Three health-care pros share answers to three of their patients’ most-asked questions.
Q: When should I see a doctor about my headaches? How many a month is normal?
Dr. Christine Lay Headache Specialist and Director of the Centre for Headache, Women's College Hospital, in Toronto says:
"While it's common to experience a headache due to a cold, following a head bump or from too much alcohol, if you have a headache more than twice a month, you should consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Most likely, someone with recurrent headaches is experiencing tension or migraine headaches, with the latter typically being more disabling. An episodic migraine headache is one that comes and goes less than 14 days per month; migraine headaches that happen more than 15 days per month are called chronic migraines. Your doctor can choose from many effective migraine therapies available, including both acute—to stop the attack—and preventive medications."
Q: What's the difference between eczema and psoriasis? How are they treated?
Dr. Renée A. Beach, Dermatologist, Women's College Hospital, in Toronto says:
"Eczema and psoriasis are inflammatory skin diseases that appear as itchy, red, scaly rashes. Eczema is generally more common and can affect as much as 20 percent of the population. It's particularly aggravated when skin is exposed to irritants like extreme weather, fragrances or plant-based cosmetics. Babies and toddlers can get eczema that they often outgrow by their preteens. Psoriasis affects two to four percent of the North American population, with spikes during the 20s or late 40s; it can appear anywhere on the body but tends to develop on knees, elbows, the scalp and genitals. Psoriasis occurs when part of your immune system is overactive, causing healthy skin cells to multiply in excess and accumulate on the skin. There's no cure for either condition, but both can be treated with oral medications, scheduled injections, creams containing corticosteroids or phototherapy, a form of medically monitored light therapy."
Q: What does having a heart attack feel like for a woman?
Dr. Jennifer A.D. Price, Advanced Practice Nurse in Cardiology and Chief Nursing Executive, Women's College Hospital, in Toronto says:
"In general, most people experience an intense, crushing retrosternal—behind the breastbone—pain that can feel like an elephant on your chest. This pain can be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting. Women are more likely to describe chest discomfort or pressure. In addition, women, more than men, may also mention having pain or discomfort in their neck, jaw, shoulders, back, one or both arms or some upper abdominal discomfort. And women might also complain about extreme fatigue or shortness of breath. While heart-attack symptoms typically occur with exertion, women are more likely to experience symptoms at night, at rest or when they're under stress."