Translating Medspeak

Hello Dr. Eva, When my mother’s heart specialist told me she had heart failure, I thought that meant she was about to die. After all, when something fails that means it doesn’t work anymore, right? I was extremely upset. After I searched online and talked to my own family doctor, I learned that people with heart failure often live on for years. And I understand the same thing is true for kidney “failure.” Why use such scary language when that isn’t even what they really mean? Annoyed   Dear Annoyed, You are 100% right! Saying someone has “heart failure” does […]

Update on Vaping

Dear Dr. Eva, Since most vaping disease has been linked to THC products, does that mean it’s safe to vape nicotine without THC? Addicted to vaping Dear Dr. Eva, Have they found out yet what causes lung damage from vaping? My son is still vaping. JB   Dear Dr. Eva, I saw on the news that vitamin E in vaping liquid is causing the lung disease. I take vitamin E as an antioxidant. Is it dangerous? Should I stop? Vitamin Lady   Dear Addicted, JB, and Vitamin Lady, As more people are getting sick and dying from vaping complications, we’re […]

Flu Season 2019-20 – Q&A

1) How many people die from the flu in the US every year? a – 10,000 b – 50,000 c – 100,000   2) When does flu season start? a – November b – January c – You can get the flu any time, but it’s most common in the winter.   3) Does getting flu vaccine prevent the flu? a – Yes, 100% b – It cuts your chance of getting the flu in half c – It doesn’t work at all, it’s a scam   4) What parts of the body does the flu virus attack? a – […]

How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Dear Dr. Eva, I don’t have a drinking problem and never have. A few months ago, I decided to stop drinking because I was gaining weight and I know alcohol has a lot of calories. I used to have two to three drinks several days a week. I’m amazed at how much better I feel physically after stopping alcohol. I stopped getting headaches, my sleep is better, I don’t have problems with heartburn anymore and I was able to stop taking sleeping pills and medicine for reflux. Even a rash I couldn’t seem to get rid of has healed up. […]

Can Dementia Be Prevented?

Dear Dr. Eva, All the women on my mother’s side of the family have ended up with dementia from strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. It starts to be noticeable in their 70s and they end up in nursing homes by 80. I recently turned 60 and I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to avoid this happening to me. Bad Genes?   Dear Genes, Your question is interesting because you’ve mentioned two different causes of dementia. Dementia is the current name for memory loss and mental deterioration in old age, which was previously called “senility” or “senile dementia.” There are […]

Dangers of Vaping

Dear Dr. Eva, I am worried about the recent news on deaths from vaping. I have two teenage nephews that vape, and, according to them, so do most of their friends. They think it’s much safer than smoking. What do you think? Concerned   Dear Concerned, I’m concerned too. In case there are readers who don’t know, vaping means inhaling vapor from heated oil containing nicotine, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), and other chemicals. This is done using electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) and other vaping devices. As you may have read or heard in the news, we are in the […]

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 […]