January 2019

Download The Full January 2019 Issue PDF

Subscribers Only — Virtual doctor’s office visits are part of the growing trend of telemedicine, which utilizes telecommunications and other technology to exchange health information from one site to another. Telemedicine is a broad term that might include remote monitoring of a patient’s heart function, long distance observation of a patient in the intensive care unit, applications and devices that transmit data (such as blood pressure), or consultation between two doctors in different locations.   More...

Ask The Doctors: January 2019

There's a common belief that gout is caused by overindulging in foods high in purines, such as red meat, seafood and alcohol. This is because purines break down to uric acid, which is the substance that at high levels in the body can lead to gout. But it's not that simple. In fact, a recent study, published in the journal BMJ (October 2018), found that genetics was far more likely to be responsible for variations in uric acid levels than food. High-purine foods raise uric acid levels only a very small amount.   More...

Neck Arthritis Is Common

Subscribers Only — If you have neck pain, modify your activities for a few weeks to avoid putting additional strain on your neck. To relieve more severe pain, you can take an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or get a prescription from your doctor. The drug gabapentin (Neurontin®) may help with nerve-related neck pain. If you don't improve on these medications, your doctor might suggest an epidural steroid injection to decrease inflammation around and inside the nerve.   More...

Tips for Climbing Stairs

If you use a cane, first make sure that you're holding it on the correct side. "You want the cane on the side opposite of the painful knee," says Lorring. Think about how you walk normally. As your left leg steps forward your right arm swings forward, and vice versa. At the moment you step down on your left leg you want the cane to take pressure of that leg, so the cane goes in the right hand.   More...

Exercises for Knee Pain

Subscribers Only — Getting a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis doesn’t mean you have to give up the activities you enjoy. But it will require some effort to establish a routine of doing the types of exercises that will help to ease pain and stiffness.   More...

Don't Fear Osteoporosis Drugs

Subscribers Only — Bone constantly renews itself. Older bone is broken down and removed (resorbed) and new bone forms. As we age, bone density decreases because more bone is broken down than is newly formed. The bisphosphonate drugs slow down bone resorption. Taking these medications can lower risk of spine fractures by about 50 percent and hip fractures by about 40 percent.   More...

In The News: January 2019

People with arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems often restrict their physical activity, even though exercise is beneficial. For a study published in Arthritis Care & Research (September 2018), researchers reviewed 17 studies to assess whether wearable activity trackers, which keep track of the number of steps you take and other activities, increase physical activity among people with osteoarthritis, low back pain, and inflammatory arthritis (which includes rheumatoid arthritis). The wearable trackers were simple pedometers as well as more high-tech devices, such as Fitbit®. The studies included a total of 1,588 people with an average age of 55. The researchers found a significant increase in physical activity among users of activity trackers over a period of about 14 weeks. The difference between those who used the devices and those who didn't was an average of 1,520 steps a day.   More...

Bringing Healthcare Home

Telemedicine also includes a standard doctor's office visit, with the notable difference being that the doctor is in his or her office and the patient is at home. Using a computer, smartphone or tablet, the patient signs in on a website at the time of the appointment. Doctor and patient can then see and hear each other on their screens. It's like having a chat on FaceTime or Skype. In the case of virtual office visits, the software used for the video conferencing must comply with strict standards of security and confidentiality.   More...