Monday, March 30, 2015
     

The Healthy Geezer

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Q. Who are the people most liable to be bitten by a dog?

More than 60 percent of the people who are bitten by dogs are children. The elderly are second. And people such as mail carriers and meter readers are third.

Children often don't know how to act around dogs and frighten them into aggressive behavior. Older people are more prone to being bitten by an aggressive dog because they tend to be slower and weaker than younger adults. Mail carriers walk onto property the dogs consider their domain to defend.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Q. I usually get a bit lightheaded when I stand, but this feeling is much worse when I get up from the dinner table. I don't drink. Any ideas?

There's a possibility you have "postprandial hypotension," or, in layman's language, low blood pressure after a meal. This is a senior malady; few younger people experience this. Other possible symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, nausea and fainting. I recommend going to a doctor to have your symptoms checked.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Q. I get a lot of gas and someone told me it would help if I stopped chewing gum all the time (ex-smoker).

That sounds like bunk to me. What do you think?

It's not bunk. When you chew gum, you swallow more often and some of what you're swallowing is air.

In addition, artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol that is found in some gums can give you gas.

But, what exactly, is gas?

Most people produce between a pint and a half-gallon of gas each day. Oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen from swallowed air make up a large part of gas or "flatus."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Q. Are older people more anxious than younger people?

Because the stresses of health problems, losses and and other major life changes build up as we get older, we tend to become anxious. Some surveys suggest that one in five older adults suffer anxiety symptoms that require treatment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Q. I'm tired most days and I never feel rested. Could I have sleep apnea?

I urge you to get to a doctor for a diagnosis because sleep apnea can be a serious disorder. High blood pressure is common in sleep apnea. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep stoppages increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system, raising the risk of heart failure and stroke.

About 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. It's much more common in older adults and men. Apnea is Greek for "without breath."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Q. Should I be worried about bird flu?

The risk from bird flu is low for most people, because the viruses do not usually infect humans.

Animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans are known as "zoonoses." Seniors are among the most vulnerable to zoonoses. You can get one of these diseases from a household pet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Q. I'm a senior who's having surgery and the one thing that scares me more than anything else is the anesthesia. Can you tell me anything to reduce my fear?

There are probably several sources for your fear. The first is that you're older and wonder if you're at greater risk than someone younger.

The second is that anesthesia can be dangerous to anyone. The third is that you'll lose total control when you're under. I hope some of the facts about anesthesia will help with all of your fears.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Q. Aneurysms are pretty scary things. Do they have any symptoms?

Aneurysms are artery bulges. And, yes, they are scary because, if they burst, they are lethal. Many victims of a ruptured aneurysm die before they get to a hospital.

The type and location of the aneurysm will determine the symptoms.

Chest aortic aneurysms, which occur in the large blood vessel (aorta) that carries blood from the heart to other parts of the body, may cause shortness of breath, a raspy voice, backache or shoulder pain.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Q. I'm worried about falling. What should I do about this?

Well, first of all, you can't go around worrying about falling or you won't be relaxed; that can lead to a fall.

So, you should concentrate on employing techniques to avoid falls and then don't let the fear take over your mind.

But a respect for the dangers of falling is justified by the statistics.

Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Q. I get a lot of stomach aches. Do you have any tips to prevent them?

If you are having recurring abdominal pain, you should see a doctor immediately.

This kind of discomfort can be a symptom of a serious ailment. However, if you're talking about the kind of stomach aches we all get occasionally, there are some things you can do to prevent them.

Ÿ Eat small meals more frequently.

Ÿ Make sure that your meals are well-balanced and high in fiber.

Ÿ Drink plenty of water each day.

Ÿ Exercise regularly.

Ÿ Limit foods that produce gas.