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home : columns : ask the doctors June 25, 2017

Patients with congestive heart failure must be mindful of meds
DEAR DOCTOR: My 80-year-old mother has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. What is it, and is there anything she can do to keep it from getting worse?
Saturday, June 24, 2017


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Acupuncture is an option for carpal tunnel treatment
DEAR DOCTOR: Could acupuncture help my carpel tunnel syndrome? 
Friday, June 23, 2017

Antibacterial products offer no resistance to viruses
DEAR DOCTOR: Can you settle an argument in our family? Ever since the Ebola virus hit the news, my aunt has been using antibacterial products for everything. She even had the kitchen walls coated with antibacterial paint! But from what we're learning in biology, that's not going to help against a virus. Who's right?
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Surgery not always necessary for hyperparathyroidism
DEAR DOCTOR: When does a person require parathyroid surgery? I've heard it discussed, but don't know much about it.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gut bacteria believed to affect numerous aspects of health
DEAR DOCTOR: I can't seem to lose weight and am wondering if my gut bacteria could be to blame. How can I change it?
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Turmeric supplements shown to have some benefit in studies
Monday, June 19, 2017

High-intensity workouts can boost cellular function

Dear Doctor: What's the best type of exercise? I've been reading that high-intensity interval training can slow down the aging process. Is this really true? I'm not too keen on this approach, but I do walk at least a mile every day.

 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Probiotics may help alleviate some patients' intestinal problems
DEAR DOCTOR: Doctor: Can you explain probiotics? Who should take them, and are they harmful in any way? They seem helpful to me in calming my stomach. 
Friday, June 16, 2017

Some tips on getting the most out of doctor's appointments
DEAR DOCTOR: How do I get the most out of my relationship with my primary care physician? The appointments are so short these days, and I want to be smart about the way I use the time.
Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bone-building medications' benefits seem to outweigh risks
DEAR DOCTOR: I'm 71, and after a recent bone scan, my doctors are insisting I take a bone-building medication. I couldn't tolerate Fosamax, so they want me to take Prolia. I'm worried about it, but my mother had severe osteoporosis, so I'm worried about that too. How can I choose what to do?
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Some women 65 and older can stop having pap smears
DEAR DOCTOR: What are the updated guidelines for cervical cancer screening? I'm 62 and want to know what is recommended going forward. Is an annual pelvic exam still necessary if a Pap smear isn't being done? And have guidelines changed for teens and 20-somethings?
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Organic compound MSM could help with arthritis pain
DEAR DOCTOR: A friend suggested I try MSM crystals for arthritis. What are they, and do they work? If they do, where can I find them?
Monday, June 12, 2017

Nutritional factors to consider when trying to gain weight
DEAR DOCTOR: So many articles seem to be about weight loss, but I'm actually underweight. I eat enough, live a healthy lifestyle and exercise. But I'm 5 feet 1 inch tall and weigh 100 pounds. The charts say I need to gain about 12 pounds to be normal. How can I gain weight?
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Doctor's insensitivity causes patient distress
Dear Doctor: My doctor recently made such an insensitive remark to me about my dog's death that I still haven't gotten over it. This is the clinic most accessible to me, and it won't let me change doctors. Do I even bother to bring this up at my next appointment, or just try to forget about it?
Friday, June 9, 2017

Osteoporosis diagnosis not uncommon in older men
DEAR DOCTOR: I am a 74-year-old man and have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Is this common in men? I thought this was a disease that women get. What will the treatment be? Will it help? 
Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meningiomas often not a cause for concern
DEAR DOCTOR: I've recently been diagnosed with meningioma, but my doctor tells me not to worry about it. That can't be right. What should I know?
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tips on keeping athlete's foot from spreading
DEAR DOCTOR: My husband and two sons all have athlete's foot, and my daughter and I don't want to catch it. Now that it's in the house, can we get rid of it? 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Surgery might be best option for Zenker's diverticulum
DEAR DOCTOR: I have a Zenker's diverticulum that, after 10 years, seems to be very large, judging by the volume it holds. At virtually every meal, I choke on food clogged in my esophagus, then I aspirate, then I cough for 10 minutes. Are my aspiration-related pneumonia risks high enough to warrant surgery?
Monday, June 5, 2017

