Q. How can I tell if I’m suffering from sleep apnea?
About 18 million United States citizens have sleep apnea. It’s much more common in older adults and men. Apnea is Greek for “without breath.”
People with sleep apnea stop breathing for as long as 30 seconds at a time. These interruptions can happen hundreds of times a night.
The breathing cessations may wake you and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. These awakenings usually are so brief that you don’t recall them.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Excessive daytime sleepiness,
Q. I’ve heard the term “shock” a million times, but I realized that I don’t really know what it means. What is shock?
Shock is a condition in which blood pressure is too low and not enough oxygenated blood can sustain your body.
The medical disorder of shock is not the “shock” that people feel from a sudden traumatic event. In the United States, hospital emergency departments report more than one million cases of shock each year.
There are different kinds of shock. They include:
Anaphylactic shock: from an allergic reaction,
Q. I’ve been losing some hearing the last few years. I have to travel far from home and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for handling my hearing problems on the road.
About one in three United States citizens over 60 suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness.
Traveling poses special problems for the hearing-impaired. Here are some travel tips for the hearing-impaired:
Make travel arrangements in advance. Request written confirmation.
Q. How can I tell if I have an aneurysm?
Aneurysms are dangerous artery bulges that can be lethal if they burst.
Fortunately, aneurysms can be detected by a physical examination, X-ray, ultrasound and modern imaging systems such as a CAT scan or an MRI.
The size and location of the aneurysm determines the treatment method. For example, aneurysms in the upper chest are usually operated on immediately. Aneurysms in the lower chest and the area below your stomach are watched at first. If they grow too large or cause symptoms, surgery may be required.
Q. What exactly is the difference between good carbs and bad carbs?
Good carbs, or carbohydrates, are good for you. Bad carbs aren’t good for you.
Carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, pastries, sugared sodas and other highly-processed foods can make you fat. If you eat a lot of bad carbs, they increase the risk for disease.
Whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, and other similar sources of carbohydrates make you healthy by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber and a many nutrients.
Q. Are glucosamine and chondroitin good for arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of the condition. An estimated 27 million adults in the United States live with osteoarthritis.
You get osteoarthritis when cartilage, the cushioning tissue within the joints, wears down. The disease affects both men and women. By age 65, more than 50 percent of us have osteoarthritis in at least one joint.
Q. My wife just turned 70 and her hearing isn’t what it used to be. Do you have any suggestions to improve my communication with her?
About one in three United States citizens age 60 or more suffers from loss of hearing, which can range from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness.
Q. What is the survival rate for ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, usually strikes between the ages of 40 and 70.
Respiratory problems usually kill those with ALS in three to five years after diagnosis. About 10 percent of those with ALS live more than 10 years.
Some with ALS survive for many years. For example, the famed British physicist Stephen Hawking had ALS from the 1960s until his death last year. In a small number of people, ALS mysteriously stops.
Q. My sister went through a nightmare of doctor visits before she finally found out she has fibromyalgia. Why did it take so long for a correct diagnosis?
What your sister endured is common. It’s not easy to diagnose fibromyalgia with a laboratory test. Healthcare practitioners have to rely on symptoms to make a diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia symptoms vary. To complicate the diagnosis, fibromyalgia imitates rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and other conditions.
Q. Pop-Pop, don’t feel bad that you gave me a cold in my eye. It wasn’t your fault ... was it?
This question came from my granddaughter, Maggie. She got conjunctivitis, known colloquially as “pink eye,” one week after I did.
Subsequently, Maggie’s mother and grandmother also got nasty cases that required multiple visits to an ophthalmologist.
Conjunctivitis is an infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyelid and part of the eyeball. The infection creates swelling of the eyelids and a reddening of the whites of the eyes.