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Health Connection is your personal health consultation online and on demand! The physicians and professionals at UTHEALTH Northeast answer questions on the health topics that you care about most. Health Connection is updated regularly so check back often.

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Fish Oil Supplements: Friend or Foe? – Vince Alibrando, R.Ph.

For men taking fish oil supplements, it came as quite a surprise to hear that there might be a link between the capsules and prostate cancer. UT Health Northeast expert pharmacist Vince Alibrando gets to the straight scoop on fish oil supplements in this post to HealthConnection.TV.

What is an omega-3 fatty acid? (first question)

What are the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids? (skip to 0:48)

It came as a surprise in the summer of 2013 when the news came out linking fish oil supplements to an increased risk for prostate cancer. What happend? (skip to 2:03)

What foods contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids? (skip to 4:14)

How often should we eat foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids? (skip to 5:13)

We know that omega-3 fatty acids are best obtained from food. But is there any reason not to take fish oil supplements in the quest to obtain omega-3s? (skip to 5:40)

If one chooses to take fish oil supplements, or if they are recommended by a physician, what should one look for when choosing a brand? (skip to 7:00)

What difference does it make to the body in taking fish oil supplements versus eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids? Isn’t it all the same? (skip to 7:36)

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Low Testosterone: Talk to Your Doctor First – Dr. Thomas Belt

If you are a man and have noticed that you’ve lost a little of your edge or have a lower libido, it might be because of low testosterone. Testosterone levels in men drop with age. With proper diagnosis and treatment, however, testosterone levels can be restored effectively. Dr. Thomas Belt answers questions on low testosterone in this post to HealthConnection.TV.

What is testosterone and why does it decline in men as they age? (first question)

How is testosterone measured or tested? (skip to 0:58)

What are the symptoms of low testosterone? (skip to 1:32)

Are there other conditions besides age that can cause testosterone levels to be low? (skip to 2:09)

Is there a link between low testosterone and other medical conditions? (skip to 2:52)

How is low testosterone treated? (skip to 3:47)

How effective is the treatment for testosterone? (skip to 4:34)

Are there risks to treating for low testosterone? Is physician supervision important? (skip to 5:29)

What are the risks associated with treating low testosterone with non-prescription, over-the-counter products? (skip to 6:49)

What is the best advice for men who think they may have low testosterone? (skip to 7:31)

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When Pneumonia Walks – Dr. Julie Philley

It can be so mild that you don’t even know you have it. Or, it can be the precursor to a disease requiring bed rest and even hospitalization. The non-medical term is “walking pneumonia” and it’s every bit as contagious as the more severe form of pneumonia. In this post to HealthConnection.TV, U.T. Health Northeast pulmonology expert Dr. Julie Philley discusses walking pneumonia.

What is walking pneumonia and how is it different from regular pneumonia? (first question)

How do you get walking pneumonia and is it contagious? (skip to 0:33)

What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia? (skip to0:50)

Is walking pneumonia more prevalent during certain times of year? (skip to 1:23)

How is walking pneumonia diagnosed? (skip to 1:42)

How is walking pneumonia treated? (skip to 2:17)

Are some people at greater risk for contracting walking pneumonia? (skip to 2:37)

What is the risk for more serious complications arising from having walking pneumonia? (skip to 3:04)

Is the pneumonia vaccine effective against walking pneumonia? (skip to 3:39)

What can be done to prevent getting walking pneumonia? (skip to 4:02)

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Cancer Q&A: Common Myths & Misunderstandings – Dr. Hitesh Singh

Nearly all of us are affected by cancer. It we do not suffer it personally, we have a friend or family member that does. The near universality of cancer gives rise to myths and common misunderstandings about the disease. In this post to HealthConnection.TV, U.T. Health Northeast cancer expert Dr. Hitesh Singh answers questions on the common myths surrounding cancer.

