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Columns

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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Q. I'm concerned that I may not be seeing as well as I used to. What should I do?

There are many signs that indicate possible vision loss. Under normal circumstances, do you have trouble recognizing faces of people you know? Is it difficult for you to read, sew, match the color of your clothes? Do lights seem dimmer than they used to?

Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better your chances are for successful treatment and maintaining your vision.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Q. I saw a woman with what looked like a small tire around her neck. Do you know what that could be?

It could be a goiter, which is a benign enlargement of the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small gland made up of two halves that lie along the windpipe just below the voice box.

When the thyroid can't produce enough hormone to meet the body's needs, the gland compensates by enlarging. Iodine, a chemical element, is needed to produce thyroid hormone. Therefore, an iodine deficiency can lead to goiter and hypothyroidism deficient activity of the thyroid.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Q. A friend of mine had polio when he was a kid and now the disease seems to be coming back in his old age. Have you heard of this?

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 440,000 polio survivors in the United States may be at risk for post-polio syndrome PPS, a condition that strikes polio survivors decades after they've recovered from an attack of the poliomyelitis virus. Various researchers estimate that PPS affects from 40 to 80 percent of polio survivors.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Q. I'm having trouble sleeping and don't want to take pills. Do you have any suggestions?

Here are some pointers to help you get better sleep:

Ÿ Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will keep you in sync with your body's internal rhythm, which is affected by sunlight.

Ÿ Try to get some natural light in the afternoon each day.

Ÿ Don't nap too much.

Ÿ Exercise daily, but finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.

Ÿ Don't drink beverages with caffeine late in the day.