Question: A few months ago I came down with an ailment the med-ical people refer to as pseudo-gout. What in the world do I have?
Answer: You have an illness known as chondrocalcmosis, char-acterized by painful stilt joints caused by the buildup of calcium salts in the cartilage. Much less common than regular gout, pseudo-gout affects both men and women equally (gout affects mostly men) and causes attacks of pain that can be less predictable than those of gout. Like gout, pseudo-gout has no cure. Acute attacks can be controlled by colchicine-an anti-inflammatory drug that is specific for gout and pseudo-gout— or by using other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. The latter can also be used in long-term maintenance for those afflicted with repeat episodes.
Question: As I’ve grown older, I’ve started getting muscle cramps. What can I do about them?
Answer: For most cramps, stretch. If a spasm strikes the calf (by far the most common cramp site), pull the front of the foot up toward the knee. Since cramps usually result from muscle fatigue, you may be able to prevent such spasms by gently stretching before you exercise your calves. Stand a few feet from a wall, brace yourself against the wall with your hands, and lean forward, keeping your heels on the ground until you feel a pull in your calves. This maneuver before bedtime can also help prevent unexplained nighttime spasms.
If the cause isn’t muscle fatigue, your physician may find other, possibly treatable causes. These can include circulatory problems, hyperventilation, an underactive thyroid, and low blood levels of calcium or (rarely) magnesium.
POTATOES AND ARTHRITIS
Question: Is it true that toxins in potatoes and other plants of the nightshade family—including tomatoes, peppers, and egg-plant—can exacerbate or even cause arthritis in some people?
Answer: There’s no scientific evidence to support that old folk legend. If it were true, populations that eat lots of potatoes would presumably have a higher incidence of arthritis. Epidemiological studies have shown that they don’t.
RUB IT IN
Question: What is it about BenGay that helps relieve the pain of arthritis?
Answer: BenGay, like other muscle-ache and arthritis rubs, provides relief by acting as a counterirritant. It produces a mild local inflammation that crowds out pain messages from nearby muscles and joints. Arthritis rubs also create heat by increasing blood flow to the area; because of the risk of a burn, they should never be used together with a heating pad.
Health handbook introducing you to read the article: Fibromyalgia: What does it mean?
Copyright ownership rights: The Best of Health – Consumer Reports