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Ask the Doctors

Weight training can help keep down body fat percentage

Dear Doctors: At my last checkup, it turned out my body fat percentage has gone up quite a bit. I was surprised because I haven’t gained weight. I’m a 66-year-old woman, I walk at least a mile every day and I play tennis. My doctor says I should start lifting weights, too. Can’t I just…

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Eating earlier may curb some cravings

Dear Doctors: I heard on the news about a study that says you won’t get as hungry if you eat all of your meals earlier in the day. Does that have to do with the way the body clock works? It seems like circadian rhythms affect everything we do. Can you talk about that, and…

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Gallstones the result of hard bile deposits

Dear Doctors: I had stabs of pain in the upper right side of my abdomen one day, so I did a telehealth session. The nurse said it might be gallstones and to see my doctor if it repeats. So far, it hasn’t happened again. What are gallstones? How do you get them, and what is…

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Ultraprocessed foods engineered to target reward centers

Dear Doctors: Why is ditching junk food so hard? I know I should have an apple instead of a doughnut, but when I crave a snack, I don’t reach for the fruit bowl. Making and then breaking the promise to eat healthy makes me feel like a failure. How can a junk food addict like…

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Bypass surgery requires recuperations and lifestyle changes

Dear Doctors: My brother-in-law is 57 years old, and he is getting coronary bypass surgery. I don’t want to bother him or my sister with a lot of questions right now, but I do want to understand what is happening. Why is this surgery needed, and how is it done? Will it fix whatever is…

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Junk food is engineered to taste good, not satisfy

Dear Doctors: Can you please talk about what makes something count as “junk food”? My diet has been less than stellar during the pandemic, and not only did I gain weight, but I just got the news that I have prediabetes. Specifics about how those kinds of food are bad for your health would help…

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Dermatologist best doctor to see for lichen planus

Hello again, dear readers, and welcome to part two of this month’s letters column. Our volume of mail continues to grow — thank you! — so we’ll keep abreast of your questions with additional columns as needed. — We recently discussed lichen planus, which affects the skin and sometimes the mucous membranes, including in the…

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New COVID-19 booster has two-pronged approach

Dear Doctors: How important is it to get the new COVID-19 booster? My husband and I are in our mid-40s and in good health. We both got the Moderna vaccine when it first came out, and we got a booster, too. What’s in this new shot? Also, is it true that it’s a good idea…

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Best way to stay hydrated is drinking water

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to our monthly letters column. With heat, humidity and wildfires, many of us have been dealing with a summer of extremes. We’re thinking of you, and we hope you are staying safe as we begin the autumn season. We’re very glad to know that recent columns about these issues have…

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