‘To cope with what’s coming’

Maybe you can eat an apple, but you can’t remember how to cook beans on a stove. You can answer the phone, but you can’t remember how to dial 911. The needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are subtle at … Read more

Latest stories

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

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

‘Blue Zones’ author to speak in Spokane on Oct. 28

National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones,” will speak in Spokane at a free event Oct. 28. The original “blue zones” are places around the world, identified by Buettner and other researchers, where people live longer and with less disability than everyone else: Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. Read more

House Call: When stuttering persists in children, seek help

When a person involuntarily repeats a sound, usually at the beginning of a word, it is called stuttering. Oct. 22 is the International Stuttering Awareness Day. About 5 percent of children will develop a stutter. It may last anywhere from weeks to years, although most children outgrow it. Around 1 percent of adults stutter throughout their lives. Stuttering is often worse with anxiety or in stressful situations. Read more

Researchers seek clues from the cleft

PITTSBURGH – Cleft lips and palates in newborns can frighten parents at first, while at the same time the cause of such dramatic impacts on function and appearance has long mystified doctors and scientists. Those factors led Mary Marazita, who holds a doctoral degree in genetics, to begin researching the genetic causes of clefts in the 1980s. Since then her research team has widened its focus to include many physical and health impacts that blood relatives of people with clefts can experience from shared gene variants. Read more

Health bulletin board www.spokesman.com/livewell/

New listings Multiple Sclerosis Support Group - Find comfort and strength with your peers as you learn, cope, laugh and celebrate the challenges and successes of living with MS. Family and friends are welcome, too. Beginning this week, the group will meet the third Thursday of each month, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Contact Melanie at ms.melanie.2002@gmail.com or (509) 251-8230. Read more