DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband and I are both 35, successful in our fields and lead a comfortable life. We are expecting our first child in six months. We drink wine with dinner. My gynecologist has told me to forgo all alcohol during pregnancy. I drink only two glasses of wine at dinner. Is this too much alcohol? My husband doesn’t think so. – R.R.
ANSWER: You and your husband are successful people. You want your child to be successful. Stay away from any alcohol during your pregnancy, including the two glasses of wine at dinner.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a preventable disaster inflicted on an innocent third party – a baby – by the thoughtlessness of its mother. Sometimes it’s done out of ignorance, but you’ve been warned, so you have no excuse.
Alcohol passing from the mother to her fetus can lower IQ, sometimes to the point of profound mental retardation.
It can stunt the baby’s growth throughout life.
It’s responsible for several malformations. The eyes are small and spaced widely apart. The upper lip is extremely thin. The head is undersized. The jaw isn’t fully developed. The heart can have holes in it.
Children born with the syndrome often suffer from emotional disorders during life.
There are more examples of what alcohol does to a developing fetus, but these are enough examples to make any pregnant woman not take a drop during pregnancy.
Your husband might have a point. The degree of damage depends on the amount of alcohol drunk. However, no expert can state what constitutes a safe amount. In light of that, all say that no alcohol is the safe rule for pregnant women to follow.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am 80 and have arthritis and a bad heart valve. They want to operate. When I walk to get the paper, I am all tired out. Is it the heart valve or arthritis that’s doing it? – K.A. ANSWER: My money is on the heart valve. Osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, doesn’t make people tired; it makes them hurt. You’re not too old to have the operation. My mother had it at age 76.
The booklet on heart valves explains what they do and how they can go wrong. To order a copy, write to: Dr. Donohue – No. 105W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I was wondering if a pneumonia shot is advisable for people over 75. A friend told me that the shots are not recommended for people over 75. Is that true? – G.W.
ANSWER: No, it’s false. They’re meant for anyone older than 65 and for all those younger than 65 who have a serious illness like diabetes or heart disease.
Although the shot is called the pneumonia shot, it’s only for one kind of pneumonia – the kind caused by the pneumococcus germ. That’s a germ that’s particularly deadly for older people and for those weakened by other illnesses.
Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475.
©2007 North America Synd.