Q. What happens to you if you eat more than one apple a day?
I realize that this question was meant to be humorous, but there is a serious answer to it.
Believe it or not, there is a three-apple-a-day diet, which I’ll get to later. But, first, let’s discuss an apple a day.
We have to go back in time to Wales to find the origins of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
The earliest known record of the maxim is in an 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine:
Q. I’ve been hearing a lot about the health benefits of aspirin. Is it some kind of cure-all or am I a victim of hype?
I wouldn’t call it hype. There’s a lot of research that indicates aspirin is good for many ailments.
Aspirin is in a group of drugs called salicylates, which work by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, swelling and blood clots.
Q. What causes a heart attack?
A blood clot in a narrowed coronary artery is the usual cause of a heart attack. The clogged artery prevents oxygenated blood from nourishing the heart. This can lead to pain, the death of heart cells, scar tissue and fatal arrythmias.
Many causes can lead to the narrowing of arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. This increases the likelihood of a heart attack.
Q. I’m 68-years-old and I’m tired a lot. What do you think could be causing this?
For starters, I never make a personal diagnosis; I’m not qualified. I’m a journalist, not a physician. If you have persistent fatigue, I recommend you see a doctor for a check-up.
I suffer from fatigue that I know is caused by seasonal allergies. When the pollen and mold counts are high, I lose energy and doze off during the day.
Figuring out why you are fatigued is very difficult because there are so many possible causes.
Q. Can magnets relieve pain?
Here’s the official position of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the medical research agency of the federal government:
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Coconut oil is getting internet attention and with customers at health food stores because it seems effective in giving a boost to high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol.
There are several forces creating this phenomenon.
The coconut oil industry is working hard to win public favor.
There are scientists who are backing off from the damnation of coconut oil.
And there are vegans, who abstain from animal products. Many vegans use coconut oil as a butter substitute. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature.
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Q. I read on the internet that coconut oil is great for your cholesterol and has other health benefits. I thought coconut oil was very bad for you. What gives?
Here’s the advice of Walter C. Willett, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition:
“I’d use coconut oil sparingly. Most of the research so far has consisted of short-term studies to examine its effect on cholesterol levels.
Q. How do I go about learning CPR?
If you would like to learn CPR, contact the American Heart Association: americanheart.org; 1-877-AHA-4CPR.
Another CPR resource is the American Red Cross: redcross.org.
You can try a local hospital.
CPR, or Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, employs chest compression and mouth-to-mouth breathing to treat cardiac arrest, heart attack, drowning and electrocution.
CPR can keep some blood flowing to the brain and heart during an emergency.
Editor’s Note: In the last two “Healthy Geezer” columns, the topic was gastroenteritis and noroviruses. In this column, the topic is hand sanitizers to fight germs that cause stomach infections.
Germs are microbes that cause disease. Microbes are microscopic organisms that are everywhere. Some microbes cause disease. Others are essential for health. Most microbes belong to one of four major groups: bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoa.
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Among the most common germs are noroviruses, which cause gastroenteritis, mistakenly called stomach flu.
Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is not related to flu, a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.
Noroviruses are a group of related viruses. Norovirus is the official genus name for the group of viruses previously described as Norwalk viruses.