Is there really any long-term harm for athletes who take steroids, then stop them when they retire (or are found out)? We know of a young man who takes them for bodybuilding, and would like him to stop. What can we say to him?
Athletes who have taken steroids in the past continue to be at risk from heart disease many years after stopping them. Their hearts remain larger than the hearts of athletes who never took illegal drugs. The heart enlargement is a risk for the future in that they are more likely than their non-drug abusing colleagues to go into heart failure in later middle age.
Every day the tips of my fingers and thumbs go completely numb and yellowy white. When it happens, I can't use my hands at all. I'm 34, physically fit and eat well. What do I have?
You have the classic symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon, in which the small blood vessels of the skin react to various stimuli (possibly cold, possibly chemicals, possibly some internal inflammatory process) by sudden and extreme narrowing. You need to know the cause, and the only way to do that is to see your doctor, who will take a detailed history, examine you, and take further tests. Don't delay, as it could be a sign of general inflammatory disease that needs investigation. Sorry, but I would be failing you if I advised you otherwise.
We got a cat recently and I have developed allergic symptoms to it, including swollen lips. Antihistamines help but I don't want to take them every day. Is there anything else I can do? Please don't tell me to get rid of the cat.
Cat allergy comes from the animal's saliva, with which it covers its fur as it washes itself. You become allergic to it when you stroke it, then touch your face with your hands afterwards. Antihistamines are a perfect pharmaceutical answer: there isn't anything better. My underlying worry, however, is that your symptoms include swollen lips. That suggests a possible risk of anaphylaxis, in which your lips and throat may swell up so much that you choke, and you go into shock. Discuss this with your doctor, who may prescribe an EpiPen for you to self-inject adrenaline if the worst happens.