Dr. John: Antibiotics and weight loss, A-fib, smoking

9:22 AM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Dr. John Torres from Premier Urgent Care answers your questions every week. If you have a medical question for Dr. John, send it to mornings@9news.com and make sure to have Ask Dr. John in the subject line.

Question #1
Hello Dr. John, I recently walked in the house and turned on the 4PM Channel 9 News just in time to hear the tail end of your part of the program. I believe you were talking about tendencies/syndromes regarding difficulty with weight loss and the overuse of antibiotics. In 2012 alone I was on antibiotics 5 times for sinus infections. If you have any information regarding overuse of antibiotics and gaining weight, I'd appreciate any help! Sincerely, Danelle

Answer
We are finding out more and more that the bacteria in our intestines, and particularly the balance of these bacteria, play a big role in our digestive health. We have both "good" and "bad" bacteria in our intestinal tract. The "good" bacteria tends to be weaker so is more easily killed off by antibiotics. This can lead to medical problems and digestive issues. New studies are also finding that it might also contribute to weight problems, especially since the "good" bacteria is important for optimal digestion of food. Without that bacteria more food gets digested leading to weight gain. You best bet is to only use antibiotics if they are needed. Ask your doctor if what you have will better respond to a watchful waiting time period before starting antibiotics. If you do need to start antibiotics taking probiotics with and after them can help restore the bacterial balance we need for good health and nutrition.

Question #2
Dear Dr. John, Could you address a-fib for those of us who have had a "surprise" attack? Get scared it is going to happen again. There was no apparent reason. H.R. 140/min - e.r. couldn't bring it down, so had to be admitted. It took more than two days and got placed on various medications. What are the odds of it happening again? All heart tests normal. I know a lot of people have questions about a-fib? Thanks, Christine

Answer
Afib is short for atrial fibrillation, a condition where the top part of the heart beats irregularly and isn't well coordinated with the beating of the bottom part of the heart. Since it's not well coordinated the blood flowing through the heart doesn't flow throw as easily. This can lead to blood clots and subsequent strokes. Untreated Afib can also lead to heart failure. Some causes for Afib include heart attacks, heart valve issues, thyroid issues, lung disease and sleep apnea. Occasionally the cause for Afib cannot be found. Treatment can include medication, ablation, pacemakers and surgery. For those suffering from Afib it can be a scary situation when the heart rate starts to suddenly accelerate. It's difficult to determine whether an Afib event will come back again, or when it will come back again, but if heart tests are normal that's a good overall sign.

Question #3
How is all the smoke affecting sinuses and is there anything to take to alleviate my symptoms which are stuffiness, headache, sneezing, coughing? Oh, non-drowsy as I have to work :) Thank you! Nancy

Answer

With all the smoke from wildfires we've all been exposed to over the last few weeks not many of us have escaped from reactions to it. These reactions are usually itchy eyes, scratchy throats and sometimes nasal problems. Seasonal allergies can also be exacerbated by the smoke and accompanying particulates. Avoidance is the best step to take but that becomes increasingly impossible as the smoke continues to linger. Some things that can help minimize symptoms include over the counter nasal saline rinse applied multiple times every day. This helps moisten the nasal lining and reduces particulates that get breathed in. If needed nasal decongestants, used only for 3 days or less, along with oral decongestants can help reduce symptoms. If nasal problems continue to worsen it's possible to develop a sinus infections. If this lingers or worsens then you most likely need to seek medical help to get it under control.

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