Is Anxiety the Same as Depression ?

Dear Dr. Eva, What’s the difference between depression and anxiety? I was told at different times that I have both. Is it just two names for the same thing? BT   Dear BT, Depression and anxiety are two different conditions and involve two different sets of problems, but it isn’t unusual for a person to have both conditions. Both depression and anxiety are disorders of mood, called “affective disorders” in medical language. For most people who have both depression and anxiety, one of the two conditions is more severe, which leads to diagnoses like “depression with features of anxiety,”or “anxiety […]

Heart Bugs

Dear Dr. Eva, I’m on several new prescription medicines since I had a heart attack six months ago. I’m still not back to my normal strength, and I seem to get a lot of colds. I saw in the PDR that the side effects of both Coreg (carvedilol) and Plavix (clopidigrel) include bronchitis and upper respiratory infections! Is that why I get so many colds? RH   Dear RH, In case some readers don’t know, the PDR is the Physicians Desk Reference, a common reference book, available in public libraries. Based on what it says in the PDR, I can […]

Summer Skin and Summer Penis Summer has some special ‘Season’s greetings’ in store for your privates!

Dear Dr. Eva, Every summer I get an itchy rash in my crotch area, sometimes also in my underarms and below my belly. I have been given creams for this, but they only relieve the itch, not the rash and then the itch comes back as soon as I run out of cream. What can I do to get rid of this for good? Summer Rash   Dear Summer, The rash you are describing is called intertrigo or intertriginous dermatitis – which is just Latin for irritated skin folds. This can occur anywhere on the body where folds of skin […]

Questions About Blood Pressure Meds

Dear Dr. Eva, Doctors and nurses have told me over the years that my blood pressure is high. Because I felt fine, I didn’t want to take medicine for it, but eventually family members convinced me to get treated to prevent strokes (my father had one.) I am now taking three different blood pressure pills. When I looked up the medicines, it looks like I am not on the top dose of any of them. Why not increase a medicine to the top dose before adding another one? Even better, why not just use one medicine that really works in […]

Can You Get That from a Toilet Seat?

Dear Dr. Eva, ​I love your columns and appreciate the variety of topics you address – always sensitively. ​I know this sounds nutty, but how safe (or not) are public / shared toilets? I remember as a kid my mom would carry those paper toilet seat covers or use toilet paper before sitting down. My sister does the same. But is it really necessary? Especially if there’s nothing visible on it and you know it’s cleaned nightly? I’ve been wondering this for years but have been too embarrassed to ask. ​;) Thanks!! ​Pee-shy   Dear Pee-Shy, ​It’s not necessary. There […]

Embarrassing Urinary Problems

Dear Dr. Eva, I am an overweight woman in my 30s. I’m having a problem where, even though I feel like I have completely emptied my bladder on the toilet, when I stand up, I often briefly leak a little bit. When I asked my doctor about this, she just told me to lose weight. I am so tired of everything being blamed on my weight, I didn’t pursue the conversation with her any more. How does it make sense for this to be related to my weight? Do you have any practical suggestions as to what this is and […]

Surface Issues

Dear Dr. Eva, I have an itchy rash under my testicles and on my inner thighs. I’ve been told it’s jock itch. I’ve used different creams, but it keeps coming back. Could this be a sign of something serious? T.J. Dear T.J., Probably not. Jock itch (the medical name is tinea cruris), which is caused by a fungus, is often hard to get rid of. You need to keep the area as clean and dry as possible, apply antifungal cream or powder twice a day every day, and keep applying it for a couple of weeks after the rash seems […]

Can we prevent cancer?

Dear Dr. Eva, At the age of 58 my partner has been diagnosed with cancer. We are both stunned. Because we both have a family history of cancer, we have done everything we can to lower our risk. We have had colonoscopies on the recommended schedule, exercise regularly, eat cruciferous vegetables at least three times a week, and take antioxidant vitamins daily. We don’t use alcohol or tobacco. I didn’t think this could happen. Are all the precautions we took pointless? Feeling Cheated Dear Feeling, Your precautions weren’t pointless. They have reduced your cancer risk and you should continue with […]

Two Measles Epidemics

There is currently a measles epidemic in the United States, and another, much larger one in Madagascar. In the US, there have been about 660 cases this year, mostly in young children in Washington state, Illinois, Texas, and New York. No deaths from measles have been reported in the US so far this year. Measles can develop into pneumonia and can lead to brain damage (from swelling of the brain) and blindness. Measles is transmitted by tiny droplets of fluid in the air. Droplets are produced when a person who is infected with measles sneezes or coughs. The droplets are […]

Telomeres and Longer Life

Dear Dr. Eva, Can you explain epigenetics and telomeres? There are a lot of supplements out now that are supposed to lengthen people’s life by making their telomeres longer. Any truth to that? Juan P. de Leon Dear Juan, I notice that you are using the name of Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer who came to Florida in 1513 looking for the Fountain of Youth. He did not find it. The search for longer life is as old as humans’ recognition of death. People have always looked for ways to lengthen our lives. The science of telomeres is complex […]