Q. What’s the right age to start monitoring your blood pressure? I’m a multitasking mom, 43, with one kid in college and a 3-year-old (second marriage!). — Maura, via email
A. Has your 3-year-old’s blood pressure been checked yet? How about your college kid’s? If not, get it done. No, we You Docs haven’t lost it. Neither of your kids is too young to have their blood pressure monitored, and you definitely aren’t! If your BP isn’t regularly checked, start now. You want it at 115/76, so you and your kids will have a lifetime together. Read More
Could slashing salt threaten your heart? If a string of health headlines yelling “Too little salt could be bad for you” has made you think that, listen up. New claims questioning the link between sodium, blood pressure and long life aren’t telling you the whole story. We will! Read More
Q. My father died of a heart attack, and now my husband has very high blood pressure (145/90). I’m afraid he’s headed in the same direction. He’s on a hypertension drug (Benicar), but he constantly “forgets” to take it, lets the prescription run out or says he’s “fine.” I swing from being furious to frantic. How can I get him to take his medicine? — Anonymous, via email Read More
If the soundtrack of your holidays is more “Jingle Burps” (yep, that rude YouTube classic) than “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” your tummy’s not alone. Maybe you saw the recent nationwide survey revealing that from Thanksgiving till New Year’s Day, heartburn makes two out of three people less than holly-jolly. Or perhaps you’ve personally logged more minutes in the powder room than under the mistletoe, dealing with indigestion, constipation, gas, bloating or irritable bowel syndrome — all made worse by holiday stress and Aunt Martha’s wieners ’n’ cheese dip. Read More
Ask anyone with achy, arthritic joints what they do on cold, short days, and the answer is, “Stay inside and stay warm.” We YOU Docs get that, having shivered through last winter’s record-breaking freeze-outs ourselves.
But please add a third “stay” to that list: Stay inside, stay warm and stay active.
Turns out that as soon as the days turn shorter, people with arthritis spend three additional hours indoors. Doing what? Sitting around. It’s rarely about the weather; it’s about running out of daylight. Read More
Q. The Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays are a big deal in my family. There are many get-togethers, decorating, church activities, food and kids. It’s fun, but by New Year’s Day, I’m whipped. This year, my daughter is having a Christmas wedding, too. I’m already flat out of energy, but I want to enjoy every moment. Will energy drinks help? — Marcia, Amherst, Mass. Read More
Ever do the sweetener cha-cha-cha at the coffee shop? You know — when you hesitate between the sugar shaker and the pink, blue and yellow packets? If this were a cartoon strip, the thought bubble over your head would read, “Which is better or worse? The no-calorie fakes? The full-calorie hard stuff? Help!” Read More
Some of you may have heard us say once (or 20 times) that it’s as vital to walk every day as it is to sleep every night. You wouldn’t skip your ZZZs; don’t skip your strides. Yep, walking is that critical to your health and well-being. Read More
Q. I’ve had chronic low-back pain for several years. But last year I was in a car accident, and since then my back has gotten worse. My doctor says to take stronger pain meds, which I don’t want to do. I know exercise is supposed to help, but I’m afraid it will make it worse. What should I do? — Elaine, via email
A. Healing chronic low-back pain is like curing the common cold: Whoever figures these out will win a Nobel Prize, and probably a Grammy, an Oscar and a lifetime pass to Disneyland, too. Read More
You’ve seen it on TV, heard about it from friends and maybe been clobbered by it yourself: the drug shortage. The crisis has left cancer patients waiting for life-saving chemotherapy ... parents scrambling for their kids’ ADHD drugs ... doctors, nurses and hospitals in a tizzy ... and frantic pharmacists saying, “Sorry, but we’re all out.”
Nobody’s got an inside track on dwindling supplies, as we You Docs have learned the hard way when friends and family have asked us to help them find medications. It isn’t easy. But these steps could help you survive a crisis: Read More
The positive coffee news just keeps percolating. Actually, not just good coffee news — good caffeine news. But if, like young Dr. Mike, you “heart” your morning joe, it may come down to the same thing.
The latest on coffee? As if fending off Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, asthma and siesta urges wasn’t enough, it’s now been found to cut your skin cancer risk. Read More
Q. A friend who knows I take low-dose aspirin emailed me an article from a natural health site saying daily aspirin is dangerous and could cause brain bleeding or make me go blind. It seemed extreme, but what do you think? — Len, Cleveland Read More
Physicians have long known that “the body electric” is for real: Tiny electrical currents and magnetic fields are constantly firing off inside you. We just haven’t known how to harness these forces for healing. But a handful of scientists and medical innovators have relentlessly pursued this. Read More
Let’s say someone you care about (you?) is overweight. Enough overweight that you’re as nervous about type 2 diabetes as a roomful of freshmen is when the math teacher says, “Pop quiz!”
Maybe you’ve tried to lose weight but haven’t gotten far. Should you just curl up with a doughnut and wait for the big D? No way.
Think of us YOU Docs as Batman and Robin, swooping in (POW!) with an emergency plan to shield you from diabetes until the weight comes off. Here’s the plan: Besides maintaining a healthy weight, four factors keep diabetes at bay. Read More
We YOU docs don’t like to start with scary stuff, but this gave us a post-Halloween fright night: Deaths related to high blood pressure jumped after the recession settled in. People apparently started skipping blood pressure checks and meds because of financial worries. Read More