One thing I love about writing Ask Well is the camaraderie. Every week we answer a health question: Why am I so congested all the time? (I wonder that too!) Why does my sleep get worse as I age? (I’m right there with you.) Does my coffee habit need intervention? (Pour me another while we think.)

When I check our inbox, I’m amazed at what comes up: questions that cover the joys, anxieties, confusions, and vulnerabilities of being a person. And fortunately for all of us, we can seek the answers.

Here are 10 of the most popular health questions of 2023.

The answer depends on your hair texture, oiliness, color, etc.

“While it may seem optimal to have a perfectly clean, oil-free scalp,” said Dr. Murad Alam, a dermatologist at Northwestern University, “keep in mind that the scalp is a living part. of your body, not a dinner plate in your dishwasher.

Pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints are common complaints among older adults – and they can be the first sign of a dreaded diagnosis: arthritis. This umbrella term describes more than 100 conditions that cause joint inflammation. But this doesn’t have to be an inevitable consequence of aging. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Maybe you stayed up too late scrolling through doomsday, or turned your sheets into a tornado replaying an uncomfortable conversation. Either way, you’re wondering: will a midday nap make up for those precious lost hours of sleep? The answer is complicated, we found. Here’s what naps can – and can’t – do for your health.

So you wake up every morning drunk and want to know what’s going on. Do you (and everyone else) seem to be so cold? The anatomy of your nose? Allergies ? Chronic congestion is difficult to treat, experts say, because several factors can cause it. But there are ways to find relief.

If that stuffy feeling is indeed caused by a cold, turn to foods and drinks that are hydrating, nourishing, and comforting (hello chicken noodle soup!). Here’s a look at how nutrition can help fight your infection, plus what foods and drinks to avoid.

As a blatant thrower and returner, I’ve noticed that the older I get, the less likely I am to wake up refreshed. It turns out there are medical reasons for this: an aging brain, certain health conditions, hormones, and lifestyle changes could all be the cause. The good news is that sleepless nights are not something you have to live with.

Any activity that interrupts your usual eating or sleeping schedule is likely to keep you busy. Dehydration, immobility, time zone changes, and altered diet are usually the cause. Here’s how to make things smoother when you’re on the go.

If you spend any time on the self-care side of social media, you’ll see video after video of influencers dousing themselves through an entire medicine cabinet of products. But simpler is often better when it comes to taking care of your face. Here’s what dermatologists say you really need.

Raise your hand if you’re drinking coffee while reading this. Keep it high if you’re on your second (or third or fourth) cup of the day. Coffee contains thousands of chemical compounds that may be linked to good health. But it’s also a major source of caffeine, too much of which can cause problems like jitters, anxiety, nausea and trouble sleeping. Although experts say dangerous side effects from drinking coffee are rare, it is still possible to overindulge. Here’s how to tell if you’ve overwatered yourself.

Do you have any other questions to ask our health journalists? Ask carefully.

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