DR ELLIE CANNON: Am I too old to have my GG breasts reduced?

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I’m I’m thinking of a breast reduction at age 76. I have a GG cup and am six feet tall and I have had enough of the debilitating pain in my back. But I have high blood pressure and an underactive thyroid. Is it too complicated?

There are many reasons why it may not be advisable to go ahead with a particular type of surgery. High blood pressure isn’t necessarily one of them, and neither is an underactive thyroid.

As with any surgery, there are risks involved, and these must be weighed against the benefits of the procedure. A 76-year-old with high blood pressure would have to undergo detailed anesthesia before any surgery.

Breast reduction surgeries are common in the UK. There are a number of personal reasons why women choose to do it, and patients shouldn’t feel like they have to justify it.

Today's reader wants advice on whether she should shrink her large breasts because of the adverse impact they have on her back

Today’s reader wants advice on whether she should shrink her large breasts because of the adverse impact they have on her back

Unfortunately, due to a lack of NHS funds, the surgery is only available to those who meet strict criteria. This includes those who suffer from severe back pain or significant emotional stress associated with a large bust.

More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…

Patients notice that they feel much lighter after surgery and soon see their symptoms decrease. Such an outcome can be essential for a good quality of life, regardless of age.

For those considering going private, it is important to check that the clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission, which regulates all medical facilities offering surgery in England. I would also recommend that patients ask surgeons how successful they expect the surgery to be and whether it will achieve their goal of feeling more comfortable. A potential risk is that you may not see the desired result.

Breast reduction surgery involves general anesthesia and usually takes about three hours, with two or more nights in the hospital. People in their 70s normally take a few months to recover. You should consider all of these factors when deciding whether to proceed.

Six weeks ago I had a long flow test on a pop-up testing site. My results showed no lung cancer, but did show signs of coronary calcification. Do I have to worry? I can’t get a hold of my GP to properly discuss the problem. I am 69 and on 10mg atorvastatin.

If coronary calcification is noted on a scan, it is important to act. It means that there is a buildup of calcium in the arteries of the heart, which puts the person at risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Heart attacks and strokes can be caused by blood vessels becoming hardened with fatty plaque. This plaque can also contain calcium crystals, which is why doctors sometimes speak of ‘hardening’ of the blood vessels. If it’s detected during a lung test, a doctor can arrange a specific type of scan that looks for calcium in the heart.

Results usually come in the form of a calcium score, which indicates the severity of the problem. A primary care physician can then refer a patient for more advanced tests with a cardiologist to assess the impact of the calcification on heart function.

The most important thing for coronary calcification is to lower the risk of heart attack in other ways. Think of quitting smoking and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure by eating healthy and exercising more.

Factors such as family history and ethnicity and other illnesses such as kidney disease can also affect your heart health.

A doctor can help you minimize all of these risks. If lifestyle changes are too difficult, your doctor may prescribe a cholesterol statin and other medications to control blood pressure.

My husband recently developed a rash on his leg that doctors diagnosed with mild impetigo. He was given trimovate, which didn’t work, then penicillin and mometasone. The rash disappeared for two weeks before returning. The doctor then suggested that my husband have the MRSA bug, which would explain why the impetigo will not go away. What is happening?

It can be difficult to tell which skin condition a patient has because many have the same symptoms.

Trying a particular treatment can give you clues about the correct diagnosis. For example, if the problem is a yeast infection, an antifungal cream should provide some relief.

Do you have a question for Dr. Ellie?

Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.

dr. Ellie can only answer in a general context and cannot respond to individual cases or provide personal answers. Always consult your own doctor in case of health problems.

Another problem with diagnosing skin conditions is that they usually come and go. It means that you may mistakenly believe that a treatment has worked if it is just a coincidence that the rash has cleared up. This is common in eczema and dermatitis.

Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the surface of the skin that can arise spontaneously or be transmitted by another person, sometimes by sharing clothes or towels.

It is a common condition that affects all age groups, but especially young children. It is more common in people with weakened immune systems.

The condition first appears as red sores or blisters, but these quickly burst, leaving patches of crusty, golden-brown skin. It usually happens when someone already has broken or damaged skin – perhaps from eczema or an insect bite.

In mild cases, antibiotic creams such as fucidin or mupirocin usually treat the infection within a week. If it’s more severe, doctors may try penicillin or flucloxacillin.

If impetigo doesn’t go away, it may be worth considering the possibility of an underlying problem. If another skin condition, eg eczema, enlarges open sores, it is important to get this under control, otherwise the impetigo will keep coming back.

Rishi should have talked about lockdowns at the time

Rishi Sunak did not agree with Covid lockdowns after all, he said in an interview last week.

Apparently, he felt the scientists had too much decision-making power, and his colleagues failed to consider the public health implications of lockdown.

Well, it would have been nice if he had said something at the time. I seem to recall that Mr Sunak, along with the rest of the cabinet ministers, ignored a letter sent by myself and other GPs warning of the devastation caused by restrictions.

I seem to recall that Rishi Sunak, along with the rest of the cabinet ministers, ignored a letter sent by myself and other GPs warning of the devastation caused by restrictions

I seem to recall that Rishi Sunak, along with the rest of the cabinet ministers, ignored a letter sent by myself and other GPs warning of the devastation caused by restrictions

I seem to recall that Rishi Sunak, along with the rest of the cabinet ministers, ignored a letter sent by myself and other GPs warning of the devastation caused by restrictions

The growing tide of mental illness, missed heart attacks and record cancer treatment delays were all highlighted.

Mr. Sunak and his colleagues did not even bother to write a response. If he really cared about the health of the nation, he wouldn’t have stood back and let the lockdowns happen the way they did. And to blame others, faith begs.

Call me cynical, but it’s hard to see his sudden change of heart as anything more than a tasteless trick to win votes.

Tired of those digital menus

I’m starting a one woman campaign to ban digital menus in restaurants and cafes.

Wherever I go, it seems like I’m being asked to scan one of those squiggly codes with my mobile which causes the menu to appear on the screen. And what happens? Everyone at the table is suddenly glued to the phone, choking the conversation.

Numerous studies have emphasized the importance of social interaction during meals. Not only does it make you eat mindlessly, but it’s also an important time to release stress through talking.

Just last week, another study showed that parents who spend too much time on smartphones are more likely to yell and whine at their children.

Digital menus are one of many Covid measures that won’t matter after the pandemic. I doubt they stopped many infections anyway.

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