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Ask the expert

Ask the expert
(Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)
Health professionals in Maryland answer questions related to their field.
If you had braces, your child probably needs them too

Kids' habits and genetics, as well as the amount of space in their mouths, dictate if and when they need braces.

New medical guidelines redefine 'high blood pressure'

The American College of Radiology and the American Heart Association earlier this month set the first new comprehensive set of blood pressure guidelines since 2003.

Pregnant women need a flu shot to stave off serious illness

Complications from the flu can be serious for pregnant women, but there are precautions that can help stave off the virus.

Ask the expert: Don't pack on the pounds during the holiday season

A nutritionist from Carroll Hospital says you can enjoy some goodies during the holiday season without gaining weight.

Train, hydrate and maybe avoid the worst soreness after a marathon

An expert offers advice on steps to take before and after a long race.

Ask the expert: Prescription card available to those without good coverage

Ask the expert: Discount prescription card available to those without sufficient coverage.

Bell's Palsy a common condition, usually treatable

Angelina Jolie says she overcame the common malady Bell's Palsy

Gallstones can cause complications during pregnancy

A Sinai Hospital physician discusses complications that may be caused by gallstones during pregnancy.

Birthing centers provide alternative for expecting moms

Birthing center offer alternative to hospital for expecting moms

New drug shows promise for treating Lou Gehrig's disease

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first new drug in many years to treat ALS, the disease more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease that attacks and kills the nerves that control muscles

Those with arthritis can improve their symptoms with exercise

More than 24 million adults with arthritis are physically limited by the disease, a 20 percent increase in the number suffering limitations from 2002 to 2014, but exercise can reduce pain and prevent progression of the disease

Acupuncture is an alternative to drugs for pain treatment

acupuncture, ask the expert, Maryland University of Integrative Health

Bariatric surgery has evolved over time

Americans have increasingly turned to surgery to help them lose weight. Nearly 200,000 people get bariatric surgery each year. The procedures have improved and evolved over the years.

Milia are white bumps, not acne, and should be treated differently

Little white bumps called milia can be seen in newborns and adults

Injuries from products in the nursery are common

More than 66,000 children under three years old end up in the emergency room each year after suffering injuries from accidents in the nursery, according to a long-running study in the journal Pediatrics

Younger people increasingly at risk for colorectal cancer

A study published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that while overall rates of colorectal cancer has been declining for decades in the United States, the rates for people in their 20s and 30s have increased dramatically over the same time, but earlier screening can catch more cases

The signs of heart disease

Heart attack is the number one killer and one-third of patients go undiagnosed and die. Dr. Stephen Pollock, a cardiologist at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center talks about the best ways to detect, prevent and treat heart disease.

Technology that fragments kidney stones lessens pain of passing them whole

A tell-tale sign of a kidney stone is pain in a person's side, back and below the ribs. About one in every ten individuals will experience the pain of passing a kidney stone in their lifetime, said The pain can be so intense that people that some people compare it to giving birth. But he explains there are many treatments for the painful stones.

Tom Brady will keep playing football, older athletes can, too

Older athletes like Tom Brady can keep playing, but need to be aware of changes to ability and risk.

There are therapies when children don't outgrow stuttering

Sometimes children recover on their own and other times, depending on the level of stuttering, they require therapy

Cancerous sarcomas often missed or misdiagnosed

Many sarcomas are overlooked by patients or misdiagnosed by physicians who are not familiar with the tumors. Any abnormal lump, bump or mass should be evaluated by a specialist, typically an orthopedic oncologist

Snoring can be a sign of more serious health problems

While snoring can annoy your spouse or significant other, it can also be a sign of more serious health problem. Dr. Steven A. Schonfeld, director of the Sleep Lab at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, explains why it is important to figure out the root cause of snoring.

Doctors not ready to abandon annual pelvic exams

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a statement saying there wasn't enough evidence to determine if the standard pelvic exam was beneficial for women without symptoms and who are not pregnant, it may have felt like welcome advice for women who dread the annual precautionary look

Tips for staying hydrated beyond drinking water

Elisabeth D'Alto, the retail dietitian for ShopRite Timonium shares the ways that people can make sure they get enough fluids this summer and avoid dehydration.

Lynch syndrome increases risk for many cancers

Lynch syndrome is the most common cause of inherited colon and endometrial cancer; about 2 to 3 percent of colon and endometrial cancer is associated with Lynch syndrome.

