feeling. The next thing I knew I was on the floor. My friends said that I was foaming at the mouth and that my head jerked back when I was on the ground. I also wet myself. I was only unconscious for about a minute, and within half an hour I was back to normal. I've never had anything like this before.

Floppy heart valve: do I need to worry?

I have recently had a Well Woman check-up and it was discovered that I have a floppy mitral heart valve. I have been told that this won't cause me any problems, apart from occasional palpitations. I also have to have antibiotics before I go to the dentist. Is this something that I was born with, or is it a sign of ageing? I am 42 and perfectly healthy otherwise.

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