Category: Ask the Doctor

Wow! That Hurts!

By J. Ron Eaker, M.D. When we think of inflammation most of us envision the reddened swollen toe of the gout sufferer or the hot tender knee of the weekend warrior.  Indeed these devilish conditions are a direct result of inflammation, yet this natural process impacts much more than over-used appendages.  For example, many people don’t associate inflammation with heart disease, yet research is conclusive that the inflammatory response is partly responsible for the artery clogging plaques that lead to chest pain and heart attacks. Let’s take a brief repose to review what happens in a typical inflammatory response. ...

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Aging is Not For Sissies

By J. Ron Eaker, M.D. I calculate, according to actuarial tables, that I have about 30 good years left on this little ball floating around the sun. I certainly will take more but I absolutely will not tolerate less.  One caveat is that I want to be fully engaged with my cognitive facilities and not relegated to spending eight hours a day donating fortunes to the Shopping Network. I can see my wife telling the kids that I blew their inheritance buying 36 commemorative dinner plates of Elvis’ comeback concert.  I want to exit while running my 65th marathon,...

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Pick Your Parents Well

By J. Ron Eaker, M.D. Choosing your parents is the single best thing you can do for your health.  While the absurdity of this is apparent, it only serves to illustrate how vital genetics plays in your wellbeing. We are very much what those little double strands of DNA say we are, from the color of our eyes to the size of our feet.  There is a certain inevitability baked into our genetic code, but researchers are now claiming that we are not completely at the mercy of our chromosonal captors. When I was in medical school (approximately a...

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Pick Your Friends… Carefully

Another in the series, Ten Habits for Healthy Moms By J. Ron Eaker, M.D. On my first day of medical school, a stodgy, statuesque professor surveyed the class and prognosticated, ”Look around ladies and gentlemen.  In four years a third of you will not graduate, 1 will commit suicide, and of those who are married now, 30% will be divorced.”  At that moment I about became one of those 1/3, but instead I persisted and learned the lesson that our peer group has an enormous impact on our lives. A famous motivational speaker is fond of saying that you...

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Hava a Heart

Seventh in a series of Ten Habits for a Healthy Mom By J. Ron Eaker, M.D. Victoria didn’t want to go to the hospital.  She was convinced that the chest discomfort she was feeling was due to the slaw dog she had for lunch but her medical student daughter insisted that she get checked.  At her small community hospital ER, Victoria was placed in an observation room while doctors attended the patient in the adjoining room.  Victoria actually knew the patient, Fred from the hardware store, who had come in the ER at about the same time.  He was...

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