Radon gas linked to lung cancer
Dear Dr. Roach: I would like your thoughts as to the danger that high levels of radon gas pose to owners and residents of a first-floor condominium. We reside in a condo located on a golf course in Naples, Florida. It happens that my own condo was tested for radon gas, and it was determined that the level of gas was 11.0 pCiL, which we were told was higher than the EPA-recommended guideline of 4 pCiL. Can you provide some medical advice as to this seemingly very toxic substance? P.C.
Answer: Radon gas is found in many homes.
Approximately one in 15 homes has higher-thanoptimal levels of radon gas, which is produced by breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. Radon is a risk factor for the development of lung cancer.
The first step is to repeat the analysis. If the second analysis remains high, then mitigation is recommended. Mitigation can reduce the level of radon by 99%.
It would be prudent to recheck in about two years to be sure the mitigation is still working.
Dear Dr. Roach: I’m a 75-year-old man. My primary care physician said my recent blood test shows a high calcium level of 10.8 mg/dL, and the nurse told me to stop all calcium intake until she got some further tests back. She even wanted me to stop my vitamin since it has calcium in it. I am worried because one of my supplements has calcium silicate as an ingredient. I don’t want to stop it; it seems to be helping me. J.P.S.
Answer: You probably have a condition called primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), which is caused by the parathyroid glands secreting too much parathyroid hormone.
There are normally four parathyroid glands, located around the thyroid gland, and they regulate blood calcium levels.
Your primary care doctor is exactly right that further testing needs to be done to confirm the diagnosis. However, most people with PHPT do not need to reduce their calcium intake. Moreover, the calcium silicate in the supplement likely has only a negligible effect on blood calcium levels.