Archive for July, 2013

What should I look for when choosing a healthy, supportive shoe?

DEAR DOCTOR K: You've often advised readers to buy supportive shoes that fit properly. Can you be more specific about what to look for in a good shoe?

DEAR READER: Buying the right shoe is an investment in your foot health. But how do you identify the "right" shoe? The bottom line is how you feel when you put them on.

How can I tell if I’m a good candidate for weight-loss surgery?

DEAR DOCTOR K: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's announcement about his weight-loss surgery got me thinking. Can you tell me more about this surgery and who might be a good candidate for it?

DEAR READER: Governor Christie -- as well-known for his waistline as his politics -- recently confirmed that he had weight-loss surgery. There are several types of weight-loss surgery (also called "bariatric surgery"). They work either by shrinking the size of the stomach, reducing the absorption of calories and nutrients in the intestine, or both.

Do I need surgery for an inguinal hernia?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have an inguinal hernia. Do I need to have it repaired? If so, what will the procedure involve?

DEAR READER: An inguinal hernia occurs when part of the intestine bulges through a weak spot in the abdominal wall, near the groin. The bulge can be small or large.

Is it safe for me to fly again if I’ve already had a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) from air travel?

DEAR DOCTOR K: Last year I developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -- blood clots in my legs -- during a long international flight. One of the clots got loose and went to my lungs. I'm fine now and am off all medications. Is it safe for me to fly again?

DEAR READER: Yes, you can fly again if you take some precautions. Before I describe them, though, a little background information is in order.

Is it possible to catch poison ivy from another person?

DEAR DOCTOR K: A co-worker came to work with a poison ivy rash. She assured me she's not contagious. Is that true?

DEAR READER: Your co-worker is right: You can't "catch" poison ivy from coming into contact with her rash. But it's summer, so let me give you a refresher course about the many plants that can cause a rash and how to take precautions against them.

I fall asleep easily, but wake in the middle of the night. Do you have tips to help me stay asleep?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I fall asleep just fine, but then I wake up around 4 a.m. It's too early to get up, but I can't fall back asleep. Help!

DEAR READER: Practically everyone has sleep problems occasionally. And a lot of people have sleep problems often. Sometimes it's trouble falling asleep. Sometimes, as in your case, it's trouble staying asleep. And sometimes it's just waking up unrefreshed, even though you think you've slept soundly.

I have keratitis and my eyes are very uncomfortable — what causes this?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have keratitis, for which my doctor has prescribed antibiotic eye drops. How did I get this? How can I avoid it in the future?

DEAR READER: Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea, the clear dome at the front of the eye that covers the pupil and iris (the colored ring around the pupil). Keratitis can cause red eye, the sensation of something in your eye, pain, light sensitivity, watery eye, blurred vision and difficulty keeping your eyelids open.