Ask the Doctor: Dizziness, Graves’ disease, herbal remedies – WNDU-TV

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 6:44 am

Doctor Rob Riley joins us from Memorial Family Medicine every Tuesday to answer viewer questions.

Here are the questions he addressed during NewsCenter 16 at Noon on February 14, 2017:

“My daughter plays travel softball and practices all year round. The last two practices she has gotten sick. She gets light-headed and dizzy. She also gets nauseous, has trouble breathing, and her chest hurts. Any idea what this could be?”

Dr. Riley: That group of symptoms — dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort — makes me think of anxiety attack as one possibility. With acute anxiety, people can hyperventilate, and that can cause all of those symptoms. Other possibilities include just one of these common viruses we’re seeing right now where the symptoms may not be all that apparent unless the person is exerting themselves, like at softball practice. Rarely, this can be something more serious like a heart issue, so I think it’s worth having your daughter checked out by her physician to make sure everything’s OK and to get proper treatment if that’s needed.

“Are there any natural alternatives for treating Graves’ disease?”

Dr. Riley: Graves’ disease is a disease of the thyroid gland where the gland gets confused and produces too much thyroid hormone. For reasons that aren’t well understood, the immune system produces a substance that stimulates the gland. Symptoms include racing heart, sweating, high blood pressure. We usually treat this either with medications that shut down the thyroid gland’s ability to make thyroid hormone, or by destroying the overactive gland with radiation. There’s really no so-called natural treatment that will shut down the thyroid gland’s production, so one of these options is the way to go in most cases.

“What’s your take on essential oils and herbal remedies?”

Dr. Riley: There’s a certain appeal to the idea of using substances found in nature to treat our illnesses rather than things cooked up in a laboratory. It feels safer. But natural doesn’t always mean safe — there are plenty of poisons in nature. In terms of effectiveness for various conditions, scientists started studying herbal remedies in earnest in the 1980’s and 90’s. Unfortunately, the results have been mostly disappointing, though studies have shown mixed results for some products. In general, the most commonly used products appear to be generally safe, though there are some risks of interacting with medications. So, in general, I don’t object to people trying an herbal remedy for a non-life threatening condition. If they feel they benefit, that’s great. But I don’t think the science is solid enough to recommend herbal treatments as first-line for any particular medical condition at this time.

Dr. Riley joins us from Memorial Family Medicine.

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Ask the Doctor: Dizziness, Graves’ disease, herbal remedies – WNDU-TV

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