Monday, September 29, 2014
     

The Healthy Geezer

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Q. Is it dangerous to take a beta blocker for high blood pressure?

There was one study that found that beta blockers may increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke if you are using them to treat high blood pressure alone. If you are taking a beta blocker, discuss it with your doctor. Warning: Don't stop taking the drug on your own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Q. Do you get more heartburn when you are older?

More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn daily. Heartburn is more common among the elderly.

Heartburn two or more times weekly may be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. See a doctor if you have heartburn too often. The doctor can test for GERD.

In the upper GI series, you swallow a liquid barium mixture.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Q. Is it possible to donate your own blood to yourself?

Yes you can. This is called "autologous" blood donation. It's done in the weeks before nonemergency surgery. The blood is stored until the operation. Autologous donation is most often employed in surgery on bones, blood vessels, the urinary tract, and the heart, when the likelihood of transfusion is high. This form of blood donation is good for the patient, but it's beneficial to society, too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Q. I'm considering having a hip replaced. What are the odds that this operation will work?

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says joint replacement surgery is successful in more than 9 out of 10 people.

And replacement of a hip or knee lasts at least 20 years in about 80 percent of those who have the surgery.

In the procedure, an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a "prosthesis."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Q. I'm a Baby Boomer who still loves rock concerts, but sometimes I worry if the noise is hurting my old ears.

Sound volume is measured in decibels. You risk hearing loss when you are exposed to sounds at 85 dBs or more. The louder the sound and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk.

Here's the bad news: rock music is on many lists as an example of a dangerous sound. Here's one of those lists:

30 dB = library

50 dB = rain

60 dB = conversation (apolitical)

70 dB = vacuum cleaner

80 dB = busy street

90 dB = shop tools

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Q. What is acetaminophen and why do I see it listed on so many products in my medicine cabinet?

Acetaminophen is the most widely used pain-reliever and fever-reducer in the world. It is contained in more than 100 products. Tylenol is the best known over-the-counter acetaminophen product.

It is also a component of well-known prescription drugs such as Darvocet and Percocet. Acetaminophen also is known as paracetamol and N-acetyl-p-aminophenol.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Q. I'm 70 and I'm starting to see a blurred area in the middle of my vision. Any ideas?

Have this checked immediately by an eye care practitioner. What you describe is a symptom of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older.

The macula 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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Q. I'm 68 and thinking of taking testosterone. Will it help me to feel younger?

There is some controversy about whether testosterone therapy should be used in men who have naturally lower testosterone levels because of aging. It remains unclear whether restoring earlier testosterone levels benefits older men.

For example, studies found that healthy men who took testosterone medications got bigger muscles, but in most studies the men weren't stronger. And, if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, taking testosterone may not relieve your condition.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Q. What is sundown syndrome and who does it affect?

Sundown syndrome, which is also called sundowning, is a symptom that affects people with dementia. Those with the syndrome become confused and anxious as the sun sets. People with sundowning often have trouble sleeping.

The cause of the syndrome isn't known yet. Some research suggests that sundowning may be related to changes to the brain's circadian pacemaker. That's a cluster of nerve cells that keeps the body on a 24-hour clock.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Q. I don't seem to enjoy spicy foods the way I used to. Does aging have anything to do with this?

As we age, our sense of taste may change, but this loss of zing in some foods might be caused by medicines you're taking. Drugs can change your sense of taste, and some can also make you feel less hungry.

So, the aging process and the medicines we're taking can affect our enjoyment of food and, therefore, our nutrition, because we may not eat all we need.