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Your holiday health questions answered

We asked some of HealthCentral's experts to answer a question they've been asked about dealing with chronic conditions during the holiday season.

Here are their responses.

How can I avoid gaining weight?

Q: How can I avoid gaining weight during the holidays?

A: From Amy Hendel, also known as the Health Gal: Manage stress without food. Use smaller “everything." Offer to bring one healthy dish to the pot luck. Water down beverages. Talk more. Don’t toss the evidence. Never go to the party hungry.

I have rheumatoid arthritis and worry about holiday activities

Q: I have rheumatoid arthritis and worry that all the activity during the holidays could cause  flares.

A: From Lene Andersen, one of our RA experts: Staying ahead of flares takes a bit of planning, but it is possible. Pace yourself. Take painkillers when the pain starts to stay ahead of the pain. Vitamin B12 and D can help give you energy. Talk to your doctor about getting an emergency booster pack of prednisone that you can use if a flare does happen.

How can I manage my diabetes better?

Q. How can I manage my diabetes over the holidays better?

A. From David Mendosa, one of our experts on diabetes: When we eat any big meal, particularly at the feasts that our families and friends offer us at this holiday season, we need to check our blood sugar levels. We need to check our levels both before and after eating. Specifically, our levels tend to be highest about 75 minutes after the first bite of a meal.

My father has Alzheimer's, how can we celebrate with him?

**Q: My father has Alzheimer’s.  How can we celebrate the holidays with him? **

A: From Carol Bradley Bursack, one of our experts on Alzheimer’s:

Many people with dementia get confused in a strange environment.  We couldn’t bring my dad home, so we celebrated in two places. Decorate his room with familiar holiday items. Bring gifts and celebrate special days with him, whether or not he responds. But don’t neglect your other family members.

How can I possibly enjoy the holidays with cancer?

Q: I have cancer. How can I possibly enjoy the holidays?

A: From PJ Hamel, one of our cancer experts: Cancer robs you of many things, but it doesn't have to take your holiday spirit. Live one moment at a time. Give yourself permission to be stop worrying. Don’t focus on what you can't do; enjoy what you can.