DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am a 73-year-old woman. I have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. I have sonograms regularly. I am in a bowling league. I bowl each week. My bowling ball weighs 10 pounds. Should I bowl? My last ultrasound shows that the aneurysm is 3.8 cm. — F.S.
ANSWER: Your doctor is the only one who can answer your question with authority. He or she knows all the circumstances of your health. However, I can tell you that most people with an aneurysm of your size are encouraged to be active. Lifting heavy weights is discouraged. A 10-pound bowling ball isn’t considered a heavy weight.
The size of an aneurysm determines its risk of breaking apart and bleeding profusely. Aneurysms smaller than 4 cm are not in danger of suddenly rupturing. When an aneurysm reaches 5 to 5.5 cm, then surgical repair is recommended. You are quite a distance away from the danger zone.
For readers: Aneurysms are bulges of an artery wall, and are weak spots.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: hope you will discuss lactose intolerance. I am 60 and just developed it. — J.B.
ANSWER: Lactose is milk sugar. In our digestive tracts is an enzyme — lactase — that digests milk sugar. People with too little of the lactase enzyme have trouble when they drink or eat dairy products. Milk sugar doesn’t break down. The undigested sugar leads to gas production, stomach cramps and diarrhea.
Medical tests can confi rm the dearth of the lactase enzyme.
Standard treatment of lactose intolerance (also called lactase deficiency) is avoidance of dairy products. Most cheeses have little lactose, so they can be eaten. Yogurt made from live cultures is usually tolerated.
Furthermore, many dairy products can be pretreated with lactase, and people with the intolerance are not bothered by such products. The lactase enzyme comes in pill and liquid forms. It can be added to milk or taken by mouth before eating or drinking dairy products.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: How do I get a doctor to correct or change his written report? Twice in my 77 years I have pointed out incorrect statements in their records. Each time I was told they could not change anything once it appears in their written report.
There must be a way to correct an error, especially before sending the report to other doctors. Do you have any suggestions? — G.J.
ANSWER: I do have a suggestion.
The doctors are afraid of changing information because such changes can be damaging to them if the records are required in any legal proceedings.
However, they can make a current note in the chart, explaining how previous information in the record was not correct. That’s not going to get them into any trouble. It seems to me that not doing so would get them into trouble.
If the doctors balk at this, ask them to talk to a lawyer. Tell them you are preparing a document that states what the correction should be and that you will send it to any doctor to whom your current doctor sends your records. That should motivate your doctor to act.
Readers may write Dr. Donohue or request health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. ©2011 North America Synd.