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Ask the health expert: Thomas Morris, D.O.

Created date

September 21st, 2010
Erickson Livinghealth and wellness experts can be found atErickson Living communitiesall over the U.S. This month our expert is Thomas Morris, D.O., Medical Director atMonarch Landingin Naperville, Ill. Dr. Morris studied pre-med at St. Xavier College in Chicago, Ill. He then went on to obtain two degrees: chiropractic medicine from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and osteopathic medicine from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Chicago. Morris is board certified in family practice and joinedMonarch Landingin July 2006. Please note: The following questions were submitted by readers. The answers are intended for general information purposes and should not replace your doctor s medical advice. Q: Can certain vitamins or supplements make your immune system stronger? A:There are a lot of claims out there about strengthening the immune system, but very little has been proven through research. Your immune system is just that a system. It is comprised of many different types of cells and structures that each function differently, so saying that a particular vitamin can boost your immunity is a blanket statement that should be viewed with a critical eye. [caption id="attachment_14503" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Anything touted to boost your immunity should be verified. (File photo)"][/caption] Your best bet for keeping your immune system strong is employing healthy living strategies like eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; engaging in moderate exercise; and getting enough sleep. Q: I ve been taking an over-the-counter arthritis pain reliever for ten years. But last week my doctor told me to stop taking it because of some abnormal laboratory tests. What can I do for the pain? A:Over-the-counter does not necessarily mean that something is safe, especially for seniors. Many anti-inflammatory drugs sold for arthritis relief are associated with gastrointestinal bleeding, particularly in people over age 65. Many people won t even experience stomach upset or other signs that bleeding is occurring. In addition, some anti-inflammatories can cause kidney problems and also interact with other medicines. Weight loss and exercise are two of the best strategies for most people when it comes to arthritis pain relief. Research shows that losing even five pounds can take up to 20 pounds of stress off of your joints, and the pain-relieving benefits come very quickly. Exercise doesn t have to be strenuous try walking, swimming, or taking tai chi classes. And talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.