Ask the Doctor: Vitamin/nutrient deficiency, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 12:37 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 (from Brenda): “My toddler and infant have gotten so many viruses this winter. When should I start to worry that it might be vitamin/nutrient deficiency?”

DR. BOB: Kids who are in school or daycare can get repeated viral infections that makes it seem like they are always sick.

Vitamin deficiencies in our country are thankfully uncommon because we have ready access to food.

I would consider a couple of things as you try to decide whether it is a deficiency or a virus.

Firstly, the fact that both children are sick argues that it is a virus. A vitamin deficiency is uncommon but a deficiency in both children at the same time would be even more uncommon.

The other thing to look at is whether there is any normal period between illnesses. Even if it is brief, a couple days here and there between illnesses would argue that your kids are getting back-to-back viruses rather than having a persistent vitamin deficiency.

Unfortunately, with viruses, you just need to wait it out as your children build immunity.

Question #2 (from Derald): “How does multiple sclerosis (MS) affect your feet?”

DR. BOB: Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that attacks the covering of nerves. This makes the nerves stop working altogether or work inefficiently.

There really isn’t any part of our body that doesn’t rely on the nervous system in some way, so MS can cause many different problems throughout the body.

In the feet specifically, there will likely be problems with numbness, pain, and strength. Patients may have numb feet that hurt. It may be hard to walk because of strength or problems with coordination.

Thankfully, many new treatments have been developed for MS and often times patients can achieve remission of many of their symptoms.

Question #3 (from Johnathan): “How can I eat the unhealthy foods I love, yet keep my blood pressure under control?”

DR. BOB: Johnathan, I suspect you know there is an element of irony in your question. Really, the short answer to your question may just be no.

Unhealthy foods have a lot of salt, which can raise our blood pressure. Also, you may be eating a lot of fat or red meat, which can overall contribute to poor cardiovascular health.

If you eat unhealthy foods, you may develop high blood pressure. Hypertension might be able to be treated with medicines, but it would be much better for you to eat healthily and bring your blood pressure down that way.

Some people who exercise regularly and have good genetics can sometimes get away with not eating as well. However generally, if we don’t make wise decisions now about our diet, we can expect to develop negative health outcomes in the future.