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Ask Dr. Gott 11/24
Overmedication leaves senior in pain
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am an 81-year-old male, very active and healthy. I do my own yard work, cut the grass, trim and edge. I do the painting, work in the rose garden and more. I hunt, fish and walk. I'm 5 feet 7 inches, weigh 200 pounds and know I should lose weight. My cholesterol level is 140.
    My cardiologist put me on Crestor and has now added Zetia. I experienced leg cramps when he first put me on the Crestor, and also voided two to three times during the night. He doesn't believe it. Now, while on the Zetia, I feel the bottoms of my feet are on little cushions. Could I be right, or am I imagining all this?
    DEAR READER: You may be overmedicated. A cholesterol of 140 is definitely low. I would hesitate giving you two different drugs to lower it further. Discuss this with your cardiologist, who may be sensibly prescribing because he has more information and knowledge than I do regarding your medical issues.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Understanding Cholesterol." 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 read your column in my local newspaper regarding the use of castor oil for degenerative disc disease. I have osteoporosis, constant back pain and have had back surgery. Nothing seems to help. I would like to know how much castor oil to take at a time, and how to use it.
    DEAR READER: Castor oil is a potent laxative when swallowed. When used to reduce the pain of arthritis, the product is applied to the skin over the painful joint and is rubbed in well once or twice a day.
    I should remind you that topical castor oil is not effective for some patients, but it's worth a try. In my experience, the most successful product is called Castiva, available in either a warming or cooling form. It has been available at Walgreens and is now also available at CVS pharmacies.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Please explain what a fatty liver is. How serious is it, what causes it, and is it curable?
    DEAR READER: The normal liver is composed basically of hepatic cells and supportive tissue. There is very little fat in a normal liver.
    However, when the liver is stressed — by alcohol abuse, diabetes, hepatitis, the use of statin drugs and other factors — fat deposits appear in that organ. This is an indication that the liver is not well. Testing and possibly a consultation with a liver specialist are appropriate next steps. Without knowing the cause of your fatty liver, I cannot comment on the seriousness of the affliction or whether it is curable. See your primary care physician to obtain the answers that you need.
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