Q. I’m having some trouble sleeping and don’t want to take pills. Do you have any suggestions?
Here are some pointers to help you get better sleep:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will keep you in sync with your body’s internal rhythm, which is affected by sunlight.
Try to get some natural light in the afternoon each day. Don’t nap too much.
Exercise daily, but finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.
Don’t drink beverages with caffeine late in the day.
Don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes to help you sleep.
Q. My husband told me he has no energy to do chores around the house because he’s suffering from male menopause. He’s a very funny guy.
Your husband was obviously trying to yank your chain, but there’s some truth in his joking. Fatigue is a common symptom of male menopause, also known as andropause (andro means male).
Both andropause and male menopause are used to describe decreasing levels of the male hormone testosterone that come with aging. Most men see testosterone levels drop as they get older. Some have described andropause as “puberty in reverse.”
Q. A doctor told my cousin that she had arthritis in her head. I never heard of such a thing. Have you?
I’ve never heard of head arthritis, but I don’t think that’s what the doctor said to your cousin. I’m pretty sure the doctor was talking about temporal arteritis, which is also known as cranial arteritis and giant-cell arteritis.
Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. Arteritis is inflammation of an artery.
Q. They’re starting a tai chi class at our senior center. Do you think this is worth taking?
Tai chi (pronounced tie-chee) has helped many people feel better. However, you should check with your doctor first to see if this form of exercise is OK for you.
Tai chi is practiced all across China, where it was developed in the 12th century. It’s common in Chinese hospitals and clinics.
In Asia, tai chi is considered to be the most beneficial exercise for older people, because it is gentle and can be modified easily if a person has health limitations.
Q. Does massage do anything besides make you feel relaxed?
Massage therapy, or massage, was first used thousands of years ago. Ancient writings include references to massage in Greece, Japan, China, Egypt, and the Indian subcontinent.
Massage became popular in the United States during the 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century, advances in medicine overshadowed massage treatment. Then, massage started a revival in the 1970s.
Second of two parts
Statins, which are also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are drugs that lower cholesterol by blocking the liver substance responsible for making cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has accumulated on your artery walls.
Some of the best-known statins include: simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and fluvastatin (Lescol).
In addition to reducing cholesterol, there are other advantages to taking statins.
First of two parts
Q. I’ve heard statins referred to as wonder drugs that we should put in our drinking water. Do they deserve this reputation?
Statins, which are also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are drugs that reduce cholesterol by blocking the liver substance responsible for making cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in blood. You need it to produce cell membranes, protect nerves, and make hormones.
Q. I’m getting pain in my right leg and my doctor says its sciatica. Could you write one of your columns about this?
Sciatica is pain that runs down the sciatic nerve from your lower spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg. Age-related changes in the spine are a common cause of sciatica.
Other sciatica symptoms include numbness, muscle weakness, a burning sensation and tingling. In rare cases, there is a loss of bladder or bowel control. Usually only one side of your body experiences sciatica.
Q. What exactly is Salmonella and how can I avoid it?
Salmonella are microscopic living creatures that spread from the feces of people or animals. Salmonella can be found in raw poultry, eggs, beef, and unwashed produce. Any food can become contaminated. Salmonella is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States.
Salmonellosis is an infection of the intestinal tract from the bacteria. Symptoms of the infection, which usually last four days to a week, include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and headache.
Q. How common are albinos?
People get their color from a pigment called melanin. Albinos have no melanin in their skin, hair or eyes.