The ‘secret’ disease of women
Vulvar discomfort is far more prevalent than initially thought, affecting up to 16 per cent of all women aged 18 to 64. Often lasting for three months or more, it involves a constant or sporadic ‘stabbing’ or ‘burning’ pain around the vagina. Linked to yeast infections, there may also be an association with other pain syndromes such as endometriosis, cystitis and fibromyalgia. Some 40 per cent of sufferers don’t bother to seek treatment (Townsend Lett Docs, 2005; 258: 19-20).
You don’t only get it in hospital
MRSA can occur anywhere, especially among those who are in frequent physical contact with others – such as American footballers. The St Louis Rams called in the Centers for Disease Control when five of their players caught methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The infections, believed to have been contracted during a match, affected skin not covered by the uniform (N Engl J Med, 2005; 352: 468-75).
A sweet connection
People who have transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) have a higher risk of glucose intolerance afterwards. On monitoring 98 TIA sufferers, 24 were diabetic, and another 27 were glucose-intolerant, a state often considered to lead to diabetes. On average, patients became glucose-intolerant within 105 days of a TIA (Arch Intern Med, 2005; 165: 227-33).
When it doesn’t refresh
A recent survey of 25,580 individuals has found that around 16 per cent of Britons suffer from ‘non-restorative sleep’ (NRS), in which sufferers sleep through the night, but wake up feeling as bad as before going to bed. This puts the UK at the top of the NRS list compared with six other European countries with Spain at the bottom, with just 2.4 per cent of the population having it. Causes of NRS include stress, anxiety, bipolar and depressive disorders and physical disease (Arch Intern Med, 2005; 165: 35-41).