Archive for December, 2013

Should I take a weight-loss drug to help me lose weight?

DEAR DOCTOR K: Should I take a weight-loss drug to help me lose weight?

DEAR READER: If you are only mildly overweight or just want to lose a few pounds to improve your appearance, then weight-loss drugs are not for you. On the other hand, if your health is at risk and you haven't been able to lose weight through diet and exercise, drug therapy may increase your chance of success.

What do I need to know before I start core exercises?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I'd like to start doing some core exercises. What do I need to know before I start?

DEAR READER: Core exercises should be a part of everyone's exercise routine. Committing to core work will improve your posture whether you're sitting, standing or moving. Try to do a variety of exercises that target all the core muscles.

Medications haven’t helped my “functional dyspepsia” — Could something more serious be wrong?

DEAR DOCTOR K: My doctor says I have "functional dyspepsia." Medications haven't helped. Could something more serious be wrong?

DEAR READER: Dyspepsia is a medical term for persistent upper abdominal pain or discomfort. When doctors use the word "functional," they mean that there is no identifiable cause for the problem. By this definition, the majority of people with dyspepsia may have functional dyspepsia.

What causes under eye bags, puffiness, and dark circles?

DEAR DOCTOR K: Why do I have bags, puffiness and dark circles around my eyes? What can I do about it?

DEAR READER: My Harvard Medical School colleague Dr. Robert Shmerling wrote about this a couple of years ago in the Harvard Health Letter newsletter. Here's some of what he said: Gently pinch the skin under your eyes and give it a little tug. You'll feel that it's a little looser and thinner than skin elsewhere. It's also looser and thinner than it used to be.

Are there any other treatment options for Parkinson’s Disease?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I've been taking levodopa for years to treat my Parkinson's disease. Lately, though, it hasn't been as effective. Are there any other treatment options?

DEAR READER: It is quite common for the effectiveness of levodopa to change over time. Fortunately, there are other treatments available. Some are very high-tech, reflecting the latest scientific knowledge. Others are very low-tech, reflecting the wisdom of the past.