The Cold Shoulder
Why do women have a tendency to complain of being cold more than men? Because they are! The Doctors explain the physiological reasons for the temperature differences:
•Women’s bodies are more efficient in retaining heat; blood flow is shunted away from the extremities to the core to keep blood circulating in the vital organs. This will make the hands, feet and ears feel cold, even though the body is actually retaining heat.
• Women have thinner fat than men and it doesn’t retain heat as well.
• Hormones also play a role in regulating body temperature. Dr. Lisa explains that women can feel warmer or colder depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle or birth control pills.
“I don’t want to go to school, I’m sick!” Sound like a familiar verse in your household’s tune? The Doctors explain that most kids tend to fake illness if they’re stressed or anxious about something at school - i.e. a big exam, worrisome bully or playground politics. Kids go to great lengths to fake illness every once in awhile, but if you notice a pattern developing, take some time to unearth the root of the problem.
“My dad’s a pediatrician and my mom’s a nurse, so I rarely got away with it!” Dr. Jim confides.
Symptom Calculator 101
The Doctors share the symptoms of common ailments.
1. Ailment: Fever, nausea and back pain.
Diagnosis: Kidney infection.
2. Ailment: Fever, vomiting and abdominal pain
3. Ailment: Fever, headache, confusion and neck stiffness (particularly tilting the head forward)
The nasal septum, a thin wall of cartilage that separates the left and right nasal cavity, should run evenly up the center of the nose. However, if the septum is displaced or deviated -- be it congenital or the result of an injury -- the nasal cavity is compromised and airflow is restricted.
Cherie, 30, has all the classic symptoms of a deviated septum:
• Chronic stuffy nose
• Trouble breathing
• Trouble sleeping
“As I’m getting older, it’s getting worse,” she confides.
Dr. Ordon takes one look up her nose and declares, “You have a deviated septum!” He tells Cherie that she needs corrective surgery and a few days later, he repairs Cherie’s deviated septum.
A cutting-edge test can detect more than 100 biomarkers in the blood for potentially dangerous diseases -- and it can be taken in the privacy of your own home.
Fifty-one-year-old Sherry is worried that she is at risk for cancer or heart disease, which runs in her family. She takes the Biophysical250 Test and Dr. Travis shares the results with her onstage. He reassures Sherry that the results for breast cancer and heart disease are normal, but notes that her thyroid results are elevated. He explains that her levels of thyroid hormone are probably too low, which would explain her complaints of fatigue.
Dr. Travis adds that Sherry’s results also reveal she has an elevated thyroglobulin level, which can put her at risk for other possible autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Chogrin’s syndrome. He encourages Sherry to consult her doctor to correct the decreased thyroid activity, increased inflammatory response and Vitamin D deficiency the Biophysical250 detected.
Ask the CVS Pharmacist
CVS/ Pharmacist Pharmacist Papatya Tankut joins The Doctors onstage to answer viewer questions.
Q: Is aspirin harmful or helpful?
A: Papatya says that aspirin is an effective preventative measure for adults with -- or at risk for -- heart disease because it inhibits blood clots in the blood. If aspirin upsets your stomach, a coated aspirin can alleviate some of the discomfort. However, aspirin is not suitable for children, Dr. Jim adds. Acetaminophen and ibuproferin are considered safe for children, but aspirin is not.
Q: What does "take on a full stomach" mean?
A: Papatya says that food can impact the effectiveness of medication and explains that “take on a full stomach” means that the medication should be taken 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after a meal. Conversely, “take on an empty stomach” indicates that medication should be taken an hour before or two hours after you eat.
She adds that, when taken with food, painkillers are not as harsh to the stomach as taken without.
Ehh… What’s Up, Doc?
Cameras follow Dr. Jim into his private practice to catch a glimpse of how the pediatrician cares for his young patients. Dr. Jim encourages parents to keep track of every symptom their child is experiencing, as one symptom can make a big difference in a diagnosis.
Six-year-old Lucca complains of an earache and after inspecting the boy’s ear, Dr. Jim concludes that Lucca has a middle ear infection, and prescribes an antibiotic.
Middle Ear Infection
Fever, cold symptoms and a bulging ear drum point to a middle ear infection. The most common form of treatment is to observe for a few days to allow the infection to clear on its own, but if a child has a high fever and severe pain, then antibiotics are prescribed.
Outer Ear Infection/ Swimmer’s Ear
If the ear canal is swollen and it hurts to wiggle the tragus -- the prominence in front of the external opening of the ear -- the ailment is most likely an outer ear infection, commonly called swimmer’s ear, which is treated with drops.
Dr. Travis explains that his rule of thumb is: “Colds and middle ear infections go hand in hand, just as swimming pools and swimmer’s ear go hand in hand.”
Infant Cranial Irregularities
Due to fears of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), many parents place their children on their backs to sleep. As a result, there has been a rise in babies with misshapen heads. Dr. Jim explains that a young baby’s head is so soft and malleable that any force acting upon it – be it in the womb, or positional sleeping – i.e. sleeping on the back with the head always to one side, can “push” the head into a different shape. Most babies will outgrow the condition on their own, but some infants need correctional intervention.
Lauren, 25, noticed that her daughter, Abigail’s, head began to flatten when she was just 1- month-old. Now 4-months-old, the back of Abigail’s head is flat and one eye and ear is higher on one side of her head than the other.
“It’s definitely just gotten worse,” Lauren frets.
Dr. Jim checks Abigail’s growth plates on her skull and assures the worried mother that her daughter’s brain is developing normally, but she has plagiocephaly, a condition that deems her head has grown into an oblong shape. To correct this, the pediatrician suggests a non-invasive orthotic called a dynamic orthotic cranioplasty, or DOC band; which is essentially a little helmet that Abigail can wear to gently correct her head shape.
Different types of skull irregularities include:
• Plagiocephaly – the head grows oblongly
• Brachycephaly – the head grows outwardly side-to-side
• Scaphocephaly – the head grows front to back
Journey to Africa
OB/ GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson journeys to Africa with her charity, Maternal Fetal Care International (MFCI). The mission: provide essential medical care to women and their babies in the poorest regions in the world. Erica McGraw, wife of The Doctors executive producer Jay McGraw, was inspired by Dr. Lisa’s tireless efforts and accompanied her on the trip.
“Delivering babies is one of the most special gifts in the whole wide world," Dr. Lisa says. "And these women deserve what every other human being deserves, which is access to good medical care.”
Anemia is a common blood disorder that occurs when the red blood cell count is less than normal. Red blood cells (RBCs) contain hemoglobin, a protein that binds to oxygen and carries the essential element to the brain, organs and tissues. Anemia can then cause low levels of oxygen in the body, a condition called hypoxia. There are different types of anemia that range from inadequate production of red blood cells to the early destruction of blood cells. (The average blood cell will live approximately 120 days)
Symptoms of Anemia:
• Low energy
• Pale skin
• Rapid heartbeat
A new, non-invasive anemia testing device by Masimo uses the measurements from light wavelengths and advanced signal processing algorithms to determine hemoglobin levels in the red blood cells. The advantage to this type of testing is that the results are immediate and no needles are involved!
On average, the red blood cell/ hemoglobin count should fall between 12 to 16 grams per deciliter of blood for women and between 13 to 18 grams per deciliter for men. Marissa, a member of the audience, volunteers to have her blood tested onstage and finds that she’s in the normal range.