Since I have furred my arteries, last month I started statins. After falling from between 4.1-4.3, my cholesterol is now at 2.5.

I’ve read that people with Alzheimer’s have very low cholesterol, and that people with the highest cholesterol live the longest. This is correct? I am 81.

David Whittern. Knowle, Bristol.

This is a very controversial topic. There are people with high cholesterol in their old age who remain healthy and have low levels of blood sugar. They are a rare exception.

Statins are the best option for high cholesterol patients. 

These drugs are proven to decrease plaque in the arteries, and help prevent future build-up.

Recently, evidence has also been found that the drugs might help lower inflammation. This is another risk factor for heart disease.

Yes, there are some people who have high cholesterol levels in old age and remain perfectly healthy. But they are an unusual minority

There are people with high cholesterol in their old age who remain healthy and have good health. They are a rare minority.

It’s true that our bodies need some cholesterol — it plays a role in creating hormones such as testosterone, for instance. 

The conventional wisdom is that total cholesterol levels in otherwise healthy persons should not exceed a certain level (i.e. Good HDL, bad HDL, and other fats are all below 5 mg/l (millimoles/litre), while the LDL is under 3 mmol/l.

The lower number is better for patients with coronary artery disease, strokes or heart attacks.

To address your concern about Alzheimer’s, contrary to popular belief, the brain does not require cholesterol for healthy function, and there’s no evidence that a low cholesterol level (whether natural or because of medication) contributes to dementia of any type.

There are several risk factors that can lead to dementia: high blood pressure and obesity; hearing loss; depression; type 2 diabetes; physical inactivity; smoking; social isolation.

The latter may be related to the effect on the brain reserve — the brain’s ability to make up for changes caused by disease.

Together, these factors contribute to one-third of all dementia cases. These factors are often linked to our lifestyles and can be altered.

The known risk factors for dementia are high blood pressure, obesity, hearing loss, depression, type 2 diabetes, physical inactivity, smoking, social isolation and low educational achievement

There are several risk factors that can lead to dementia: high blood pressure and obesity, hearing loss, depression type 2 diabetes, weight gain, depressive symptoms, types 1 and 2, smoking, inactivity, low education attainment, social isolation, and low academic achievement.

Aging is the most significant risk factor. Genetics can also play a significant part in two common forms of the disease, Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal lobe dementia. Both the former can affect memory, while the latter may impair our ability to judge social situations.

The second most common type of the disease — vascular dementia — can be caused by furring of the arteries in the brain. It may lead to memory loss symptoms similar to those experienced in Alzheimer’s.

The main cause of this type of cancer is high cholesterol. It is important to lower your cholesterol using effective treatment, like statins. This will help reduce the likelihood of developing the disease.

I trust that you find these observations useful. Your GP will confirm that a higher level of cholesterol will not result in a better outcome.

I’VE suffered with a globus muscle for two years. It is very annoying, even though medical checks show nothing to the contrary. It is a continual cough with no symptoms of reflux. I also have difficulty eating. If you could help, I’d be grateful.

Hawick, Mrs Irene Bell

The globus feeling is a very common disorder that’s not understood well. You feel tightness and a lump in the throat.

Around 4 percent of patients are referred to the ear, nasal and throat clinics because this problem exists.

Most cases (including yours) are clear of any underlying conditions. This is where stomach acid returns up to the throat and into the mouth. The cause of globus sensation can be attributed to a variety of factors, including brain confusion, abnormal functioning, and feelings of inesophageal acid.

Stress, anxiety, and psychological disorders can all contribute to this.

This uncomfortable feeling is usually more severe when eating only saliva. It’s less apparent when drinking food or drinks. It isn’t painful.

For some anxiety patients, it is possible to use low-dose tricyclic antidepressants as a treatment.

This is a risky decision at 80, as you are more likely to experience side effects such as dry eyes, lightheadedness and constipation.

Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant, was also found effective in a small study that involved patients with the disorder. But, there is still a danger of nausea and side effects.

Side-effects are more common in older patients than those of younger ages.

As a general rule, I try to not prescribe complex medication for conditions which are annoying but not dangerous.

In your longer letter, you mention that you also have long-term nose blockage and post-nasal drip. This is where the mucus collects in the throat at the back.

It is possible that your sinuses and nasal airway are affected. Allergies are the most common cause.

These are often treated with steroid-laced nasal sprays. This should be discussed with your GP. I don’t believe these symptoms can be responsible for the globus sensation.

Send an email to Dr Scurr

Write to Dr Scurr at Good Health, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email — include your contact details. Dr Scurr is unable to enter into any personal correspondence.

You should only respond in general circumstances. Always consult your GP if you have any concerns about your health.

In my view… It’s time we stopped circumcising babies 

A recent Australian report about a child who had been circumcised and died shocked me.

It’s a story that should act as a warning about the perils of unnecessary surgery. Since then, I’ve seen many patients suffer from near-fatal pulmonary embolisms (a blood clot to the lung), after minor cosmetic surgery.

A lot of people consider neonatal genital circumcision an act of genital abuse. At the most, it should be considered cosmetic surgery.

There are those who say the procedure lowers the risk of cancer of the penis, yet there’s no suggestion that pre-emptive surgery for male breast cancer in babies is a good idea.

In prehistory, circumcision was used to mark and identify captured warriors. The practice evolved later into a religious and cultural ritual.

The view in modern medicine is that the fundamental right of a child to ‘bodily integrity’ outweighs the parents’ rights, yet the practice continues.

Every doctor should advocate for the abandonment of unnecessary, potentially dangerous surgery in boys’ favors just like it was done with female circumcision.