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At University Health News, we believe sound health information can empower people and even relieve symptoms—if knowledge leads to reduced stress and anxiety. Knowing more just makes us feel better. When you read about, ask about, and understand what’s ailing you, you may be helping yourself more than you know.
Quick caveat: It’s true that Aunt Daisy will always have an old wives’ tale she swears by. There is no substitute, however, for regular, confidential discussions between you and your doctor.
No information on the Internet, nor an open forum, can ever replace the intimate discussions that take place behind the closed door of a doctor’s examining room. There will always be health aspects where our own privacy and the privacy of others is non-negotiable.
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All that said, I’ve been to countless gatherings where those of us who’ve reached a certain age like to bring up the subject of our latest knee crick, tennis elbow, dodgy stomach, weepy eye, pounding headache, or sleepless night. Maybe we’re looking for affirmation, a knowing “been-there” nod. We’re also looking for any nugget of information or data we can file away for later discussion with our physician.
My own latest party patter? I’m a lousy sleeper and a CPAP washout, so anytime the subject of sleep comes up, I’m all ears. Plus, I have a nightly 3 a.m. appointment with the commode I’d rather skip. Also, on a couple of occasions in my 61 years, I have encountered blood on the wrong side of my skin. The last time led to an overdue colonoscopy, which turned out fine.
Headaches, sinus infections, an expanding girth, rampant GERD, and worrisome talk about long-term use of proton pump inhibitors: I’ve got all these things coming at me. Yet I’m truly grateful I’ve dodged the big ones like heart disease and cancer.
Blood pressure is nominal, controlled by my daily Benicar, and my cholesterol is just peachy, thanks to my daily statin. My friends these days are talking about bone-on-bone impingement, hearing loss, funny skin eruptions, creeping gum disease, and always, always insufficient exercise.
Yes, we’re crunching, ellipticizing, pumping, and taking Fido on a forced march in an effort to push back the inevitable tide of decrepitude. But it never seems enough. And am I the only one who gets funny looks at the gym?
Even when I do the right thing and saddle up for a bike ride, I sometimes have to defend myself. When I’m out on my recumbent bike, I get a fist-pumping “awesome” from little kids, but an “oh-brother, not-another-one” look from serious cyclists.
I explain: A recumbent bike allows the rider to lie backward and pedal with feet elevated. It looks like it might be comfortable for a sore back, but it’s really my solution for dealing with the downward arm pressure I endure when I am riding a diamond frame. After two rotator cuff operations on my left shoulder, and a ruptured biceps tendon and subsequent repair on my right arm, constant down force on my arms is a non-starter.
You see, our choices increasingly come down to avoidance of pain. Health starts to matter.
Tell Us About It…
What’s your beef? It might be one of the minor vexations I am fortunate to own. (Believe me, it could be worse.) It might be a serious diagnosis involving your heart, your lungs, your bones, your joints. It might be a worry sparked by the experience of a loved one.
At UHN, we can’t offer treatments or a diagnosis. We can’t prescribe medications. And we can’t refer you to a physician who might be able to help (although we work with some great health institutions; see Health Publications).
We’re All Ears
But we can offer a sympathetic ear and we can unite you with some fellow travelers who will read what you have to say, perhaps offer a gesture of understanding and sympathy, maybe share their own tales of an uncooperative health system or some run-around that’s driving them crazy. We can give you a chance to enlighten, to explain—inevitably, to vent.
So come on: What’s ailing you? Let us know in the comments section below. We’ll read what readers have to say, approve what we think most readers will benefit from, and use anonymous comments for future blogs in our “What’s Ailing You?” space.
Disclaimer: University Health News offers health information derived from qualified sources and materials. However, UHN is no substitute for a personal relationship with your physician. We can’t recommend treatments, diagnosis conditions, or promote medications or cures. We reserve the right to edit, cut, sanitize, and otherwise alter any material submitted to us for broad dissemination.
OUR BLOGGERS’ PERSONAL TOUCH
Besides authoring informative, straightforward, easy-to-understand posts on a variety of medical issues, conditions, and treatments, our consumer health experts use a personal touch to help inform you via our series of UHN blogs.
- Aging & Independence: “What’s Ailing You? We’re All Ears” by Timothy Cole
- Cancer: “A Crusade Against Cancerous Moles,” by Jim Black
- Bones & Joints: “Emergency! Coping with a Broken Ankle Overseas,” by Timothy Cole
- Digestive: “Blood Tests, My Liver, and Me,” by Timothy Cole
- Eyes, Ears, Nose, & Throat: “Antibiotics Are Over-Prescribed,” by JoAnn Milivojevic
- Eyes, Ears, Nose, & Throat: “How to Get Through Allergy Season,” by Jay Roland
- Heart Health: “What’s the Right Blood Pressure for You?” by Jay Roland
- Nutrition: “What Is Nutrition?” by Dawn Bialy
- Pain: “How to Relieve Lower Back Pain,” by Kate Brophy
- Pain: “Is Your Kidney Stone Pain a Single Episode… or Chronic?” by Timothy Cole
Originally posted in 2016, this post is regularly updated.