Instant Appointment – Emphysema/Antibiotics/Speech delay
Posted 399 days ago
Instant appointment with Dr Chris Brown
A GP for 26 years, Chris specialises in women’s health
Not too late
Please print this letter so Mum will read it! She’s 56, and six months ago she was diagnosed with emphysema. She still smokes and says there’s no point giving up now because the damage has been done. She should still give up, shouldn’t she?
You are absolutely right. Although stopping won’t reverse the lung damage that she already has, it will stop further damage and stop the symptoms getting progressively worse. It is never too late to stop. She should contact her surgery to find out about their Stop Smoking Service, where a trained stop smoking counsellor will give her help and advice.
Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis are both smoking-related illness in the vast majority of sufferers. These 2 conditions are now commonly known as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). COPD causes more deaths in women than breast cancer, so keep on encouraging her to stop smoking. It may save her life.
I get lots of sinusitis and have about four courses of antibiotics a year. I had an allergy test that showed I’m allergic to dust, grass and flowers. I don’t want to keep taking lots of antibiotics. Can you suggest anything else?
Your allergies are probably playing an important part in your recurrent sinusitis. Colds are another common trigger. It obviously isn’t practical for you to avoid all the things that you’re allergic to, so it would seem sensible to take a daily, long-acting anti-histamine to block the allergic reaction. Your pharmacist or doctor can advise about this. If this doesn’t stop the sinusitis, you could add in a steroid nasal spray after discussion with your doctor. This would have to be sprayed once or twice daily into both nostrils and could be continued for a year or more if it was helpful. You may still get occasional sinusitis, but it should be much less frequent
My 26-month-old granddaughter still only uses a few words. She just grunts and points to get what she wants. She seems normal in every other way, but I’m worried that she’s autistic. What should I say to my daughter?
Slow speech development doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong. There is huge variation, however, I think it would be sensible for her to be assessed as it sounds as though she has significant speech delay. This doesn’t mean that she has a more complex developmental problem such as autism. Autistic children have communication problems that are not just language-related, and they also usually have behavioural and relationship difficulties. You haven’t described anything that sounds like autism. Her assessment would involve a full developmental assessment, not just speech and language, so would lay some of your worries to rest. This can be arranged by her GP or Health Visitor.
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