DR ELLIE CANNON: Cramp in my calf is starting to spread - I blame my statins

DR ELLIE CANNON: Cramp in my calf is starting to spread - I blame my statins
DR ELLIE CANNON: Cramp in my calf is starting to spread - I blame my statins

For the past five months I've been getting cramp in a calf. Recently it's been a little higher, just down from behind my knee. 

Could it be due to the statins I've been taking for years?

A third of people over the age of 60 regularly suffer from cramps. 

They can be caused by dehydration, certain exercises, liver disease and drinking too much alcohol.

Cramps may also be a sign of an underactive thyroid gland, and, yes, they can be a side effect of certain medicines.

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People on statins often report muscle aches and pains, which can start even after taking the tablets without any problems for years.

For the past five months I've been getting cramp in a calf. Recently it's been a little higher, just down from behind my knee. Could it be due to the statins I've been taking for years?

For the past five months I've been getting cramp in a calf. Recently it's been a little higher, just down from behind my knee. Could it be due to the statins I've been taking for years?

The simple way to find out if statins are to blame is to stop taking them for at least four weeks – having first spoken to your GP. 

If that helps, the answer is clear and a different tablet to lower cholesterol can be used. 

Or the doctor, having reviewed the case, may consider that these drugs are no longer necessary.

Twenty years ago we prescribed statins to anyone with high cholesterol. 

Now we are more considered in our approach, taking into account family history, lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet, age, weight and other illnesses, including diabetes. 

So a discussion with the GP would always be worthwhile.

Regular exercises can help to reduce cramps and even prevent them happening at all.

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If you Google 'NHS calf cramp exercises', you should be able to find some simple options.

After a nasty bout of shingles last year I've been suffering ongoing pain where the rash was – called post-herpetic neuralgia – and have been told the virus also caused a tear in my cornea. 

The vision in my right eye is like looking through a fog all the time, which is upsetting as I have a driving job and I now rely on my good left eye. Might a cornea transplant help me?

Shingles  is a viral infection that affects up to a third of us. For most people it causes a bout of intensely sore and painful lesions with no long-term problems. 

I'm all for jabbing kids... but let's not rush it 

Should we be vaccinating children? Some countries, such as the Netherlands, pictured above, are pressing ahead with this policy, but I think it shouldn't be something we jump into.

I'm glad that the UK's regulator, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, is taking its time to weigh up the evidence for risks and benefits.

Should we be vaccinating children? Some countries, such as the Netherlands, pictured above, are pressing ahead with this policy, but I think it shouldn't be something we jump into

Should we be vaccinating children? Some countries, such as the Netherlands, pictured above, are pressing ahead with this policy, but I think it shouldn't be something we jump into

Some say Covid doesn't pose a danger to children. 

This is absolutely wrong. Children are very unlikely to get severe Covid, and statistically are also unlikely to suffer from long Covid, but they are at risk from school closures, loss of learning, loss of development and mental-health issues, all of which are caused by an ongoing pandemic.

To me, this is justification in favour of vaccinating them.

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But for a minority, the consequences can be very difficult, and this is particularly the case when an eye is affected.

The shingles virus can move into the nerve controlling the eye and cause serious issues, including glaucoma, blindness, corneal ulcers and debilitating inflammation. 

Shingles within the eye is considered an emergency and requires

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