Q. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Could you do one of your columns on this subject so everyone in our family can understand it?
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a muscle disease. The name comes from Greek and Latin words meaning grave muscle weakness. Myasthenia gravis (my-us-theen-ee-uh-grav-us) affects the muscles that control the eyes, face, breathing, chewing, talking, swallowing and limbs.
MG was first described in detail in the late 19th century, when the outlook for patients was bleak. Many died of respiratory failure.
A while ago, I wrote a column on the Heimlich maneuver, a well-known method to save choking victims. After the column appeared, I received an email from Peter Heimlich, the son of the late Henry Heimlich, who invented the procedure.
Second of two parts
About one in three Americans over age 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. However, only about one of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid uses one.
Hearing aids have a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. Sound is received by the microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier boosts the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.
First of two parts
Q. I think I need a hearing aid. Any recommendations?
I’ve received this question from more than a few readers. It’s a subject of great interest to seniors.
About one in three Americans over age 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness. However, only about one out of five who would benefit from a hearing aid uses one.
Q. Are there different forms of urinary incontinence?
There are several types of urinary incontinence:
- If urine leaks when you sneeze, cough, laugh or put pressure on the bladder in other ways, you have stress incontinence.
- When you can’t hold urine, you have urge incontinence.
- When small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full, you have overflow incontinence.
Q. I’m in the process of selling my house and the Realtor told me to have radon-testing. I had no idea radon was in my house until it was tested. You should write about this health hazard.
Q. Are probiotics safe?
There is debate over the precise definition of probiotics. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization call probiotics “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Microorganisms, or microbes, are living organisms that can be seen only under a microscope. Microbes are everywhere. The human body contains billions of them.
Q. I seem to be getting sick a lot lately and I’m worried that my immune system isn’t working right. Could that be a reason?
A diminished immune system could be the cause of your problems. Go to your doctor for a check-up and diagnosis.
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by organisms such as bacteria, parasites, and fungi that can cause infections.
Q. I don’t handle stress very well. I was wondering if you had any recommendations to deal with my problem.
The American Psychological Association reports that one-third of United States citizens are living with extreme stress. Money and work are the leading causes of stress for three quarters of Americans. Nearly half of Americans report that stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives.
Q. I’m concerned that I may not be seeing as well as I used to. What should I do?
There are many signs that indicate possible vision loss. Under normal circumstances, do you have trouble recognizing faces of people you know? Is it difficult for you to read, sew, match the color of your clothes? Do lights seem dimmer than they used to?
Vision changes like these could be early warning signs of eye disease. Usually, the earlier your problem is diagnosed, the better your chances are for successful treatment and maintaining your vision.