How does cancer start? Is there a moment in time when one healthy cells transforms into a cancerous cell? (first question)

What causes cancer and why has it become so common? (skip to 1:27)

How and why does cancer spread or metastasize? (skip to 2:21)

Are there certain cancers that are more metastatic, that is, more likely to spread? (skip to 3:44)

Why are there so many different types of cancer and why haven’t we found a cure yet? (skip to 4:18)

Can injuries such as falls, bruises or broken bones turn into cancer? (skip to 5:33)

Can stress cause cancer? (skip to 6:17)

Are there any types of cancer that are contagious? (skip to 6:46)

Is it possible for men to get breast cancer“? (skip to 7:48)

Besides the vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV) that is implicated in cervical and certain mouth cancers, are there any other cancer vaccines? (skip to 8:13)

Is the treatment for cancer always worse than the disease itself? (skip to 8:38)

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Pelvic Pain: An Equal Opportunity Complaint – Dr. Delbert Rudy

Pelvic pain is an equal opportunity complaint. It affects both men and women. The causes may vary but the results are the same — discomfort and poor quality of life. In the latest post to HealthConnection.TV, UT Health Northeast urology expert Dr. Delbert Rudy discusses the causes of, and treatments for, pelvic pain.

How common is pelvic pain in women and what causes it? (first question)

How do women with chronic pelvic pain describe their symptoms? (skip to 0:49)

How do you make a diagnosis of the underlying cause of pelvic pain in women? (skip to 1:35)

What types of treatment are available for women with pelvic pain? (skip to 2:29)

How common is pelvic pain in men and what are the possible causes? (skip to 4:45)

What kinds of questions would you ask a man complaining of pelvic pain? (skip to 5:52)

Are the treatments for pelvic pain in men different than for women? (skip to 6:59)

What are some of the pelvic pain conditions that are common to both men and women? (skip to 7:46)

What are the consequences of undiagnosed or untreated pelvic pain for men and women? (skip to 8:49)


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Anemia: More Common Than You Think – Dr. Riad Kesiry

You’ve probably heard the phrase “iron-poor blood.” But what does that mean, exactly? One thing it can mean is anemia, a condition where your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. You may feel tired, be short of breath, or dizzy. Severe or long-lasting anemia can even end in death. Anemia is the most common blood condition in the United States, and women, babies, and older adults face a higher risk of developing it. In this post to HeatlhConnection.TV, U.T. Health Northeast adult diseases expert Dr. Riad Kesiry answers questions about anemia.

What is anemia and how common is it? (first question)

What are the different types of anemia? (skip to 1:23)

What are the symptoms of anemia and are they different depending on the type of anemia you have? (skip to 2:34)

How is anemia diagnosed? (skip to 3:44)

Are there risk factors for anemia? (skip to 4:33)

If I’m feeling tired and think I may have anemia, can’t I just take a daily iron or vitamin B supplement? (skip to 5:25)

How serious is anemia? (skip to 6:07)

How is anemia treated? (skip to 6:39)

What can be done to avoid becoming anemic? (skip to 7:02)

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The Latest on Salt & Blood Pressure – Dr. Sam Daya

One in three American adults has high blood pressure. Even more shocking, an estimated five percent of children now have high blood pressure, too — and that number is growing at an alarming rate. What is causing this epidemic? Certainly obesity and lack of exercise, but what about the latest research on the salt connection — is it really bad that for you? In the latest post to HealthConnection.TV, UT Health Northeast heart disease expert Dr. Sam Daya sets the record straight on high blood pressure and how to avoid the risks it brings for heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.

What is high blood pressure? (first question)

What causes high blood pressure? (skip to 0:38)

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure and why is it often called the “silent killer?” (skip to 1:10)

What happens to people who have high blood pressure and either don’t know it or don’t treat it? (skip to 1:40)

How is high blood pressure treated? (skip to 2:17)

The Centers for Disease Control just came out with news about salt as it relates to high blood pressure. Some are now saying that there is no significant benefit to watching salt intake as a means of controlling blood pressure. What does the study actually say? (skip to 2:54)

What is your advice to your patients with high blood pressure and heart disease regarding their salt intake? (skip to 4:34) (EDITOR’S NOTE: In his answer to this question, you will hear Dr. Daya advise a maximum salt intake of 2,000 grams per day. This was an inadvertent slip of the tongue. He intended to advise a maximum daily intake of 2,000 milligrams.)

