Q. Many of my friends have high blood pressure, and many of us take medicines to treat it. Would you please explain what causes high blood pressure, why it is...
Q. For many years, I've had an annual physical examination with my physician. But her office recently indicated new national guidelines recommend against it. Why? A. Partially driven by the substantial growth in health care costs over the past 50 years, there has been an increasing trend for us to practice what is called evidence-based medicine, meaning that we as providers try to recommend only those treatments and interventions that have been demonstrated to be effective and beneficial.
Q. I've had recurrent lower back pain over the years. Is there anything new to try? A. Unfortunately, you're not alone. More than two out of three adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and about one out of four of us have had back pain as recently as within the past three months. I've discussed the causes and treatment for lower back pain before, and over the years, the trend in treatment has been away from prolonged bed rest and early surgery toward earlier walking and a more limited use of surgery. But what else helps?
Q. I just had a routine physical with my family physician, and she said my blood test indicated I had prediabetes. What is it, should I be worried, and what can I do about it?
I and my colleagues at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences are proud of our 2015 graduate Dr. Sean Cooley, and as strong proponents of healthy living, we congratulate the Herald for its recent story about Cooley's athletic accomplishments ("Thompson native becoming Ironman," Page D1, Sept. 28). Cooley will be an outstanding physician and is a highly trained and skilled athlete. But one aspect that I'd like to emphasize is his caring for others. I recall a "Joggin' with Josh" run that the School of Medicine and Health Sciences sponsored several years ago.
Q. I am scheduled to have cataract surgery next week, and although I'm generally pretty healthy for an 80 year old, my ophthalmologist hasn't ordered any preoperative tests—not even an electrocardiogram. I'm worried. Should I be? A. No.
Q. I know from reading your column that both prevention and treatment are important in dealing with heart artery blockages. But how much of the improved outlook for coronary patients...
Q. I am very interested in headaches because I suffer from them. Is it dangerous to have them every day? Does the location of the headache indicate anything? A. All of us have had a headache at one time or another, but the frequency varies a lot from person to person. Headaches have many causes, from serious to just stress. So separating a simple tension headache from a serious one can be a challenge. What then are some of the clues that can be useful?
Q. In prior columns, you talked about the use of medications to lower cholesterol and that guidelines that were introduced in 2013 have been controversial. Is there anything new to...
Q. I get confused by different terms I hear used to describe serious heart events, including "heart attack" and "sudden cardiac death." Are they the same thing? A. No, they are quite different. Here's the background: The heart requires two crucial energy sources to function — nutrients and oxygen supplied by the blood, and electrical impulses generated by specialized tissues within the heart itself.