Plantar fasciitis common among runners, often treatable at home

Many runners are familiar with the pain that comes from plantar fasciitis, inflammation in the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. But normally all that's needed is conservative treatment until the symptoms subside, says Dr. Gary Pichney, podiatric surgeon at the Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center.

When fainting becomes a serious problem

Fainting, also known as syncope, is often a benign health issue, but in some cases it can indicate something more serious.

Atrial fibrillation can be treated when identified by doctors

Anne Arundel Medical Center cardiologist answers questions about atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heartbeat, a common malady in Americans that can lead to many different problems if it's not treated

Dietitians offer advice on snacking at Camden Yards

Bring on the peanuts and Cracker Jacks; the Orioles are back at Camden Yards. The ballpark has all the traditional offerings plus some new ones this year. Alison Massey and Leigh Tracy, registered dietitians at Mercy Medical Center, go over the menu and offer tips on eating well — while still enjoying a treat or two.

Finger joint replacement can ease pain and stiffness, surgeon says

Dr. Ryan M. Zimmerman at the Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital said the tiniest joints of the fingers can break down over time, causing pain and stiffness in some patients. Joint replacement can provide much-needed relief.

Autoimmune diseases are common but tough to diagnose

There are dozens of types of autoimmune diseases, which cause the body's immune system to attack healthy cells, and millions of Americans suffer from them. They can result in a range of problems, from pain in joints and muscles to dysfunction in organs.

Stemless shoulder replacement speeds up recovery, improves mobility

Dr. Anand M. Murthi, chief of shoulder and elbow surgery MedStar Union Memorial Hospital talks about the differences between stemless and traditional shoulder replacement surgery.

Hemorrhoids are uncomfortable, but usually treatable at home, expert says

Women who have been pregnant or anyone who has been constipated may have experienced hemorrhoids, the swollen rectal veins that can make for a very uncomfortable situation. Most people, however, can learn to control flare ups with over-the-counter remedies and lifestyle changes.

Bones die when blood supply stops, expert says

Human bones need a steady supply of blood to survive. When something happens to that flow of blood, it can severely weaken and even kill the bone if not treated, said Dr. Robert M. Peroutka, a hip and knee surgeon at MedStar Orthopaedics. But, he explains, there are treatment options to prevent this from happening.

Parents should monitor student athletes prescribed opioids for injuries

Students who play sports are more likely to be prescribed an opioid painkiller than those who don't play sports because of the chance of injury during the game or practice. That can lead to abuse of the addictive medication. Parents should monitor the prescriptions and even request doctors use other methods of pain relief if there is concern about addiction.

Carbon monoxide can injure, kill as people turn to faulty heat systems

As the temperatures drop in winter and people turn to alternative heating systems, the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning increases.

Esophageal cancer symptoms often show up in later stages

In 2015 it is estimated that about 17,000 people will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer. In men in the U.S., the lifetime risk of esophageal cancer is about 1 in 125 while in women it is about 1 in 435.

Sleep habits influenced by genetics and behavior, expert says

It's not uncommon to hear people say they feel tired, whether it's because of a new work schedule, a new baby or just a hectic lifestyle. The answer for most if just getting enough sleep at a consistent time, expert says.

Wild, domestic animals can pass on rabies whether they show symptoms or not

Public health officials often warn the public not to approach wild animals because they can bite, and they may be infected with rabies, whether they show obvious signs or not. Hundreds of animals a year are confirmed to have the nervous system disease

Hopkins doctor says super lice are a 'social disaster' but treatable

Head lice, the scourge of daycare centers and elementary schools, may have just gotten bigger. A new strain of "super lice" has infested people in 25 states, potentially making it more difficult to get rid of the parasites.

Why Jimmy Fallon may be lucky to have all his fingers

When Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC's Tonight Show, slipped on a rug in his kitchen and caught his ring on the countertop in late June, it took specialized micro-surgery to repair the damage to his finger. Fallon had what is called a ring avulsion, where the skin and most everything underneath is torn.

Doctors say now is the time to get your flu vaccine

Influenza is a nasty virus that causes thousands of people to be hospitalized and die every year, but the flu vaccine can prevent many people from becoming ill.

Ask the Expert: Telling the good cholesterol from the bad

Dr. Lisa Carey from Greater Baltimore Medical Center at Hunt Manor explains the difference between good and bad cholesterol and tells people how to maintain healthy levels of both.

