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Chelation therapy ... sputum culture ... sunglasses.

What is chelation therapy, and what conditions does it treat?

Chelation therapy removes heavy metals, such as mercury, arsenic, and lead, from the body through the use of a chelating solution such as ethylenediarninetetraacetic acid (EDTA), which is usually administered intravenously. EDTA works by binding to metals in the bloodstream, which are then expelled in urine.

Chelation therapy has been used to treat lead poisoning and similar heavy metal poisoning for more than 40 years, but it also has been touted as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even Alzheimer's disease. It's important to note, however, that no studies have definitively shown that chelation therapy works for these conditions, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved chelation therapy for any purpose other than heavy metal removal.

What is a sputum culture, and what does it reveal about lung health?

A sputum culture is an analysis of secretions from the lungs. Sputum is mucus from the lower airways. The test is simple: You take some deep breaths and cough deeply into a sterile cup. The sputum is studied for signs of bacteria or other germs that may be infecting the lungs or bronchi, the tubes that carry air to the lungs.

If you have a deep or "wet" cough that sounds like it's in the lungs, your doctor may order a sputum culture, particularly if you've had the problem for some time.

A sputum culture helps diagnose conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can sometimes eliminate the need for a bronchoscopy, a more invasive test in which a flexible tube is inserted through the nose or mouth down to the lungs.

Do I need special sunglasses to protect my eyes or are drugstore sunglasses enough?

Any time you're outside in the summer, you definitely want to have sunglasses along. Sun damage to the eyes is a major risk factor for cataracts. And, while you may not need the most expensive sunglasses on the market, there are a few factors to consider when choosing a pair.

You'll want to get sunglasses that provide at least 99 percent protection from the sun's damaging UV rays, which you can find for less than $20. You also may want polarized lenses, which can cut down on glare. Not all polarized lenses sufficiently block UV rays, so make sure you look for UV protection first. Likewise, mirrored sunglasses may help block visible light, but they don't automatically help against UV rays.

Larger lenses are more helpful than smaller lenses, and wraparound sunglasses often provide the greatest eye protection.

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Title Annotation:ASK DR. ETINGIN
Publication:Women's Health Advisor
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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