Archive for March, 2016

Is it safe to take ibuprofen after an angioplasty?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I had angioplasty with a stent recently. I need to take aspirin and Plavix every day. I used to take ibuprofen for pain, but a neighbor said I shouldn't take it if I'm on aspirin and Plavix. Is that right?

DEAR READER: Taking aspirin and Plavix after angioplasty and stent placement is standard care. Both aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) attach to blood cells called platelets to make them less sticky. You need these drugs to prevent the formation of a blood clot inside the stent. If a clot forms in the stent, it can suddenly cut off the blood supply and cause a major heart attack.

How can I help my son sleep better?

DEAR DOCTOR K: My 6-year-old son just can't seem to fall asleep at night. He doesn't fuss -- he just doesn't get enough sleep. Is there anything I can do?

DEAR READER: Kids can have many different kinds of sleep problems. Like your son, they can have trouble falling asleep. Other kids may fall asleep promptly, but awaken repeatedly. Others may snore or have breathing problems during sleep. Still others may have abnormal movements during sleep.

What can I do to prevent ear pain on planes?

DEAR DOCTOR K: I get pain in my ears every time I fly and the plane descends for landing. A friend says that chewing gum works for him, but it doesn't work for me. What can I do?

DEAR READER: The ear pain you experience -- barotrauma of the ear -- is the most common medical problem reported by air travelers. "Barotrauma" refers to injuries caused by increased air pressure.

Should I change my foot care routine as I get older?

DEAR DOCTOR K: As I've entered my 60s, I've noticed that my toenails are thicker and the skin on my feet is drier. Should I change my foot care routine?

DEAR READER: Just like the rest of your body, your feet change with age. By age 50, you may have lost nearly half of the fatty padding on the soles of your feet. To compensate, you may want to add over-the-counter cushioning inserts to your shoes for additional padding.

What can we do to ease my mother’s transition to assisted living?

DEAR DOCTOR K: We've finally convinced my mother to move to an assisted living facility. After spending the past five decades in her current house, she is very nervous about the move. What can we, and she, do to make the transition easier?

DEAR READER: Assisted living facilities are designed for people who can't live on their own because they need help with the tasks of everyday living. The facilities generally provide meals, help with taking medication, housekeeping, laundry and activities. They are not meant for people who need round-the-clock nursing care.