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Ask Dr. Gott 10/18

Spots come with age

    DEAR DR. GOTT: What causes dark spots on my arms and hands? I also bruise very easily. How can I get rid of these "old age" spots?
    DEAR READER: As we age, our skins become thinner and more fragile, leading to easy bruising. Also, we tend to develop "age spots" — gray, brown or black, flat or slightly raised, irregular lesions. They generally occur where the skin is exposed to the sun, such as on the face and back of the hands and arms.
    You probably have either or both conditions. However, to be on the safe side, you should have a complete blood count (CBC) to make certain your skin problem is nothing more than an age-related phenomenon. If so, it is generally untreatable, but some products have claimed success in diminishing the appearance of age spots, such as microdermabrasion (buffing the skin) or substances that bleach the area. In any event, these spots do not indicate a serious health problem.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have a weight problem. I am a 52-year-old female, 5 feet 4 inches and weigh 168 pounds. I exercise regularly. Up until age 45, I stayed the same weight, 135 pounds, without watching what or how much I ate. The day I turned 45, I gained 5 pounds. I gained a pound or 3 each year, even though I began watching what I ate, usually staying at or under 1,200 calories a day. Last fall, I stepped on the scale and was shocked to see I had gained another 5 pounds. I tried harder to keep the pounds from adding on, and a week later, when I weighed in again, I had gained yet another 5 pounds. That's 10 pounds in less than a month, and I wasn't eating more than I usually did. I counted every calorie, no weight loss. I went to Weight Watchers and followed it faithfully, no weight loss. I went to my family doctor, and even though he did not perform special tests, he said I have no medical problems that would cause weight gain. He also said I should just get used to it and try not to gain any more. It's just an age thing with a lot of women. He gave me no suggestions on how to lose weight. My mother has always been thin and my older sister, too.     They didn't gain weight just because they got older. Why me? I don't want to look like this any longer. Any suggestions on how to get these ugly pounds to budge?
    DEAR READER: You need some medical testing for abnormal metabolism.
    Although your weight gain may be genetic, I believe that you could shed pounds with my diet. "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet" is available in most bookstores and online at www.Amazon.com. It contains meal planners, food lists, in-depth information and recipes. Due out in January 2008 is my follow-up book, "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Cook Book," which contains more than 200 recipes.

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