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home : columns : ask the doctors March 3, 2021

World Almanac
Today is the 62nd day of 2021 and the 73rd day of winter.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021


Lupus treatment often requires many medications
My daughter got a rash across her cheeks that we thought was an allergy. A year later, she was diagnosed with lupus. She's only 17, and the doctors keep putting her on different meds, which worries her dad and me. I've been reading that ginger can be helpful. What do you think?
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Aortic Regurgitation often symptom-free when mild
I am a 72-year-old man and have been diagnosed with aortic regurgitation. My cardiologist said since I'm not experiencing any of the usual symptoms connected with this, he thinks I should just continue to monitor it until I do. What can I expect if and when I do start experiencing symptoms?
Monday, March 1, 2021

Initial studies link added sugar and IBD
I am 32 years old, and I just learned I have IBD. My doctor thinks the fact that in my family we eat a lot of sweets has something to do with it. I'm not the only one with stomach issues, but I figured since it runs in the family, it is genetic. Do you think it could really be from too much sugar?
Friday, February 26, 2021

Transient global amnesia is scary, usually not dangerous
My husband is 68 years old and recently had an episode of memory loss. He suddenly didn't know where he was. It lasted for about two hours and was very scary. Our son, who is a nurse, says maybe it was transient global amnesia. Can you please tell us something about that?
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine uses different technology than flu shot
Is a COVID-19 vaccine the same as a flu shot? I had a violent reaction to a flu shot in 1976 that continues to have an effect in my body today, and I am 74 years old. I want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but I fear another severe reaction.
Monday, February 22, 2021

Rare cramp-fasciculation syndrome has little research
Dear Doctor: I am a 79-year-old woman, and I have in the past had night cramps that went away when I stamped my foot. When it got worse, including a burning sensation, a muscle relaxant helped. It's back again, and my neurologist says I have cramp-fasciculation syndrome. What is that?
Friday, February 19, 2021

Panic attack sufferers should see doctor
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome to the monthly letters column. Thank you to everyone who wrote to let us know these columns, and the tips and thoughts from fellow readers, have been helpful. It means a lot to us. And now, onward.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Coffee may help reduce risk for heart failure in some people
Drinking one or more cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of heart failure, according to new research. But only if it's caffeinated.

The analysis of data from three large, well-known heart disease trials was published Tuesday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure. It found the more coffee people drank, the lower their risk for heart failure. But that benefit didn't extend to people who drank decaf.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Increasing plant-rich foods brings healthy benefits
In our family, some of us have gained weight in quarantine. I've been thinking this might be a good time to try a more plant-based diet. It's supposed to be better for you physically, and I want to know if that's true. We are meat-eaters and aren't interested in going vegan.
Monday, February 15, 2021

Gut microbiome makeup could impact severity of COVID-19
I heard on the news that if your gut isn't in good shape, you'll probably get a worse case of COVID-19. Is that really true?
Friday, February 12, 2021

Short-burst workouts good in well-rounded workout plan
Our dad retired last spring, and since he's been home, he hasn't been getting much exercise. Our mom is getting worried about his health. I just read that working out for just 11 minutes a day makes a difference. Is that really true
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Bronchiectasis usually the result of damage to airways
I am 72 years old and have bronchiectasis, which I understand is a form of COPD. Can you give me some more information about it? I've never been in a smoking environment, but I was raised in a home that used coal and wood for heat.
Monday, February 8, 2021

Best to get calcium from diet, not supplements
DEAR DOCTOR: Last fall at my annual checkup, my doctor ordered a bone density test. Besides talking to me about osteoporosis in general, she also suggested calcium supplements. I wonder if you have any advice about which supplements are best, and also about maintaining bone health.
Friday, February 5, 2021

Both probiotics and prebiotics key to healthy gut
My big New Year's resolution was to get my gut into better shape. I'm not talking about a flat stomach -- after having three kids, that ship has sailed -- but about the gut microbiome. Do I need to take probiotics? 
Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Grief can cause not just psychological pain
Is it true that grief can make you get physically sick? My mom passed away just before Thanksgiving, and I've been struggling with my health. I'm having headaches, I've had an eczema flare and I caught the first cold I've had in three years.
Monday, February 1, 2021

Eyelash mites are normal part of body's microbiome
I would appreciate if you would talk a bit about eyelash mites. What are they, and how does someone get them? What is the best treatment to get rid of them?
Thursday, January 28, 2021

Positive resolutions much easier to keep
I saw on the news that there's a new study about how to make a successful New Year's resolution. My wife and I have the same list of resolutions every year, including to stop eating so much junk food and to quit sugar. And around this time every year, we give up on them. We would love to know why it's hard to follow through.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Long-haul COVID-19 similar to post-polio syndrome
Your column about long-haul COVID-19 started a conversation at our house about why some viruses will keep getting you sick even after you've recovered. A friend of our family is having a hard time with something called post-polio syndrome. Is that the same kind of thing?
Monday, January 25, 2021

