Evil Foods and Other Myths

Dear Readers, Please consider your answers to these nutrition questions. My answers follow. 1) Which raises blood pressure more, spicy food or salty food? 2) Are artificial sweeteners more dangerous than sugar? 3) Is honey healthier than sugar? 4) Will cutting out high-cholesterol foods, like shrimp and egg yolks, lower cholesterol? 5) Is diabetes caused by eating sugar? 6) Do diet sodas rot your teeth? 7) Does soymilk help for hot flashes in menopause? 8) Do dark sodas like colas increase triglycerides (fats) in the blood? 9) To lose weight, does it help to eat whole wheat instead of white […]

Should You Be Tested for Vitamin D?

Dear Dr. Eva, My old doctor used to test me every year or so for vitamin D, but my new doctor says it’s not necessary. What do you think? Healthy So Far   Dear Healthy, Like fashion, nutrition, and politics, medical testing goes through fads. About ten years ago, many doctors began checking their patients’ vitamin D blood levels. It had long been known that vitamin D, along with calcium, is important for bone health and that vitamin D supplements can be useful for adults who have osteoporosis (loss of bone density) and low levels of vitamin D. Not many […]

Summer Fears

What do you think about the safety of swimming at the beach these days? Between the flesh-eating bacteria and the sharks, should we just sun on the beach and only swim in a pool? Worried   Dear Worried, Please keep in mind that events make the news because they are unusual. Although terrifying, both human shark bites and “flesh eating bacteria” infections are very unusual. 1) Flesh-eating bacteria – The medical name for these rare infections is necrotizing soft tissue infection, or NSTI. The term necrotizing comes from necrosis, which means death of an area of body tissue. Soft tissue […]

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 […]