Warning: Clues Your Body is Giving You

Bruising Basics

ProduceTheDoctors community member Danielle suggested The Doctors do a segment about bruises. She asks what causes bruising and whether bruises can lead to blood clots. 

Cracked Lips
Angular cheilitis, or cuts and cracks on the sides of the mouth, may indicate a deficiency in iron or vitamin B12.

If your lips are chronically cracked or chapped, your physician can test your blood and prescribe necessary supplements.

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy
Bernadette, 45, and her daughter Tina, 29, both tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, commonly referred to as the breast cancer gene. The positive BRCA result indicated that both mother and daughter have an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer.

The news shocked Bernadette and Tina.

"My doctors all suggested to me that I needed to do a mastectomy, because if I didn't have breast cancer today, I would have breast cancer soon," Bernadette says.

"I think part of me was in denial, but the other part of me just thought it would go away," Bernadette continues. "I was just going to ignore it."

"I see this very often in my practice," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "Women find something, and then they ignore it because they're afraid of what it's going to mean, that it's going to mean the worst. And with breast cancer, early detection is the key, or prevention. We have so few tools."

Both Bernadette and Tina opt to undergo a skin-sparing mastectomy surgery.

Plastic surgeons Dr. Ritu Chopra and Dr. Joel Aronowitz, founder of the Breast Preservation Foundation, explain how the skin-sparing mastectomy is performed. The revolutionary procedure not only treats the cancer, but saves the appearance of the breast as well.

The prospect of undergoing standard mastectomies, which leave breast tissue severely disfigured, often frightens women away from getting tested for breast cancer.

"A lot of women, especially if they have a family member who has gone through breast cancer, will not even consider getting tested because they don't even want to consider this disfiguring type of surgery," Dr. Lisa says.

"It's important that women realize that it's perfectly acceptable to be concerned about the cosmetic appearance, about having a natural appearance of their breasts, despite dealing with breast cancer, or the threat of breast cancer," Dr. Aronowitz adds. "A woman should insist on having a plastic surgeon as part of the team from the very beginning, so the plastic surgeon can have input about the eventual result of the treatment."

Learn more about BRCA 1 gene testing.

Spit-Up 101

As new parents can attest, baby spit-up can come in a variety of colors and consistencies. Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears is on hand to decipher what each hue of spit-up says about your baby's health.

CVS Minute Clinic
The CVS Minute Clinic is a walk-in clinic geared toward treating patients who are not sick enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room, but need help with common illnesses.

Though not a substitution for your primary care physician, the CVS Minute Clinic can provide basic medical care such as screenings and shots, and the nurse practioners can prescribe medications.

Learn more about the CVS Minute Clinic and find one in your area.

Psoriasis Treatment
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. Skin cells build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, creating red and scaly patches that are often uncomfortable. Dermatologist Dr. Susan Evans, from Cosmetic Physicians of Beverly Hills, performs a laser treatment for psoriasis on Alina's fingernails.

Fingernail Facts
The tint of your fingernails can indicate whether you have diabetes, emphysema, hepatitis, thyroid problems and more. What do your nails say about you?

• Dry, brittle nails that crack and split easily could indicate thyroid problems
Pitting or rippling of the nail can indicate psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis


What Your Fingernails Are Telling You
Color Possible Indications
normal, healthy
White • most likely leftover from an old injury or bruise
• could indicate a zinc deficiency
• could indicate liver disease or hepatitis
White with pink
kidney disease

Yellow & thickened
lung disease, like emphysema
sign of infection, either in the nail bed or the body
lack of oxygen and possible lung problems
could indicate melanoma

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OAD 11/20/09