What about the recent news that people with high blood pressure actually crave salt? (skip to 5:20)

Can children have high blood pressure? How does high blood pressure affect children both short-term and long-term? (skip to 6:22)

For people with high blood pressure, other than medication, what are the most effective steps they can take in lowering their blood pressure? (skip to 7:20)

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Your Thyroid: Small Gland, Big Impact – Dr. Christina Bratcher

In the front of your throat, beneath your chin and just behind the skin, lies a very small gland that has a very big impact on your health. Your thyroid produces a hormone that regulates systems throughout your body. In the latest post to HealthConnection.TV, UT Health Northeast endocrinology expert Dr. Christina Bratcher answers questions on thyroid health.

Where is the thyroid gland and what does it do? (first question)

When the thyroid makes more hormones than the body needs it’s called hyperthyroidism. What is hyperthyroidism and what are the symptoms? (skip to 0:34)

How is hyperthyroidism treated? (skip to 1:09)

The opposite of hyperthyroidism is hypothyroidism — when the thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones. What causes hypothyroidism and what are its symptoms? (skip to 1:33)

How is hypothyroidism treated? (skip to 2:10)

What is the connection between thyroid disease and heart disease? (skip to 2:31)

For women especially, the thyroid gland is frequently blamed for being overweight. How common is an underactive thyroid gland that results in weight gain? (skip to 3:05)

Are there other diseases of the thyroid gland? (skip to 3:49)

How are thyroid diseases diagnosed? (skip to 4:21)

If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disease, when do you need to see a specialist, in this case, an endocrinologist? (skip to 5:00)

Can thyroid disease be cured or is it lifelong? (skip to 5:37)

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Birth Control: The Basics – Dr. Stephanie Tyo

The pill, the patch, the shot, barrier methods. There are lots of choices when it comes to birth control. In our latest post to HealthConnection.TV, UT Health Northeast family medicine expert Dr. Stephanie Tyo answers questions about the best birth control choices for you.


What are the different types of birth control available today? (first question)

What is the most common form of birth control? (skip to 2:33)

With respect to birth control pills, how much effectiveness is lost if you miss a day? (skip to 3:06)

Is there a best method for birth control? (skip to 3:22)

How do you determine which form of birth control is the best choice? (skip to 4:04)

What about the risks for the most common forms of birth control? (skip to 4:55)

What birth control methods prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? (skip to 5:33)

How soon after delivering a baby can a woman again become pregnant? (skip to 5:58)

What should a woman beginning perimenopause or even in menopause do with respect to birth control? (skip to 6:41)

What does the future hold for birth control — are there any new advances or changes on the horizon? (skip to 7:26)

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Insulin Resistance – Gerald Brown, P.A.

When the body doesn’t use the insulin it naturally produces in an efficient manner, it’s called insulin resistance and it’s the first step on the road to diabetes. Physician Assistant and Certified Diabetes Educator Gerald Brown discusses insulin resistance in this edition of Health Connection.

What is insulin and what role does it play in the body? (first question)

What is insulin resistance? (skip to 0:45)

What causes insulin resistance? (skip to 1:10)

Who is at risk for developing insulin resistance? (skip to 1:40)

What health problems can insulin resistance cause? (skip to 2:10)

Do all people with insulin resistance automatically have diabetes too? (skip to 2:37)

What are the symptoms of insulin resistance? (skip to 3:10)

How is insulin resistance diagnosed? (skip to 3:20)

How is insulin resistance treated? (skip to 3:51)

Are there lifestyle choices that can be made that will reduce the chances of developing insulin resistance? (skip to 4:13)

What foods should we eat more of and what foods should we avoid if we suffer with insulin resistance? (skip to 4:53)

Can children have insulin resistance? (skip to 5:16)

Can insulin resistance be reversed or cured? (skip to 5:40)