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Ask the health expert: Barbara Morris, M.D.

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November 23rd, 2010
Erickson Livinghealth and wellness experts can be found atErickson Living communitiesall over the U.S. This month our expert is Barbara Morris, M.D., Medical Director,Wind Crest, Highlands Ranch, Colo. Dr. Morris received her bachelor s degree from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y. She completed her residency in family medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Board certified in family practice, Morris joinedWind Crestin June 2008. 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: I ve had mild dizziness on and off for years. I ve had every diagnostic test in the book, but no one can find anything wrong. Why does it keep happening? A:Dizziness usually takes the form of light-headedness or the feeling like you might faint. Many times, a cause cannot be found. Some people, especially as they get older, experience dizziness if they get up too quickly from a lying or seated position. Dizziness may accompany the flu, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a common cold, or allergies. If, however, you feel unsteady, lose your balance, or experience vertigo (a feeling that you or the room is spinning or moving), you may have a balance disorder. These are usually caused by certain health conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or the brain. Your biggest risk from having periods of dizziness is falling. Make your home safer by removing clutter, improving lighting, and installing handrails if necessary. See your doctor if your dizziness is bothersome or becomes more frequent. Q: I have emphysema and having a cold makes it very difficult for me to breathe. Is it true that taking vitamin C can help prevent colds or lessen symptoms? A:Although vitamin C has long been touted as a popular remedy for the common cold, research shows that for most people vitamin C supplements will not reduce the risk of getting one. People who take vitamin C supplements regularly, however, might have shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms when they do have a cold. Using extra vitamin C supplements after cold symptoms start is not proven to be helpful. As an adult, your recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 75 90 milligrams. That s the equivalent of about one cup of orange juice. Some people might require more because of certain health conditions, but your maximum daily intake of vitamin C shouldn t exceed 2,000 milligrams. Taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. If you plan to take vitamin C supplements, talk to your doctor first to make sure it is safe for you. Send questions by e-mail to expert@erickson.com

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