Ask Our Docs: Do I Really Need to Worry?

Suicide Disease
Soon after suffering a serious fall, Brittany began to experience extreme pain in her jaw, which was ultimately diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia, also known as the "suicide disease." Because the condition causes excruciating jolts of pain that shoot through the face, it can make people feel like killing themselves for relief.

Excessive Worrying

Do you worry too much? Learn what happens to your body when you get that knot in your stomach or lump in your throat, and find out how to avoid them.

“Right in front of my ear, around my jaw, it’s a very intense pain that radiates out,” she says. “When it’s on my chin, it tends to twitch. And across my forehead, and sometimes over my eye, it feels like needles pricking me. It happens on both sides, but more often on the right.”

Neurosurgeon Dr. Neil Martin explains the causes of trigeminal neuralgia and offers treatment options for the painful condition.

Evelyn has suffered three mini strokes over the last four years, and is concerned she is at risk for a major stroke.

“The first time I had a mini stroke, I was on my way to work,” she says. “I became disoriented and I was in the wrong lane. It could have been disastrous.”

Her second mini stroke occurred six months ago, also while driving, causing her to be unable to see a street sign. Her third, and most-recent episode, happened just weeks ago while she was working in her yard. “It just kind of hit me,” Evelyn says. “I didn’t know where I was.”

A mini stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), is caused by reduced or blocked blood flow to the brain, most often due to a blood clot. TIA can yield stroke-like symptoms, such as sudden numbness, weakness, tingling, facial paralysis, change in vision, confusion, severe headache or trouble speaking, but do not last as long.

The Doctors and Dr. Martin explain whether Evelyn is at risk for a more serious episode, and how to know if you’re at risk for a stroke.

Stroke Symptoms
• Numbness/paralysis on one side of the body
Trouble speaking
Blurred or blackened vision
Problems walking and balancing

Headache, dizziness and vomiting

Risks of Stroke
• Smoking
• Family history
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes
• High cholesterol

• Stroke warning signs and prevention tips.
• Can having a stroke alter your sexual orientation?

Smoking Risks

The Doctors  and Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, chief medical officer of Pfizer, explain the extremely dangerous effects of smoking, and how quitting now can have immediate and life-saving effects.

• For more information on the impact of smoking and how to quit, visit

Tips to Quit Smoking
Nicotine addiction specialist Dr. Linda Hyder Ferry offers tips to stop smoking:

Change Your Attitude
Tell yourself you can learn to live without
Get Professional Help
Find out if you are a candidate for smoking cessation medications.
Change Your Environment
Keep your home, car and workplace smoke-free.
Use Alternatives
Make sure you have something else to do rather than smoke. If you need something in your hand to take the place of a cigarette, use a cinnamon stick. If you need to simulate the feel of a cigarette in your mouth, drink ice cold water through a straw. This will also stimulate chemicals in the brain that release dopamine, much like nicotine does.

Ask Our Doctors

The Doctors answer your most pressing health questions:

The importance of drinking water.
Childbirth concerns.
Can kissing spread gonorrhea?
Importance of fiber in your diet.

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Ask Dr. Sears
Do you know what to do when your child has a fever? Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains when to monitor a temperature at home, and when to visit the E.R.

What to do when your child vomits.

Hot Headlines
Are healthcare workers under attack? Fifty-three percent of emergency room nurses reported instances of verbal abuse in the past week, while 13 percent were physically assaulted. The Doctors and Tauni, an E.R. nurse at the Maple Grove Hospital in Minnesota, discuss the disturbing trend.

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OAD 12/13/11