Second of two parts
Most public health messages have focused on the hazards of too much sun exposure. But there is some sunny news about the sun.
Sunlight increases the body’s vitamin D supply. In seniors, vitamin D protects against osteoporosis, a disorder in which the bones become increasingly brittle. Vitamin D also protects against cancer, heart disease, and other maladies.
There are other benefits a daily dose of sunlight.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects people when they don’t get enough sunlight.
First of two parts
Q. All I ever hear about the sun is how dangerous it is. But, when I was a child, my mother used to tell me to get out in the sun and play. Did my mother give me bad advice?
Most public-health messages focus on the hazards of too much sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) rays, an invisible component of sunlight, can cause skin damage, cataracts, wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer.
But there is some sunny news about the sun.
Q. What is white-coat syndrome?
If you suffer from white-coat syndrome, your blood pressure jumps as soon as a doctor or nurse approaches you. If your doctor knows this, he or she may recommend a home blood-pressure monitor or ambulatory monitor that is worn around the clock and takes your pressure every 30 minutes.
Blood pressure tends to spike when you are excited by an emotion such as anger or fear. But high blood pressure, known as hypertension, is very sneaky. It’s called the silent killer because it usually has no symptoms.
Q. Can you get rid of warts with duct tape?
For starters, check with your doctor before beginning any self-treatment for warts. You might mistake another kind of skin growth for a wart and hurt yourself.
The jury is still out on duct-tape therapy for warts. A recent study showed that duct tape wiped out more warts than conventional freezing did. In this study, warts were covered with duct tape for six days. Then, the warts were soaked in warm water and rubbed with an abrasive such as pumice stone. The treatment was repeated for as long as two months.
Q. Does the plague still exist?
In the 1300s, the Black Death, as the plague was called, killed about one-third of the people in Europe. A combination of antibiotics and improved living conditions have made the plague rare today.
Plague is found throughout the world, except for Australia. The greatest number of human plague infections occurs in African countries. However, the largest concentration of infected animals is in the United States and in the former Soviet Union.
Q. Have you ever heard of sarcopenia?
This one made me go to the dictionary.
Sarcopenia, a Greek word that means loss of flesh, is the decrease in muscle tissue that comes with age.
Sarcopenia (pronounced sar-ko-Peen-ya) begins early in life. Studies show that after age 40, most people lose about one percent of their muscle mass each year.
Q. Is ginger really good for nausea or is this an old wive’s tale?
Ginger is an underground stem that is beige, thick and knotted. The stem extends roughly one foot above ground with long, narrow, ribbed, green leaves, and white or yellowish-green flowers. The underground stems of the ginger plant are used for cooking and medicinal purposes. In Asia, ginger is used to treat stomachaches, nausea, and diarrhea. Ginger extract is found in many dietary supplements sold in the United States for digestive ailments.
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.