Q. I have this ringing in my ears almost all the time. My doctor says it is age-related tinnitus. I tried some of his recommendations to deal with it, but haven’t been successful. Any suggestions?
Q. I’m a 64-year-old woman who is lactose intolerant. Do you think this will put me at risk for osteoporosis?
Between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant, which means they have trouble digesting dairy products. Lactose intolerance usually is not dangerous.
Q. Are women happier than men?
There was a study of men and women in the United States that showed women are happier than men in their youth, and are unhappier when they are old.
The research was done by two economists, Anke Plagnol of the University of Cambridge and Richard Easterlin of the University of Southern California.
“Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it.”
- Bernard Meltzer
Q. What is the leading cause of brain injuries?
About 1.4 million people suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) each year in the United States. Half of all TBIs are caused by accidents involving automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. These accidents are the major cause of TBI in people under age 75.
Falls cause the majority of TBIs in people 75 and older. This group has the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and death.
Q. I’m having an MRI and I heard that tattoos can present problems for this test. True?
True. Tattoos can create a misdiagnosis with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) because there is metal in many tattoo pigments.
Magnets attract metals. Tattoo pigments may interfere with the quality of the image from an MRI. In some rare cases, there can be swelling or burning in a tattoo after an MRI.
If you have a tattoo, you should talk with your doctor before undergoing an MRI.
Q. What’s the best way to treat epistaxis?
Well, that one made me go to the dictionary. Turns out that epistaxis is the fancy word for nosebleed.
The best way to treat a nosebleed is to resist every instinct in your body to tilt your head back or to lie down. You have to keep your head higher than your heart to cut down on bleeding. And, if you lean back, you can swallow blood, which can produce vomiting and diarrhea.
Q. I know lead poisoning is a danger to children, but what effect does it have on adults?
Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults because lead is more easily absorbed by growing bodies. The tissue of children also is more sensitive to lead’s damaging effects. However, adults can suffer from lead exposure.
Lead can affect many parts of your body, but the primary vulnerability is the nervous system, which can be weakened by exposure to the metal.
Q. Can you get Lyme disease in Hawaii?
It’s possible, but the odds are against it. Here is some information from the Hawaii State Department of Health:
“Lyme disease is an illness caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness reported on the mainland United States but is not found in Hawaii since the type of tick that spreads this disease is not present in Hawaii.”
Q. My wife and I are taking our first trip abroad. Do you have any advice about how to stay healthy during this vacation?
First, see your doctor and your dentist to make sure you are starting the voyage in good health. You may need vaccinations. The vaccines you got when you were a child may need to be updated.
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.