Chronic diarrhea

Q: My friend, who is nearly 80, has been complaining that she is losing weight because “everything goes straight through.” Is this normal in older people? She has not been to see her doctor, but I think this needs investigating. She has no other health problems except for arthritis. A: Old age is not a […] Read more

Does iodine help thyroid?

Q: I have an underactive thyroid gland and am taking Synthyroid, one pill a day. One of my friends thinks that I will not need to take the pills if I take extra iodine in my diet? Is this safe and a good idea? A: There is a fringe group of naturopaths and doctors who […] Read more

Taking bone density pills

Q: I am 60 years old and female and have some borderline osteoporosis and low minerals in my bones. My doctor has prescribed Alendronate, which I am supposed to take once a week, but it gives me heartburn and makes me feel ill for a couple of days. Is it worthwhile to take it? A: […] Read more

Asthma, not just a childhood disease

Sometimes it is due to allergies and sometimes it can prolong or extend the duration of a cough after a cold. Not everyone with asthma has acute attacks of wheezing or turns blue. At one time, asthma was an under-diagnosed condition, but the pendulum seems to have recently swung the other way. It can be […] Read more

Gluten-free not ideal diet

Q: I have been on a gluten-free diet for fibromyalgia for a year now and I am feeling better. I feed the whole family — my husband and two children, 5 and 7 — the same diet because it is too complicated to cook different meals for everyone. Is this OK? I assume it is […] Read more

Reflux drug side-effects

Q: I am taking a pill daily to help me with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease. I have heard that some of these medications may make a person more likely to get Alzheimer’s. Is this true and should I stop taking this medication? A: First, check with your family doctor before discontinuing any prescribed […] Read more

Retrovirus treatment

Q: What exactly are retroviruses? My wife has developed some numbness and tingling in her lower legs that make it painful and difficult for her to walk. Her doctor thinks it might be due to a retrovirus. Is there a cure? A: The retrovirus that everyone has heard of is HIV, which can lead to […] Read more

Rash caused by shingles virus best treated with oral medication

Q: What is the name of the cream you mentioned in your article on shingles? A small patch on my back appeared after having gastro surgery, during which 18 inches of small intestines were removed. The following year, sores appeared. I have never had it checked because I didn’t have pain, but it itches about […] Read more