Q. When doctors perform a cardiac ablation, what do they use to clean the heart?
This question made me laugh because I had the same misconception as the correspondent. We both confused ablation with ablution. Ablation is a surgical excision of tissue. Ablution is a cleansing with water or another liquid.
Cardiac ablation corrects heart arrhythmias by destroying tissue that blocks the electrical signal traveling through your heart to make it beat. By clearing the signal pathway of the abnormal tissue, your heart can beat properly again.
Q. What is the most common blood type?
Q. What exactly degenerates when you get macular degeneration?
The macula. It is at the center of the retina in the back of your eye. The retina transmits light from the eye to the brain. The macula allows us to perform tasks that require central vision such as reading and driving.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in United States citizens 60 years of age and older.
A while ago, I wrote a column about my wife, Gale, who told me she was hearing talk radio in her head. I researched this and I’m convinced that Gale is picking up radio signals through her teeth.
In the column, I invited readers to submit their experiences. The following are some accounts from my e-mailbag. I’m using only first names in case these readers would rather not have anyone else know about the radios in their heads.
Q. Isn’t living in the country healthier than living in the city?
I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to that question. My first reaction to this inquiry was that life in the country is much healthier. It seemed obvious because of the crime, pollution, crowding and stress of the city.
However, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), a national nonprofit organization, gave me some surprising information that made me rethink my answer.
Here are some of the facts from the NRHA:
Q. I’m 69-years-old and I’m considering surgery for obesity. Am I too old for this?
There is no upper age limit for this type of surgery. However, the procedure is riskier for anyone older than 65.
Obesity surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, limits your food intake. Some operations also restrict the amount of food you can digest. It is designed for men who are at least 100 pounds overweight and women at least 80 pounds overweight.
Second of two parts
Like millions of people who suffer back pain, I rely on a system developed by Robin McKenzie, a physiotherapist in New Zealand.
After I turned 30-years old, I have hurt my lower back many times. Eventually, I suffered from sciatica, a toothache-like pain that runs down my left buttock to my ankle. This is caused by a bulging lumbar disc.
I tried physiatrists, chiropractors and physical therapists. Then I was given a copy of “Treat Your Own Back” by Robin McKenzie. Since then, I have not been to a healthcare professional for help with my back pain.
First of two parts
Q. Is there a magic bullet for back pain? I could use one.
There is no magic bullet for everyone. However, like millions of people who suffer back pain, I rely on the methods developed by Robin McKenzie, a physiotherapist in New Zealand.
When I was 30-years-old, I strained my lower back carrying bundles of newspapers. With a week of bed rest, I got better. A few years later, I reached for a backhand on the tennis court and ended up in bed again.
Q. Does getting older your mouth dry?
Most dry mouth is related to the medications taken by older adults rather than to the effects of aging. More than 400 medicines can affect the salivary glands. These include drugs for urinary incontinence, allergies, high blood pressure, depression, diarrhea and Parkinson’s disease. Also, some over-the-counter medications often cause dry mouth.
Q. I have a nasty-looking scar that shows only when I wear a bathing suit. I’d like to get rid of it, if possible. What’s available?
There is no procedure yet that will make a scar disappear completely. However, there are treatments to make a scar less noticeable. These include:
Surgical Scar Revision