The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

October 28, 2013

Surgery increases risk of pulmonary embolism

CLINTON — DEAR DR. ROACH: I had a pulmonary embolism after surgery on my knee. I have been taking Coumadin for one year, and now I am off the medication. In your opinion, should I now take a test of some sort to make sure I am rid of the blood clot in my lung? — E.A.P.

ANSWER: A pulmonary embolus is when a blood clot travels to the lungs and lodges there. They occur frequently after surgery, particularly when the patient doesn’t get up and move right away. Several factors of orthopedic surgery make it particularly high-risk for PE. The good news is that the risk of another embolus is only about one-half of 1 percent per year after finishing your treatment. A blood clot or PE in someone who doesn’t have a clear risk factor, like surgery, is at much higher risk for recurrence, roughly 5 percent per year.

Tests to make sure the blood clot has dissolved usually are not done. The body is very good at dissolving them on its own, usually within a few weeks to months. The reason for the Coumadin was to prevent new clots from forming.

DEAR DR. ROACH: One doctor says an iron tablet is good for pernicious anemia. Another doctor says it isn’t. What do you think? — R.

ANSWER: Pernicious anemia is a specific type of anemia that is caused by the body’s inability to absorb vitamin B-12 properly. It’s actually an autoimmune disease. Special cells in the stomach make a protein called intrinsic factor, which is necessary for absorbing vitamin B-12. People with pernicious anemia lack intrinsic factor. The treatment for pernicious anemia is B-12, not iron. The B-12 can be given either by injection or by an oral B-12 tablet containing 1,000 times the daily requirement of B-12. Even though the body can’t absorb B-12 normally, if you give a person that much, the body is able to absorb enough.

It’s possible to have both iron-deficiency anemia and B-12-deficiency anemia, so it may be that some people will need both. However, B-12 is the specific treatment for pernicious anemia.

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband has a shoulder problem, and was told that he needs a replacement. He was told this about 10 years ago, at age 33, but that they would not do it until he was 50, as he could only have one replacement in his lifetime. This shoulder has multiple issues, and he is unable to lift his arm or use it for anything over about 10 pounds. He has regular pain and discomfort. I would like him to get a second opinion, especially since so much time has passed. I wonder if there have been new advancements. He is determined to do nothing until he is 50. What do you think? — C.C.

ANSWER: I think he definitely should get a second opinion. Not only have there been new advances, it actually may be better to do the joint replacement before there has been too much damage to the rotator cuff, which often accompanies the kinds of arthritis that necessitate shoulder replacement. The No. 1 complaint I hear after people heal from their joint replacement is that they wish they had done so earlier.

 

1
Text Only
Food & Health
  • USDA orders farms to report pig virus infections MILWAUKEE -- Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

    In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.

    Over the last two decades, the rates of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics fell by more than 60 percent, a new federal study shows. The research also confirms earlier reports of drastic declines in diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 Asparagus photo Make asparagus the center of your plate Asparagus has been a delicious symbol of spring since at least as far back as the Greeks, who called it asparagos -- literally, "to spring up." But however it is spelled, it makes me happy. Most grocers sell asparagus in a range of sizes, from thin a

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Floating stools not alarming DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read that whether stools float or sink could be an indication of one's health, even to the point of being an early sign of pancreatic cancer. Isn't it just about density and gas -- that is, doesn't most food we eat float in wat

    April 15, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.