Monday, May 25, 2015
     

The Healthy Geezer

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Q. Can a sinus infection give you a toothache?

I can write from personal experience on this one. I had a bad toothache that sent me to my dentist. He did some X-rays and could find nothing wrong. He asked me about my sinuses, and I told him I was fighting an infection. Bingo.

Yes, infection in the sinuses located in your cheekbones can cause your upper jaw and teeth to ache, and your cheeks to become tender to the touch. Sinusitis is a nasty malady that can do much more than give you a toothache.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Q. Is it worth getting shots for my allergies?

Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots or vaccinations, can alleviate allergy symptoms. However, shots don't work on all allergies or all people.

Doctors advise against allergy shots if you take a beta blocker for high blood pressure or heart problems. If you're considering immunotherapy, seek the advice of a good allergist.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Q. How extensive is alcoholism among older people?

Alcoholism is a serious problem among seniors. Here are just a few statistics:

About 70 percent of hospital admissions for older adults are for illness and accidents related to alcohol.

About half of older adults in nursing homes have an alcohol problem.

Older adults lose an average of 10 years off their lives because of alcohol abuse.

About 80 percent of doctors misdiagnose alcoholism as depression in older women.

The highest growing number of alcoholics is among 75-year-old widowers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Q. What causes motion sickness?

Many people including me suffer nausea when traveling by boat, car or airplane. It also happens on rides in amusement parks and playgrounds. The symptoms of motion sickness are caused by conflicting messages arriving at the central nervous system.

Different parts of your body let your brain know where you are and what you're doing. The inner ears let you know if you're turning, or moving forward-backward, side-to-side, and up-and-down.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Q. Whenever I drink a little too much wine, I find that I wake up at night and my heart seems to race for a while. Can wine do that?

The short answer is yes. But, first, it sounds like you haven't told a doctor about this. And you should immediately. What you're describing could be atrial fibrillation. The risk of atrial fibrillation increases with age, particularly after age 60.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Q. Is it my imagination, but am I getting fewer fevers than I did when I was younger?

The immune system doesn't function as efficiently in older adults as it does in younger people.

The body's fever response to infection is not always automatic in elderly people. More than 20 percent of adults over age 65 who have serious bacterial infections do not have fevers.

This brings us to germs, which are defined as microbes that cause disease. Infectious diseases caused by microbes are the leading cause of death.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Q. What exactly is congestive heart failure?

If you have congestive heart failure your heart can't pump enough blood. This condition develops over time. It is the number one reason people over age 65 go into the hospital.

Heart failure is most common in older people, and is more common in African-Americans. Men have a higher rate of heart failure than women. But, because women usually live longer, the condition affects more women in their 70s and 80s.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Q. I heard that marijuana helps glaucoma. I'd like to try it, but won't I get in trouble?

Marijuana can help your glaucoma and it could get you in trouble because there are legal restrictions upon its use.

If you are interested in trying medical marijuana for your glaucoma, discuss this treatment with your doctor. (I could write an entire column on the marijuana laws, but I'll stick to the health issues.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Q. Does caffeine bother you more the older you get?

Sensitivity to caffeine the pick-me-up in coffee tends to increase as you get older. Children metabolize caffeine quicker than adults.

About 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine daily. More than half of all American adults consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine every day, making it America's most popular drug.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Q. Does fiber in your diet reduce cholesterol?

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is acted upon by the normal bacteria in your intestines. Insoluble fiber is not digested by the body and promotes regularity and softens stools. Wheat bran, whole grain products and vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.