Ask the Doctor

  • Ask The Doctor: Vericose Veins

    Varicose veins are caused by pressure from the blood in the veins, which is normally limited by valves every few inches in the vessels. With prolonged pressure from standing upright, hormonal changes, and weakening of the blood vessels, the valves break down, causing veins to grow larger and new vessels to form.

    Alan M. Dattner, MD
  • Ask The Doctor: Dry Skin

    Dry skin is often a sign of damage to your skin’s natural barrier from either over-bathing or an underlying allergic condition such as eczema. The skin holds in moisture with layers of flattened skin cells and fatty materials made up of waxes, cholesterol, and fatty acids. Over-bathing with soap and hot water washes away these layers as well as the salts in the skin that also hold water.

    My skin gets so dry every winter. What remedies will help?
    By Alan M. Dattner, MD
  • Ask The Doctor: Tame Your Tendonitis

    First off, don’t be surprised—tennis often has nothing to do with tennis elbow. Any repetitive movement or strain on the forearm—from playing tennis to painting your house to typing—can trigger the condition, but poor circulation or inflammation are most likely the underlying causes.

    I was recently diagnosed with tennis elbow, and I don’t even play tennis! What can I do?
    By Robert Keller
  • Ask The Doctor: Prostate Hyperplasia

    Actually, it’s not unusual for men in their mid-40s to experience a swelling of the prostate, which is what BPH is. Nearly half of all men in their 50s have the condition, and more than 80 percent of octogenarians suffer from it. Blame a rise in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a converted form of testosterone, the levels of which increase with age.

    I have just been diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia. At 46, am I too young?
    Robert Keller, CA
  • Ask The Doctor: End Springtime Allergies

    It sounds as though you have a condition known as rhinitis—inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose. This inflammation leads to a runny nose, sneezing, and a feeling of being stuffed up. Rhinitis may result from a cold, allergies, or nonallergenic irritants in the environment, such as dust, cigarette smoke, or pollution.

    I always have a runny nose, but every spring it gets worse, and my eyes water and itch. Is this just allergies or something else?
    By Jane Hart, MD
  • Ask The Doctor: Trans Fat Trickery

    This is a great question, and one that confuses many people. If a food lists “partially hydrogenated” or “fully hydrogenated” oils in its ingredients, then it definitely contains trans fats, despite the “0 grams trans fat” claim.

    How can some food labels proclaim “0 grams trans fat” on the package and still list hydrogenated oils in the ingredients?
    By Lisa Lanzano, RD
  • Ask The Doctor: Diabetes & Artifical Sweeteners

    As you know, when you eat sugar (or simple carbohydrates), your blood glucose levels rise, and your pancreas releases insulin to usher the sugar into cells. As a diabetic, however, you either don’t produce enough insulin or your cells don’t respond to the insulin (or both), and your blood glucose levels remain sky high.

    I’m diabetic. Should I use artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda or NutraSweet, instead of sugar?
    By Lisa Lanzano, RD
  • Ask The Doctor: Mercury Exposure

    You bring up an excellent question, and I hear it at my clinic almost weekly. Your experience at the doctor’s office mirrors the typical approach to heavy-metal testing—if the physician tests you at all.

    My family doctor tested my blood for heavy-metal poisoning and told me he saw no sign of lead or mercury. I’ve since heard that the test he used may not be very accurate. Should I get retested?
    By Paul S. Anderson, ND
  • Ask The Doctor: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Iritis

    Iritis is an inflammatory eye disorder that’s not caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and unfortunately, it’s one of the most dangerous kinds of “red eye” conditions you can have. A more common type, conjunctivitis (also called pink eye), is caused by either bacteria or viruses.

    I have rheumatoid arthritis, and my doctor warned me to get checked for iritis. First, what is it, and second, is it dangerous?
    By Paul S. Anderson, ND
  • ASk The Doctor: Mercury Exposure

    You bring up an excellent question, and I hear it at my clinic almost weekly. Your experience at the doctor’s office mirrors the typical approach to heavy-metal testing—if the physician tests you at all.

    My family doctor tested my blood for heavy-metal poisoning and told me he saw no sign of lead or mercury. I’ve since heard that the test he used may not be very accurate. Should I get retested?
    By Paul S. Anderson, ND