Earlier this summer, we asked you to submit your medical questions, and you delivered.
Q: Should I see my doctor if my feet and ankles have been swollen for two weeks?
A: Yes, In the medical world we call that edema. This can be a concerning sign and symptom of a more serious medical issue. You should speak with your primary care provider if you’re having swelling in your legs and ankles as soon as possible.
Q: Do you need to take prebiotic with probiotic for it to be beneficial?
A: No, you don’t have to also take a prebiotic for a probiotic to work well. However, it can be beneficial. Prebiotics are basically specialized fiber, which is not absorbed into your GI tract and can help stimulate growth of the probiotics you are taking.
Q: If you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, can you still transmit the virus?
A: It is uncommon, but it is possible as vaccines are not 100% effective. Current data shows that the majority of vaccinated individuals should not be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Please schedule an appointment with your primary care provider if you are having any symptoms of COVID-19 and quarantine until your test is confirmed as negative. I recommend every eligible person should get the vaccine.
Q: I recently had a “physical,” but all they did was listen to my heart and take blood. Is that a true physical exam?
A: A physical will vary based on the type of physical you are receiving and your health identifiers. A yearly preventive physical usually involves more than listening to your heart and obtaining a blood panel. Also, keep in mind there are other systems that your primary care provider is evaluating during your interaction and exam.
Q: How accurate + helpful are data from wearables, like the Apple Watch, when it comes to apps that measure sleep quality, etc.?
A: Those devices can be helpful; however, the accuracy may not always be 100%. Please speak with your primary care provider if you have concerns.
Q: I received the flu vaccine last year and experienced full-body hives and angioedema for 3.5 months, costing me money to treat the symptoms. Would you recommend I get the flu vaccine again this year?
A: It sounds like you are possibly allergic to something in the vaccine itself. I would not recommend taking the vaccine due to the side effects you experienced. I would speak to your primary care provider prior to any future immunizations.
Q: Does Insular Thyroid Carcinoma always require surgery and radiation?
A: It depends on what type of thyroid cancer and other medical factors that are specific to each individual patient.
Q: Any suggestions for reducing women’s hair loss? I’ve tried special shampoos, daily Biotin supplements, and stopped hair coloring. I’m 61, take Armour med for an underactive thyroid, and have lost ~60% of my hair density — with normal routine lab work.
A: You should speak to your primary care provider about this, as there can be very significant problems leading to hair loss in women. An underactive thyroid could be a possible cause, as can a number of issues.
Q: Is there anyone locally who can determine what is causing my tinnitus? All the hearing aid companies want to do is sell you a hearing aid — I would like to know if there is anything that addresses the cause.
A: You can always be evaluated by an ENT. However, allergies are a common cause of Tinnitus. I recommend trying an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Zyrtec, on a daily basis. Also, over-the-counter supplements called Flavenoids can be helpful to treat tinnitus.
Q: What is the telephone number to call, that is not forever busy, to get your COVID-19 questions answered during the day or at a specific hour during the workweek?
A: The local COVID-19 information hotline is (423) 209-8383. The information hotline is likely the best resource; however, you can also try and contact your primary care provider.
Q: Can Afib return after a Watchman implant?
A: Technically, the Watchman procedure doesn’t cure Afib, but it does greatly reduce the ability of a clot to form. The procedure itself is usually very successful at preventing blood clots from forming and causing strokes.
Thank you to Dr. David Ambrosetti of Erlanger Primary Care – North Shore for his time + expertise. Ⓟ