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Columns

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Q. I'm having memory lapses and I'm worried about Alzheimer's. What should I do?

If you're having some memory lapses, go to the doctor with a positive attitude. The fact is that many different medical conditions may cause Alzheimer's-like symptoms. You could be suffering from the effects of a high fever, dehydration, poor nutrition, reactions to medicines, thyroid problems or a minor head injury.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Q. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Could you do one of your columns on this subject so everyone in our family can understand it?

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a muscle disease. The name comes from Greek and Latin words meaning grave muscle weakness. Myasthenia gravis (my-us-THEEN-ee-uh GRAV-us) affects the muscles that control the eyes, face, breathing, chewing, talking, swallowing and limbs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

(This is the second of two columns on hearing aids.)

About one in three Americans over 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid uses one.

Hearing aids have a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. Sound is received by the microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Q. I think I need a hearing aid. Any recommendations?

(I've received this question from more than a few readers. It's a subject of great interest to seniors, so I'm going to write two columns on hearing aids.)

About one in three Americans over 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid uses one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Q. I've been reading about athletes using steroids to build themselves up. Do these drugs work for older men?

First some background on steroids. There are two types of steroids: corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. Corticosteroids, such as cortisone and prednisone, are drugs that help control inflammation. Anabolic steroids, such as androstenedione or andro, are substances that can help the body make muscle.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Q. Are there different forms of urinary incontinence?

There are several types of urinary incontinence:

Ÿ If urine leaks when you sneeze, cough, laugh or put pressure on the bladder in other ways, you have stress incontinence.

Ÿ When you can't hold urine, you have urge incontinence.

Ÿ When small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full, you have overflow incontinence.

Ÿ Many seniors who have normal bladder control but have difficulty getting to the bathroom in time, have functional incontinence.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Q. I'm in the process of selling my home and my realtor told me to get the house tested for radon. I had no idea this stuff was in my house until I tested it. You should write about this health hazard.

About 1 in 15 homes in the United States contains high levels of radon, an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas. High radon levels have been found in every state.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Q. Are probiotics safe?

There is debate over the precise definition of probiotics. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization call probiotics "live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host."

Microorganisms or microbes are living organisms that can be seen only under a microscope. Microbes are everywhere; the human body contains billions of them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Q. I don't handle stress very well. I was wondering if you had any recommendations to deal with my problem.

The American Psychological Association reports that one-third of Americans are living with extreme stress. Money and work are the leading causes of stress for three quarters of Americans. Nearly half of all Americans report that stress has a negative impact on both their personal and professional lives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Q. I seem to be getting sick a lot lately and I'm worried that my immune system isn't working right. Could that be a reason?

A diminished immune system could be the cause of your problems. Go to your doctor for a checkup and diagnosis.

The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by organisms such as bacteria, parasites, and fungi that can cause infections.

The cells that are part of this defense system are white blood cells, or leukocytes. Foreign substances that invade the body are called antigens.