As Christmas draws nearer, I thought I’d share a few words about the ailments we see at the clinic during the festive season. Most people will have lots of time off work during December, but spare a thought for the many nurses, doctors, and staff in hospitals and Urgent Care Clinics.
At Christmas people often suffer from the consequences of overeating with the abundance of rich food. Illnesses such as gallstones and gout are not uncommon at this time.
Gallstones are stones which form within the gallbladder and can start to cause symptoms after eating fatty food. The gallbladder is an organ which stores and secretes bile into the bowel. Bile aids fat digestion. When a stone gets impacted within the biliary tree, which leads from the gallbladder to the bowel; this can cause excruciating abdominal pain, nausea, and sometimes a gallbladder infection which can necessitate its surgical removal.
Gout is a common illness which often runs in families. A patient who suffers from gout usually has a higher than normal uric acid level in their blood, particularly after eating certain foods. A gout attack can result from eating lots of shellfish, red meat or drinking lots of red wine. These foods cause a rise in uric acid levels. When this occurs, small crystals form within the joints, causing pain and swelling.
Speaking of alcohol, we see lots of injuries in clinic. It is not uncommon for these to be related to intoxication. Overindulging in alcohol can make you more prone to injuries: wounds, fractures, head injuries, burns-we’ve seen them all, and more often at Christmas.
Christmas is when we relax and spend valuable time with our friends and family. Whatever your plans, have fun and stay safe, and if you are unlucky enough to become ill, seek medical advice.
-Isabelle Duck is a doctor who works in both general practice and after-hours at Westgate Medical Centre. When she is not at work, she enjoys jogging and cooking and spending time with her husband Chris and dog Hermione.