Patients' cells used to regrow cartilage in damaged knees

The cartilage knee replacement, where cells are implanted and grow into the damaged space, is the longest lasting fix for younger patients who don't have arthritis

Don't ignore foot problems in children, doctor says

Many children suffer from foot problems, but often go undiagnosed. There are many symptoms parents can watch for said Dr. Bradley Lamm, a Baltimore-area foot and ankle surgeon and fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

Diagnosing and treating sciatica

Anyone suffering from sciatica can say that the pain can be intense. But episodes generally pass and over-the counter drugs and at-home exercises can help

Bad shoes not the main factor in bunions

Dr. Scott E. Woodburn, a fellow of the of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons who practices in Maryland clears up some misconceptions about bunions.

What to know about allergy testing

There doesn't yet appear to be ways to prevent allergies, but they can be identified and even controlled, according to Dr. Alvin Sanico, director of the Asthma Sinus Allergy Program at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

When clean eating becomes an obsession

Clean eating can get out of control for some people

Radiation options for breast cancer treatment

Radiation plays significant role in treating patients with breast cancer, but there are more option now that can reduce the time spent in therapy or the amount of healthy tissue treated.

New therapies, genetic tests in the works for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among U.S. men, and there are effective treatments for many people, with several new drugs approved for tougher cases in recent years. Researchers also are exploring genetic tests to decide which therapies are best for which cases.

Jimmy Carter's melanoma spread to brain not uncommon, doctor says

Late stage melanoma that has spread to brain has poor prognosis

LifeBridge Health doctor explains epileptic seizures

Epilepsy is a common disorder where people suffer seizers, but most with the disorder can be treated with medications, though trial and error is often needed to find the drugs and dosage.

Help available for adult acne

Acne is one of the most common problems that send people to dermatologist, and it's not always young people coming through the door. Adult acne isn't uncommon, and there is help at the drug store and from doctors.

Visiting the gynecologist when you're older

As women get older, they have different needs when visiting their gynecologist. The body begins changing as menopause nears.

Understanding comas and consciousness

Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, has spent more than a month in a medically induced coma since being discovered Jan. 31 unconscious and face-down in a bathtub. People can survive a coma, with their chances largely depending on the level of brain damage they suffered, according to Dr. Michael A. Williams, medical director of the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute at LifeBridge Health.

Many ailments can lead to chronic cough

Chronic coughs are one of life's little annoyances. Coughing fits make it hard to sleep, make breathing difficult when exercising and can sneak up when you least expect it.

How muscle development differs for women

Like men, women benefit from strength training and stretching, though there are a few things that make women's muscles different from their male counterparts' bodies.

Parents should be careful with children's medication dosages

Franklin Square doctor answers questions about children's medication dosages

Lower stress to protect your heart, expert says

University of Maryland professor answers questions about stress' impact on heart health.

Athletes should pay extra attention to dental care, expert says

Everyone needs to take care of their teeth, but athletes can have a special burden.

Author offers a different take on dieting

Linda Bacon, a speaker and author, plans a free lecture on the subject Nov. 8 at the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt Health System.

More women request bilateral mastectomies

More women are having both breasts removed in response to breast cancer or a cancer threat

Sleep disorders leading to groggy children

Busy lives, smartphones and poor sleep habits are all contributing to groggy children suffering from the same sleep disorders as adults.

What men should know about side effects of prostate cancer treatment

Because of advanced treatments, curing prostate cancer has become more common. But many men suffer from side effects after treatment.

What patients should know about antibiotics

Antibiotics have saved countless lives over the years, but their overuse has lead to problems including antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dr. Mary R. Clance, an epidemiologist at Anne Arundel Medical Center, discusses the history, troubles and appropriate uses of the drugs.

Some ICU patients can develop psychosis

With all of the beeping of machines and checking of vital signs, patients in the intensive-care unit often have trouble sleeping. This, along with other hospital conditions, like lack of natural light and familiar surroundings, can lead to disorientation.

Secondary drowning explained

Secondary drowning afflicts children who survive a near-drowning incident. And though it's uncommon, it can be fatal if left untreated.

The elderly need to take extra precautions to stay hydrated

Keeping the body hydrated is important for everyone, but the elderly may face more challenges. Amy Boulware is Director of Nursing for North Oaks, a senior living facility in Pikesville, talks about how medications and lifestyles may make it hard for the elderly to stay hydrated.

It's important to treat pediatric hip dysplasia early, expert says

Hip dysplasia may not be obvious in newborns, but the disorder may already be affecting babies' development.

