Q. I’m 69-years-old and I’m considering surgery for obesity. Am I too old for this?
There is no upper age limit for this type of surgery. However, the procedure is riskier for anyone older than 65.
Obesity surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, limits your food intake. Some operations also restrict the amount of food you can digest. It is designed for men who are at least 100 pounds overweight and women at least 80 pounds overweight.
Second of two parts
Like millions of people who suffer back pain, I rely on a system developed by Robin McKenzie, a physiotherapist in New Zealand.
After I turned 30-years old, I have hurt my lower back many times. Eventually, I suffered from sciatica, a toothache-like pain that runs down my left buttock to my ankle. This is caused by a bulging lumbar disc.
I tried physiatrists, chiropractors and physical therapists. Then I was given a copy of “Treat Your Own Back” by Robin McKenzie. Since then, I have not been to a healthcare professional for help with my back pain.
First of two parts
Q. Is there a magic bullet for back pain? I could use one.
There is no magic bullet for everyone. However, like millions of people who suffer back pain, I rely on the methods developed by Robin McKenzie, a physiotherapist in New Zealand.
When I was 30-years-old, I strained my lower back carrying bundles of newspapers. With a week of bed rest, I got better. A few years later, I reached for a backhand on the tennis court and ended up in bed again.
Q. Does getting older your mouth dry?
Most dry mouth is related to the medications taken by older adults rather than to the effects of aging. More than 400 medicines can affect the salivary glands. These include drugs for urinary incontinence, allergies, high blood pressure, depression, diarrhea and Parkinson’s disease. Also, some over-the-counter medications often cause dry mouth.
Q. I have a nasty-looking scar that shows only when I wear a bathing suit. I’d like to get rid of it, if possible. What’s available?
There is no procedure yet that will make a scar disappear completely. However, there are treatments to make a scar less noticeable. These include:
Surgical Scar Revision
Q. My grandmother told me she has BPPV and that it makes her head spin. What exactly is this BPPV?
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) usually strikes when you change the position of your head.
Vertigo is the feeling that either you or your surroundings are spinning. It is more than being just lightheaded or dizzy, because you are subjected to the illusion of movement. If you feel your body is moving, you have subjective vertigo. When you sense that your surroundings are moving, you have objective vertigo.
Q. I have a friend who is undergoing radiation treatments for cancer. I was wondering how this works. Doesn’t the radiation burn everything it touches?
Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their genetic material. This process prevents the cells from growing. Radiation attacks all cells in a targeted area, but most healthy cells recover when treatment ends.
Q. Are there different kinds of angina?
Yes. There is stable angina, unstable angina and variant angina.
Angina, or angina pectoris, is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort usually caused by coronary artery disease.
Angina (pronounced an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) hits when the heart doesn’t get enough blood. This usually happens when there is a narrowing or blockage in one or more of the vessels that supply blood to the heart.
Angina can come from exertion. It may make you sweat or lose your breath. The pain can strike your arm or neck, too.
Q. I am petrified of spiders. Is my fear justified? Are they dangerous or just creepy?
Spiders are not aggressive. They bite you only in self-defense. Most bites by spiders are harmless. However, there are dangerous spiders. Spider bites are responsible for fewer than three deaths a year in the United States.
Spider bites have caused people to have limbs amputated. These victims refused to get medical remedies early and suffered from large wounds that became infected.
Q. I was racing down the cellar stairs a few days ago when I slipped and fell on my tailbone. I’ve had pain ever since. What should I do about it?
The coccyx (tailbone) is made up of three to five vertebrae at the lower end of the spine. Most people have a coccyx of four of these spinal bones. The coccyx functions as an attachment site for muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Coccyx comes from the Greek word for cuckoo. The coccyx’s shape is like the beak of a cuckoo. The human coccyx is considered a vestige of what was once a tail.