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HealthDR ELLIE CANNON: Why are my knees aching so badly after I...

DR ELLIE CANNON: Why are my knees aching so badly after I got two new hips?

I recently had two hip replacements for osteoarthritis. Every morning, my whole body hurts when I wake up and it feels as if someone has hit my knees with a baseball bat. I didn’t have knee pain before the operation. Has surgery made things worse?

Arthritis is the most common form of joint pain, but there are many types of the condition.

Osteoarthritis is the one doctors see most because it develops with age due to wear and tear. It mostly affects the joints that carry a lot of weight, such as the hips and knees – and the fingers, because we use them so much.

It’s highly likely that a patient with severe osteoarthritis in the hips also has knee arthritis, which can cause terrible pain.

Osteoarthritis is the one doctors see most because it develops with age due to wear and tear. It mostly affects the joints that carry a lot of weight, such as the hips and knees – and the fingers, because we use them so much.

Osteoarthritis is the one doctors see most because it develops with age due to wear and tear. It mostly affects the joints that carry a lot of weight, such as the hips and knees – and the fingers, because we use them so much.

Osteoarthritis is the one doctors see most because it develops with age due to wear and tear. It mostly affects the joints that carry a lot of weight, such as the hips and knees – and the fingers, because we use them so much.

The knee is more commonly affected than the hip, but osteoarthritis causes pain mostly during or after activity. Pain in the morning suggests a different type of arthritis.

Morning symptoms are more common in inflammatory-type arthritis diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Or there could be a totally different problem, such as a tear within the joint, or bursitis – inflammation of fluid in the knee.

Aches and pains throughout the body can be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency, fibromyalgia or, less frequently, thyroid disease. A GP or physiotherapist would be well placed to ascertain what is causing a specific knee pain that happens in the morning. A thorough examination and X-rays could help to confirm a diagnosis.

Blood tests may also be worthwhile to check for other deficiencies that can worsen conditions such as arthritis.

I’ve been suffering bowel problems for six months and had a colonoscopy last month, which showed I have several pockets on the side of my colon. I suffer terrible constipation and other digestive issues. I can’t enjoy a meal without worrying how my stomach will react. I am 66.

Bulges or pockets that form in the wall of the large intestine, or colon, are not uncommon as we age. When they cause symptoms, such as stomach pain and unusual bowel habits, doctors call it diverticular disease.

   

More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…

A lot of people have these pockets without the symptoms. Experts think they are more likely to cause problems for people who have a low-fibre diet, or who smoke or are obese.

Doctors may recommend increasing fibre – found in wholegrains, vegetables and fruit – in the diet, to soften the stools and regulate digestion. But it’s important to do it slowly. A sudden increase can lead to flatulence and bloating.

Adults should aim to have 30g of fibre every day – roughly two slices of toast in the morning, a portion of wholegrains such as beans or rice at lunch, and another portion with vegetables at dinner, as well as fruit as a snack during the day. This will help prevent diverticular disease.

The benefits can take a good few weeks to be noticeable. But it’s essential to maintain this high-fibre diet, and drink plenty of water to help the fibre make its way through the bowel.

If vegetables seem hard to digest, focus on foods such as low-sugar, high-fibre breakfast cereals, wholegrain breads, potatoes in their skins and pulses including lentils and chickpeas.

As well as dietary changes, a GP may recommend bulk-forming laxatives, available over the counter, to treat constipation. These will help stools move through the bowels.

The charity Guts UK offers excellent dietary advice (gutscharity.org.uk).

About three weeks ago I lost my sense of taste almost overnight – but could still smell everything. PCR and lateral flow tests were negative. I’m worried I’ll start losing weight, because I’m not as interested in food. What’s going on?

A loss of taste and smell is one of the three defining Covid symptoms, along with a continuous cough and a fever.

For most people, this kicks in at the same time as the other telltale symptoms. But in some people it happens in isolation, and it can be hugely unnerving.

This symptom is often classed as an extremely mild Covid infection, which we know is common in those who are protected by the jab.

A loss of taste and smell is one of the three defining Covid symptoms, along with a continuous cough and a fever

A loss of taste and smell is one of the three defining Covid symptoms, along with a continuous cough and a fever

A loss of taste and smell is one of the three defining Covid symptoms, along with a continuous cough and a fever

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 give personal replies. If you have a health concern, always consult your own GP.

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Usually, a test would be positive, but not always. Experts say even the gold-standard PCR tests have a sensitivity of 70 per cent, meaning three out of ten people will test negative when they actually have Covid.

If a symptom begins suddenly, and acutely, doctors often assume this is due to an infection. Infections start and progress quickly. Diseases tend to develop slowly and more insidiously.

Loss of taste can be related to other infections such as flu and the common cold, as well as throat or ear infections. Dental and oral-hygiene problems can alter taste, and the problem can be a side effect of medication.

There are many nerves involved in carrying taste sensations from the taste buds to the brain. Even the slightest damage to these can affect taste.

It’s unusual, but it can even happen as a complication of dental anaesthetics and tooth extractions.

The charity AbScent has some useful advice on tips and tricks that can help to revive taste buds. Find them at abscent.org.

Why do we need flu jabs? Because it’s a killer too

Have you had your flu jab? It has never been more important to do so, and the sooner the better. 

The Academy of Medical Sciences warn there could be twice the flu deaths this year than in a normal year – possibly an alarming 60,000. Experts say the triple threat of Covid, flu and a surge in other respiratory viruses could overwhelm the NHS and cause the Government to reintroduce the restrictions we all hate.

According to research published last week, a quarter of Britons aren’t even aware that flu can kill. Thankfully, the biggest-ever flu vaccination programme is now under way, with 40 million Britons being invited to have a jab.

It will only work if everyone accepts the invitation, so please don’t delay.

Have you had your flu jab? It has never been more important to do so, and the sooner the better

Have you had your flu jab? It has never been more important to do so, and the sooner the better

Have you had your flu jab? It has never been more important to do so, and the sooner the better

There’s a booster to suit us all

The good thing about having a range of Covid vaccines is that if you can’t have one of them due to an allergy, there’s probably an alternative.

When the booster programme was announced, it was said that people would be offered either Pfizer or Moderna – both are made in a similar way. Studies showed that these vaccines used as boosters provoked the fewest side effects and worked very well.

However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said that anyone unable to have a Pfizer or Moderna jab, perhaps because of an allergy, can be given AstraZeneca instead.

There’s been a huge amount of confusion with people thinking they can’t have this or that vaccine due to a health concern or allergy, and often, in the letters I’ve read, people have somehow got the wrong end of the stick, or are mistaken about an ingredient in a certain vaccine. If you are at all unsure, book a call with your GP to discuss the issue.

Source: Health & wellbeing | The Guardian

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