Pregnant woman must quit smoking for the health of her baby
DEAR DOCTOR: Our daughter-in-law is four months pregnant with our first grandchild. When she and our son were recently visiting for the weekend, we became aware that she's secretly smoking. She says it's OK because it's just three cigarettes a day and asked us not to tell our son. Is she correct? Two future grandparents are very worried. 
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hoarders often find cognitive behavioral therapy beneficial
DEAR DOCTOR: I'm a 77-year-old woman, and I'm a hoarder. Well, maybe I'm a hoarder. Or maybe I'm just lazy or even a procrastinator. Regardless, how can I get myself in gear? 
Friday, June 2, 2017

Patient with rare disease struggles to find help
DEAR DOCTOR: I was having trouble with muscle spasms in my legs that made it hard to walk and have now been diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia. The doctors in my area don't seem to know anything about it. What can you tell me about this disease? Where do I go for help?
Thursday, June 1, 2017

More studies are needed on the efficacy of paractin
DEAR DOCTOR: I've heard that a product called paractin, a plant extract, promotes a healthy inflammatory response. Is this true? How does it work?
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Research continues on psilocybin's effects on anxiety disorders
DEAR DOCTOR: I see that psilocybin mushrooms -- what we used to call magic mushrooms -- are being studied now as a possible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. I've struggled with severe depression my whole life. Would it be risky for me to give magic mushrooms a try? 
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Long-term antibiotic use may lead to colon polyps
DEAR DOCTOR: A new study said that prolonged antibiotic use is tied to colon polyps. But "prolonged" meant "two weeks or more." I had a couple of bacterial infections in a six-month timespan. How worried should I be?
Monday, May 29, 2017

Teen's love of animals compels her to consider vegetarianism
DEAR DOCTOR: I've always loved animals, and now I want to stop eating meat. But I'm 15 years old, and my parents think that's too young to make such a big decision. What can I tell them about being a vegetarian? I'm hoping I can persuade them.
Saturday, May 27, 2017

Aging skin loses elasticity and bruises more easily
DEAR DOCTOR: I'm 75 years old and have bruising on my hands, seemingly when anything touches them. I do not take blood thinners or aspirin. Occasionally I take an Aleve, which seems to make it worse.
Friday, May 26, 2017

Reader feedback sparks further discussion on health topics
DEAR READERS: We've been reading your letters. Thank you for your interest in our thoughts, the humor with which you evaluate -- and sometimes chide -- us, and the passion you continue to show for health sciences and research. Your thoughts and questions are always interesting, often touching and never fail to make us think. 
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kava's risks outweigh any potential benefits
DEAR DOCTOR: What are the benefits and risks of taking kava?
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The perceived benefits of cold water swimming
DEAR DOCTOR: Our family visits a lake in the mountains every summer where the water almost never gets above 60 degrees. I dislike swimming in cold water, but my husband and dad insist that it's good for you. It won't get me into the water, but I just want to know -- are they right? 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Factors to consider before getting treated with PPIS
DEAR DOCTOR: Because of the potential risks of proton pump inhibitors, should I have an H. pylori breath or stool test to make sure I have this bacterium before committing to long-term treatment with a PPI?
Monday, May 22, 2017

Rare muscle inflammation the focus of various clinical trials

DEAR DOCTOR: My brother, who is 65, was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis about five years ago, and the muscles in his arms, legs and hands are deteriorating rapidly. He's someone who loves life, so this is very hard to watch. His physician says there's no cure. What can you tell me about the disease? Is it being studied anywhere? 



Saturday, May 20, 2017

The benefits of taking zinc to lessen a cold's severity
DEAR DOCTOR: Does zinc help with colds?
Friday, May 19, 2017

Husband's lack of sleep worries wife
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Woman's melasma makes her feel self-conscious
DEAR DOCTOR: I am 60-year-old female who suffers from darkening of my face. A doctor did a biopsy and it was determined that I suffer from melasma, which began as soon as I hit menopause. Dermatologists seem unable to help. What can I do? 
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Extremely rare disease has parents worried for daughter
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Understanding the risk factors for macular degeneration
Monday, May 15, 2017

Early exposure to pets may offer kids protection from allergies
Saturday, May 13, 2017

