Activity by lizatorborg
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is it possible to cure prediabetes, or does being diagnosed with it mean you will either always have it or eventually become diabetic?
ANSWER: Having prediabetes does not automatically mean you will go on to develop diabetes. But it is a warning sign. If you do not make any changes, then the risk is high that prediabetes may eventually progress to diabetes. But taking certain steps, such as improving your diet and exercising regularly, can often make a big difference.
Diabetes happens when you have too much sugar, also called glucose, in your blood. Normally when your body digests food, sugar goes into your bloodstream then into your cells where it serves as fuel for those cells. Sugar gets into the cells with the help of the hormone insulin. [...]
ANSWER: In some cases, erectile dysfunction, or ED, may be an early warning sign of heart disease. It is often a good idea for men diagnosed with ED to have tests to make sure that ED is not a symptom of a heart condition. That is especially true if you have risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart problems. If a heart condition is found, treatment for that disorder also may help reverse ED.
The connection between ED and heart disease involves a condition known as atherosclerosis — sometimes called hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis happens when plaques build up in your arteries. When plaques start to accumulate, the smaller arteries in the body, including those in the penis, are the first to get plugged up. The plaque lowers blood flow in the penis, making an erection difficult.
Erectile dysfunction alerts doctors to look for atherosclerosis in larger arteries that supply your heart and other organs and, if found, to take steps to treat atherosclerosis. In addition to heart problems, atherosclerosis also increases your risk of other serious health problems, including aneurysm, stroke and peripheral artery disease. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I just found out I have stage I breast cancer, and I’m trying to decide on the kind of surgery I’ll have. My doctor says I could have either a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. I’m leaning toward a lumpectomy. But how do you know if a lumpectomy is enough treatment? I’m worried the cancer could come back.ANSWER: Research has shown that for women with early-stage breast cancer, survival rates are very similar between those who choose to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy and those who choose a mastectomy. Choosing which surgery to have is a very personal decision. It is important to take time to carefully consider your options.
A lumpectomy is surgery that removes the breast cancer along with a rim of normal tissue around the tumor, called the margin. This surgery allows you to keep the rest of your breast tissue.
A mastectomy involves removing most of the breast tissue from your breast. With early-stage breast cancer, radiation is not recommended after a mastectomy unless cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes or the tumor is larger than anticipated. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My husband is 68 and has some hearing loss but won’t go to see the doctor. He says it’s a normal part of aging and thinks there’s not much that can be done for it anyway. How is age-related hearing loss treated, other than a hearing aid? Is there a benefit to having his hearing evaluated now as opposed to waiting until it gets even worse?
ANSWER: This is a great question and something we frequently hear from our patients. It is often because of concerned family members and friends — rather than the patient — that people come to a doctor for hearing loss evaluation. There are two main reasons why it is important to have hearing loss evaluated as soon as it is recognized: first, to determine the cause and second, to review possible treatment options. Early intervention may be associated with a better outcome, depending on the cause of the hearing loss. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My husband is 82 years old. Over the past year he’s become very tired, and he sometimes gets short of breath. His doctor recommends he has tests to check his heart function. What are these tests, and what would they be looking for?
ANSWER: Doctors can use a number of tests to check heart function. In your husband’s situation, his doctor may recommend an echocardiogram to assess his heart health and to see how well his heart is beating and pumping blood. An exercise stress test also may be useful. Depending on the results, other tests may be necessary, too.
The heart is basically a pump that sends blood to the rest of the body. When a heart cannot pump the way it should, some parts of the body may not get all the blood they need. That can lead to a variety of symptoms. Fatigue and shortness of breath are two of the most common. Others include swelling (edema) in the legs, ankles and feet, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, persistent cough, sudden weight gain, and elevated blood pressure, among others. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My 16-year-old granddaughter was recently diagnosed with a low white blood cell count after going to the ER twice with a migraine headache, vomiting and temporary loss of sight. What could cause a low white blood cell count in someone her age? I am worried it’s something serious and am wondering what other tests should be done.
ANSWER: Many diseases and conditions can lead to a low white blood cell count. It is difficult to say what the specific cause might be in your granddaughter’s situation without more information. It is unlikely that the low count is related to her migraine and other symptoms. It would be wise to do another blood test to see if the problem persists. Her doctor can then decide if she needs to be evaluated further.
Blood has a number of components. In addition to white blood cells, which fight infection, red blood cells carry oxygen and platelets help blood clot. Bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside bones, makes the blood cells. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What are the long-term side effects of taking a stool softener daily? It is the only thing that keeps me regular, and when I have tried taking it every-other-day, it’s not effective.
ANSWER: At this time, no research has examined the specific long-term side effects of taking a stool softener every day. While the risks associated with taking this kind of over-the-counter medication daily are not likely to be significant, it would be a good idea to talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Although uncommon, an underlying health condition could be part of the problem.
Constipation typically is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week or other symptoms (e.g., hard stools, excessive straining, or a sense of incomplete evacuation after defecation). Chronic constipation refers to these symptoms when they last for several weeks or longer.
Constipation is a common problem, and there are many types of laxatives available to help treat it. Stool softeners, also called emollients, are laxatives that work by drawing fluids into the intestines. This prevents dry, hard stool masses and makes it easier to have a bowel movement without straining. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have severe arthritis in my shoulder. I recently found out my rotator cuff is also torn. I can’t lift my arm much anymore without a lot of pain. My doctor recommends reverse shoulder arthroplasty. What does this surgery involve? How successful is it for someone in my situation?
ANSWER: Reverse shoulder arthroplasty is surgery used to replace a damaged shoulder joint. The procedure differs from standard shoulder replacement surgery because it switches the shoulder’s normal ball-and-socket structure around to allow for more stability in the joint after surgery. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty is particularly useful for people like you who have a damaged rotator cuff along with shoulder arthritis. In such cases, this surgery often can effectively reduce pain and increase shoulder mobility. [...]