Artery hardening still very much with us
this happens in a leg artery, you have peripheral artery disease, PAD.
Your grandfather probably did have some artery hardening. Every older person does. The more likely diagnosis of his mental failure is Alzheimer’s disease, a condition unknown in his time.
The number of treatments for arteriosclerosis has grown rapidly since the time you were a boy. Cigarettes’ contribution to it has decreased with the successful campaign urging people to quit smoking. A day doesn’t pass without hearing about cholesterol control, physical activity, blood pressure monitoring, weight loss and checking for diabetes. All of these have greatly decreased the incidence of arteriosclerosis, but they haven’t eliminated it.
Medicines are now readily available for lowering blood cholesterol. The ones most heard about are the statin drugs, drugs with names like Crestor, Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor and Lescol. None of them was available 50 years ago.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Recently, it was discovered that my thyroid gland wasn’t making enough thyroid hormone. I hadn’t been myself. I had zero energy. I’ve been taking a tablet of thyroid medicine for two weeks. I think I’m a little more peppy than I was, but I’m not at the energy level I used to be.
How do I know if I’m getting enough medicine? — C.S.
ANSWER: It takes about three weeks before a person with too little thyroid hormone experiences the full effect of hormone replacement. Did you have any signs of hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) other than energy loss? Dry skin, brittle hair, constipation, feeling cold all the time and menstrual irregularities are some of those signs. They disappear once your body responds to the dose of medicine you’re currently taking. If they don’t, then you know the medicine dose is too low.
Your doctor will give you a blood test in the near future. That test definitely will reveal if you need an adjustment to your medicine.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am 24. Two weeks ago, I came down with a sore throat. It was bad enough that I had to see a doctor. She checked for many things, including strep throat and mono. She said I didn’t have either, but I had had mono in the past.
I told her I had no memory of it. She said I still had had it. How can that be? — J.D.
ANSWER: The Epstein-Barr virus is the cause of mononucleo- sis, mono for short. Fever, sore throat and greatly swollen lymph nodes, especially neck nodes, are the signs of this infection. Infection with the virus can occur without any signs appearing. In fact, for every mono-infected person with signs, there are two people infected with no signs. You must have been one of the uninfected who never developed any mono signs. Count yourself lucky.