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Ask Dr. Gott 4/5

Sharing food is still OK

DEAR DR. GOTT: Have you taken leave of your senses? How could you suggest that a mother break the rules of good hygiene and allow anyone to offer her toddler secondhand food or drink? You had a chance to do some good and you blew it!
    Sharing food is getting to be an acceptable thing. Restaurants will deliver a dessert with two spoons. I have witnessed family members sharing a drink and food and then wonder why when one gets sick, they all get it. It is not rocket science!
    DEAR READER: I take issue with your position. I am not aware of any health consequences for families sharing food, providing the family members have no symptoms of infection and the food is not contaminated, as in the recent peanut butter scare. I believe that I did, in fact, do some good by helping caring adults who do not subscribe to the all-bacteria-are-harmful theory. Many micro-organisms are harmless.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: My 26-year-old daughter gets extremely exhausted, to the point that she feels ill. Every few days, she has to sleep for an additional eight hours during the day in addition to the regular nine-hour nights.
    She had a physical exam with a complete blood work-up, including checking for low thyroid, iron deficiencies and mono. All her tests came back OK. The blood test for allergies showed an allergy to sage. She has always had an allergy to the protein in milk.
    About five years ago, she became ill and was taken to the ER with a heart rate of 155. She had a bad headache and was dizzy, but her blood pressure was normal at 106/73. After five hours, she was sent home, but she returned the next morning because the headache was still present and her chest was sore from her heart pounding. She remained overnight and had a stress test with normal results. The diagnosis was benign ventricular ectopy. She was given drugs to relieve her symptoms, but they failed to return her heartbeat to normal. She is now on antidepressants and birth control pills to stabilize her hormones and reduce her fatigue. Her energy level is getting worse. She does not do drugs and only occasionally consumes a glass of wine.
    Could her ventricular ectopy cause fatigue, an inability to concentrate and sickness most of the time, because the heart is inefficient and doesn't provide enough oxygen to her body? Could the doctors have overlooked something? Should other tests be done?
    DEAR READER: Benign ventricular ectopy means that extra beats are produced in the wall of the high-pressure heart chamber. This could cause your daughter's symptoms of fatigue, headache and dizziness. It seems to me that the logical next step is to have a cardiologist review her medical records, examine her and order further testing, such as a cardiac ultrasound. She needs a better-defined diagnosis, because ventricular ectopic beats are ordinarily harmless but, if not, they can be controlled with medication or more aggressive therapy.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a free copy of my Health Report "Medical Specialists."

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