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Ask Dr. Gott 10/20
The price for good health too high?
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I've noticed you often recommend seeing specialists, having tests, X-rays, etc. Maybe in your circle health testing is as free as breathing oxygen, but most people I know can't afford all this testing. Even if they have insurance, insurers charge such high co-payments and then pass 90 percent of medical costs back to the patient.
    DEAR READER: Many readers have written to tell me that I am their "last hope." Consequently, I often recommend further testing and input from specialists. It's not my job to price everything I recommend, and I have no way of ordering price lists from every insurer. The purpose of my column is to make people feet better, not to confuse the issue by becoming overwhelmed by a medical system that is now geared to the dollar.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: My husband was told, after his blood work was done last year, that he has a high potassium level. He was told to drink 1 gallon of water a day and eat low-potassium foods. One year later, he still has this problem. The nurse said to drink 2 gallons of water. He does the best he can.
    Anyone we talk to has never heard of this problem. Most people have low potassium levels. We can't find information on this. All the food he likes, he shouldn't have. Can you help us?
    DEAR READER: Two gallons of water is too much. I suggest he ask his doctor to prescribe a thiazide kidney stimulant that will lower his blood-potassium level. At the same time, your husband can drink a more modest amount of water.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my newly updated Health Report "Kidney Disorders." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I'm a postmenopausal woman, 69 years old. For the past six weeks or so, I've had a clear discharge from my right breast. It is a small amount but occurs on a regular basis. I've had a mammogram and an exam by my local doctor, but nothing shows up. Should I be concerned?
    DEAR READER: As I have emphasized previously, any change in a postmenopausal woman's breast is potentially significant and deserves an extensive work-up to rule out a breast tumor.
    I urge you to see your gynecologist and have further imaging studies followed by a biopsy of any suspicious lesions. Certain tumors are not visible in a mammogram and cannot be felt easily. Additional testing should also include a thorough analysis of the fluid leaking from your breast.

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