Treat Leg Swelling With Horse Chestnuts?
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 75-year-old male who was diagnosed two years ago with superficial venous insufficiency. Venous ablation was considered, but my cardiologist informed me that it most likely would not improve my condition. Therefore, the best treatment is to wear compression socks and elevate my legs as much as possible. I am following my cardiologist’s advice.
I recently read a recommendation to take horse chestnut seed extract (Aesculus hippocastanum) and to look for products that have had the toxic substance esculin removed. I discussed this with my cardiologist’s physician assistant, and she saw no reason not to try it. What do you think? — M.P.
ANSWER: Some years ago, I saw a well-done study showing that horse chestnut extract is an effective treatment for the swelling associated with venous insufficiency. The dose usually studied has been 300 mg of the extract, standardized to 50 mg of escin, twice daily. The side effects noted in studies have been both infrequent and mild, and I have had several patients try it.
Unfortunately, my patients’ experiences have not been successful. I don’t know whether that was just bad luck that I had patients who didn’t respond, or whether they did not get an effective medication.
One big problem with herbal treatments in the U.S., which are sold as dietary supplements, is that the purity and standardization cannot be guaranteed. They are not well regulated, as compared with pharmaceuticals. I am sure there are ethical manufacturers who follow good practices, but the literature on supplements in general has shown that some products for sale do not contain the amount of the substance they purport to. There is no brand I feel comfortable recommending.
Nonetheless, I think it is reasonable to try, especially in combination with standard therapy, which includes compression stockings during the day and at least three sessions of raising the legs above the heart for 30 minutes at a time.
• • •
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 57-year-old son has been diagnosed with stage 1 pancreatic cancer. He has chosen not to have surgery, nor take chemotherapy or radiation. He has his own personal reasons and I respect that. Do you know of any other treatments, such as diet? — Anon.
ANSWER: Every person has the right to seek or refuse treatment. However, stage 1 pancreatic cancer is potentially curable with surgery, and time is of the essence. Many people have changed their minds about seeking standard treatment only after alternative treatment fails and their disease progresses. While I understand your respect for his decision, it is hard for an outsider like me to see someone refuse potentially curative treatment for a disease that will shortly become incurable in all likelihood. Hopefully his decision was made based on a thorough and careful review of the facts.
While a healthy diet, herbs, massage and other therapies may be helpful in making people feel better, there is no good evidence that they will cure this terrible disease.
Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer
individual questions, but will incorporate them
in the column whenever possible.
Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.
© 2022 North America Synd., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Get More for Your Driving Dollar
With gas prices at record highs, many of us are feeling financial pain at the pump and on our household budget. Although we cannot control soaring gas prices, there are ways to improve gas mileage. The U.S. Department of Energy offers the following driving and car maintenance tips to save you money.
Minimize idling your car by turning off your engine when your vehicle is parked for more than 10 seconds. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use, adding up to three cents of wasted fuel a minute.
Drive sensibly and avoid aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking. Aggressive driving can lower your highway gas mileage by 15% to 30% and your city mileage by 10% to 40%.
Avoid driving at high speeds. Above 50 mph, gas mileage drops rapidly. For every 5 mph above 50 mph, it’s like paying an additional $0.25 or more per gallon of gasoline.
Combine errands. Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
Use cruise control on the highway to maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
Car Maintenance Tips
Use the grade of motor oil your car’s manufacturer recommends. Using a different grade of motor oil can lower your gas mileage by 1%-2%.
Inflate your tires to the pressure listed in your owner’s manual or on a sticker that is either in the glove box or driver’s side door jamb.
Get regular maintenance checks to avoid fuel economy problems. Fixing a serious maintenance problem can improve mileage by as much as 40%.
Don’t ignore the check-engine light—it can alert you to problems that affect fuel economy as well as more serious problems, even when your vehicle seems to be running fine.
Learn more fuel saving tips and other ways to save money on www.fueleconomy.gov
May is National Bike Month. It was established in 1956 to showcase the many benefits biking can have. This year’s theme is #BikeThere which will encourage Bike to Work Week from May 16-22 and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20th according to The League of American Bicyclists.
Biking can be a great way to get in shape, stay in shape and help relieve stress. However, biking can be dangerous. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there were 846 bicyclist deaths in 2019. Here are some safety tips to help keep you safer when biking on the roads.
