Sunday, April 20, 2014
     

Columns

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Q. I'm 69 years old and I'm considering surgery for obesity. Am I too old for this?

There is no upper age limit for this type of surgery. However, the procedure is riskier for anyone older than 65.

Obesity surgery also known as bariatric surgery limits your food intake. Some operations also restrict the amount of food you can digest. It is designed for men who are at least 100 pounds overweight and women at least 80 pounds overweight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Q. What exactly degenerates when you get macular degeneration?

The macula. It is at the center of the retina in the back of your eye. The retina transmits light from the eye to the brain. The macula allows us to perform tasks that require central vision such as reading and driving.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older.

In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

(This is the second of two columns on the methods of Robin McKenzie.)

Like millions of people who suffer back pain, I rely on a system developed by Robin McKenzie, a physiotherapist in New Zealand.

Since I was 30 years old, I have hurt my lower back many times. Eventually, I suffered from sciatica, a toothache-like pain that runs down my left buttock to my ankle. This is caused by a bulging lumbar disc.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Q. Is there a magic bullet for back pain? I could use one.

There is no magic bullet for everyone. However, like millions of people who suffer back pain, I rely on the methods developed by Robin McKenzie, a physiotherapist in New Zealand. Because back problems are almost universal, I'm going to do two columns on McKenzie.

When I was 30 years old, I strained my lower back carrying bundles of newspapers. With a week of bed rest, I got better. A few years later, I reached for a backhand on the tennis court and ended up in bed again.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Q. I have a nasty-looking scar that shows only when I wear a bathing suit. I'd like to get rid of it, if possible. What's available?

There is no procedure yet that will make a scar disappear completely. However, there are treatments to make a scar less noticeable. These include:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Q. My grandmother told me she has BPPV and that it makes her head spin. What exactly is this BPPV?

BPPV stands for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It usually strikes when you change the position of your head.

We have to define terms first. Vertigo is the feeling that either you or your surroundings are spinning. It is more than being just lightheaded or dizzy, because you are subjected to the illusion of movement. If you feel your body is moving, you have subjective vertigo. When you sense that your surroundings are moving, you have objective vertigo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Q. I have a friend who is undergoing radiation treatments for cancer. I was wondering how this works. Doesn't the radiation burn everything it touches?

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their genetic material. This process prevents the cells from growing. Radiation attacks all cells in a targeted area, but most healthy cells recover when treatment ends.

When you are given radiation therapy also called irradiation, radiotherapy or x-ray therapy physicians attempt to protect the good cells by shielding them. They also limit dosage and spread out the treatments.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Q. Are there different kinds of angina?

Yes, there is stable angina, unstable angina and variant angina.

Angina the full name is angina pectoris is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort usually caused by coronary artery disease.

Angina (pronounced an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) hits when the heart doesn't get enough blood. This usually happens when there is a narrowing or blockage in one or more of the vessels that supply blood to the heart.

Angina can come from exertion. It may make you sweat or lose your breath. The pain can strike your arm or neck, too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Q. My husband quit cigarettes and now he's chewing tobacco. What can I tell him to make him quit this disgusting habit?

For starters, you can tell him that chewing tobacco like all other forms of smokeless tobacco contains about 30 cancer-causing substances. Then you can follow up with these facts:

Ÿ The chances of getting a variety of cancers increases with the use of smokeless tobacco. These cancers can grow in your mouth, throat, esophagus, kidneys and pancreas. The cancers can kill you or leave you disfigured from surgery.