NVDAILY.COM | Lifestyle/Valley Scene
Posted February 14, 2013 | Leave a comment
To Your Good Health - Thursday, Feb. 14
By Keith Roach, M.D.
ANSWER: Graves' disease (named after Dr. Robert Graves: it is NOT a "grave" disease) is an autoimmune disease in which antibodies attach to the thyroid and stimulate the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. Excess thyroid hormone causes many symptoms, especially changes to energy level (often too much energy, but occasionally too little), skin, intestines, nervous system -- almost every tissue in the body can be affected. Graves' disease can be treated with oral medication to reduce thyroid levels, by radioactive iodine or by surgery. I suspect your daughter is taking medication to reduce the thyroid activity.
DEAR DR. ROACH: My mother was diagnosed with rapidly progressive dementia (likely Alzheimer's disease) at 75 years of age. She was a moderate drinker throughout much of her adult life, consuming two drinks per night. Do you feel her alcohol consumption contributed to her diagnosis? Would you suggest I abstain from alcohol? I have had conflicting opinions from health care professionals. I am a social drinker, but I sometimes wonder if I am taking an unnecessary risk. -- L.R.
ANSWER: Alzheimer's disease usually is a slowly progressive form of dementia -- rapid progression is not common with Alzheimer's. Excess alcohol use is certainly is a cause of dementia, and it is possible that the two combined to cause a more rapid progression. But how much is too much? For women, more than one drink a day is not healthy, and a mixed drink can contain a lot of alcohol, depending on who is mixing it. I recommend for all women to keep to no more than one drink per day (two for men). That level is very unlikely to cause any adverse effects on the brain long term.
- Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu or request an order form of available health newsletters or mail questions to P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Health newsletters may be ordered from www.rbmamall.com.
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