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Ask Dr. Gott 10/24
Water retention in lungs a matter of concern
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am an 84-year-old male. Over the past two years, my body has been retaining water, which sometimes settles in my lungs. Just recently, a doctor removed about a pint of fluid from my left lung, which would not drain. I take four water pills every day plus half a pill of Zaroxolyn once a week. Have you any idea why I keep retaining this water?
    DEAR READER: Ordinarily, retained fluid builds up in the legs and abdomen, not in the chest surrounding the lungs. I would pay more attention to your lungs. Could you, for example, have an undiscovered growth or infection in your lungs? You need imaging studies (CT scan or MRI) to investigate the cause of your plural effusion (fluid surrounding the lungs). Ask your doctor about this so that proper therapy can be considered. In addition, it would be useful to have a report on the fluid. Was it sterile? Did it contain any abnormal cells? Was it bloody?
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Pulmonary Disease."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Please comment on the best way to raise my sodium levels. I have been having a problem with low sodium for over two years. My doctor controls it by lowering my fluid intake. My last test was 130, but I now have it up some. I am female, 80 years of age and otherwise in very good health. I am not on any medications other than an occasional (three to four per month) half of a 25-milligram Xanax. I take supplements every day of calcium, magnesium and a multivitamin.
    DEAR READER: The most common cause of low sodium in the elderly is a dietary deficiency. Unfortunately, I do not know the cause of your low sodium count. Your doctor can better advise you regarding therapy, but I suggest that you consume more sodium in your diet. Salted nuts and crackers are an easy and nutritious method of increasing sodium intake. Ask him or her about trying this possibility.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: I had a stroke (with a killer blood pressure) last year. A family friend who is a dietician said I really should add cinnamon to my diet, stressing how important cinnamon was. Since I had instant oatmeal almost every day for breakfast, I just added a good sprinkle on it. My question is, why cinnamon? What does it do? The friend explained why, but I can't remember all the facts. Do you know? I'm pretty curious.
    DEAR READER: Some patients have discovered that cinnamon may reduce high blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. However, such benefits are rare, so I don't recommend this therapy. Why the spice works and how is a mystery.
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