Magnesium is an essential mineral, may help with RLS
Hello, again, dear readers. We're back with the second of our two bonus letters columns. Let's dive right in.
Friday, January 22, 2021

Eat your carrots for potential help with prostate health
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to an extension of our monthly letters column. Our main letters column this month was devoted to your questions about the new coronavirus vaccine -- an important topic that needed immediate attention. So we're back with parts one and two of a bonus edition to help catch up with your more general questions. Onward to part one!
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Age spots are result of too much sun exposure
I'm a 60-year-old woman with naturally fair skin. I've worked outdoors all of my life -- and now I have the age spots on my face to prove it. Why do they happen? Are there any creams from the drugstore that might help to fade them?
Monday, January 18, 2021

New vaccine technology aided in speedy development
I don't think I'm the only one wondering how the new coronavirus vaccines got developed so fast when other vaccines in the past took so much longer. Can you please explain?
Friday, January 15, 2021

Exercise can help with progression of MCI
Our dad is 67 years old and just got a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. His doctor told us that getting regular exercise can help. I've never heard this before. Is there a scientific basis, or is the idea just for dad to stay healthy?
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

It's prudent to separate different vaccinations
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome to the first winter edition of our monthly letters column. To those of you who have been sending us questions via the U.S. mail, we're happy to report that those letters have finally been retrieved. We'll begin answering soon. But first, we want to address some of the questions we're getting regarding the coronavirus vaccine.
Monday, January 11, 2021

FDA approves new at-home COVID-19 test
Dear Doctor: It seems like a coronavirus test you can do at home would be really helpful. Then people who don't have symptoms could know that they should quarantine, and maybe that would help stop the spread. Is there anything like that on the horizon?
Friday, January 8, 2021

Fasted cardio is an attempt to burn stored fat
My gym has been closed for months, so I've been doing online workouts during the pandemic. A guy in our session keeps talking about something called "fasted cardio," and how it's helping him lose fat and gain muscle. What is it? Does it really work?
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Rescuers should use compression-only CPR during pandemic
DEAR DOCTOR: A few years ago, you had a column about why it's important to know CPR. My boyfriend took the Red Cross class, and he actually ended up helping someone once. But what about now, during the pandemic? Is it safe to give or get CPR?
Monday, January 4, 2021

Winter brings seasonal affective disorder with it
Dear Doctor: My boyfriend and I live in northern Ohio, and I think we have that thing where you get depressed from not enough light. He's kind of skeptical, but I really do think it's happening. Can you describe the symptoms? Is there anything we can do?
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Multi-generational households must remain vigilant
Dear Doctor: Our family -- ages 66, 59, 27 and 22 -- lives in one household. We've been working from home and keeping socially distant since the start of the pandemic. Now the younger members wish to resume outside employment. How do we safely manage their return to work?
Monday, December 28, 2020

A mid-afternoon nap is one of life's great pleasures
Millions of people throughout the world take a daily nap. In many cultures the afternoon sleep break is built right into everyday life. Businesses close shop and everyone heads home for lunch and a bit of shut-eye.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Artificial sweeteners should be an occasional part of our diet
What are the possible health risks from artificial sweeteners? What are they, and how do we know if they're safe?
Monday, December 21, 2020

You don't have to be outside all day to reap nature's benefits
We're all pretty stressed-out, even the kids. I keep saying that spending a Saturday in the nice park near our house could help, but my husband just laughs. Isn't there some kind of research that being outdoors is good for you?
Friday, December 18, 2020

Long-haul COVID leaves sufferers struggling for months
Is there more than one kind of COVID-19? I heard on the news about something they're calling "long COVID," and it sounds like a whole different kind of disease. How do you get it? Can it be cured?
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Readers offer useful additions to previous columns
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome back to our monthly letters column. Like many of you, we're adjusting to shorter days and longer nights, and we are gearing up for the challenges of winter. This makes us even more appreciative of your staying in touch.
Monday, December 14, 2020

Insulin is at the heart of both types of diabetes
DEAR DOCTORS: We keep hearing about Type 2 diabetes, and I'm embarrassed to say, I don't actually know what it is. What does it do, and how do I know if I have it?
Friday, December 11, 2020

Moderate approach to weight loss is healthier
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Transition to vegan diet should be gradual
Our 16-year-old daughter wants to become a vegan. Her father and I think that may be a bit extreme, so we've compromised, and first she's going to try being a vegetarian. What's a good way for a growing teen to safely make the transition?
Monday, December 7, 2020

Wearing a mask continues to be our best defense against COVID-19
Can you please explain about masks again? Why do we need them, what kind should we wear, and what is the proper way to wear them? It would really help me to explain to my friends and family so they can be safer.
Friday, December 4, 2020






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