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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Doctor K: Review ways to control hypertension

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’ve made lifestyle changes and take three blood pressure medications, but my blood pressure still isn’t where my doctor wants it to be. What else can I do? DEAR READER: Sometimes high blood pressure (hypertension) doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes and medications. This is called resistant hypertension. It is blood pressure that lingers above target levels despite the use of three medications.

Doctor K: Draining relieves pain of black nail

DEAR DOCTOR K: I hurt my toe and now the nail has turned black. What can I do? DEAR READER: Treatment for a subungual hematoma involves relieving pressure by draining the blood trapped under the nail. I vividly remember the first time I learned how to do it, as an intern in the emergency room. The patient was a weekend carpenter who had hammered a nail, but it wasn’t a metal nail: It was the nail on his left thumb.

Doctor K: PT is one solution to torn ACL

DEAR DOCTOR K: I tore my ACL. Is surgery inevitable? DEAR READER: The anterior cruciate ligament is a band of tissue that runs through the middle of the knee joint and keeps the shinbone from sliding forward past the thighbone. The ACL can tear during a sudden or awkward twist, turn or stop. More often than not, it’s these non-contact injuries that injure an ACL. Between 100,000 and 200,000 ACL injuries occur each year in the United States.

Doctor K: Positive thinking still good advice

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m going through a tough time. Do you think positive psychology can help me? DEAR READER: For many years, I was skeptical about various popular self-realization or self-improvement programs. That’s because there weren’t a lot of studies that showed they helped. That’s still true, but I’ve seen individual instances where people clearly seemed to benefit.

Doctor K: Hip resurfacing or replacement? Latter is tested

DEAR DOCTOR K: You recently discussed hip replacement in your column. Shouldn’t the option of hip resurfacing have been part of the discussion? DEAR READER: In the column you’re referring to, a reader in his 50s asked how to time his hip replacement. I advised him to find a balance: “Operate too soon, and you’ll increase your chance of revision surgery; wait too long, and you’ll subject yourself to additional months and years of pain.” What I told him was correct. I didn’t mention an additional option, hip resurfacing, because in my opinion, its long-term success is untested.

Doctor K: Old, peeling paint may pose lead risk

DEAR DOCTOR K: What are the risks of lead poisoning? How can we protect our daughter from it? DEAR READER: Lead is poison. Although major strides have been made in the past 50 years, lead poisoning is, unfortunately, still a problem. All of us are exposed to lead, but children are most vulnerable to it.

Doctor K: Variety of ways to treat keloids

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have a keloid on my shoulder that makes me very self-conscious. Are there treatments other than surgery? DEAR READER: Keloids are raised overgrowths of scar tissue that usually appear at the site of a skin injury. They are harmless and do not become cancerous. But once a keloid develops, it won’t go away unless it is removed or treated. Unfortunately, none of the existing treatments give completely satisfying results. What’s more, keloids that have been removed or treated often return.

Doctor K: Choose foods wisely with IBS

DEAR DOCTOR K: I recently heard about a new diet to manage IBS. Can you tell me about it? DEAR READER: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Symptoms include cramping, diarrhea, gas and bloating.

Doctor K: Annual eye exam crucial for diabetics

DEAR DOCTOR K: I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Can you explain how diabetes affects vision? DEAR READER: Both of the common types of diabetes, Type 1 (which usually begins in childhood) and Type 2 (which usually begins in adulthood), can affect vision in several ways. After 20 years of having Type 2 diabetes, most people have eye problems. But the risk can be reduced, as I’ll explain.

Doctor K: Supplement claims largely unproven

DEAR DOCTOR K: Many herbs, vitamins and supplements claim to boost energy. Do any of them actually work? DEAR READER: Unfortunately, there is not much scientific evidence to support the claims. Here is my best current assessment of the published evidence:

Doctor K: Genetic factors play role in stuttering

DEAR DOCTOR K: My child stutters. Why does he do this? What can we do to help him? DEAR READER: I remember the first time I met someone who stuttered. He was a playmate when I was in grade school, whose parents knew my parents. I never heard him say the words “mother” or “father.” It was always “m-m-m-mother” or “f-f-f-father.”

Doctor K: A little sugar helps to treat hypoglycemia

DEAR DOCTOR K: I take several medications for Type 2 diabetes. How can I tell if I’m becoming hypoglycemic? And what should I do if I am? DEAR READER: Like you, many people with diabetes take medications to avoid high blood sugar. The medicines are very effective in preventing or lowering high blood sugar levels.

Doctor K: Sports, energy drinks not for teens

DEAR DOCTOR K: My son thinks sports and energy drinks will help his athletic performance. But are these drinks safe for teens? DEAR READER: I don’t think children and teens should drink either sports or energy drinks – and neither does the American Academy of Pediatrics. Unfortunately, these products are often marketed directly to children and adolescents.

Doctor K: View nutrition facts to find healthy cereal

DEAR DOCTOR K: I know breakfast is important, but in our house we only have time for cereal. How can I make sure to at least choose a healthy one? DEAR READER: You’re right to make breakfast a priority, no matter how busy your mornings. A good breakfast can help you concentrate, maintain the right weight and get the nutrients you need to stay well. And the right cereal is a very healthy, and quick, breakfast.

Doctor K: Light therapy one way to treat vitiligo

DEAR DOCTOR K: My dark skin makes my vitiligo very noticeable. Steroid creams haven’t helped. I’ve heard that light therapy might be an option. DEAR READER: Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes white patches of skin to appear on the body. The patches are more obvious in dark-skinned people. Vitiligo usually appears when people are in their 20s or 30s.

Doctor K: Treat B-12 deficiency with pills

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m a vegan. I just found out I have a vitamin B-12 deficiency. How is this treated? DEAR READER: Vitamin B-12 deficiency is common in vegans, and fortunately it’s easy to treat. Vitamin B-12 is needed by many tissues in the body, especially the brain and spinal cord, and the bone marrow where blood cells are made.