Common Causes of Chills

Do you find yourself feeling cold all the time, even during warmer weather? While some people have a natural tendency to feel cold more than others, there are a few different health conditions that Dr. Ali Ghahary says can cause a drop in body temperature.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is something that is common in many individuals, especially women with their periods. In order for our red blood cells to be able to function properly and carry oxygen around the body, iron is required. However, being iron deficient can have a significant impact on this process, which can cause symptoms such as chills, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and pale skin.

Iron deficiency is usually diagnosed via a blood test. If it’s confirmed that you are iron deficient, you will need to increase your iron intake. The easiest way to do this is to incorporate more iron-rich foods into your diet, such as leafy green vegetables, lean meats, and eggs. Sometimes food isn’t enough, however, and you may need to take an iron supplement. They can, however, be hard on the stomach.

Lack of Circulation

In a recent article, Dr. Ali Ghahary touched on the importance of circulation. Lack of circulation can not only cause chills, but it can also impact many other aspects of our health and cause things like dizziness, hair loss and dry skin.

The human body can be lacking in circulation as a result of decreased physical activity/obesity, poor diet, tobacco use, blood clots, and even stress. The best way to get the body circulating as it should be is to make healthy lifestyle changes – including exercising regularly and breaking bad habits like smoking.

Poor Sleeping Habits

Getting a good night’s rest is crucial for your overall health and wellbeing. If you don’t get enough sleep, feeling chilled is one of the most telltale signs. Dr. Ghahary recommends patients get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, if possible. To avoid sleep disruptions, you should also shut down devices such as televisions and smartphones at least 2 hours prior to going to bed. It’s also a good idea to try and go to sleep and wake up the same time every day; this way your body gets used to the routine.

Being Underweight

While it might come as a surprise, being underweight can also cause the body to feel colder – particularly in those with a low BMI of 18.5 or under. Those who are underweight tend to lack muscle mass, which is important when It comes to maintaining body temperature, producing heat and speeding up our metabolism. Should you go out and eat a bunch of unhealthy food so that you can try to gain weight? No. You can, however, try to build more muscle by lifting weights.

It is important to note that there are certain health conditions, such as eating disorders, that can also cause low BMI levels – the most common being anorexia. If you or someone you know suffers from this type of eating disorder, it’s important to speak to your family physician.

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The Role of a Radiologist

The Role of a Radiologist | Dr. Ali Ghahary

As a family physician, it’s not uncommon for Dr. Ali Ghahary to refer patients for different types of tests. Blood work, for example, is something that Dr. Ghahary often requests patients have done as a part of their yearly examination to ensure that their cholesterol levels are where they should be, as well as to check for and rule out other common health conditions such as thyroid disease. Blood testing can also detect more serious health issues, too, such as cancer. In addition to having blood tests done, medical screening is also done on patients of a certain age. For example, it’s recommended that men in their 50’s should go for regular prostate cancer screening, while women between the ages of 50 and 69 should have breast cancer screening done every 2 years. Seniors should also have certain preventive testing done for things like colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and high blood pressure.

While blood work is commonly done by nurses, things like x-rays and cancer screening is typically done by someone known as a radiologist. A radiologist is an important part of the healthcare system as they help in the diagnosing of certain illnesses and injury, as well as aiding your physician in determining which examination is best suited for you. For example, would the patient benefit from an X-ray or will they need to have a more in-depth scan such as an MRI or CT scan.

A radiologist is much more than someone who simply takes a few photos, however. They are also able to determine what those photos show through careful examination and can also compare other examinations and tests to help them with their findings. In addition, they can also help treat diseases through radiation therapy – a form of cancer treatment that is often done before, during or after chemotherapy depending on the diagnosis and the stage that the cancer is in. During certain medical imaging procedures, the patient may either be asked to drink a solution or may require a dye that is injected into them intravenously. These dyes and solutions help give the radiologist a better view of certain parts of the body that may not necessarily show up as well as they would without dye or solution being present in the patient’s body. Think of it as a magnifying glass, in a way. The clearer the picture is, the easier it will be for the radiologist to provide your physician with an accurate report and diagnosis.

In order to become a radiologist, one has to graduate from an accredited school and complete a postgraduate residency, which usually lasts for approximately 4 years in the United States and Canada. During the learning and residency processes, a radiologist will learn about things like radiation safety, radiation protection, how radiation can affect the human body (for example, having frequent CT scans can increase the risk of cancer), how medical imaging tests are performed, and how to accurately read the scans.

For more information on the role of a radiologist, the important role they play in patient care, as well as education, visit the Canadian Association of Radiologists website at CAR.ca.

Sore Throat Causes and Treatment

While cold and flu season may no longer be at its peak, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the woods and can’t still get sick.

Cold and flu symptoms are usually similar (but can vary in severity), with a sore throat being the most common (and usually the first) symptom to develop. Because it’s the first symptom to develop, it’s also the first symptom to go away – usually dissipating after just a few days. However, those few days can be uncomfortable, and everything from talking to eating to swallowing can be painful.

Although there is no cure for a sore throat, there are certain things Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician, recommends patients to do help make them feel more comfortable, such as: Drinking warm liquids (such as tea or lemon with honey), sucking on ice chips or lozenges, or eating popsicles. You can also try over-the-counter medications such as throat sprays and cough syrup, as well as things like Advil and Tylenol. These medications can not only help relieve a sore throat, but can also reduce things like fever and body aches, which are both common with cold and flu viruses. Dr. Ali Ghahary says patients also need to ensure they’re getting enough rest. Lack of sleep can weaken the immune system and make you much more prone to developing reoccurring colds or flu viruses. Making sure you get a good night’s rest (and even take naps during the day, if you feel like your body needs it) will help you heal faster.

If your symptoms persist after one week and you find you’re not getting any better, or your sore throat has gotten worse, it would be a good idea to follow-up with your family physician, as sometimes a sore throat may be the result of a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, or you may have tonsillitis. Strep throat is an infection caused by streptococcus bacteria. With strep throat, patients often describe it as the worst sore throat they’ve ever had. If a patient has tonsillitis, their tonsils become red and inflamed. In some cases patients will have recurring tonsillitis and may require surgery to remove their tonsils. This type of procedure is performed by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT) and is done under general anesthetic. If strep throat is the cause of the sore throat, you will need to be prescribed a course of antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Treating strep throat with antibiotics is crucial, as complications can develop if it is left untreated, including rheumatic fever, otitis media (middle ear infection), pneumonia, and even meningitis.

What to Do About Spring Allergies

While spring is often a welcome change from dreary, winter weather, it can also be a time of year that people dread given how badly allergies can flare up. The biggest trigger of springtime allergies is pollen, which comes from things like trees, grass and flowers. An allergic reaction occurs as a result of the body mistaking pollen as something that is dangerous, which then leads to the release of chemicals known as histamines into the blood. The release of these chemicals ultimately results in symptoms such as a congested or runny nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing.

In order to determine exactly what you’re allergic to, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends patients go for allergy testing. This is done through a referral to an allergist. In the meantime, you may benefit from trying over-the-counter allergy medications such as Benadryl or Reactine; however, when taking these medications it’s important that you avoid driving or operating heavy machinery as they can cause drowsiness.

For more information on springtime allergies and other things you can to to prevent a flare up of symptoms, visit Dr. Ghahary’s website at AliGhahary.ca. You can also find more tips to help you stay healthy during the spring here.