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home : columns : ask the doctors March 29, 2020

Hip replacement surgery should be last resort
How do I know if I need a hip replacement? My right hip gets so stiff after I've been sitting at work for a few hours that I can hardly walk, and then it aches for the rest of the day and night.
Friday, March 27, 2020


Not everyone with lung cancer will get a cough
Our sister saw her doctor because her chest felt "heavy," and he found fluid in her lung. Further tests showed lung cancer, which had already spread. She never coughed, and she quit smoking years ago. What are some of the symptoms of lung cancer?
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Older adults still need regular exercise
Our dad is 78 years old, and he has started spending a lot more time indoors and on his recliner. He's in good health, but he says he's getting too old for exercise to matter. What can we say to persuade him to become active again?
Monday, March 23, 2020

Don't resist resistant starches
Dear Doctor: I keep reading about something called "resistant starch." People are saying I should get it into my diet. Why is it so important? How much do I need?
Friday, March 20, 2020

Lower back pain could be helped with Alexander technique
I've had lower back pain for years, and nothing has helped. I've tried physical therapy, yoga and chiropractors, and I've even contemplated surgery. My sister suggests something called the Alexander technique. What do you think? I'm willing to try anything, but I don't want to chase after treatments that aren't useful.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Members of the sandwich generation must avoid burnout
I'm worried about my best friend. She seems overwhelmed taking care of her elderly parents as well as her own family, but she won't admit it. How do I know if she's in trouble?
Monday, March 16, 2020

Limited mobility shouldn't stop people from adopting pets
Hello, dear readers, and welcome back to our monthly letters column. We're happy to report that you've kept our mailboxes full, so we'll dive right in.
Friday, March 13, 2020

Using correct terminology decreases confusion
Would you please explain the terms we keep hearing in news reports about that new virus, like "epidemic" and "outbreak" and "pandemic"? It seems like they're being used interchangeably, and it makes it hard to understand what's really going on.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

COPD most often associated with smoking
I'm 66 years old, and I seem to be of an age at which the people I know are being diagnosed with COPD. I've heard it mentioned in TV ads, but I still don't really understand what it is. Who gets COPD? Is there a cure?
Monday, March 9, 2020

Walnuts considered the newest superfood
Dear Doctor: Everybody's suddenly talking about how it's important to eat some walnuts every day. Who decided that? Why is there always a new food fad?
Friday, March 6, 2020

Ministrokes require immediate medical care
Our mom had half of her face go numb for a few minutes, and she also had trouble speaking. She went to the doctor and was told she had a ministroke. What is that? Is it dangerous?
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Taking the first steps to a lifetime of running
I've read that most New Year's resolutions don't even make it to March, and considering what happened to my plan to start running, I totally believe it. What can I do to be successful?
Monday, March 2, 2020

Edema cannot be cured, but it can be managed
I am a 76-year-old man who has dealt with edema in various intensities for several years. Now I have been diagnosed with early-stage congestive heart failure. I know I'm not the only senior affected by edema, and I hope you might consider devoting a column it.
Friday, February 28, 2020

There are many ways to get rid of warts
I had a rough spot on the back of my hand that turned into a wart. What caused it? How do I get rid of it?
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

5-Year-old's fondness for lead paint requires intervention
My 5-year-old grandson craves lead paint and has used his toothbrush to get at old layers of lead paint in his family's renovated 1880s home. His development has slowed, and people think he's autistic. If it's the lead, what can we do?
Monday, February 24, 2020

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare, painful autoimmune disease
Dear Doctor: My brother-in-law thought he had the flu, but it turned out to be Guillain-Barre syndrome. He's now in his fifth month of an intense recovery. What can you tell me about the disease?
Friday, February 21, 2020

Running is a great way to keep active as you age
I was a runner in college, but I stopped running after marriage and kids and work. I'm 62 now, and everyone says that if I resume running I'll get hurt because I'm too old. What do you think?
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Masks not very effective at preventing viruses
I work in an open-plan office, and people aren't good about staying home when they're sick. Would wearing a surgical mask help keep me from catching someone's cold or flu?
Monday, February 17, 2020

