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home : columns : ask the doctors July 3, 2020


Many cancers require more than one kind of treatment
Friday, July 3, 2020

Silent heart attack more common in women
Dear Doctor: My wife just had her yearly checkup, and when her blood test results came back, she was told that she had recently suffered a heart attack. How can that be, since she never had any symptoms?
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Doctors recap what we know about Coronavirus
Would you please consider doing a recap about the coronavirus -- especially about how it spreads? There's a lot of information floating around, and it's getting hard to sort through the noise.
Monday, June 29, 2020

Good oral hygiene is important even in babies
Dear Doctor: Our daughter is only 4 years old, and she has had her first cavity already. What can we do to make sure that things go better at her next visit to the dentist, and for her new baby brother?
Friday, June 26, 2020

The only way for definitive diagnosis is biopsy
Dear Doctor: I'm 30 years old, and I have a lump in my breast, which imaging tests suggest is a fibroadenoma. I'm getting married in six months, and I am leaning toward having a biopsy so I won't worry during my wedding and honeymoon. With the COVID-19 pandemic, is it selfish of me to have the biopsy right now?
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hip bursitis can be caused by underuse
I never had hip problems, but after weeks of quarantine, the outsides of my hips ache and even wake me up when I am asleep. My doctor says it's bursitis, but I thought that's from when you exercise too much. I've hardly even been outside. How did this happen?
Monday, June 22, 2020

Prediabetes diagnosis should offer wake-up call
After my last physical, my doctor said my lab tests show I’ve got prediabetes. What does that mean? Do I or don’t I have diabetes?
Friday, June 19, 2020

Pulse oximetry measures oxygen saturation in blood
What is "pulse ox"? My sister keeps telling our mom and dad (they're 74 and 77) that they should be keeping keep track of it, especially right now. She hasn't been too good at explaining why, or even what it does, though. Can you help?
Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It's the soap, not water temperature, that kills viruses
Hello, dear readers, and thank you for joining us for the continuation of our monthly letters column. We received so many questions related to the coronavirus and COVID-19 that we needed to address them.
Monday, June 15, 2020

Fitness trackers offer an abridged analysis of sleep patterns
DEAR DOCTORS: I understand how my fitness tracker counts my steps and measures my heart rate, but supposedly it can say how well I sleep. How can it do that, and is that sort of data even accurate?
Friday, June 12, 2020

Reader queries cover a range of topics
Hello again, dear readers! You've kept our digital and postal mailboxes even more full than usual with your questions, thoughts and (thank you!) kind words. Not surprisingly, much of the discussion focused on COVID-19. To help with the volume of mail, we'll have a separate column with your virus-related questions next week. And now, onward to the more general discussion.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Pediatric syndrome may be linked to Coronavirus
What can you tell me about Kawasaki disease? I read that children who had COVID-19 are getting it. But I thought children were supposedly safe from the virus. Why has that changed?
Monday, June 8, 2020

Retinal artery occlusion related to atherosclerosis
A friend of our family suddenly lost the vision in his left eye because of something called retinal artery occlusion. What is that? How do you protect against it?
Friday, June 5, 2020

Gastroparesis treated primarily with diet
My husband started having a lot of stomach pain and was also feeling queasy. Needless to say, I feared the worst -- cancer -- but, instead, his doctor says it's gastroparesis. Is it dangerous? What's the best treatment?
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

New COVID-19 symptoms discovered as pandemic continues
Every time I turn on the news and hear about the coronavirus, the symptoms keep changing. Why is that? How do we even know when we should go see a doctor? 
Monday, June 1, 2020

Passing gas is a fact of life
Dear Doctor: I'm 102 years old and a World War II veteran. My problem is that I pass a lot of gas. Several days ago, I had an apple and a small piece of sweet potato, and I stunk up the whole house. I had to open all of the windows and doors. Do you have any suggestions?
Friday, May 29, 2020

World Almanac
Today is the 149th day of 2020 and the 71st day of spring.
Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dropped bladder has different levels of severity
I'm a 75-year-old woman and have been diagnosed with a dropped bladder due to a hysterectomy in my mid-40s. I have discomfort, particularly when I walk a long distance or do heavy lifting; some leakage problems; and frequently have UTIs. What can be done?
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Chondrocalcinosis causes goutlike pain in joints
I was recently diagnosed with chondrocalcinosis, which is quite painful. I know it's similar to gout, though it is due to calcium crystals rather than urea. What treatments can help with pain? I don't want to have a second knee replacement.
Monday, May 25, 2020

