Thursday, July 10, 2014
     

Columns

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Q. I heard there's this goop that you can get injected into your knee that can ease pain. True?

Yes. The goop is hyaluronan, a thick lubricant and shock absorber in joint fluid. Hyaluronan injections, also called viscosupplements, are given to people with osteoarthritis.

Viscosupplementation began in Japan and Italy in 1987, in Canada in 1992, in Europe in 1995 and in the United States in 1997.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Q. What happens to you if you eat more than one apple a day?

I realize this question was meant to be humorous, but there is a serious answer. There is a three-apple-a-day diet, which I'll get to later. But, first, let's discuss a single apple a day.

We have to go back in time to Wales to find the origins of "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

The earliest known record of the maxim is in an 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine:

A Pembrokeshire proverb. Eat an apple on going to bed, And you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Q. I've been hearing a lot about the health benefits of aspirin. Is it some kind of cure-all or am I the victim of hype?

I wouldn't call it hype. There's a lot of research that indicates aspirin is good for many ailments.

Aspirin is in a group of drugs called salicylates. It works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, swelling and blood clots.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Q. What causes a heart attack?

A blood clot in a narrowed coronary artery is the usual cause of a heart attack. The clogged artery prevents oxygenated blood from nourishing the heart. This can lead to pain, the death of heart cells, scar tissue and fatal arrhythmias.

There is a variety of causes that lead to the narrowing of arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of a heart attack.

The following are some of the leading causes of heart attacks:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's time for a flu shot.

You can get the flu vaccine from your doctor, and at public health facilities, senior centers, pharmacies and supermarkets. The vaccine can be administered anytime during flu season.

Adults over 50 are prime candidates for the vaccine because the flu can be fatal for older people.

More than 200,000 flu victims are hospitalized annually in the United States; about 36,000 people die from it. As much as 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year. Flu season usually begins in October and can last through May.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In our last two columns, we discussed gastroenteritis. In this column, we'll go over hand sanitizers to fight germs that cause stomach infections.

Before we go further, we have to define germs. Germs are microbes that cause disease. Microbes are microscopic organisms that are everywhere. Some microbes cause disease. Others are essential for health. Most microbes belong to one of four major groups: bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoans.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

(Last week we discussed gastroenteritis on cruise ships. This week we'll go over ways to fight infection.)

Among the most common germs are noroviruses. These give you gastroenteritis, mistakenly called stomach flu. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines; it is not related to flu, a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.

Noroviruses are a group of related viruses. Norovirus is the official genus name for the group of viruses previously described as Norwalk viruses.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Q. I'm going on my first cruise and I was concerned that I might get stomach flu. What should I do?

Many seniors frequent cruise ships because vacationers can enjoy what is probably the most relaxing form of getaway. You travel with your own bedroom and all the amenities you can think of. But there are a lot of people on these floating paradises; that means lots of germs are along for the ride.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Q. Why do we yawn?

There are several theories about the cause of yawning. One of them has begun to gain more advocates. This theory is that we yawn to air-condition our brains.

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses, scientists Gary Hack of the University of Maryland and Andrew Gallup of Princeton University wrote that, during yawning, the sinuses act like bellows to cool off the brain. If you suffer from sinus congestion, you might yawn more.

"Brains, like computers, operate best when they are cool," the authors said.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Q. Does getting older make your mouth dry?

Most dry mouth is related to the medications taken by older adults rather than to the effects of aging. More than 400 medicines can affect the salivary glands. These include drugs for urinary incontinence, allergies, high blood pressure, depression, diarrhea and Parkinson's disease. Also, some over-the-counter medications often cause dry mouth.