Health

How can I protect my middle schooler from cyberbullying?

DEAR DOCTOR K:My daughter will be starting middle school this year. How can I protect her from cyberbullying?

DEAR READER: Bullying can be particularly difficult during middle and high school, when popularity and peer acceptance feel like the most important parts of life. Adding technology to the mix makes it worse still. Cyberbullying is not simply bullying that takes place through electronic means.

Why would a doctor order an ultrasound of the carotid artery?

DEAR DOCTOR K: My father's doctor wants him to have an ultrasound of his carotid artery. What is the carotid artery? What will the doctor be looking for?

DEAR READER: The carotid arteries carry oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to the brain. These crucial arteries can become narrowed by the cholesterol-filled plaques of atherosclerosis. Blood clots can form from the plaques, then break off and travel to the brain. There, they can lodge in small arteries, interrupting the vital flow of blood to brain cells.

What should I know before I start strength training?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I'd like to start strength training, but I have lots of questions. What should I know before I begin?

DEAR READER: Strength-training exercises are those that force your muscles to strain against an opposing force, like a dumbbell or elasticized band. There's a lot you need to know before you begin. I'll answer several common questions to help get you on your way. Below you'll find several more strength-training tips:

Are there any safety precautions for taking acetaminophen?

DEAR DOCTOR K: As I've entered my 50s, I find myself reaching for Tylenol more often for my aches and pains. Should I be aware of any safety precautions?

DEAR READER: Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and several other over-the-counter medications. As with all medications, you should use it cautiously. But if you stick to the guidelines, there's little need to worry.

What do I need to know about my son’s video games?

DEAR DOCTOR K: My son plays a lot of video games. What do I need to know about them? And how can I make sure they don't become a problem?

DEAR READER: I've yet to meet a child who doesn't like video games. But as you imply, this kind of entertainment has its downsides. I've talked with several colleagues who are pediatricians here at Harvard Medical School, and they've helped me answer your question.

What are the different options of penile implants?

DEAR DOCTOR K: Can you discuss penile implants? I haven't had success with other treatments for erectile dysfunction.

DEAR READER: Medications, injectable drugs and devices such as vacuum pumps can effectively help most men who cannot get or maintain an erection. In particular, the three different pills for erectile dysfunction (ED) are effective about 70 percent of the time. Have you talked with your doctor about increasing the dose of the medicines you have taken? And has your doctor done tests to determine the cause of your erectile dysfunction?

What can my dermatologist do for my wrinkles that’s budget friendly?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I'm in my 60s and already have a lot of wrinkles. What can a dermatologist do for me that will make a difference but not be hugely expensive?

DEAR READER: Age isn't kind to skin. Years of sun exposure leave their mark in the form of fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration. I spoke to my colleague Dr. Kenneth Arndt, clinical professor of dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Which is a better choice for protein– meat or legumes?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I know we need protein in our diets and that beans are a good source. But I've read that meat is a great source of protein and iron. Which is a better choice?

DEAR READER: Meat is an excellent source of protein and iron, but unfortunately, red meat is also full of saturated fat -- one of the "bad" fats.

Leaner cuts contain less saturated fat, but eating lean red meat still causes you to consume lots of saturated fat. The saturated fat is not always visible: In addition to the layer of fat that may cover a cut of red meat, and any visible fat "marbled" inside the meat, there is plenty of invisible saturated fat. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

I want to start exercising regularly– Should I join a gym?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I want to start exercising regularly. Should I join a gym?

DEAR READER: You don't need a gym in order to exercise regularly. Your body offers the cheapest equipment available. And the money you save by not paying for a gym membership might be put to good use elsewhere, whether that means monthly bills or tennis lessons. But joining a gym has its benefits, too.

What are the different pills for Type 2 diabetes?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have Type 2 diabetes and my doctor wants to prescribe medication. Fortunately, he says I don't need shots, just pills. What are the different pills for Type 2 diabetes?

DEAR READER: No one likes needles, but the needles used to give yourself insulin are very small, and the shots are very easy to administer. But for Type 2 diabetes, it is true that pills are often all that are needed. In Type 2 diabetes, like the less common Type 1, blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high.