Silent Symptoms You Can't Ignore

“If you’re not in tune with your body, some dangerous symptoms can go unnoticed and undiagnosed,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.

Silent Killer
Fans were saddened by the news in September that Green Mile actor Michael Clarke Duncan had died after the 54-year-old suffered a heart attack in July and never recovered.

Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women in the United States. The statistics are staggering. Every 34 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack, and every minute someone dies from a heart-related complication.

Dr. Kathy Magliato, a cardiothoracic surgeon at St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica and author of Heart Matters, joins Dr. Travis to discuss what causes a heart attack and why symptoms are often hard to detect .

Suspicious Moles

Dermatologist Dr. Glynis Ablon demontrates a new tool called MelaFind that helps determine whether skin cells are abnormal and potentially cancerous without cutting the skin.

Surviving a Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Susan Koeppen, a Pittsburgh news anchor and mother of three, went for a run with some friends one Sunday morning. After two miles, she started having difficulty breathing and collapsed. When her friend caught up to her, she was unresponsive.

Susan had been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, which is common in women, in 2004 during a routine physical.
However, Susan had developed mitral valve regurgitation, a disorder in which the mitral valve that separates the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart does not close properly and allows blood to flow backward into the upper chamber.

When she was running that morning, her heart’s electrical system malfunctioned, causing sudden cardiac arrest.

Two medical students who happened to be driving by stopped and performed CPR on Susan. Firefighters arrived within minutes and used a defibrillator to shock her heart back into a regular arrhythmia.

Susan joins Dr. Travis to share her miraculous story.

Looking back, Susan says she recognizes some symptoms that her heart condition had gotten worse. She says she coughed all the time, especially after she worked out. At the time, Susan dismissed the signs, thinking she had a cold or exercise-induced asthma.

After she recovered from the cardiac arrest, Susan had surgery to repair her heart valve so it would no longer pump blood in the wrong direction.

A Cough that Won’t Go Away
Ty has had a persistent cough for the past three months. She’s taken cough medicine, but it hasn’t helped.

Gastroenterologist Dr. Su Sachar uses an endoscope to examine Ty’s throat and diagnoses Ty with mild laryngopharyngeal reflux, a condition when acid from your stomach splashes up into your throat.

Dr. Sachar uses a ResTech pH monitor, which is inserted in Ty’s nose, to measure the pH in the back of her throat over a 24-hour period.

A normal pH balance should measure 6 or 7, but Ty’s is below 5, and acid levels were highest at night.

Ty’s condition can be treated with dietary intervention, such as cutting back on caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods. If that doesn’t help, Dr. Sachar says prescription medication can be used to treat the condition.

Don’t Just Grin and Bear It
Jeff, a producer on The Doctors brushes and flosses his teeth regularly, but on his last trip to this dentist, he was surprised when he was told he should see a periodonist.

One out of two people in the U.S. has periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gum and the bone surrounding the teeth. It is caused by plaque that stays on the teeth too long and gets beneath the gum causing infection. Bleeding gums can be a symptom. If untreated, the gums no longer support the tooth, and you can eventually lose your teeth.

Jeff visits periodontist Dr. Sanda Moldovan, who does an oral DNA test to determine what types of bacteria are causing the infection and recommends that Jeff have a laser treatment to kill the bacteria.

You can help prevent periodontal disease by regular flossing, brushing and oral rinses, but the condition also can be genetic.

“If out there you see any kind of gum bleeding, don’t ignore it,” Dr. Moldovan says.

The Link Between Snoring and Children's Behavior
A recent study shows that children who snore or have other sleep disturbances are more likely to have behavioral problems later in life and are more likely to need special education.

UCLA pediatric ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Nina Shapiro joins Dr. Travis to discuss the study and how you can tell if your child is having trouble sleeping.

“What we see is these kids are tired and wired. So, these are the kids who are running around the classroom all day, they can’t sit still, they can’t focus,” Dr. Shapiro says. “You don’t necessarily think of them as a tired child because they are running around so much, but these kids are actually exhausted because they are not getting a good night’s sleep.”

Snoring can be caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids that block the airways. If you don’t breathe properly at night, you don’t get enough oxygen to your brain.
Dr. Shapiro says parents should listen to their child while they’re sleeping.

"If you hear your child breathing, there potentially is a problem,” she says. “Breathing should be silent.”

While a little bit of snoring is OK if your child is sleeping through the night, loud noises, pauses in breathing and irregular breathing, need to be checked out.

Buzz Kill
Have you noticed that you sneeze and get congested after drinking a glass of red? You could have a red wine allergy.

About 30 percent of people suffer from some type of red wine intolerance or allergies. The culprit? Histamines created by yeast in the fermenting process.

Don’t worry! Researchers at the University of British Columbia have been working for the past 16 years to develop a solution – a new yeast that eliminates the histamine byproduct.

Some hypoallergenic red wines are already being manufactured in the U.S. and Canada, so you can enjoy your red wine, in moderation.

Cheers to good health!