Ask the Doctor: Smoking, health anxiety, mood swings

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 12:42 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every Tuesday on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Steve): “Is there a difference between smoking cigars and cigarettes? Is one less harmful than the other?”

DR. BOB: This is a question I face fairly often in my practice.

When I ask someone if they smoke, they will say only cigars. Saying only cigars seems to reflect that there is not a problem, but the question is whether they are harmful.

Unfortunately, we have less data on this question than on cigarette smoking. However, there is an association between cigar smoking and cancer.

Furthermore, there seems to be a link between cigar smoking and heart disease.

However, much of this probably depends on the amount and frequency of smoking cigars. Daily use is likely a much higher risk than rare use.

Question #2 (from Erin): “I’m pretty sure I’m a hypochondriac. Any advice on getting rid of health anxiety?”

DR. BOB: Erin, I really appreciate the honesty in your question. Excessive worry about health is very common and can have a real impact on your overall wellbeing.

I would include being a hypochondriac with other anxiety disorders and approach treatment in that regard.

It would likely be important for you to do some counseling. There is possibly a deeper anxiety or worry in your life that is leading to excessive worry about your health.

Furthermore, I think it would be good to have an open conversation with your health care provider if you worry too much. That way, you can seek reassurance about the different issues that might come up without unnecessary testing and treatment.

Question #3 (from Kyra): “Can my hyperthyroidism be the cause of the major mood swings I sometimes experience?

DR. BOB: While medical problems can influence mood, most of the time a mood problem is just a mood problem.

As with the previous question, when we have trouble with not feeling well, it is natural to want to find a medical reason for it. However, most of the time it is going to be better for us to admit that we are just having trouble with our mood and seek help for that.

It would probably be good to sit down with your doctor and discuss how to treat your mood whether it might be anxiety or depression.

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