Q. What exactly does “environmental health” mean?
Environment health is a catch-all term that encompasses how your environment impacts your health. It includes how you are affected by social issues such as water pollution, and personal habits such as smoking. The subject of environmental health covers just about everything but the influence of genes on your health.
Q. I know I should wear sunglasses to protect my eyes, but what should I look for when I buy them?
This is a question with year-round relevance. The sun is around every day of the year. The most important feature in sunglasses is the ability to protect your eyes from invisible ultraviolet (UV) light, which also causes sunburn.
Long-term exposure to the high-energy ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease. Buy sunglasses that block 99 percent or 100 percent of all UV light. Look for a label that lists protection.
Q. My uncle used nicotine gum to get off cigarettes. Now he chews the gum all the time. Do you think he’s hooked?
Over-the-counter nicotine gum, which is sold under a variety of brand names, was introduced in the United States in 1984. Since then, there have been many reports of gum addiction. There are chewers who’ve been consuming in excess of 10 pieces a day for more than a decade.
Q. What is the best diet for losing weight?
The subtext of this question is, “What’s an easy fix?”
There are no shortcuts that work consistently and healthfully. The answer is simple: The best diet for losing weight gives you fewer calories than you burn. Facing an energy shortage, your body will reach into fat for stored calories and you will drop pounds.
Q. This may sound like a crazy question, but is it possible to use your own stomach to take over for your kidneys when they aren’t working right?
This question isn’t as bizarre as it seems. It is possible to use the abdominal cavity, which includes the stomach, to perform kidney functions. Kidneys are designed to remove waste and extra fluid from your blood. These organs contain millions of tiny blood vessels to handle this task. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy.
Q. I’ve been having some difficulty swallowing food for the past few weeks. Is this something to worry about or is it just another one of those age things?
Q. I have vivid memories of my mother’s dentures in a glass next to her bed. As I enter my seventies, is this what I have to look forward to?
Q. I get indigestion often and can’t figure out why. How can I find what is causing it?
Indigestion, or an upset stomach, is a general term for discomfort in your upper abdomen. This discomfort can take the form of burning stomach pain, nausea, heartburn, bloating, burping and vomiting. If, in addition to your upset stomach, you experience sweating, shortness of breath or pain radiating to the jaw, neck or arm, get medical attention immediately. You could be having a heart attack.
Q. I’ve been told to drink more water. How much is enough?
First, water intake is a health issue that you should discuss with your doctor before deciding how much you should drink. The amount you drink is dependent upon the state of your personal health.
Drinking insufficient amounts of fluids is the common problem. However, some conditions such as heart failure and kidney disease may require cutting back on fluids.
Q. My mother had varicose veins in her legs and now I’m getting them. She put up with them. I don’t want to. So how do I get rid of them?
Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins that bulge in legs, but they can appear in other places. Varicose veins are more common in legs because veins from the groin to the ankles endure the most pressure of any veins in the body. Varicose veins affect half of people over the age 50. Women get varicose veins more often than men.