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Byline: with Dr Neil Murray

QI'VE got pseudogout. Is this different from gout? AIT actually means false gout. They are similar in that they both cause an inflammation of the joints but are different conditions.

Pseudogout is caused by calcium crystals in the joints. It tends to affect the larger joints, such as the knees, hips and shoulders. Gout usually affects smaller joints, particularly the toes.

Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can be used in both to help to relieve the inflammation. But there is no specific treatment or diet for pseudogout that can prevent calcium crystals forming in the first place.

Most acute attacks settle within 10 days.

QI THINK I'm going through the menopause. Should I get a blood test? ATHE menopause is caused by a change in the balance of sex hormones. The average age in the UK is 52 but it can happen in some women in their 30s or 40s.

In the lead-up to the menopause, oestrogen levels fall. This fall causes physical and emotional symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and mood swings.

Blood tests to measure hormone levels are often not helpful. Usually your GP can make the diagnosis from your symptoms.

QWHY do my ears get sore when I fly? AFLYING results in changes in air pressure that affect the ear. When the plane is descending, the pressure in the middle ear is lower than the pressure in the air cabin.

This causes the eardrum to be sucked inwards, which can be painful.

To balance out the difference in pressure and relieve the pain, air needs to travel up the tube behind the ear.

This tube opens when we swallow or chew so sucking or chewing a sweet will help.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2013
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