Flying Doctors setting up in Inland Northwest

An organization that sends doctors, dentists and nurses to remote parts of the world is setting up an office in the Inland Northwest and seeking volunteers to treat “the poorest of the poor.” Based in Georgia since 1990, Flying Doctors of America runs eight to … Read more

Latest stories

Left untreated, diabetic eye disease can rob vision

About 10 years ago I met a young woman in her mid-20s who was blind due to retinopathy, damage to the retina at the back of her eyes caused by many years of uncontrolled diabetes. She had juvenile onset diabetes and had struggled with a lack of insurance and inability to get enough medication and care. Retinopathy is one result of uncontrolled diabetes. Retinopathy, cataracts and other eye complications from diabetes are not inevitable and do not have to result in blindness. Blood sugar control, proper preventive care and regular eye exams can reduce the risk and the damage of these complications. When diabetic retinopathy begins, it causes small blood vessels at the back of the eye to swell and form pouches. The condition progresses from mild to severe as more blood vessels swell. If left untreated, people can eventually lose their vision. Read more

Colonoscopy better than home test kit

DEAR DOCTOR K: I heard about a new home test that detects colon cancer. Is it a good alternative to colonoscopy? DEAR READER: The new test appears to be an advance, but I don’t think it’s as good as colonoscopy. Read more

Lifestyle affects odds for long life

DEAR DOCTOR K: Eat right. Don’t smoke. Stay active. Can you give me some motivation to keep up these healthy behaviors? DEAR READER: I think I get your message. This column frequently presents information from scientific studies about healthy lifestyle. But information alone may not be enough to change behavior – and it’s hard to change behavior, particularly when you enjoy it. Information doesn’t equal motivation. Read more

Ask Doctor K: Choose right eye drops for your allergy symptoms

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have allergies, and my eyes are affected the most. They’re puffy, red and itchy. What can I do? DEAR READER: Pollens, animal dander, dust mites and mold: The same allergens that cause sneezing and an itchy nose and throat can trigger allergy symptoms that affect your eyes. If your eyes are red and itchy, you also may have tearing, mucous discharge and swelling of your conjunctiva (the inside of your eyelid). This constellation of symptoms is known as allergic conjunctivitis. It can be uncomfortable, but it is not a threat to vision. Read more

Chemo strategies can differ

DEAR DOCTOR K: My mother was diagnosed with cancer and will soon begin chemotherapy. I’d like to understand how chemotherapy is given, and how it fights cancer. DEAR READER: Chemotherapy uses drugs that kill cancerous cells, but only injure healthy cells. To understand chemotherapy, you need to understand what cancer is and what is different about cancer cells. Read more

Suicide hotline may have answer

Dear Annie: My son is 25 years old with a college degree and an excellent job. The sad thing is, he is depressed. He won’t go for treatment. He goes to work, comes home and sits in front of his computer. I have spoken to professionals myself, but they all say the same thing: He is an adult and must get help on his own. But he doesn’t think he is sick. Meanwhile, he complains that he can’t find a girlfriend, while his friends are all in relationships or married. If we suggest he join a group, he won’t leave his room. He says he’ll end his life. We are so worried about him. – Sad Mother Read more

Clinic today will offer kids free vaccines

A free clinic today will offer free vaccinations for children ages 2 to 18. A limited supply of vaccines also will be available for adults, according to the Spokane Regional Health District. Read more

Ask Doctor K: Infertility in men has many causes

DEAR DOCTOR K: My wife and I have tried to get pregnant for over a year. We’re going to be tested soon to see if anything is wrong. I’m worried that the problem lies with me. What are some reasons for a man to be infertile? DEAR READER: About one in seven couples in the United States is unable to conceive a child after trying for one year. The infertility is caused by either the man alone (about 40 percent of the time), by the woman alone (about 40 percent of the time) or by both partners (about 20 percent of the time). So it is possible that something about you is responsible for your wife’s difficulty with becoming pregnant. Read more

Ample reasons to embrace insulin therapy

My patients with type 2 diabetes – the most common form (usually adult onset) – usually begin controlling their blood sugar with oral medications, diet changes and exercise. Controlling blood sugar means keeping the measurements within the goal range you set with your health care provider. Managing the disease this way helps you avoid complications that can come from uncontrolled blood sugar. Along with blood pressure and cholesterol control, normal blood sugar levels reduce health problems later. Sometimes blood sugar levels cannot be managed with diet, exercise and oral medications. When that happens, insulin is often recommended. Read more

New Deaconess unit aids drug-dependent newborns

Babies born exposed to drugs experience withdrawal in their first days, leaving them trembling, sleepless and inconsolable. Even a human touch can be painful. But drug-dependent newborns are arriving in neonatal intensive care units at alarming rates. Intakes have increased nationally more than five-fold since 2000, research shows. It’s not just street drugs; babies exposed to prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone or oxycodone are becoming increasingly common. Read more

Hepatitis C safety trial finds vaccine promising

LOS ANGELES – An experimental vaccine for hepatitis C has shown promise in preliminary human safety trials, according to researchers, and it may pave the way to a more affordable means of fighting the virus. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, authors wrote that 15 people in Britain were given a “prime and boost” course of the experimental vaccine. Read more

CdA woman urges ‘mindful philanthropy’ regarding breast cancer

Breast cancer Orbit gum. Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Campbell’s soup. Swiffer 3-in-1 starter kits. Breast cancer maximum-strength pepper spray. Nail polish. Socks and shoes. Rubber duckies, water bottles, tote bags, Barbie dolls. Read more

Ask Dr. K: No one theory on yawning

DEAR DOCTOR K: I get plenty of sleep. So why do I yawn all the time? DEAR READER: We all yawn frequently, more often in the early morning and late evening. Does it mean we’re tired? Bored? Short on oxygen? As common as it is, we know little for certain about yawning. Read more

If joint pain persists, replacement might be the answer

I have osteoarthritis in one of my knees. That is the name for wear and tear to cartilage, the substance cushioning the ends of bones. My knee grinds, is painful at times and is not as dependable as my other knee. As I age the cartilage in the knee will wear out more and someday I may need knee replacement. Previous fractures, other injuries and some health conditions can also cause painful damage to joints. Orthopedists who do joint replacement surgeries often recommend trying other ways of improving joint pain before considering surgery. Sometimes joint pain improves by strengthening muscles around the joint. Physical therapy and regular exercise strengthen muscles and reduce stress on joints. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces strain on knees and hips. Supplements and prescription and nonprescription medications are frequently used to reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain. Cortisone shots into affected joints decrease pain, but are only used a limited number of times because cortisone can ultimately worsen joint damage. Injection of a synthetic lubricant in the joint is sometimes helpful. Read more

Health officials say two children sickened by EV D-68

Two children hospitalized last month in Spokane County were sick with a virus that causes a severe respiratory illness. Read more

New home test shakes up colon cancer screening

Starting Monday, millions of people who have avoided colon cancer screening can get a new home test that’s noninvasive and doesn’t require the icky preparation most other methods do. Read more