Dr. Eli Cannon: Could my pins and needles be connected to my heart surgery?

Dr. Eli Cannon: Could my pins and needles be connected to my heart surgery?

Three years ago I had a heart attack followed by a quintuple bypass. Since the surgery, I have suffered from numbness and pins and needles in my left leg. Recently, it has become much more frequent. Can the two things be linked?

Heart bypass surgery involves replacing blocked blood vessels in the heart with healthy blood vessels from elsewhere. Usually, it is taken from the healthy leg during the operation. This can sometimes cause damage to the affected area of ​​the foot.

Blood vessels are often located near nerves. It is therefore possible that, in the process of removing the vessel, the nerves are squashed or damaged.

Nerves are responsible for controlling all movement and sensation, including pain, temperature and touch. If they are damaged or pressured by nearby swelling or scarring, they do not function properly. Sometimes, it manifests as pins and needles.

Nerve damage can also cause numbness, burning pain or weakness. It can cause paralysis if the nerves that control it are damaged. In your case it seems most likely to be nerve damage from the bypass and a GP should be able to tell if this is true during the exam.

Heart bypass surgery involves replacing blocked blood vessels in the heart with healthy blood vessels from elsewhere (stock photo)

The problem can be further evaluated through special investigations. Patients may be referred to a local hospital for neurophysiology, where nerve electrical impulses are measured.

There are other possible causes of numbness and pins and needles, such as a different type of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. This can be caused by a vitamin deficiency such as B12 or other conditions such as diabetes.

This is why doctors usually do blood tests on patients with nerve-related symptoms. Peripheral neuropathy can also be a side effect of some heart medications.

A while ago I was diagnosed with a hernia in my groin. But I was surprised to find out that I didn’t fit the medical criteria to have it repaired. I am 76 years old but very fit and healthy – I play tennis at least once a week. I thought that I mean the most qualified for surgery?

Hernias are very common. They occur when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle wall and appears as a lump. They usually develop in the groin or abdomen.

Not everyone needs treatment for hernias because in many they cause no symptoms and no problems. In such circumstances it is a case of weighing the potential benefits of the operation against the risks.

More from Dr Eli Cannon for the Sunday Mail…

It may be worth getting an ultrasound, which will tell you exactly where and the size.

Hernias become a concern when a part of the body gets stuck in it. For example, blood vessels can become blocked in the hernia, thereby cutting off the blood supply.

Whether surgery is offered depends on a number of factors, including the potential for dangerous consequences. Other factors are the patient’s quality of life, their general health and what symptoms are affecting the location of the hernia.

A hernia usually doesn’t get better without surgery – but it can’t get worse.

It may seem that doctors don’t offer hernia operations to save the NHS money, but this is usually not the case. Instead, the reason is to spare patients an operation that is not necessary.

I have suffered from ingrown hairs around my jawline for years. They are thick, white and ugly swellings. My GP prescribed antibiotics, and Fucidin or azelaic acid cream, which can thin the skin after long-term use. Obviously I can’t stay on antibiotics forever. Would anything else help?

Skin problems can be very distressing – especially if they affect a part of the body that is visible, like the face.

Ingrown hairs develop when hair gets stuck in the skin. They cause raised, itchy bumps that become inflamed and sore. Sometimes, the bumps become infected, causing larger swelling and pus.

Once this happens, a condition called folliculitis can develop as the follicles become inflamed. It is often seen in people with beards.

Write to Dr. Eli

Do you have a question for Dr. Eli Cannon? Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk

Dr Cannon cannot enter into personal correspondence and his answers should be taken in a general context.

One reason for developing ingrown hairs is the accumulation of dead skin cells that clog the hair. Exfoliating the skin can help prevent this, but make sure you use a mild enough product for the face. You can buy over-the-counter creams that contain salicylic acid, which may help.

They soften the skin, allowing hair to grow more easily. They are also anti-inflammatory.

Try them on a small area of ​​skin first so they don’t irritate.

Some of the moisturizers available for eczema are also antibacterial and can help prevent things from getting worse. A widely available moisturizer is Dermol, which can be used for washing as well as moisturizing.

It is true to say that you cannot stay on antibiotics forever. However, GPs use long-term courses of antibiotics for certain conditions such as acne and rosacea. You can ask your GP if you can continue taking the pills for six to 12 months to push the condition into remission.

Teens don’t need parental permission to get the measles vaccine

If you didn’t have the measles jab – MMR vaccine as a child, ask your GP if you can get it now, regardless of your parents’ views on vaccines (stock photo)

I have some advice for teenagers that some parents may not like. If you didn’t have the measles jab – the MMR vaccine – as a child, ask your GP if you can get it now, regardless of your parents’ views on vaccines.

We’re on the brink of a major measles outbreak, with 2023 cases already twice as many as last year – and we’re only in July.

Do not underestimate this illness. About a fifth of patients will end up in hospital and in some cases may die.

Sadly, what we are seeing now is the result of the unfounded scare stories about the MMR jab in the early 2000s. Many young adults ages 19-25 are not vaccinated because their parents were swayed by these unfounded claims.

But now this age group can decide for themselves, it’s time to be protected. And by doing so, you are also protecting those around you. It’s never too late – just ask your GP surgery for more information.

Heavy periods? Go to your GP

I was shocked by a post I saw on Twitter this week, shared by a gynecologist I follow.

She posted an image of a chair lined with paper towels, explaining that this was how her teenage patient dealt with heavy periods.

I have to say it’s true. Over the years I’ve been amazed at how women go about coping with their bleeding – never wearing a white dress or calling in sick.

Please don’t hide the problem and go to your doctor. Heavy bleeding can be a sign of something seriously wrong. For women of menopausal age, it may indicate endometrial cancer. For younger women, it could be fibroids or endometriosis.

Even if there is no underlying problem, heavy periods can greatly affect quality of life. GPs and gynecologists can and should help, so ask us!


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