QUESTION: What about low blood pressure? Can anything be done? I am an elderly female and have had two heart attacks. My blood pressure is 97 over 60. I have weakness and tire easily from lifting. It causes heart pain, and I feel fuzzy at times. Any suggestions? - D.E.B.
ANSWER: Ordinarily blood pressure in your range causes no problem, and in fact can be a sign of health. But you are different and your reading must be seen in an altogether different light.Your previous heart attacks, the chest pain, the ease of fatigue, the fuzziness, all point to a heart that is not pumping strongly enough to circulate blood properly to itself and to the brain. That accounts for your low pressure and your symptoms.
Are you being treated? You must keep in contact with your doctor. There are medicines to help strengthen the heartbeat, and perhaps you are on them now. If so, they don't seem to be doing the job. You may need a re-evaluation of your medication or dosage. You should not waste any time in getting things straightened around.
QUESTION: My doctor assures me that my heart is still in good shape after my second angina attack. I am 89. I don't understand what he means. - J.W.
ANSWER: He means that the extent of your coronary artery blockage, the cause of angina, was not severe enough to cause damage to your heart. It is still pumping well. Now you must do the right things to prevent further blockage and the possibility of an outright heart attack. I am thinking of avoidance of fatty foods and learning how to take your angina control medicines properly.
QUESTION: I have corns on most of my toes. I have used the corn removal remedies, but they haven't helped. Do you have any suggestions before I go to an expensive clinic to have them removed? - A.R.
ANSWER: Corns are highly concentrated calluses. I wonder, with your great number of them, whether you are somehow placing a lot of abnormal pressure on your toes. Perhaps your shoes don't fit, or you need specially fitted footwear. Perhaps your feet are structurally formed to encourage corns.
Many people try soaking the corns for five minutes in warm soapy water followed by a gentle abrading with a pumice stone or a callus file. However, I don't think that would be your answer, given the number of corns you report. Perhaps your best answer is to see a podiatrist, a specialist in such problems. It should not be as financially disastrous as you think. Foot problems are discussed in the booklet on the subject. Write Dr. Donohue/No.11, Box 19660, Irvine, CA 92713-0660, enclosing a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope and $2.
QUESTION: I'm 69 and believe it or not last year I came down with what was called mumps. I had had them as a child. It took me four painful weeks to get over it. Some people tell me that it is impossible to get mumps at my age. The doctors all said it was mumps. I'll be waiting for your answer. - Mrs. B.M.
ANSWER: By age 20, about 90 percent of adults have been in contact with the mumps virus and are thus rendered immune for life. The other 10 percent are, of course, not protected and may come down with mumps at any age, even 69 or older.
Thus your question begs new questions: What was it you had as as child? Not every swollen salivary gland is mumps. Was your childhood illness perhaps something else? Many times, infection with the staph germ, or a blocked salivary gland, or even some viral infections, can mimic the mumps symptoms.
Nor do I know what you had recently. The possibility of mumps occurring in one your age obviously exists. I guess it's a matter of which doctors you believe, the one who diagnosed mumps decades ago or the ones who diagnosed it last year. Who am I to doubt your present doctors? And for that matter, who am I to doubt your childhood doctors?
1990 North America Syndicate Inc.