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7 February 2011
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Dr Barbara and Dr Ayan on their visit of Aberdeen and the Highlands

Aberdeen is famous for being the Granite City, but whilst its buildings glisten in the sunshine, its health record certainly doesn't sparkle.

Scotland is the second fattest nation in the world behind America and has one of the lowest life expectancies in Western Europe. In Aberdeen itself, heart attacks, cancer and strokes are the 3 biggest killers. There are hard health habits to break for our Street Doctors.

Dr George heads to one of the city’s oldest bakeries where he meets Wendy, who is suffering from chronic heartburn.

Dr George talks to Wendy about her lifestyle and she admits to drinking large quantities of coffee, eating chocolate and smoking cigarettes.

After an examination and ruling out a stomach ulcer, Dr George diagnoses acid reflux. Sometimes, the valve at the bottom of the gullet doesn't work properly and allows the acid to regurgitate back. Dr George believes that alcohol, smoking and drinking too much coffee are all contributing to Wendy's condition.

If you also suffer from the symptoms of acid reflux, Dr George suggests that you:

- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. They are the two main causes.

- Eat smaller portions more often and stay clear of foods that trigger the condition.

- Talk to your pharmacist. There are many medications on the market that could help.

- If your symptoms do persist, see your GP.

Dr Barbara heads to the Highlands where she meets Christine who believes she has an addiction to cola.

Christine consumes about 9 cans a day, and has done for 30 years  She is suffering from heart palpitations and lack of sleep. Dr Barbara tells Christine that she is consuming an incredible amount of sugar and the stimulant caffeine on a daily basis.

Dr Barbara says that Christine is definitely addicted and warns her that giving up cola will be as difficult as stopping drinking alcohol or giving up cigarettes.

Dr Barbara says you should drink no more than 3 caffeine based drinks a day. If you want to cut back:

- Keep a diary and note down exactly how much you are drinking

- Cut down gradually and don't go cold turkey. Reduce half your intake by half over one week and halve it again the following week

- If you need a cup of something, try decaf or experiment with herbal tea.

- If you need further help, go and see your GP.

Dr Ayan heads to Aberdeen's historic city centre where Emily needs his advice on a large lump on her wrist that developed after a fall.

After an examination, Dr Ayan diagnoses a ganglion. Ganglions are a collection of fluid that tends to occur around joints. Dr Ayan reassures her that it’s nothing sinister and that it can easily be removed by a surgeon in a minor operation.

Related Links

Digestive Disorders Foundation
Addictions UK
Offers authoritative advice for every type of addiction, including help with self-diagnosis and finding treatment
Beating Addictions
Expert advice on how to overcome addiction.
Health information for parents and carers

View exclusive video from Aberdeen


Dr Barbara

Health Tips

from Dr Barbara

  • Take up a hobby, learn a new skill or try taking part in a sporting or group activity.
  • Use the stairs not the lift at work.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week.
  • Walk 20 minutes a day. Try to avoid using the car.
  • Reduce fat(approx 70g fat per day in average diet).

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