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7 February 2011
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Dr Barbara conducts an open surgery in Newcastle

Our four GPs hit the streets of Newcastle this week for an urban open surgery as they offer their skills and expertise to anyone they meet.

Dr Barbara is at one of the busiest shipyards on the River Tyne. The workforce is 100% male and healthcare is usually a low priority.

However welder Ray is taking full advantage of Barbara's mobile surgery. He is concerned that he is putting on weight. Living on a mix of takeaways and soft drinks, Ray's blood sugar level registers 6.4 which means he could possibly be at risk of Type 2 diabetes. To be sure he needs to fast overnight and then have his blood sugar re-tested.

Meanwhile Dr Ayan has left the streets and taken to the water on board the Tyne ferry where the boat's captain is worried about a recurring ankle problem. He plays a lot of football and Dr Ayan suspects the ligaments have become inflamed. Dr Ayan recommends a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy will effectively retrain the muscles and ligaments around the ankle.

Dr Jonty is at a family sculpture day where a new mum is in need of reassurance as breastfeeding is proving uncomfortable for her baby who has the snuffles.

If your baby has a blocked nose and is breast feeding Dr Jonty has the following advice. Use saline drops to help clear baby's nose before feeding, try holding your baby in a more upright position and seek medical advice if the symptoms persist.

Every year Newcastle welcomes over 35,000 runners to its streets for the Great North Run. Dr Barbara and Dr George are at the starting line checking a fun runner with a ligament problem. Dr George recommends immediate stretching exercises before the race and says these should be repeated when the race is over and before post race stiffness sets in.

Back at the park Dr Jonty's tackling another sporting complaint. A man has injured his knee playing rugby and Jonty thinks it's probably the ligament that's injured. Some ice will help and the injury should settle down in a week or two.

Making good use of Dr Ayan's street surgery is information guide Margaret with a sore ear. Dr Ayan takes a look and finds the ear canal a bit inflamed and very dry. The colloquial name for the condition is swimmer's ear as it tends to be worse for people who swim. Dr Ayan recommends dabbing some hydrocortisone cream twice a day in the ear with a cotton bud. If you do this twice a day for about 10 days that should calm it down.

At Newcastle's Metro Centre Dr George is helping Isla, a mum-to-be with pains in her legs and swollen ankles. Dr George tests for pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a common complication in pregnancy that needs to be diagnosed early. Isla's sample shows only a slight trace of protein in her water, and she is given the all clear.

All pregnant women should have regular antenatal check-ups. You should visit your GP if you have any of the following:- severe headaches and vision problems; pain in the upper abdomen or vomiting; sudden swelling of feet, ankles, face and hands.

At the ship yard Dr Jonty meets up with welder Ray. His original blood sugar test was worryingly high. Ray has fasted overnight and Dr Jonty takes a second blood test that proves to be normal but the results are a warning for Ray to change his lifestyle. Since filming he's a changed man. He's eating fruit and vegetables; he's cut out the fizzy drinks and walks to work everyday. So far he's lost two stone.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are increased thirst, extreme tiredness and blurred vision. You could be at risk if you are inactive, have high blood pressure, or have a waist size above 31.5 inches for women or 37 inches for men.

In the town centre Dr George is faced with a serious condition. Alf has a lesion on his nose and Dr George immediately suspects skin cancer. If caught and treated quickly this form of cancer will do Alf no harm. Dr George urges Alf to see his own GP immediately, but he now knows the importance of catching skin cancer as early as possible if treatment is to be successful. Alf is now receiving treatment for the skin cancer on his nose.

Dr Jonty's next patient is Ian who has a burst blister on his foot. Dr Jonty suggests he bathes it in salt water and applies an antiseptic cream - and resist buying a cheap 10 pair of shoes in future!

Back at the shopping centre Dr Ayan meets a cleaner who is worried that a pain in her shoulder may be arthritis. He notices she has a slight curvature in her spine and one shoulder is actually lower than the other. The pain she has when raising her arm is probably because a bundle of nerves and ligaments in the area around the collar bone are being impinged and trapped. It is very unlikely to be arthritis but visiting a physiotherapist could help by offering strengthening exercises and releasing the nerves a bit.

Related Links

Breastfeeding Info
NHS site recognising the importance of breastfeeding, and offering advice.
Diabetes UK
The charity for people with diabetes.
Skin cancer: the facts
A concise but informative source for information on skin cancer.
Action on Pre-Eclampsia
Promoting safer pregnancy.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites
Dr Jonty

Health Tips

from Dr Jonty

  • Drink alcohol in moderation and have at least two drink free days a week.
  • Spend half an hour a day doing something that makes you feel relaxed. Try meditation.
  • Stop smoking and use the money you save to treat yourself to a massage.
  • Get at least 7- 8 hours sleep a night.

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