Steroid in­halers de­crease asthma at­tacks

Cape Breton Post - - LIFESTYLES -

nurs­ing home, but I feel I did so too soon. How do you know when a per­son should go into a nurs­ing home? — L.D.

AN­SWER: A de­gree of short­term mem­ory loss hap­pens to every­one who lives long enough. It’s the kind of for­get­ting that makes us un­able to re­call where we put the keys, what we saw on TV last night or makes us strug­gle to re­mem­ber a per­son’s name. Se­ri­ous mem­ory loss is much more pro­found. It’s the kind of mem­ory loss that makes a per­son for­get the way home, makes it im­pos­si­ble to rec­og­nize close fam­ily mem­bers and makes it dif­fi­cult to carry out nor­mal daily ac­tiv­i­ties, like dress­ing. Other signs of de­men­tia are slow think­ing, the in­abil­ity to learn and the in­abil­ity to do sim­ple arith­metic, like bal­anc­ing a cheque­book. Per­son­al­ity changes of­ten are part of de­men­tia.

When is the op­ti­mum time to ar­range for care of an im­paired spouse or rel­a­tive? When the af­fected per­son can­not take care of him­self or her­self, and is a dan­ger to him­self or her­self and when the care­giver can­not pro­vide the kind of re­quired ba­sic care nec­es­sary for that per­son’s needs.

The de­ci­sion can be made with the help of ex­perts — doc­tors who can test peo­ple for their men­tal func­tion­ing and their need for con­stant as­sis­tance.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: Can you tell me about the pi­tu­itary gland? I was told I have some­thing wrong with mine. — C.

AN­SWER: The pi­tu­itary gland is quite small, around 0.4 inches from side to side and from top to bot­tom. It’s at­tached to the un­der­sur­face of the brain. For a small gland, it has huge jobs. It pro­duces hor­mones that reg­u­late other glands, like the thy­roid and adrenal glands and the ovaries and testes. Trou­bles arise when the pi­tu­itary gland makes too lit­tle or too much of its reg­u­lat­ing hor­mones. One some­what com­mon pi­tu­itary dis­or­der for young women and men is an over­pro­duc­tion of pro­lactin, a hor­mone that pro­motes milk pro­duc­tion. Too much pro­lactin throws off a woman’s pe­ri­ods, causes in­fer­til­ity and stim­u­lates the breasts to se­crete milk. In men, it leads to a drop in testos­terone pro­duc­tion, erec­tile dys­func­tion and a loss of the sex drive.

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