Readers' letters - April 25

Two new mammals are polluting the planet says a correspondent
Two new mammals are polluting the planet says a correspondent

David, I’ve just discovered two new mammal species

I have informed David Attenborough that I have just discovered two new mammal species.
The first is the Bottleous Claspious human.
This is a creature which needs to walk in its environment clasping a plastic water bottle which it drinks from, thinking, because a brain-dead scientist has told it, if it doesn’t drink 25 litres of water a day, it will turn into something akin to a dried prune.
The second is the Coffeeous Cupious human.
This is another creature which spends its life walking around with a cup of coffee in its hand, thinking, if it doesn’t drink coffee, it will fall into a deep sleep akin to Rip Van Winkle.
Unfortunately the creature cannot drink the coffee since it’s
either too hot, too cold or, as it enters its vehicle, it spills the coffee all over the floor.
Unfortunately both creatures, after drinking or not drinking its beverages, throws the liquid container away, polluting the planet for the next ten billion years.
Luckily, evolution takes over.
The first creature cannot breed because it is constantly visiting the toilet and the second cannot because it is endlessly visiting A&E to tend its scalded body parts.
Long live the planet.
Bernard Darbyshire
via email

Charity answers arthritis queries

More than 10 million people, like me, live with the daily pain and fatigue of arthritis in the UK. This can make simple activities like getting dressed, household chores or even picking up cutlery difficult.
I myself have severe
osteoarthritis in my hands, my back and my knees. I’m in excruciating pain on a daily basis and I feel that I’m becoming increasingly dependent on others. This is extremely frustrating, because just last year I was working in a job I loved as a special needs teacher.
As well as having a lot of surgery over the years, I’ve lost so much in my day to day life that most people take for granted. I can’t drive, I can’t cook and I can’t wear anything with zips or laces. This has a huge impact on my life.
I am sure many people with arthritis will know the all too familiar experience of googling symptoms, asking questions on social media and trawling through forums and patient websites for answers about your own or a loved one’s condition.
Naturally, I found this daunting, as it’s hard to decipher what information you can trust, what information is based on scientific evidence and what is based on old wives’ tales.
That’s why I wanted to tell you about the charity Arthritis Research UK.
Its latest campaign, ‘Ask us your question,’ calls for those living with arthritis to pose their questions for help finding trusted answers.
I’ve used their help-line several times since it launched last year to ask about pain management and medication. I would recommend it as you can trust the charity’s information is based on years of knowledge and
research, as well as the experiences of thousands of people like me.
So, whatever your question is, check out the website, which has details of their helpline, as well as a wealth of online condition information. www.arthritis or call 0800 5200 520.
Sue Patey
Arthritis Research UK

Discrimination against sufferers

Research from Diabetes UK has found that one in six (16 per cent) people with diabetes who work feel they’ve been discriminated against by their employer because of their condition.
A lack of understanding from employers can make working with diabetes not just stressful, but also potentially life-threatening. Managing diabetes can involve taking medication – including injecting insulin at the right times and testing blood glucose levels multiple times a day.
More than one third (37 per cent) of respondents to a survey said that living with diabetes had caused them difficulty at work.
A quarter (25 per cent) said that they would like time off work for diabetes-related appointments and flexibility to take regular breaks for testing their blood sugar or to take medication.
Missing essential health checks or not taking medication on time can lead to devastating complications, such as amputations.
To find out more visit
Stephen Ryan
Head of the North
Diabetes UK