Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Shevat 5765 - January 19, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

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 slippery days.

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 the word.

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 are.

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.


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