Q. I’m from an Italian-American family and we seem to have a predisposition for gallstones. Is this something people of my ethnic background get more often?
I could find no evidence that people with an Italian background get more gallstones than others. However, Native Americans have an inclination for this malady; they have the highest rate of gallstones in the United States.
Q. I’m a social drinker who has several glasses of wine every evening, but I’m told I can avoid any liver damage if I drink plenty of coffee. Sounds ridiculous. What do you think?
There was a study of more than 125,000 people who drank coffee. The study showed that one cup of coffee a day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver by 20 percent. Four cups a day reduced the risk by 80 percent. It’s not known yet why coffee protected livers in this study.
Q. I seem to be getting a lot of headaches lately. I’m pretty sure it’s been caused by stress, but I was wondering if I should have it checked by a doctor.
You should definitely see your doctor. Most headaches are harmless, but they can be a symptom of a serious condition.
The American Council for Headache Education urges people to see a doctor if there are any of the following symptoms with headache:
Q. I’m afraid that my grandson may be using cocaine. Is there any way I can tell for sure? And how dangerous is this drug?
Many of us are grandparents who worry about the drug culture of our grandchildren. We also wonder if there’s anything we can do to prevent youths from getting into a drug habit.
The first step we can take is to educate ourselves.
Q. I was wondering if older people get bad breath more than younger folks.
I could find no direct correlation between aging and halitosis, which is the term for bad breath. However, I’m going to take a couple of educated stabs at the topic.
Many older people have dentures. If they don’t fit correctly or are not cleaned often, they can collect food and bacteria; both can lead to bad breath.
Q. What do the warnings on the bottles under my kitchen sink mean? I find them confusing.
Many of the household products we use contain poisons. These include pesticides, oven cleaners, detergents, polish, paint and drain uncloggers.
Manufacturers use a low-medium-high system on labels to alert you to hazards. The following are brief descriptions:
If the label on a container says “caution,” that means the contents could hurt you. For example, the product’s fumes might make you sick.