Do multivitamins protect you from disease?

Many people take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement expecting to feel better and prevent disease. The evidence for doing this is weak. Research also suggests that taking more than the minimum of vitamins and minerals you need doesn't prevent disease and may actually be harmful. The Harvard Physicians Health Study II found that taking a multivitamin for about a decade reduced the risk of being diagnosed with cancer by 8% compared to not taking the multivitamin, but had no effect on heart disease. A better strategy for prevention is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits. Food contains other nutrients besides the basic vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin. (Locked) More »

Why have an annual exam?

Annual check ups may not make you live longer, but they could help you enjoy better health throughout life and get better care if a health problem arises. (Locked) More »

The four horsemen of forgetfulness

Alcohol, medication effects, thyroid problems, and many other things can contribute to forgetfulness. Especially in older adults, the most common causes of forgetfulness are stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep deprivation. It is not uncommon to experience uncharacteristic memory slips after a big life change or stress. But it's important to see a doctor about problems getting enough sleep or about fatigue, which could be the result of inadequately addressed health issues. Multitasking can also contribute to forgetfulness. More »

Heartburn medication side effects: Should you worry?

Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications such as omeprazole and lansoprazole are the most effective  treatment for treating heartburn. But long-term use of a PPI may increase the risk for certain infections and reduce the absorption of some nutrients. This will probably not cause illness in most people.  Some people may be able to stop taking a PPI and switch to a different medication if there is a concern. In some people, the risk of stopping a PPIs might be greater than the relatively small and uncertain risks of continuing to take it. (Locked) More »

How to get ready for a new knee

Total knee replacement can return people with bad knees to levels of pain-free functioning they have not enjoyed in years. But the benefits of this major elective surgery come with risks and costs. Total knee replacement requires general anesthesia, so serious complications are always possible. Knee replacement involves a prolonged recovery, requiring months of rigorous physical therapy to regain full strength and range of motion. People planning on getting a new knee can increase the chance of a full and speedy recovery by doing physical therapy on the affected knee and leg before surgery. (Locked) More »

When drugs for erectile dysfunction don't work: What's next?

If erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs in pill form don't work, there are four major alternatives: penile injection, medication pellets, vacuum constriction method, and penile implant. Each option has pluses and minuses, and will work for different men depending on their preferences. Injection is the most effective option, but some men find it difficult to insert a needle in the penis. Inserting a medicine pellet in the tip of the penis works less well than injections. The vacuum constriction method does not produce a fully firm, natural-feeling erection. The penile implant approach is reliable but disturbs the natural erectile anatomy, which means that ED medications will no longer work. (Locked) More »

Exercise for cancer fatigue

Aerobic exercise reduces fatigue in people being treated for or recovering from treatment for cancer. Consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. (Locked) More »