Wednesday, July 23, 2014
     

The Healthy Geezer

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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Q. How common is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. This condition creates an increased risk of fractures.

Our bodies remove old bone and replace it with new bone. During our growth stage, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. We hit peak bone mass around age 30. After that age, we lose more bone than we form.

Who is at risk of

getting osteoporosis?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Q. A friend of mine is lactose intolerant. What exactly does that mean?

People who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting dairy products. Lactose intolerance usually is not dangerous.

Lactase is an enzyme made in the small intestine. You need lactase to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. People who are lactose intolerant don't make enough lactase; after consuming lactose, they suffer from bloating, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea. These symptoms usually begin a half-hour to two hours after ingesting lactose.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Q. My mouth seems to be a bit dry most of the time. Does this mean anything?

Everyone experiences dry mouth occasionally. We get it when we are under stress. But if you have dry mouth all or most of the time, you need medical help. The medical term for this condition is xerostomia.

Symptoms of this problem are: saliva that seems thick, sores or split skin at the corners of your mouth, difficulty speaking and swallowing, bad breath, a change in your sense of taste, increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Q. I've got problems with several joints and I heard low-impact exercise is something I should try. What is low-impact and can you suggest some exercises?

Warning: If you want to begin a new exercise program, you should consult your physician and request a list of exercises that are best for your age and physical condition.

As you age, your body becomes less flexible and more vulnerable to injury. Low-impact exercise does not place excessive pressure on your body. There are many low-impact activities that can give you a good, relatively safe workout.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Q. My brother told me he has a macular pucker. Is this the same thing as macular degeneration?

First, a bit of biology ...

The lens in the front of your eye focuses light on the retina in the back of your eye. The lens is like the one in a camera, and the retina is like film. The space between the lens and retina is filled with the vitreous, a clear gel that helps to maintain the shape of the eye.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Q. Any suggestions for dealing with tinnitus?

Most tinnitus a symptom, not a disease comes from damage to the microscopic endings of the hearing nerve in the inner ear.

People who suffer from tinnitus hear phantom noises that include not just ringing but whistling, hissing, buzzing, roaring and clicking. Tinnitus is most common in people over 65.

Besides treatments such as hearing aids, drugs and therapy, there are techniques for dealing with tinnitus. Here are some:

Music: Many people find focusing on music helps them ignore their tinnitus.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Q. How serious is angina?

Angina pectoris or simply angina is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort usually caused by coronary artery disease. Angina is a sign that someone is at increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death. If you get angina, you should get medical attention immediately.

Angina (pronounced "an-JI-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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Q. Is it true that licorice can interfere with some medications?

Some forms of licorice may increase the risk for digoxin toxicity.

Digoxin is used to treat heart failure and arrhythmias. Licorice may also reduce the effects of blood pressure medications or diuretic drugs (water pills).

These are just a few of many drug-related interactions that can occur in your body.

Drug interactions fall into three categories. There are drug reactions with foods and drink, dietary supplements and with other drugs.