Q. Is it possible for bipolar disorder to first appear when you’re older?
Bipolar disorder can strike anyone at any age, but it isn’t likely to start when you are old. However, it is possible that a person could suffer from bipolar disorder for many years and not be diagnosed until late in life.
It’s not known what causes bipolar disorder, but a variety of biochemical, genetic and environmental factors seem to be involved in causing and triggering bipolar episodes.
Q. I’ve been depressed lately and a friend told me to take St. John’s Wort. What is it? Does it work?
St. John’s Wort, also known as hypericum herb, klamath weed or goat weed, is a plant with yellow flowers that are used to make teas and tablets. For centuries, the plant has been considered a remedy for mental problems, including depression and anxiety.
Q. My doctor said I need to reduce my reliance on pain relievers to manage my osteoarthritis pain because of the risk of side effects. Is there another option?
As we age, many of us develop chronic health ailments, such as osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis. In fact, 27 million Americans suffer every day from the discomfort and stiffness caused by OA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Q. In my HMO’s provider directory, some of the doctors have a “DO” after their names instead of an “MD.” What exactly is the difference between the two designations?
DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic medicine.
MD is the abbreviation for Doctor of Medicine. MDs are also called doctors of allopathic medicine.
Here are dictionary definitions:
os·te·op·a·thy n. A system of medicine based on the theory that disturbances in the musculoskeletal system affect other bodily parts, causing many disorders.
Q. What exactly is tartar, that stuff on your teeth?
Bacteria, mucus and food particles in our mouths produce a colorless film on the surfaces of teeth. This film is called plaque, which contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar.”
Brushing your teeth will remove plaque but not tartar. Once tartar builds up, you need a professional cleaning, one of those fun things we all look forward to. Well, it’s definitely better than gum disease.
Q. My son and his male partner are going to adopt a child. I fear that my grandchild will suffer from the experience of having two fathers and no mother. Are my worries justified?
There have been many studies demonstrating that gay parents (male and female) are as likely as heterosexual parents to raise well-adjusted children. In addition, children of gay parents have shown no greater incidence of homosexuality.
Q. I babysit quite a bit for my infant grandson and this interferes with my naps. I’m tired all the time when he’s around. Does giving up a nap affect your health?
My mother has a valuable tip for you. Nap when your grandson naps. That’s what she did with her children and grandchildren. In fact, she napped almost every day of her life. Her other habits were not the healthiest, but she knew how to rest. And she lived to be 89.
Q. I’m 67 years old and my hip is in bad shape. I’ve heard there’s a way to fix your hip without replacing it. What is it?
There is a surgical alternative to total hip replacement. It’s called hip resurfacing.
Q. Some friends and I (all in our 60’s) have discovered similar traits in our husbands of late. There’s a general grumpiness and lack of grooming. We’ve been told that, as men age, their frontal lobes begin to shrink, and that this is the area of the brain which governs these qualities. Is this true? Are there remedies?
Researchers at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit have discovered evidence suggesting the male brain shrinks faster with age than the female brain.
Q. I think I have a small hernia in my groin that’s probably going to need surgery. How soon should I get this thing taken care of?
First, if you suspect you have a hernia, get it checked by a doctor immediately. Don’t treat it lightly. Eventually, almost all hernias require surgery. Having surgery before complications occur makes sense.