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This week we respond to questions about nighttime urination, yellow teeth, and arthritis prevention.

Dear HOUSE Calls,    

I wake up several times during the night to go to the bathroom.  Is this a problem?

Sounds like a problem that would make us tired!

We define this as a problem if you wake two or more times to void during a typical night. Practically speaking, it is a problem if it bothers you or if it represents a change. There are a variety of issues that can be related to nighttime urination.  These include drinking too much close to bedtime, especially alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages.  Enlarged prostate is a common cause of nighttime urination in men. Other medical issues that can cause this include diabetes, heart disease, and urinary tract infections. So if there has been a change or it is bothering you, check in with your family doctor.

Dear HOUSE Calls,    

What causes teeth to stain and turn yellow?

Coffee, tea, wine, dark sodas, and especially cigarettes (and other tobacco products) are among the most common causes of yellow teeth. Some medications – used in childhood (tetracycline and doxycycline especially) – can contribute to permanently discoloring teeth.

To whiten your teeth, there are over-the-counter products and dentist administered teeth whitening treatments that are effective. But keep in mind, if you keep using the products like cigarettes that stain teeth, they met get whiter with treatment, but then they will yellow again with tooth staining beverages and habits.

Dear HOUSE Calls,    

How can I protect my joints from damage?

To keep your joints from aching, the best thing in terms of big picture is to keep a healthy weight.  Many people with osteoarthritis have developed it because they are overweight.  Staying active and wearing proper fitting shoes can also help reduce or prevent joint pain.

Protect your joints by slowing building up when you start a new exercise regimen. We don’t know of any medicines or supplements that are proven to prevent arthritis. For many people, the development of arthritis is about joint alignment or old injuries, and there is not much you can do about it. So, again, the best piece of advice is to try to maintain a healthy body weight.

HOUSE Calls is a weekly column by Dr. Adam Goldstein, Dr. Cristy Page, and Dr. Adam Zolotor on behalf of YOUR HEALTH and the UNC Department of Family Medicine.

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