No matter how healthy you are, menial tasks can be really difficult
I enjoy a healthy lifestyle and eat plenty of fruit and veg and I’m also a non-smoker.
I am very good with practical tasks such as fixing and mending things but I find paperwork a real struggle.
What can I do to improve my concentration and brain power? Is it possible there is something wrong with me?
MOST people find it difficult doing tasks they don’t enjoy and try to avoid or delay doing things they find boring, such as filling in their tax return.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and what one person may find enjoyable, such as sorting out household bills or changing their energy supplier, can be another’s nightmare.
Menial tasks can be difficult to concentrate on, so best take them in easy to manage chunks
Similarly, the person who enjoys sitting double-checking their bank account may hate going outdoors and ignore the weeds in their back garden.
What is important here is whether there has been any change in your ability to tackle paperwork. If it has always been difficult for you, then I doubt there is anything wrong.
However, if previously you were able to do it without a struggle, then it would be worth talking to your doctor.
If you have always had issues then I suggest you try to be organised about what has to be done and rather than let it build up, so you have a massive pile of stuff to do before a deadline, tackle it regularly, in small amounts.
Set aside a time of day when you are not tired and have a coffee as small doses of caffeine can help with concentration.
Q: I HAVE always had high cholesterol, although recently it has been higher than normal and is now 7.7. I turned 70 recently and apart from this I am slim and active and do not suffer with high blood pressure.
I have been told to take statins but am unhappy about this. What is your advice? There is no heart trouble in my family.
A: HIGH level of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of fatty deposits building up in the lining of arteries.
This can reduce blood flow to all parts of the body, including the brain, and so can increase the risk of vascular dementia.
Not only that but narrowed arteries are more likely to be blocked by a blood clot, leading to a heart attack or a stroke.
Statins work by reducing levels of harmful cholesterol and are now recommended to everyone who has more than a 10 per cent risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years, which is calculated using a special “Q risk” calculator.
Being older does increase the risk and even a healthy person of 70, with a normal cholesterol level, has a 13 per cent risk, which means that everyone over this age should, theoretically, be on a statin. Your raised cholesterol means your risk is about 20 per cent and I recommend you try statins.
Although statins often get a bad press, in reality the side effects, especially muscle pains, are fairly rare and most people take them without any problems.
Q WHAT is myeloproliferative disorder?
A MYELOPROLIFERATIVE disorders, also known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are diseases of the bone marrow, which is the soft inner part where blood cells are made.
There are three different types of blood cell: red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body, white cells which fight infection and platelets which help blood to clot. MPN can affect any of these.
The most common types are: polycythaemia vera, where too many red blood cells are made, thrombocythaemia, where too many platelets are made, and chronic myeloid leukaemia, where too many immature white blood cells are produced.
Myeloproliferative disorders affect bone marrow, responsible for blood cell production
Myelofibrosis is another type of MPN where the bone marrow is at first overactive and then becomes scarred, so not enough blood cells are formed. Many MPNs are linked to genetic faults but these occur during a person’s lifetime and are not passed on to children.
Treatment of MPN depends on the type of disorder. Most progress very slowly and the aim of treatment is to control symptoms.
Where a disease is progressing fast, it may be necessary to have a bone marrow transplant. However this is a risky procedure so is only done in serious cases.
You can get more details about MPN from Bloodwise, call 0808 2080 888 or visit bloodwise.org.uk/ info-support for more information.