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Use good-for-you ginger in gingerbread or a ginger tea

January 2006
Use good-for-you ginger in gingerbread or a ginger tea

If you've puzzled over uses for those knotty-looking ginger roots in the produce department, just put one into your shopping cart. Then check your cookbook for recipes that begin with the word "ginger."

Ginger has been revered around the world for more than 7,000 years. It has slightly pungent natural taste that adds a touch of its flavor and enhances all other flavors in a recipe. Ground ginger has a different flavor and is not interchangeable with fresh ginger.

In China and many other parts of the world, ginger is well-known for its power to calm an upset stomach. Common anti-nausea medications work through the central nervous system, causing drowsiness. Ginger acts directly on the digestive tract. In one study, people who took 1 gram of ginger before surgery had less nausea afterward. It is useful for chemotherapy patients and for pregnant women having morning sickness because it will not harm the fetus.

Ginger's reputation as a remedy for motion sickness and seasickness is well documented by a famous Danish study. Ginger extract is available in health-food stores.

Next time you're feeling a little queasy, brew a cup of ginger tea. Slice some ginger root. Put it in a tea ball and place in a teapot. Pour boiling water over the tea ball and let it sit for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey.

Know how to talk to your doctor

Your doctor may not be able to correctly treat your medical problem unless you can describe it effectively. Here are some questions you should be prepared to answer:

* Can you pinpoint exactly where the pain is?

* Can you describe how it feels?

* Can you compare it to another type of pain?

* How often does it occur?

* How long does it last?

* Is there anything you can do that changes it?

* What makes it worse?

* When did you first notice the pain?

* What were you doing at the time?

Patients today are expected to know how their bodies work and to be active participants in their own care. An easy flow of conversation can provide the doctor with the necessary information.

Most doctors make an initial diagnosis within one minute of talking to a patient. Questions asked after that are important and may change the initial diagnosis.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

With other medical problems, you realize that something is wrong. You have symptoms like a cough or a pain. That isn't so with glaucoma. At first, your vision is OK and you don't feel any pain. It could be years before you know something is wrong. By that time, you have lost much of your peripheral vision and you'll never get it back.

About 120,000 Americans are totally blind because of glaucoma. Each year, more than 300,000 cases are diagnosed and 5,400 more people will suffer complete blindness.

Ophthalmologists at Stanford University say people think of glaucoma only as a disease of high eye pressure. Actually, it is the most common optic nerve disease in the world.

Since it has no symptoms, regular screening is the only way to detect it. Ophthalmologists find it when they dilate the eye and look directly at the optic nerve to examine it for damage. Tonometry is a test done by optometrists with an instrument that measures pressure inside the eye. Pachymetry is a test in which the doctor uses ultrasonic waves to measure the thickness of the cornea. Anyone can get glaucoma, but these people have a higher risk:

* Everyone over age 40.

* People with a family history of glaucoma.

* People who are nearsighted.

* Those who have had an eye injury or have had eye surgery.

* People with high blood pressure or diabetes.

* Those who must take drugs such as steroids.

An examination by an ophthalmologist who dilates the eye is best but it's expensive. Doctors of optometry can do early screening when you get glasses.

--Gulshan Harjee, M. D.

Dr. Harjee, your host for this column, is a board certified Internist in private practice with graduate and posgraduate training from Emory University,

Atlanta. Her interests lie in Holistic and Preventive Medicine. She can be reached at (770) 934-6832.

NOTE: Since treatment varies with each individual, you must consult a Physician before acting on any advice given in this column.

Neither the Publisher, nor the Physician is liable for information provided.

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