Ladies: Why Does Your Body Do That?
“Why is my body doing that?” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says that’s the number one question she gets from her female patients, especially during that time of the month.
Chelsey, 26, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9, and lost her mother to the same disease.
“My mom just stopped taking care of herself and had a stroke,” Chelsey says. “I don’t want to follow in my mother’s footsteps.”
Since giving birth to her two children, however, Chelsey says the stresses of motherhood have decreased her motivation to eat right, exercise and take care of her condition.
“I’m a pasta fanatic,” she admits. “I don’t eat breakfast. I have coffee for breakfast.
“I have fears that I may pass out [from low blood sugar] while driving with my kids,” she adds. “I’ve had a couple close encounters when we were driving and I felt a little shaky.”
E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that diabetes is not a death sentence if you take charge of it. But to manage diabetes, it’s important to understand the disease.
“To understand diabetes, you need to know about glucose and insulin,” Dr. Travis says.
The digestive system breaks down food so it can move through your bloodstream and into your cells, providing energy to every part of the body. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars called glucose, which are ultimately utilized by cells as fuel. To access the glucose, cells require insulin, which is produced in the pancreas and shepherds the glucose from the blood to the cells. A perfect balance of glucose and insulin gives your body the energy it needs to power through the day. People with diabetes suffer from an imbalance.
Dr. Travis explains the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes: The body does not produce any insulin, and your cells cannot absorb glucose.
Type 2 diabetes: Your body does not produce enough insulin for cells to absorb the correct amount of glucose.
“The biggest thing you have to do is commit before it’s too late,” Dr. Travis says. “I want you, right here in front of these people, to commit to focusing on controlling your diabetes.”
“You have my full commitment,” Chelsey says. “I’m here, I’m ready to do it.”
• Stay updated on Chelsey's progress! Check out her blog posts.
What’s on My Skin?
Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon and dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban share zit-zapping remedies and explain how to spot dangerous moles.
Catching a Cold
Mary writes The Doctors and asks:
I have a large family, and when one person gets a cold, we all get it. How do I keep from spreading it and what are the best ways to treat it?
“The common cold is a viral upper respiratory tract infection that generally occurs during the fall or winter months,” Dr. Ordon says. “Symptoms usually begin in two or three days [after contracting the virus] with sneezing, sore throat, nasal congestion and coughing.”
Dr. Lisa suggests adding garlic to your diet to ward off colds because garlic contains allicin, a compound that decreases the enzymes that play a role in viral and bacterial infections. It also boosts your body’s defense system by increasing white blood cells.
“But if you don’t want to eat garlic,” Dr. Lisa says, “wash your hands and don’t touch your eyes or your nose.”
“If you’re the one with the cold or the flu, avoid touching commonplace objects, like the faucet or the remote control,” Dr. Travis adds.
How do you know if your cold is worsening or healing? Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears demonstrates how to interpret the color of your mucus.
What Your Mucus Means:
• Greenish-yellow: This means your body is in defense mode, sending green-colored enzymes to the site of the infection to combat bacteria. If this color lasts longer than five days, it could signal a sinus infection.
• Reddish-brown: This color occurs if the inside of your nostrils are dried out. No need to worry if this happens occasionally, but if it’s a regular occurrence, be sure to see your doctor as it could indicate a broken blood vessel.
• Clear: Odds are you’re infection-free!
Decoding Your Baby’s Diaper
Keep track of your baby’s health by decoding his or her diaper!
“Check your baby’s diapers!” Dr. Sears says. “Baby poop is a way of telling how healthy your child is.”
The Diaper Decoder:
• Greenish-black: When a baby is first born, his or her diaper may show a greenish-black substance. It’s actually not stool, but rather the substances that were ingested in utero, such as amniotic fluid, mucus and skin cells. This is a normal for a newborn 2 to 4 days old.
• Clear or jelly-like streaks: Baby may have an allergy or an infection.
• Yellow or tan: This color signals that your baby has started digesting breast milk or formula and that his or her digestive tract is healthy.
• Reddish-brown: Call your pediatrician. This could indicate a milk-protein allergy, constipation or infection.
• White: If your baby consistently has white stools, it could indicate a significant liver problem. Be sure to consult your doctor.
“In general, if your baby is always having the same kind of poops and then it changes, that’s something to [talk to your doctor] about,” Dr. Sears says.