Emphysema no reason to avoid exercise

December 08, 1992|By Dr. Neil Solomon

Dear Dr. Solomon: My husband has emphysema, and his doctor has referred him to an exercise program. My husband was never much of an athlete, and I think that especially with his emphysema, an exercise program is probably the last thing he needs. I'd rather have him alive with emphysema than have him drop dead pretending to be an athlete. I would greatly appreciate any comment you might make on the subject. -- Kay, Randallstown, Md.

Dear Kay: For a person with emphysema, the purpose of an exercise program is rehabilitation, not to make him an athlete. One of the symptoms of emphysema is shortness of breath, so many people who have this condition tend to avoid exercise. The problem is that a lack of exercise aggravates the situation, because it leads to the person's breathlessness becoming even worse.

Exercise, on the other hand, tends to improve the patient's symptoms, but the exercise should not be indiscriminate. That is why these patients are often referred to a rehabilitation exercise program, where they can obtain individual assistance. The exercise may start with simple walking and progress to jogging, all with the aim of increasing endurance and improving the cardiovascular system.

The bottom line is that if your husband becomes involved in such a program, his symptoms should be alleviated. If he remains inactive, his symptoms will probably become pro

gressively worse.

Dear Dr. Solomon: Would you please describe the basic difference between a lumpectomy and a partial mastectomy in a woman with breast cancer? They sound like they might be the same. -- Edna, Essex, Md.

Dear Edna: With a lumpectomy, only the tumor and a margin of tissue around the tumor are removed. With a partial mastectomy, a portion of the breast is removed. These procedures contrast with a modified radical mastectomy, which involves removal of the entire breast.

Dear Dr. Solomon: Is there any kind of medication that can be applied to hemorrhoids that would reduce them? -- Brad, Harrisburg, Pa.

Dear Brad: There is no medication that can be applied to hemorrhoids that will reduce them. However, some products, such as petroleum jelly, may provide relief from irritation when applied to hemorrhoids.

Dear Dr. Solomon: Will you please explain what a goiter is? I believe that it has something to do with the thyroid gland. -- Rose, Reston, Va.

Dear Rose: A goiter is an enlarged thyroid.

Dr. Neil Solomon will answer questions from Baltimore area readers in his Tuesday column in Accent on Health.

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Readers without a touch-tone telephone can write Dr. Solomon at P.O. Box 36184, Baltimore, Md., 21285-6184

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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