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Ask the health expert: Raina Patel, M.D.

Created date

October 26th, 2010
Erickson Livinghealth and wellness experts can be found atErickson Livingcommunities all over the U.S. This month our expert is Raina Patel,Eagle s Trace, Houston, Texas Dr. Patel received her bachelor s degree from Houston Baptist University in Houston, and received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School. She completed both her internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Patel is board certified in internal medicine. She joinedEagle s Tracein October 2005. 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: Every so often I have a cough for no apparent reason. Sometimes, it lasts for a few weeks. Should I see my doctor? A:Common causes of coughs include colds, allergies, or even certain medications. Sometimes, however, the cause can be elusive. To help your doctor find out why you are coughing, keep a symptom diary answering questions such as: Are there certain times of the day that you notice the cough? Are you around people wearing perfume or cologne? Are you outdoors? Do you get the cough in certain seasons or around grass? Does it worsen with activity? Because a cough can also be associated with other health conditions such as lung problems or even acid reflux see your doctor for an evaluation. Q: I am 88 years old and have a high PSA level. Should I have a prostate biopsy? I am otherwise in good health and have no symptoms of cancer. A:Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. Prostate cancer, other noncancerous conditions (such as benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostatitis), or age can increase a man s PSA level. Especially in the case of older men, there is some controversy about performing other diagnostic tests when faced with a high PSA. At issue is whether or not to treat cancer if it is detected. Some studies have found that there s not much difference in life expectancy between older men who are treated for prostate cancer and those who aren t. In addition, treating the cancer may not be worth the side effects or complications resulting from such treatments. Talk to your doctor about your options. Ultimately, the decision is yours.