Understanding Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome

Kaiser Permanente's chief of infectious disease answers questions about MERS.

Coping with spring allergies

But Dr. Gregory Small, board-certified in internal medicine and a primary care physician at Greater Baltimore Medical Center at Texas Station, says that there are a number of ways to treat these allergies.

Boils are painful but easy to treat

Bumps that appear on the body can be hard for the average person to detect. Is it a pimple? A boil? A mosquito bite?

People better managing diabetes, despite growing numbers with the disease

While diabetes is becoming more common, people are learning how to better manage the disease.

Tooth decay in children

University of Maryland pediatric dentist answers questions about preventing cavities in children.

When to choose urgent care or emergency room

Many people assume the local hospital's emergency department is the best place to go for treatment, but an urgent care center may be a faster and cheaper way to get care for less serious conditions, according to Dr. William P. Jaquis, chief of emergency medicine at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.

Insomnia hits most people at some point

When insomnia becomes chronic it can cause other health and lifestyle problems.

New options to treat multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the bone marrow, an incurable type of the disease that kills about 10,700 people a year.

Why you should wear sunglasses in the winter

Doctors say to wear sunglasses in the winter because UV rays can damage your eyes any time of the year.

How to treat bone spurs

Putting too much stress on your joints? Or maybe arthritis has become an issue? Athletes, seniors or anyone in these categories could develop a bone spur, or extra bone produced by the body.

How much screen time is best for kids?

Greater Baltimore Medical Center's Dr. Timothy F. Doran explains how much is too much

Lazy eye not necessarily crossed or wandering eyes

Lazy eye is often mistaken for eyes that cross or wander, but some patients with the disorder don't show these symptoms.

Wounds that don't heal can lead to other health problems

Circulation problems, diabetes, cancer may lead to slow-healing wounds

Good eyelid hygiene prevents styes

Wear eye makeup to bed or don't wash your face well and you may wind up with pimple-like styes on your eyelids.

Fall can trigger allergy symptoms in children

The beginning of the school year is time when allergy symptoms in children may flare up. Dr. Manav Singla, a specialist at the Asthma Allergy & Sinus Center in Baltimore talks about how parents can help their children manage symptoms.

Breast density law new tool in detection of cancer

Women with dense breast tissue will now get a reinforced warning about cancer under new law

What plans are offered on Maryland's health insurance exchange?

Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith describes the kinds of plans that will be offered on the health insurance exchange, called Maryland Health Connection, when people begin enrolling Oct. 1.

Endometriosis can lead to infertility

Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of infertility

New form directs doctors in life-threatening situations

How far would you want doctors to go to save your life after a bad accident? It's a tough question many people may not want to think about it, but should.

Thumb arthritis can happen over time

We've all heard of arthritis in the knees and even the hips. But many people may not know the thumb is prone to the joint disease as well. Neil Zimmerman, hand surgeon at the Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, said the most common type of thumb arthritis happens gradually over time.

Obesity can lead to liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease has become the most common chronic liver disease in all developed countries.

Compartment syndrome can lead to permanent damage if not treated

Damage to the compartments can cause a condition called compartment syndrome, which can cause painful swelling, said Daryl Osbahr, an orthopedic surgeon at Union Memorial Hospital.

Hemorrhoids more common as people age

The HET Bipolar System has recently been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of internal hemorrhoids, a common condition in older adults.

More women removing ovaries to prevent cancer

Ovarian cancer can be a death sentence for many woman. It is difficult to trreat and often goes undetected until the late stages when it has spread to other organs in the pelvis and abdomen.

Maintain walkers, wheelchairs like you would a car

Walkers, wheelchairs and other medical devices should be maintained like cars to prevent injuries and safety hazards

HPV-related throat cancers multiplying

It is well-known that the HPV virus can lead to deadly cervical cancer in women, but the virus is causing throat cancer in men as well.

Enlarged prostate can cause urination problems in men

Most men will experience prostate enlargement as they get older, some to the point that it will cause urination problems, but there are many treatments.

You don't have to suffer from constipation

Medstar Harbor Primary Care director says constipation is easily treatable, but patients should be careful it is not a sign of other health care problems.

Cleansing can be good if not too extreme

Does eliminating specific foods from the diet, such as sugar or wheat, provide health benefits?

Heart disease often missed in women

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, but many don't recognize the warning signs. They may ignore the symptoms or mistake them for more benign ailments.

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