No matter the acidity, water is best drink choice
Friday, May 12, 2017

Choose a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Comparing surgical procedures to clear carotid artery plaque
DEAR DOCTOR: My cardiovascular surgeon tells me medicine has mostly abandoned shunt and stent placements as a solution to carotid artery plaques. Instead, doctors are returning to the older "Roto-Rooter" procedure because patient outcomes have proven less problematic. What's your take on this? 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Inflammation is part of body's healing process
DEAR DOCTOR: It seems as though we're hearing more and more about inflammation and how it causes disease. What is inflammation and how does it work? And is it really possible that what you eat makes a difference? 
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Meloxicam can be effective when used on limited basis
Monday, May 8, 2017

Techniques to reduce stress may extend to cardiovascular health
DEAR DOCTOR: I've been hearing on the news that researchers have discovered that when stress causes a heart attack, it all begins in the brain. How does this work? And is it even possible to control the way our brain responds?  
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Risk of developing meningitis is low
DEAR DOCTOR: One of the schools in my area has been the focus of news reports about a bacterial meningitis case. How contagious is this disease? 
Friday, May 5, 2017

Be cautious when applying insect repellent to children
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Acupuncture may provide some relief for tennis elbow
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

High doses of pain relievers should be taken infrequently
DEAR DOCTOR: Which pain reliever is safer -- acetaminophen, ibuprofen, celecoxib or naproxen? It seems as if they all carry some risks. 
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Weight-loss options exist for the wheelchair-bound
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Memory training can create new pathways in the brain
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Apple cider vinegar's benefits still not fully known
Friday, April 28, 2017

Apple cider vinegar's benefits still not fully known
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Large dose of vitamin b12 can provide quick burst of energy

DEAR DOCTOR: I'm almost 90 years old and always tired. I took two capsules of 2,000 mcg vitamin B12 the other night, and felt stronger and not as tired. Is it safe? 

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Visit the eye doctor instead of buying drugstore readers
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Long-term use of antihistamines to treat insomnia is not advised
DEAR DOCTOR: I'm leery of sleep drugs, so I've been taking Benadryl to help me sleep. Now I read that it should be taken only for a limited time. What's the story on this drug? 
Monday, April 24, 2017

Multivitamins can't replace a healthy, balanced diet
DEAR DOCTOR: Do I really need to take a multivitamin? My sisters are convinced that you can't get all the nutrients that you need without one, but it seems to me that as long you're eating right, you're covered. 
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Shingles pain can linger long after rash disappears
DEAR DOCTOR: I'm a 78-year-old woman who developed shingles in December 2014. The rash settled in the nerves on my left side, from under the breast, to the waist and around the middle of my back. Is there anything I can take to ease the pain? Would the vaccine help? 
Friday, April 21, 2017

Source of recurrent headaches frustrates patients and doctors
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Low levels of vitamin d linked to upper respiratory infection
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Healthy foods and exercise keep glucose levels steady
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease exposure common in schools
Monday, April 17, 2017

The Doctor: Advance directives imperative to patients, doctors and families
DEAR DOCTOR: I am a 60-year-old man who exercises regularly and takes no medicines. At my last physical exam, my doctor gave me an advance directive form. Do I really need to fill one out? 
Friday, April 14, 2017

Exercise and diet help reduce risk for vascular dementia
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cured meats are tied to greater risk of asthma
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Readers' curiosity inspires future columns
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

High-intensity exercise can affect men's libido
Monday, April 10, 2017

Healthy lifestyle reduces risk of prostate cancer
DEAR DOCTOR: Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of prostate cancer? No one in my family has had cancer, but I just turned 55 and want to do whatever I can to stay healthy. 
Friday, April 7, 2017

Connection between cellphone use and cancer is tenuous
DEAR DOCTOR: I've heard that cellphones increase the risk of brain tumors -- and also that they don't. Which is true? 
Friday, April 7, 2017

Hard contact on the soccer pitch can lead to concussion
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Studies show surprising link between diabetes and pollution
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rest, icing and anti-inflammatories will ease bursitis pain
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Benefits from calorie restriction not yet proven long term

DEAR DOCTOR: Doctor: Some studies suggest that long-term calorie restriction can lengthen lifespan; others say it won't. Which should we believe? 

 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tips on staying active and refreshed after 60
Saturday, April 1, 2017

Whether with or without meds, blood pressure must be controlled
Friday, March 31, 2017

Manage mind-heart connection with exercise and stress reduction
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Soda consumption tied to obesity and low bone density
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Annual exam important to understanding patients' overall health
Tuesday, March 28, 2017












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