KUSA - Dr. John Torres from Premier Urgent Care answers your questions every week. If you have a medical question for Dr. John, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure to have Ask Dr. John in the subject line.
Hi there, I saw your report on the germs in your mouth or breath that might cause weight gain, can you please give me information on who or where you can get this test and the name of it?? And any ideas as to trying to fix this?? My husband really thinks he is a candidate of this problem, please give me any advice you can think of, thank you Dr. John. Sandy
This is about a news story we covered a few weeks ago that has gotten a lot of attention. It concerns a bacteria known as Methanobrevibacter Smithii. This bacteria is one of the ones that lives inside our intestines. When it comes in contact with food inside our intestines it produces methane. A recent study found that those of us with higher levels of methane in our breath also tended to have higher BMI, body mass index, levels. In other words, those with higher methane levels from this bacteria tended to weigh more and presumably have more body fat.
Researchers think this might be happening because methane could slow down how long it takes for food to move though our intestines. The longer it takes the more of the food our body digests. Researchers are now testing to see if reducing the amount of this bacteria could also help people shed weight but as of yet haven't made that direct connection. If they do, then they will most likely develop a test that can be used to see if any of us have an overabundance of this bacteria and treat it, hopefully helping us cut some pounds.
I have a question about what does it mean when both of your arms tingle from shoulders to fingers all the time. Cristel
When it comes to tingling feelings in certain parts of our bodies there could be many possible causes. The one possibility that many of us get concerned about, but might not mention, is strokes and tumors. In this case it is less likely that a stroke or tumor is causing the tingling in both arms since strokes and tumors usually cause symptoms on one side of the body or the other but not typically on both sides at the same time. Electrolyte imbalances, particularly those involving potassium, sodium or calcium, can also cause tingling but this is usually a body wide occurrence and not just isolated to the arms. In the case of both arm involvement one likely condition involves the nerves coming out of the spinal column in the neck. As we get older we get more degenerative disk disease and arthritis in our spinal column. This can affect the nerves exiting which can cause the tingling sensation in the arms mentioned here. An MRI can help detect if this is in fact what is going on. If so there are some things that can help get symptoms better controlled. Avoiding multiple pillows while sleeping will keep the neck from getting strained over night. Physical therapy and steroid injections can also help. In some cases, where other methods have not produced good results, surgery might be needed to relieve pressure on these nerves in the neck which should also help stop the arm tingling.