A few tips for healthy living
Q. A friend of mine is lactose intolerant. What exactly does that mean?
People who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting dairy products. Lactose intolerance usually is not dangerous.
Lactase is an enzyme made in the small intestine. You need lactase to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. People who are lactose intolerant don’t make enough lactase; after consuming lactose, they suffer from bloating, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea. These symptoms usually begin a half-hour to two hours after ingesting lactose.
Most people with lactose intolerance can take some milk products. They may be able to increase their tolerance to dairy products by gradually introducing them into their diets. However, most supermarkets carry lactose-reduced or lactose-free products.
You can manage lactose intolerance with lactase enzyme tablets; you can take them just before you eat. These tablets help many people.
Q. How effective are knee replacements? I’m considering one.
More than nine out of 10 patients who have a total knee replacement have positive results; they experience reduced pain and improved ability to perform common activities.
You’ll be given physical therapy exercises for at least two months. These are designed to help you bend and extend your leg. In addition to your prescribed exercises, you can walk as much as you like. Stationary bicycles are recommended for muscle tone and flexibility.
Other acceptable activities after knee surgery include dancing, golf with spikeless shoes and a cart, and bicycling on flat ground. After the wound is healed, you can swim.
Don’t do anything that puts stress on the knee such as racquet sports, football, baseball, basketball and skiing. And don’t lift anything heavier than 40 pounds.
Depending on the type of work – or play – you do, it could take six to eight weeks before you are back in action.
Q. How can you tell when you are too old to drive?
Here are some questions driving experts recommend asking older motorists to determine if they are still road-worthy:
• Do other drivers often honk at me?
• Have I had some accidents?
• Do I get lost, even on roads I know?
• Do cars or pedestrians seem to appear out of nowhere?
• Have passengers in my car told me they are worried about my driving?
• Am I driving less because I am unsure about my driving skills?
Many seniors continue to be capable drivers. However, there are changes that affect our skills. To deal with the effects of aging on our driving, here are some tips:
• Plan to drive on streets you know.
• Take routes that avoid tricky ramps and left turns.
• Add extra time for travel so you don’t feel pressed.
• Don’t drive when you are tired.
• Avoid listening to the radio or talking with passengers.
• Leave more space than you think you need between you and the car in front of you.
• Use your rear window defogger to keep the window clear at all times.
• Always turn your headlights on when driving.
• If you don’t have them, get large mirrors for your car.
• Replace your windshield wiper blades often.
• Take a driving refresher class. Some car insurance companies lower your bill when you pass this type of class.
Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey. If you would like to ask a question, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.