Director, Emergency Services, Bikur Cholim Hospital
I have been asked to speak about osteoporosis. I have
discussed this in the past, but will add a few pointers. Yes,
men can get osteoporosis, but not usually to the same degree
as women. Remember that renal failure can also soften up the
bones. Both diseases can make falls a problem, and in Israel
having a broken hip may take several days to repair due to
lack of operating room availability.
Preventing falls requires ingenuity. If your elderly parents
are visiting, watch out for exposed cords and toys that are
not put away. Make sure seniors are well-stocked with food in
the winter so they do not have to venture out on wet and
Epilepsy is a disease we have also discussed. The medications
against seizures are very effective but do have side effects.
Most patients who take the older drugs, such as
Phenobarbital, have slower thinking. Indeed, use early in
life is thought to cause lower IQs, but now other options
exist. In my limited experience, Tegretol — carbamezine
— is very well tolerated with a minimum of side
effects. People with epilepsy can lead normal lives, and
generally do. The most common drug used for epilepsy —
Dantoin — is a problem in pregnancy.
I saw material from the website of the American Diabetes
Association. The first thing it discusses is when do I need a
dietitian? In my opinion, newly-diagnosed diabetics and
people suffering from gout must see one. People with obesity
will also benefit. Can diabetics eat sugar? Yes. Sugar
doesn't cause diabetes, nor does it worsen it. Moderation is
Oops. I was asked about flu shots. Too late for this year, by
the time this goes to press, but flu shots are a good idea.
True, the flu tends to be harmless, but in the extremes of
age it can be devastating, and in any event it makes one feel
awful for a week. I would recommend it for next year if you
missed this year.
Baby shots — we'll put a plug in here for immunizations
that Glaxo has that are not covered by the Kupot, because it
is always better to prevent than to treat. Hepatitis A is
rampant in this country, and the chicken pox vaccine will
save you a lot of grief. It is now recommended by the Israeli
Association of Pediatrics. Shots are not on the same schedule
in the USA as in Israel, but the infant shots by and large
Israel is one of the biggest producers of generic drugs in
the world, and Teva industries is the largest corporation for
this. Generic drugs are much cheaper, and because of
regulation they do work the same. There may be different
additives however, or vehicles, so, for example, ointments
and creams will show a difference. Israeli medications tend
to be more often Kosher.
Baby colic — the digestive tract of children is
immature and therefore, gas often occurs. Reflux is also
common, which can lead to pneumonia for example. This field
is garnering more attention recently. We'll keep you updated.
Write me in care of the Yated.
GlaxoSmithKline is the sponsor of this column.