Hepatitis C screening could be critical

All baby boomers—everyone born between 1945 and 1965—should be tested for hepatitis C. That's because an estimated 1.5 million of them have hepatitis C but don't know it. This viral infection attacks the liver and can lead to cirrhosis, which leaves the liver scarred and functioning poorly. It can also lead to liver failure or liver cancer. Early detection is important because drug therapy can hold the infection at bay. New treatments for hepatitis C are more powerful and come with fewer side effects than older ones. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Shin splints at any age

Shin splints are caused by injuring muscles in the inner part of the lower leg. They can occur at any age. The best way to prevent shin splints is to warm up thoroughly before exercising.   (Locked) More »

Protect your brain from stroke

Too much salt can boost blood pressure and increase the risk for heart disease. Now a new study has linked a high-salt diet with increased risk for stroke. In the study, people who consumed the greatest amounts of sodium were about three times as likely to suffer a stroke as those who kept within the American Heart Association recommendations of 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. The most serious stroke risk linked to sodium consumption of 4,000 mg a day, which is only a bit above the amount of sodium that most people consume in a day. (Locked) More »

Easier way to help your hip?

A procedure known as hip resurfacing is emerging as an alternative to hip replacement. In a total hip replacement, the damaged surface of the hip's socket is removed, along with the ball at the top of the hip bone (femur) and a bit of the femur itself. The ball and neck of the femur are then replaced with prosthetic components. In hip resurfacing, the surgeon places a prosthetic cap on the femoral head, preserving the neck, and resurfaces the acetabulum. Insurance pays for both procedures and recovery time is the same: three days in the hospital, followed by 4–6 weeks of physical therapy. But not everyone has the right anatomy for hip resurfacing, and because of its track record, total hip replacement is best for people over 65. (Locked) More »

Can coffee help you live longer?

  Coffee may be part of a longer, healthier life. In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, older adults who drank coffee (caffeinated or decaf ) had a lower risk of dying from diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and other medical complications than non-coffee drinkers.   More »

Best options for prostate surgery

When it comes to prostate removal, traditional surgery and robot-assisted surgery appear to be equals. What's important is the expertise of the surgeon, whether he or she is doing the operation directly or is controlling the robot doing it.   (Locked) More »

Protect your brain with "good" fat

Foods that harm the heart, especially those rich in saturated fat, may also harm the brain. In a Harvard-based study, women with the highest consumption of saturated fat had worse memory and cognition over time than those who consumed the least saturated fat. (Locked) More »

Tips for living with tinnitus

  Millions of Americans live with tinnitus, a constant ringing or sound in the ears. Most treatments aim to minimize the symptoms, mask the sound, or deemphasize one's negative response to the sound.   (Locked) More »

New ways to treat varicose veins

Treating varicose veins used to mean a trip to the operating room and general anesthesia. Now it is usually an office procedure that involves using heat to make the vein collapse. (Locked) More »

What you should know about: Probiotics

  "Good" bacteria found in food and dietary supplements may help ward off illness. Called probiotics, these bacteria been shown to secrete protective substances that turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold. The strongest evidence for the benefits of probiotics is in treating diseases caused by harmful bacteria in the gut that cause severe diarrhea. When beneficial organisms coat the surface of the colon, then bad bacteria are blocked from attaching to and invading the wall of the colon. Foods that contain probiotics include yogurt, a fermented dairy drink called kefir, and fermented vegetables such as pickles and sauerkraut. They are also available in pill form. Common dosages for adults range from 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units per day, in a single daily dose, with or without food.   (Locked) More »

Living alone linked to higher risk of cardiovascular death

  According to a new study, adults aged 45 to 79 with heart disease may die sooner if they live alone. For them, living alone may be a stressful psychosocial situation, whereas living alone at ages 80 or older may indicate independence and self-sufficiency.   (Locked) More »

Prediabetes is associated with stroke risk

People with higher-than-normal blood glucose levels but who do not have diabetes—a condition known as prediabetes—may be at a higher risk of stroke. A diagnosis of prediabetes should sound a warning to better manage weight, diet, and exercise, which may contribute to diabetes and stroke. (Locked) More »