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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: Pap test still needed, just not as often

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m a woman in my 30s, and I’ve never had an abnormal Pap test. Do I still need one every year? DEAR READER: The answer used to be yes. This helped ensure that you had regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer. But new guidelines recommend less frequent Pap tests for younger women, and no Pap tests for many older women.

Philadelphia abortion trial nears closing arguments

A Philadelphia jury won’t hear from an abortion provider before they weigh charges he killed a woman and four babies. Dr. Kermit Gosnell has decided not to testify or call witnesses at his capital murder trial.

Doctor K: Several things may cause burning mouth

DEAR DOCTOR K: For months, my mouth has been painfully burning and tingling. What could be causing my symptoms? Are there any treatments for it? DEAR READER: Several conditions can cause a burning sensation in the mouth. Some nutritional deficiencies – particularly of B vitamins, iron and zinc – can cause it. These problems can be detected by simple blood tests.

Doctor K: Gastroparesis may require dietary changes

DEAR DOCTOR K: A friend has a condition called gastroparesis. Could you explain what it is and how it can be treated? DEAR READER: Gastroparesis is the term used for sluggish emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine. Normally, your stomach moves about half of an average meal into the small intestine within two hours after you eat. Within four hours, about 90 percent of your meal is in the small intestine. If you have gastroparesis, food stays in the stomach much longer.

Doctor K: Symptoms may differ between sexes

DEAR DOCTOR K: It’s obvious that there are some health problems that affect only women, and others that affect only men. But for the health problems that affect both women and men, are there differences in symptoms, or in reactions to treatments? DEAR READER: That’s an interesting question. Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes.

Doctor K: Cure for cold remains elusive

DEAR DOCTOR K: Is there any way to prevent a cold? DEAR READER: The typical cold is a relatively mild misery that goes away without special treatment after about a week. Still, it’s a misery most of us would rather avoid.

Doctor K: Benefits of daily aspirin outweigh risk

DEAR DOCTOR K: I take a daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack. I just read that aspirin can cause macular degeneration. Should I stop taking it? DEAR READER: No, you shouldn’t stop taking aspirin. Medicine – and life – is full of trading off one risk for another. Doctors and medical scientists aren’t (yet) smart enough to discover or invent treatments that have absolutely no risks, only benefits. So you have to compare the risk of a treatment against your risks if you don’t take it.

Doctor K: Secondhand smoke bad for adults, kids

DEAR DOCTOR K: My husband smokes. Is secondhand smoke really as dangerous for me as I’ve heard? DEAR READER: More than a thousand studies show beyond the shadow of a doubt that secondhand smoke can be very bad for you – bad for adults, and even worse for kids.

Doctor K: Strategies to add exercise to your life

DEAR DOCTOR K: I know I should exercise regularly, but I just can’t get motivated. Do you have any suggestions? DEAR READER: Practically everyone has heard that exercise is good for you. But not many people know just how good it is for you.

Doctor K: Healthy lunch can help avoid energy dive

DEAR DOCTOR K: Can you give me some tips for eating a healthy but satisfying lunch? DEAR READER: Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but don’t give your lunch short shrift. Eating lunch helps maintain your blood sugar level so your energy won’t take a midday dive. A healthy lunch will also help you concentrate and function better in the afternoon, and it will help you avoid hunger that can lead to overeating at dinner.

Doctor K: Tips to avoid toddler tantrums

DEAR DOCTOR K: My toddler has frequent temper tantrums, and it’s impossible to calm him down once he gets going. I’d rather learn ways to head off his tantrums in the first place.

Doctor K: Therapy an option to treat child’s anxiety

DEAR DOCTOR K: I believe my second-grader suffers from anxiety. How is anxiety treated in children? DEAR READER: Many kids have anxiety disorders. There are several different kinds, and most are suffered both by kids and adults, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobias, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Doctor K: Woman, 40, questions lack of menstruation

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have not had my period for three months. I’m not pregnant and I’m only 40, so I’m too young for menopause. What’s going on? DEAR READER: What you’re experiencing sounds like secondary amenorrhea. I say that because you’ve menstruated in the past, you’re not old enough to be entering menopause, and you’ve stopped menstruating for three or more consecutive months. That’s the definition of secondary amenorrhea.

Doctor K: Depression after stroke not uncommon

DEAR DOCTOR K: My father had a stroke and has become depressed during his long recovery. Will antidepressants help? I’m asking because of the damage the stroke has done to his brain.

Doctor K: Treatment for JRA not without risks

DEAR DOCTOR K: My young granddaughter has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I worry about the effects of the powerful medications she has to take. DEAR READER: Modern medicine has created real miracles. We have been smart enough to create treatments that relieve suffering and prevent premature death beyond what was previously possible. But we are not yet smart enough to create tests and treatments that are free of side effects.