The Street Doctors visit the northern city of Sheffield, the birthplace of the steel industry.
There are a number of challenges that face our doctors in Sheffield. The city has a higher number of deaths from cancer than the national average. Childhood obesity is on the increase and the current generation of children could lose up to 15 years off their life expectancy due to an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise and worryingly, at any one time there are approximately 600 pregnant women who are still smoking in Sheffield.
Dr George starts his day early at Castle Market where he meets butcher Allan who suffers with bad knees that click. Dr George swift diagnosis is that Allan has arthritis a condition that effects 8 million people in the UK and has no cure.
Dr George applies a heat pack to Allan's knee but also talks about how you can take anti-inflammatory medication to ease the pain of arthritis and also take fish oils and glucosamine to keep the joints lubricated.
Sheffield FC is famous for being the world's oldest football club and here Dr Jonty meets the club secretary, Stephen, who is having problems with his left leg and which he feels looks unsightly and is very swollen. He's also suffered with two deep vein thromboses in the leg.
Dr Jonty explains how the blood is not flowing back up to the heart as well as it should be and that there is fluid under the skin. The discolouration of the legs is a form of eczema that could lead to ulcers that will take a long time to heal. To deal with all this Stephen needs to keep the skin moist with a moisturiser or an emollient and also needs to wear compression stockings.
If you suffer from swollen ankles Dr Jonty recommends you should:
- Avoid prolonged standing and raise your feet up when you rest.
- Wear support stockings which will help to reduce the swelling.
- If you are overweight - losing the pounds will definitely help.
- And if symptoms occur on one side only or persist visit your doctor.
Back at Castle Market George meets Gill who is worried she is having the menopause. She is suffering with hot sweats and having trouble sleeping and her libido has diminished.
Dr George takes some blood from Gill which is sent away for testing at the lab. Dr Jonty then goes back to visit Gill and confirms she is having the menopause and talks to her about the pros and cons of HRT. HRT can ease symptoms such as night sweats but it does pose an increased risk of breast cancer and cancer of the womb so current thinking suggests not being prescribed it for more than two years.
If you're approaching the menopause Dr George and Dr Jonty suggest:
- Take regular exercise such as a brisk walk or even dancing, this will also help strengthen the bones.
- Cut down on caffeine and eat more foods that contain soya.
- Reduce your alcohol intake and stop smoking.
- If you need further advice or want to consider the possibility of HRT, see your GP.
- Arthritis Research
- Offers a comprehensive glossary of rheumatic diseases, plus treatment options and up-to-date scientific research.
- National Eczema Society
- Detailed support and information service for sufferers of eczema and their carers.
- NHS - The menopause
- Advice and facts on the physical and emotional aspects of the menopause.
- BUPA - Childhood obesity
- Find answers to your worries about childhood obesity, as well as ideas for combating it on this informative BUPA factsheet.
- Cancer Research UK
- Informative overview of the most common types of cancer, alongside details of preventative measures that you can take.
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.