Doctor Besser’s Q&A

After a few weeks “off” of the Doctor’s Q&A, our patients, once again, ask the questions and Dr. Besser answers the them.

1)     I am a 44 year old male who received my blood test
results and my WBC was 3.6 (which is low), and my platelet count was 134, which
also was low. RBC and all other counts were in a normal/average range. The only
physical symptoms that I am having is joint pain in my hip? Not sure if this
has anything to do with this blood results? I am in good health and have not
been sick or had a flu in a long time (years). What do you think the test
results might indicate?

Dr. Besser: The hip pain is most likely not related to the blood test
results.  I would suggest you have the blood test repeated. Both
numbers that you mentioned are just below the low side of normal, but are not
necessarily a concern. Nothing in the human body is static or stable,
blood values change all the time (as does your temperature, pulse and blood
pressure).  It is quite probable that these numbers are normal for
you.  Without other symptoms, I wouldn’t recommend other testing than
repeating the blood count.  Of course, as always, I recommend you discuss
your concerns with your doctor first.  He knows you better than I and may
tell you, as I have done, not to worry at all.

2) I think I just got bit by a spider not sure if it is brown
recluse, yellow sac… I have it in a jar. The spider is approx it’s about as
long as a pencil eraser maybe a tad shorter, but the width is only maybe a
fourth of a pencil eraser I took pictures of it with my phone holding it with a
pair of tweezers. I spotted it crawling on my hand and after knocking it off I
have a small pink swollen area (just a little smaller than a pencil eraser). It
itched slightly, I probably did the wrong thing by squeezing it gently and got
out clear juice then washed it with cold water and soap and applied neosporin.
I googled and info says to go see a doctor within the day…. Please
advise

 It is unlikely that what you have captured is a brown recluse spider.  They are not that common in
this part of the country.  They are also extremely small and very shy, its
unlikely that one would come out to crawl on your hand. A bite from a brown
recluse does not itch, it is intensely painful and usually leaves a large sore.
You definitely did not do the right thing by squeezing it, that maneuver in
itself could cause a local skin infection.  Washing the area with soap and
water was a good thing to do. If the area becomes increasingly red, hard, hot,
tender or develops a hole, you do need to see a doctor to get on
antibiotics.  Otherwise, just leave the area alone.

3) I’m in my late 70s and recently -over the past few months-I am beginning to
suffer from short term memory loss- can’t remember names -sometimes after a
while I can recall but in a few cases memory won’t work!

Any suggestions on how to stop or minimize the aging process of memory  There are several things you can do to try to improve your memory- memory games (and there are quite a few on the market these days) will help, consider them exercises for your brain.  I would also suggest
you see your physician for testing- there are tests to help determine the
degree of memory problems you are having as well as help to determine causes
for this.  There are other causes for memory problems besides “old
age”.  Certain health issues, such as thyroid problems could affect
your memory.  Also if you are taking several medications, especially pain
medications, your memory could be affected.

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