August 25, 2014 at 6:18 am

To Your Health

Lack of hair can be the result of several conditions

Dear Dr. Roach: I haven’t had to shave my legs for a few years, because I never get growth anymore. My doctor said it may be from hormones. I’m 78. Could that be the reason?

C.K.

Dear C.K.: Lack of hair can result from several reasons, including hormonal changes, but also from “poor circulation” — specifically, peripheral artery disease. Unrecognized peripheral artery disease is important, since it predicts increased risk of heart disease and stroke. A physical exam is sometimes enough to make the diagnosis; however, if your doctor’s suspicion is high, he or she might order a Doppler ultrasound to evaluate the blood flow.

Dear Dr. Roach: My husband has Meniere’s disease. We cannot find anyone who can help him. Is there any medication for this?

L.M.

Dear L.M.: Meniere’s disease causes episodes of vertigo, tinnitus and eventually hearing loss. It is caused by swelling in the organ of balance in the inner ear, but the reason for the swelling isn’t clear.

Before being seen by a doctor, your husband can try to identify triggers for the attacks. Common triggers include a high-salt diet, tobacco, alcohol and stress. A low-salt diet can dramatically reduce episodes.

ENT doctors are usually expert in treating Meniere’s disease. A diuretic such as hydrochlorothiazide often is used if diet alone doesn’t help.

Dr. Roach Writes: One more update on the husband of R.F., who was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus. He had the surgery, was discharged the following day with no pain, is doing well and will follow up with physical therapy. It’s not always an easy decision to make, but he was fortunate to have excellent care and a good result so far.

Email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@
med.cornell.edu.