Dr Flo, I am 33 years old. I have been gaining weight gradually for the past five years. This started after I gave birth to my son. I have been told that I am obese and I need to cut weight for health reasons. I have tried all sorts of diet plans and exercises with little success. Is there any medicine that I can take to help me lose weight faster? Achieng
Unwanted weight gain is a common concern among women. It is usually a result of the slowing down of our bodies’ metabolism that starts in the late twenties or early thirties, which means that the body needs less food and less energy to carry out its daily tasks. Then there are hormonal changes, poor eating habits and lack of adequate exercise, which come together to cause overweight or obesity. Most times, the extra weight sneaks up on us, before becoming a problem.
Due to the health problems associated with excess weight, it is advisable to manage it. The best way to manage obesity is to reduce calorie intake and increase physical exercise over a long period of time. Therefore, you should choose a diet and exercise plan that you can work with, possibly for the rest of your life. You can have a talk with a nutritionist and a physical trainer to help you figure this out.
While it is tempting to try rapid weight-loss strategies, they are neither healthy nor sustainable, and the weight lost is easily regained if the diet and exercise are not managed as well. They include gastric by-pass surgery, liposuction and medication.
Most weight-loss medicines have side effects like bloating, diarrhoea, tremors and even addiction. For these reasons, doctors will usually not prescribe weight-loss medicines, as the risks outweigh the benefits.
Dr Flo, I have a problem with dandruff. I have tried many kinds of hair oils, without any improvement. Is there a solution for this? Felix
Dandruff (seborrhic dermatitis), is a skin condition that causes itching and flaky scales.
It usually affects the scalp, but can also affect other parts of the body. It can be triggered by stress, oily skin, fungal infection and cold, dry weather. It can also be triggered by some medical conditions and medicines.
You can use shampoos that have ketoconazole or selenium, zinc or salycilic acid to manage it. They can be prescribed by the doctor or bought over the counter in pharmacies.
Take a lot of water, eat a balanced diet, and try not to scratch your scalp because it can lead to infection. If the dandruff continues despite these efforts to eliminate it, visit a skin specialist (dermatologist).
Dr Flo, I have had back pain for about two months. The pain is usually worse after a long day in the office. When I take painkillers, the pain goes away for a day or two, then it comes back. Could it be because of the chair I sit on at work? The chair is uncomfortable and I sit for many hours every day. Lawrence
The back pain is most likely due to sitting for very long every day, on an uncomfortable chair. It is also likely that you might not have a good sitting posture.
You are supposed to sit upright, with the back straight, at ninety degrees to your thighs, which should also be at ninety degrees to your legs. Your elbows should lie comfortably on your desk at chest level, and if you are using a computer, it should be at eye level, about 30 centimetres from you.
Do not hunch over when typing or writing, do not sit or type or write at an angle, and do not slouch in your chair, both in the office and at home.
You should sit up even when watching TV and stand and walk upright.
Don’t sit for longer than 45 minutes without standing and moving around a bit. Try working while standing for a few minutes.
If the pain is persistent, there are painkillers and muscle relaxants that you can use, and ointments for massaging the back.
Physiotherapy would also help, and the therapist can teach you exercises you can do by yourself.
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