Hernias often need surgery to correct
If you've got an abdominal hernia and it doesn't bother you, can you just leave it alone? How is it treated? I've read about using mesh, but apparently some of them have turned out to be defective.
Friday, May 22, 2020

Radiation therapy can cause damage to surrounding tissues
A close relative had extensive radiation therapy for an early breast cancer. The treatment was effective, but it damaged the surrounding tissues, including her aortic valve. What are the potential side effects of radiation therapy?
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Vasectomy is an easy outpatient procedure
After three planned children and one unexpected (but much-loved) arrival, my wife and I think a vasectomy is a good idea. What will happen? How permanent is a vasectomy?
Monday, May 18, 2020

Atrial fibrillation diagnosis requires cardiologist's care
Dear Doctor: Our mom is 66 years old and has always been healthy. She was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation during her last physical. She says she feels fine, so she hasn't followed up with her doctor. What can happen if she doesn't get treatment?
Friday, May 15, 2020

How-tos of wearing a mask
Our city has asked us to wear a face mask when we leave the house. Needless to say, my wife and I have never done this before. Does our 5-year-old son need a mask, too? Any guidance or how-tos would be greatly appreciated.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Most food still ok past sell-by date
Hello again, dear readers, and thank you for joining us for this month's letters column. It's a difficult and challenging time, and we're more grateful than ever for the community that has sprung up in response to Ask the Doctors.
Monday, May 11, 2020

Coronavirus antibodies used in two new ways
I heard on the news about a coronavirus medicine made with blood from people who were sick and got better. But my husband says it's actually a blood test to see if someone ever had the virus. Who's right?
Friday, May 8, 2020

Different kinds of heart murmurs require different treatments
My 7-year-old niece has been diagnosed with a heart murmur, and my brother says she won't be receiving any kind of treatment. What is a heart murmur? Will it interfere with the activities she loves, like soccer and softball?
Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Every home needs a personalized first-aid kit
Now that it's harder see a doctor or go to the emergency room, I want to beef up our first-aid kit. What should we have on hand?
Monday, May 4, 2020

Restless leg syndrome leads to more than interrupted sleep
Dear Doctor: I wonder if you could help me with a problem that robs me of sleep, and which lately even persists during the day. I'm referring to restless leg syndrome. What causes it? Are there any new findings about getting relief?
Friday, May 1, 2020

Introducing the concept of a younger sibling can be fun
Our son will be 3 years old when his baby sister arrives this fall. What can my husband and I do to help him understand the changes that are on the way?
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Asthma action plan crucial for those with the disease
Our 8-year-old grandson is coming from Atlanta to spend the summer with us in Idaho. He has asthma, and our daughter has mentioned that my husband and I have to become familiar with his "asthma action plan." What is that? How should we prepare?
Friday, April 24, 2020

Several options for osteoporosis treatment
I just read your column about bone density tests and want to know your thoughts on medications for osteoporosis. Is it better to take calcium and vitamin D and engage in exercise or to risk the medications' side effects?
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

No saliva test for Parkinson's disease, research is promising
What can you tell me about the new saliva test for Parkinson's disease? My older sister just learned she might have Parkinson's, but her doctors aren't sure. Why is it so hard to diagnose?
Monday, April 20, 2020

Perimenopause can last months to years
Dear Doctor: I'm a healthy and active 42-year-old, but I've been noticing a change in my periods lately. They're not as regular as before, and they're a lot shorter. Could this be perimenopause? What's going on, and what else is going to happen?
Friday, April 17, 2020

Keep washing your hands!
Several of you wrote about the frustration of seeing someone exit a public restroom without washing his or her hands.
Monday, April 13, 2020

Persistent hiccups could be indication of something serious
My husband frequently has hiccups, and sometimes they last for days. What causes them? Is there any way to make them stop?
Friday, April 10, 2020

Occasional naps linked to decreased heart disease and stroke
I take a short nap at my desk a couple of times a week (I use earplugs and a mask), which my podmates love to tease me about. I just read that napping is good for your heart, but they say if you take a nap during the day, you won't sleep as well at night. Who's right?
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

What are viruses, and how do they work?
Everybody is talking about the coronavirus right now, but I still don't really know what a virus is. How do they work? Why don't antibiotics kill them?
Monday, April 6, 2020








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