Health Advice



Quirky questions asked and answered

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

The Magic 8-Ball delivers 20 pop-up answers to any question. The arbitrary responses range from "Don't count on it" to "Without a doubt." My answers, on the other hand, are grounded in science. However, sometimes there aren't definite answers, but I don't want to tell you, "Ask again later." Here are a couple examples:

Pat wrote: "I am a 56-year-old woman. Why can I swim freestyle for 30-plus minutes without getting winded but cannot run a 5K without having to stop and walk. I was told it was exercise-induced asthma, but wouldn't that apply to my rigorous swims, too?"

My answer: Yes, if it were exercise-induced asthma, it would apply to swimming, too. One hypothesis for why you have two such different responses is that your muscles for swimming and for running have been preconditioned differently. Maybe your swimming muscles are more "conditioned," so they have more mitochondria (the power center in each cell), use energy more efficiently and produce fewer acids than less-trained running muscles. The acids produced in greater quantity by less-trained running muscles are ones that need to be "breathed off" -- thus your shortness of breath.

Another question came from an 87-year-old man with toenail fungus who wondered which of the many topical treatments work best. I'm sorry to say only about 30% of folks are helped by various treatments they try. Using a topical application such as econazole everyday -- no excuses -- is a good place to start.

Keep the questions coming to



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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