Dear Dr. Kadile, my right foot will occasionally go numb when I am sitting in the car or watching television. I think I’m just pinching a nerve because it goes away, but my uncle says I should be checked out for diabetes. Why?
-Andrew, Ranch Mirage
Andrew, if diabetes is not under control it may cause numbness or tingling in your hands, fingers, feet and/or toes. The elevated blood sugar in diabetes can cause damage to the nerve endings thus causing a “peripheral neuropathy”. Usually these symptoms will develop over time and are associated with other symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst, increased hunger and increased and frequent urination. If you are overweight, have a diet high in carbohydrates (sweets, pasta, rice, soft drinks), don’t exercise and have a family history of diabetes, then you are at risk for developing diabetes mellitus type 2.
Your symptoms sound like the numbness may be “positional”, meaning your sitting position is likely causing you to “pinch” a nerve causing the numbness, but you should go to your physician if it becomes more frequent or worsens. It may be a sign of lower back disc problems, possibly diabetes or even vitamin B12 deficiency.
Dear Dr. Kadile, my doctor recently diagnosed me with sinusitis and prescribed antibiotics. I have family coming to visit for the holidays, am I contagious?
–Jack, Palm Desert
Jack, sinusitis will generally start out as a cold or upper respiratory infection caused by a virus. The infection may cause obstruction in the sinuses causing headaches, sinus pressure and congestion, post nasal drip and ear pressure. If it is a cold, generally the symptoms will resolve in 1-2 weeks, but if the sinus obstruction persists, it may allow the development of a bacterial infection in addition to the viral infection. Since your doctor prescribed antibiotics, he believes you have a bacterial sinusitis. The bacteria involved are usually commonly found in the nose and are not considered highly contagious. A cold or viral upper respiratory infection is considered contagious. As I’ve said before, the best prevention from getting ill is regular hand washing.
Dr. Kadile, my husband had a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer and was told everything looked okay except for diverticulosis. Should I be worried about his diet since he eats a lot of nuts?
-Betty, Sun City
Diverticulosis is when you have small pouches in the lining of your large intestines. It is a common condition and most people don’t have any symptoms. If the pouches become inflamed or infected, it can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fevers, constipation, diarrhea or blood in the stool. This infection is called diverticulitis and requires antibiotic treatment. The development of diverticulitis may be caused by poor diet, especially a diet low in fiber. A diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and adequate fluid intake can help prevent diverticulitis.
Betty, it was recommended in the past that people with diverticulosis avoid nuts, corn, popcorn and seeds because these foods might get stuck in the small pouches within the large intestine and lead to inflammation. However, recent research has revealed that there is no connection.