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Columns

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Q. I'm considering a dental implant for a missing tooth. How reliable are they? Are they expensive?

Dental implants, which started to become accepted in the 1980s, are both reliable and expensive.

Dental implants are among the most successful procedures in dentistry. Studies have shown a five-year success rate of more than 90 percent. After more than 20 years of service, the vast majority of dental implants still function. With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Q. I'm 74 and I don't seem to be able to endure hot weather the way I used to. Is this a common experience as we age?

Yes. I don't play golf when it's over 90 degrees anymore because it makes me a bit woozy even if I drink a lot of water and seek out shade. My reaction to heat is caused by blood pressure drugs that I take, my age (69), and some extra pounds I'm struggling to lose.

Too much heat can make you sick. All heat-related conditions come under the heading "hyperthermia," which means "high heat."

Following are maladies caused by excessive heat:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Q. What can you do to prevent heart failure?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce risk of coronary artery disease and heart failure. For starters, you should keep the following levels down: body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar, alcohol and salt. Exercise regularly. If you smoke, quit.

The most common symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling, which usually occurs in the ankles, feet and legs. Swelling is caused by fluid buildup in the body and can lead to weight gain, frequent urination and a cough.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Q. What causes rashes?

The most common cause of a rash is contact dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin that comes from direct contact with irritants or allergens. A red, itchy rash from contact dermatitis isn't contagious, and usually goes away in two to four weeks.

The cause of contact dermatitis is direct contact with irritants or allergens. These include: detergents, soaps, makeup, deodorant, clothing, chemicals, rubber, metals, jewelry, fragrances, plants and medicinal lotions.

There are two types of contact dermatitis.

Monday, August 8, 2011

(In my last column, we discussed sodium in our diets. Today's column is devoted to tips about how to reduce our sodium intake.)

High-sodium diets are linked to increased blood pressure and a greater risk for heart disease and stroke. Reducing the amount of sodium you consume can help lower blood pressure or prevent it from developing.

Diet experts recommend a daily consumption of less than 2,400 milligrams (mg), which is the amount of sodium in a teaspoon of table salt.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Q. I've noticed that food labels list sodium content, but the numbers mean nothing to me. How much is bad?

Diet experts recommend a daily consumption of less than 2,400 milligrams (mg), which is the amount of sodium in a teaspoon of table salt. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may advise limiting yourself to 1,500 mg of sodium a day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Q. I'm going to become a grandmother for the first time and I was wondering how things have changed since I took care of a newborn many years ago.

Probably the most important change is in the approach to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the abrupt, unexplained death of an infant younger than a year. SIDS is often called crib death because many victims are found in their cribs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Q. What foods are good for keeping your cholesterol down?

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber that reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol that can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

This type of fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, brussels sprouts, apples, pears, barley and prunes.

There are other foods that work against cholesterol. These include soy protein, walnuts and fatty fish.

Soy protein is found in tofu, soy nuts, soy milk and soy burgers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Q. A friend of mine was diagnosed with Jumping Frenchmen of Maine. Have you ever heard of this?

Not until now. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a rare, unexplained disorder that produces an extreme startle reaction to a sudden noise or sight.

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine was first identified during the late 1800s in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec.

It was discovered among an isolated population of French-Canadian lumberjacks. Since the discovery, the extreme startle reaction has been found in other societies in many parts of the world.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Q. I'm going to the doctor and I don't want to forget to ask him important questions. Any suggestions on how to prepare for this visit?

Whether you're talking to a family physician, a specialist or pharmacist, you need to know the right questions. My research turned up hundreds of possible questions. I narrowed the list down to the ones I considered to be the most significant. You can pick out the ones that apply to you. Here goes:

Family physician

What is the outlook for my condition?

Could relatives get this?

What changes will I need to make?