Q. I love southern cooking and I was wondering what you thought about it from a geezer health standpoint.
Every time I’ve traveled south, I’ve been struck by the food many southerners eat. Lots of fat, salt, sugar and other harmful foods in great quantities.
I remember trying to get a Kaiser roll in a neighborhood grocery story in North Carolina. The best I could do was a Moon Pie, a chocolate-covered pastry made with two round graham cracker cookies and marshmallow filling in the center.
Q. My 40-year-old son was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. What can he expect from this as he gets older?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) was identified in 1886 by three physicians: Jean-Martin Charcot (sharr-KOE) and Pierre Marie, both in France, and Howard Henry Tooth, in England.
CMT is also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN). CMT is a group of related conditions caused by inherited mutations in genes.
Q. I have high blood pressure and I’m trying to cut down on sodium in my diet. Should I switch to sea salt from regular table salt?
Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater.
Table salt comes from underground mines.
Sea salt sounds healthier, doesn’t it? It evokes lots of images of crashing surf, tanned bodies, marlin jumping out of the water. How bad can it be?
Sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium chloride. Switching won’t help you with your high blood pressure. But you’re on the right track.
Q. Do feet get larger as you age?
Feet get bigger over decades of pounding. Some people over the age of 40 can gain half a shoe size every 10 years.
Feet flatten out because their supporting tendons and ligaments lose their elasticity. As the tendon along the length of the sole elongates, the arch lowers.
Another reason feet enlarge is that the force of your weight thins the fat pads cushioning the bottom of the feet.
Q. I heard there’s this “goop” that you can get injected into your knee that can ease pain. True?
The “goop” is hyaluronan, a thick lubricant and shock-absorber in joint fluid. Hyaluronan injections, also called viscosupplements, are given to people with osteoarthritis.
Viscosupplementation began in Japan and Italy in 1987, in Canada in 1992, in Europe in 1995 and in the United States in 1997.
The knee, which is the largest joint in the body, is made up of the thighbone (femur), shin bone (tibia) and the kneecap (patella).
Q. What happens to you if you eat more than one apple a day?
I realize that this question was meant to be humorous, but there is a serious answer to it.
Believe it or not, there is a three-apple-a-day diet, which I’ll get to later. But, first, let’s discuss an apple a day.
We have to go back in time to Wales to find the origins of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
The earliest known record of the maxim is in an 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine:
Q. I’ve been hearing a lot about the health benefits of aspirin. Is it some kind of cure-all or am I a victim of hype?
I wouldn’t call it hype. There’s a lot of research that indicates aspirin is good for many ailments.
Aspirin is in a group of drugs called salicylates, which work by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, swelling and blood clots.
Q. What causes a heart attack?
A blood clot in a narrowed coronary artery is the usual cause of a heart attack. The clogged artery prevents oxygenated blood from nourishing the heart. This can lead to pain, the death of heart cells, scar tissue and fatal arrythmias.
Many causes can lead to the narrowing of arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. This increases the likelihood of a heart attack.
Q. I’m 68-years-old and I’m tired a lot. What do you think could be causing this?
For starters, I never make a personal diagnosis; I’m not qualified. I’m a journalist, not a physician. If you have persistent fatigue, I recommend you see a doctor for a check-up.
I suffer from fatigue that I know is caused by seasonal allergies. When the pollen and mold counts are high, I lose energy and doze off during the day.
Figuring out why you are fatigued is very difficult because there are so many possible causes.
Q. Can magnets relieve pain?
Here’s the official position of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the medical research agency of the federal government: