Ask the Doctor: Genetic testing accuracy, cutting carbs, morning dizziness

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Crystal): “How accurate are DNA tests like 23andMe?

DR. BOB: <Crystal, I am not an expert in genetic testing, and we are discussing a commercial product, so this is a tough topic to discuss. I am just going to speak generally about commercial genetic testing.

In general, the tests for specific disease are very accurate. However, the complicated issue with genetic tests is what to do with the results. Just because someone has a gene that is associated with a disease does not mean that person will develop the disease.

Therefore, we need to be careful when we seek out this information because it can have a negative impact on your life if it makes you worry about your health.

The problem is we don’t know if the testing will lead to a benefit.

Question #2 (from Curt): “I’m trying to lose weight. Do you recommend cutting carbs out of my diet?”

DR. BOB: Diet is probably the topic I spent the most time talking with my patients about.

What I often say is that dieting is not complicated, but it is hard. Dieting really is a matter of taking in less calories than we use every day. This will lead to weight loss.

The evidence would show that many different diets can lead to weight loss. A low-carb diet works well for many people, and I think it’s worth considering. I also recommend calorie counting diets, such as Weight Watchers or the My Fitness Pal app.

Question #3 (from Kim): “I’ve been getting very dizzy lately, especially in the mornings. What could be causing this?”

DR. BOB: When patients bring up dizziness, I think most doctors take a deep breath. It is one of those symptoms that is very difficult to figure out.

The problem is literally dozens of different conditions can cause dizziness – some of them serious and some of them not serious.

I think the most important first step in determining why you are dizzy is to specify what the dizziness feels like. This can help us narrow down what could be causing the problem.

One type of dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness like you might pass out. This often suggests an issue with blood pressure.

Another type is vertigo or a sensation of movement such as the room is spinning. This could be a problem with the inner ear or brain.

Another common type is a feeling of imbalance or drunkenness. This may be due to the nerves in our feet.