Ask the Doctor: Joint pain, craving non-food items, and preventing hair loss

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 1:33 PM EST
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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: “My husband’s feet and knees hurt. He can’t go for walks or stand long. What should he do?”

Dr. Bob Cassady: When we try to understand why someone has joint pain, a lot of our thought process depends on how old the patient is.

Knee pain in a 5-year-old is usually going to be something different than knee pain in a 55-year-old.

Assuming your husband is older than age 50 most likely his knee and foot pain is related to wear and tear arthritis.

The most basic things he can work on would be icing the joints, increasing his exercise, using over-the-counter pain medicines, and trying to lose weight. Often increasing exercises may initially make things a bit worse, but over time if you get in better shape and lose weight your joints will feel better

Question #2: “Since I had COVID, I have been wanting ice and icy drinks. What is the reason for this?”

Dr. Bob Cassady: Craving ice can be part of a larger symptom called pica which is an intense craving for non-food items such as clay or dirt and sometimes ice.

Pica can be a sign of low iron anemia.

Some people have said that we developed it in evolution as a way to see out sources of iron when we were deficient.

If you have had this craving for awhile, it is reasonable to get tested for anemia.

Question #3: “Any tips on preventing hair loss as a 26-year-old man?”

Dr. Bob Cassady: Male pattern baldness is definitely something that can start in your 20′s.

There are some other causes of hair loss besides male pattern baldness and it is important to have a doctor check and make sure nothing else is occurring.

Unfortunately, male patterned baldness is a difficult problem to manage.

It is related to naturally occurring hormones in your body and therefore not really something you can prevent.

There are some medical treatments to try to stop or reverse the hair loss but they are not consistently beneficial. However, we typically try them if the hair loss is bothersome.