Tuesday, July 7, 2015
     

The Healthy Geezer

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Q. What's the difference between a CT scan and an MRI?

The CT scan, MRI and others are known as diagnostic-imaging tests.

Let's go over the common ones.

X-ray

One of the oldest forms of medical imaging, an X-ray examination uses electromagnetic radiation to make pictures.

An X-ray machine passes a beam through your body and records an image digitally or on film. Body tissues produce different results. Tissues show up in shades of gray. Bones look white. Lungs that contain air appear dark.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Q. My doctor put his stethoscope on my neck and muttered to himself, "no brooey." I'm not the type to ask the doctor questions, but I'm still wondering what he meant by that. My spelling is probably wrong.

Your doctor was checking your carotid arteries on the sides of your neck to see if the blood flow to your brain was blocked. If one of the arteries was blocked, it would make a "swoosh" that the medical profession calls a bruit. Your phonetic spelling is excellent. Bruit is pronounced "BROO-ee" like "phooey."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Q. I had a bird's nest in my chimney and was told that we were probably getting some carbon monoxide in the house. He said that this is bad for your health. How bad?

Carbon monoxide (chemical symbol CO) is a colorless and odorless gas that can kill you. CO is a byproduct of combustion. It comes out of car tailpipes, gas ovens, fireplaces and heating systems.

That bird's nest was blocking the evacuation of CO out of your chimney from your furnace and hot-water heater. The gas was backing up into your house.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Q. Isn't a fractured bone less serious than a broken bone?

This is a common misconception. A fracture and a break are the same thing.

For several reasons, seniors are in danger of breaking a bone. As we age, the power of our senses, reflexes and coordination diminishes.

Maladies and the medicines we take for them can contribute to balance problems, which can lead to falls. Then there's osteoporosis a disease that makes bones more likely to snap.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Q. My wife has complained of being short of breath while shopping in the mall. She says it's just a sign of age, but I'm concerned about her.

The likelihood of suffering shortness of breath or "dyspnea" (disp-nee-ah) becomes greater the older we get. As we age, our air passages get smaller, chest muscles weaken, and our lungs become less flexible. These changes reduce our air flow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Q. I'm a geezer and I believe in herbal products because they're natural and I think you should tell your readers how wonderful they are.

I get a kick out of people who are big on "natural" and "organic." Poison ivy is natural and organic. So is cobra venom.

You have to be very careful when you use herbal health products and dietary supplements, especially if you are a senior. Always consult a doctor before taking any of these products, which I like to label "alternatives."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Q. A friend who uses a lot of psychobabble described a new woman in our retirement community as having a "personality disorder." I would call this woman a pain in the neck. What's the difference between a personality disorder and just a lousy personality?

People with a personality disorder are more than just pains in the neck. They have serious trouble getting along with others. They are usually rigid and unable to adapt to the changes life presents to all of us. They simply don't function well in society.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Q. I've heard the worst pain you can experience is from passing a kidney stone. True?

I had a friend who served in the Royal Air Force in World War II. On a bombing run over Germany, his co-pilot started to pass a kidney stone.

The pain was so bad that the poor guy wanted to jump out of the plane. He had to be knocked unconscious.

Kidney stones have been inflicting extreme pain for at least 7,000 years; evidence of them was found in an Egyptian mummy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Q. I suffer from hemorrhoids and I suspect a lot of other people do, too, because I see a lot of remedies in drugstores. But this is not a topic you bring up at parties. How many people have hemorrhoids, anyway?

By the age of 50, about half of the population both men and women have hemorrhoids. However, not everyone suffers from the nasty symptoms hemorrhoids can inflict.

Hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen veins around the anus (external) or in the lower rectum (internal).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Q. I may have to undergo bypass surgery and I heard that it can really mess up your mind. Is that true?

If you have coronary bypass surgery, you could suffer from what some in the health care professions call "pump head."

During traditional surgery, a patient is put on a heart-lung bypass pump to oxygenate and circulate blood. This machine may create clots that could harm the brain. In addition, a surgeon handling the aorta the main heart artery can free bits of accumulated plaque and they can block blood vessels in the brain.