Keto diet restricts carbohydrate intake to spur weight loss
Can you please explain the keto diet? A bunch of my friends are on it, but it seems like they're all doing it a different way.
Friday, February 14, 2020

NPs and PAs make a difference in rural communities
Hello, dear readers, and (yes, it's mid-February) happy 2020. We hope the new year is treating you well. You've filled our mailbox with some very interesting questions and quandaries, including how to follow through on New Year's resolutions. We look forward to tackling that topic -- and many more of your questions -- in the coming months. Meanwhile, onward to your most recent thoughts, tips and suggestions.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sitting still for too long could cause deep vein thrombosis
Is it really that important to walk around during a long flight? I always take a window seat when I fly, and I pretty much stay put because it's so hard to move around in a plane these days.
Monday, February 10, 2020

No need to use rubbing alcohol on cuts
Dear Doctor: I was helping with Thanksgiving dinner when the paring knife slipped and sliced my finger. My aunt said to clean the cut with rubbing alcohol, which we didn't have. I've always heard you're supposed hold it under running water. How do you fix a cut?
Friday, February 7, 2020

B12 vitamin vital to the body
I'm 19 years old, and I switched to a vegan diet six months ago. I'm careful about getting enough vitamin B12. However, some of my girlfriends say it's not that important and your body makes all the B12 you need. Is that true?
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Easy treatments for bumpy skin
Every winter I get these weird bumps on my skin, kind of like goosebumps, except that they won't go away. What are they? Is there anything that can help?
Friday, January 31, 2020

Fragrances trigger adverse reactions in many people
I am bothered by certain scents, especially from candles. What causes it? And other than moving away from the source, is there anything I can do to combat this problem?
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

It's vital to limit screen time for kids
My husband and I are pretty strict about screen time with our kids. I read about a new study that indicates that screen time actually changes a child's brain. Is this true? How much screen time is OK?
Monday, January 27, 2020

Hearing aid use can reduce risk of cognitive decline
Dear Doctor: Our grandfather won't use his hearing aid because he doesn't like how it makes things sound. However, I recently read that using a hearing aid reduces the risk of dementia. How can we get him to use one?
Friday, January 24, 2020

Cold and flu both viruses and can't be treated with antibiotics
What's the difference between a cold and the flu, and how do you know which one you've got? Why can't antibiotics help?
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated by lifestyle changes
After knitting, I sometimes get tingles in my right hand, and my doctor thinks it might be the start of carpal tunnel syndrome. What can I do to prevent it?
Monday, January 20, 2020

New research indicates paleo diet isn't good for your heart
I've been doing paleo for a month, and I have lost 12 pounds. Now my mom is talking about a new study that says the diet is not good for your heart. Can you explain? Do you think it's the same for keto?
Friday, January 17, 2020

Popcorn lung, cobalt lung linked to vaping
Our family is worried; my 18-year-old grandson won't give up vaping. How many people have gotten sick? We just read about something called popcorn lung. What is that?
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Holistic practices can make big differences
Hello, dear readers! We hope this new year is finding you happy and healthy, and that the expectations of the holiday season didn't take their toll. Whether it's a moment of meditation, a quiet cup of tea, or a romp with the family dog, always remember to take some time for yourselves. And now, onward to your letters.
Monday, January 13, 2020

Owning a dog is good for your health
Dear Doctor: I just heard about a study that says if you own a dog, you'll do better after having a heart attack. Is that real, or is it an urban legend?
Friday, January 10, 2020

Cycling offers many benefits with low impact
My company provides perks for involvement in its wellness program, and I've decided to start biking the 4 miles (with a few hills!) to work. Do you think it's a good choice? Any advice for getting started?
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Most anal cancer linked to HPV
I'm old enough to remember the shock over actress Farrah Fawcett's anal cancer diagnosis, which was not a disease you heard much about. Now I'm reading that this type of cancer is relatively common. Isn't there some kind of screening test?
Monday, January 6, 2020

Bone density test helpful in diagnosing Osteoporosis
I just turned 65, and my doctor wants me to have a bone density test. What is it, and how does it work?
Friday, January 3, 2020









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