Q. Is breast cancer the leading cause of cancer death in women?
Breast cancer is second, behind lung cancer, as the leading cause of cancer death in women. The chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in a woman’s life is about 1 in 8.
There are many risk factors for breast cancer.
The risk rises with age. About 77 percent of women with breast cancer are older than 50 when they are diagnosed.
Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close relatives have the disease.
Q. I get low blood pressure after I eat a meal. It makes me a little woozy. What can I do about it?
This is a senior malady called “postprandial hypotension.” When you eat, blood pours into your digestive system. To maintain your blood pressure, your heart pumps more often and your blood vessels constrict. These compensatory mechanisms don’t work for some people.
To help prevent postprandial hypotension, eat small portions several times a day and limit high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.
Q. Fruit juices give me a stomach ache. Do you think I’m allergic to them?
I never diagnose because I’m not a physician. I’m just a journalist. If you have a problem digesting fruit juices and this is getting in your way, you should get a medical check-up.
Meanwhile, you might want to keep a diary of the food you eat. This can be the first stope to isolate foods that are giving you digestion problems. The intensity of your reaction can help determine whether you are allergic to certain foods or are suffering from a food intolerance.
Q. My granddaughter came home with a belly-button ring. God help us all. What is going on with these body piercings?
Body piercings have become more popular in the last 25 years, but they are certainly not a new thing.
People in most cultures have pierced themselves for thousands of years. There are mummified remains of a human in Egypt that was pierced more than 5,000 years ago. Body piercings are also mentioned in the Bible.
Piercing the body and inserting jewelry in the holes is classified as a form of skin adornment, a fashion statement.
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.