Make sure all equipment is in good working order. Seat is adjusted to proper height, tires are inflated properly and bike is equipped with reflectors in proper locations on bike. Make sure to wear reflective clothing to be seen. Try and ride during daytime hours if possible. If you must ride at night, ride in areas with less traffic or that have paths specifically for bikes. Always wear a helmet. Make sure the helmet has been certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Make sure it fits properly. If the helmet is fitted properly, it should not rock more than an inch from side to side on your head.
Follow all traffic laws the same way you would if you were driving a car. Know the hand signals for turning both right and left. If riding in groups, make sure to ride in a single line in the direction of travel. Always be vigilant when riding, looking up, down and around for objects in the road, other vehicles or bicyclists, or people opening car doors. Before entering into traffic, make sure to stop and look left then right and back left again to look for any oncoming traffic.
And if you are not a biker, please make sure to look out for them when driving in your car. Give them plenty of room if driving around them. Check your mirror before opening a car door. Make sure to look in all directions before entering in to traffic to help avoid a collision with a bicyclist.
If you have any questions or would like further information I can be reached at 563-589-4195 or at Dpaulson@cityofdubuque.org.
• A garden manicure is what my mother calls it: When working with plants and dirt, rake your nails across a bar of soap. The soap prevents dirt particles from lodging under nails, and the soap washes away easily when you are finished. Happy Gardening! — JoAnn
• Here’s a recipe for a quickie bird feeder or bath: Flip over a nice-size flower pot, and place the pot’s tray on the top. Fill with seed or water. The birds will thank you — maybe even by eating some nuisance bugs along with the seed.
• A great idea for mini ice packs: Freeze ketchup packets you get from takeout food. They are great for icing small bumps or bug bites.
• Spread a teaspoon of peanut butter thinly on a paper plate. Then when the dog is busy with its treat, you can trim its nails. Or sometimes just having it nearby as a promised treat can do the trick to distract your pet. Good luck!
• “One of the things I do each spring (and fall) is to go through my makeup and toss the old items. I also restock my first-aid kit and get new bottles of sunscreen and bug spray to keep in my car kit, so I will always have it around.” — E.A. in California
• Love beans but trying to save a little money? Don’t be intimidated by dry beans; just rinse them and chuck them in the slow cooker. Add water according to package directions and cook on low for up to eight hours. After they cool, you can bag them in freezer-safe, zipper-top bags and freeze them for easy use later.
• “On a health kick: Step one is to keep a food and activity diary for a week. You can get an idea of what you eat, what times of the day you are overeating and the areas where you can make improvements. Knowledge is power!” — V.R. in Oregon
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© 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.
Healthy Key Lime Pie
Fat-free sweetened condensed milk and fat-free yogurt trim the fat and calories from this luscious lime pie.
1 1/4 cups low-fat graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons trans-fat free vegetable oil spread (60% to 70% oil)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
22 Key limes or 4 to 5 regular limes
1 can (14-ounce) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In 9-inch glass pie plate, mix crumbs with spread, sugar and salt to moisten. With hand, press onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Cool until ready to fill.
2. Meanwhile, to 1-quart saucepan, add water; sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 2 minutes to soften. Cook on low to dissolve, stirring. Remove from heat.
3. From limes, grate 2 teaspoons peel and squeeze 1/2 cup juice; if using Key limes, do not use grated peel — it will make filling taste bitter. In bowl, whisk lime peel and juice, milk and yogurt. Whisk in gelatin mixture.
4. Spoon filling into crust. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours to set. Serves 10.
• Each serving: About 235 calories, 5g total fat (1g saturated), 6mg cholesterol, 185mg sodium, 42g total carbohydrate, 7g protein.
For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/.
© 2022 Hearst Communications, Inc.
All rights reserved
Pronto Ham Minestrone
Try this soup recipe the next time you have leftover ham. You’re not going to believe how easy and tasty this is until you try it. It’s filled with flavor — but not fat!
1 full cup diced extra lean ham
1 (16 ounce) can tomatoes, coarsely chopped and undrained
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat tomato soup
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/3 cup broken uncooked spaghetti
1/4 cup grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
1. In a large saucepan, combine ham, undrained tomatoes, tomato soup and water. Stir in garlic, Worcestershire sauce and Italian seasoning. Add kidney beans, cabbage and uncooked spaghetti. Mix well to combine.
2. Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until spaghetti is tender, stirring occasionally. When serving, top each bowl with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 (1/2 cup) servings.
• Each serving equals: 219 calories, 3g fat, 14g protein, 34g carb., 811mg sodium, 7g fiber; Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Meat,
1 1/2 Starch, 1 1/2 Vegetable.
© 2022 King Features Syndicate, Inc.