Dear Dr. Roach: We are learning a lot about short-term to long-term impacts from COVID-19, especially on the cardiovascular system. But we don't hear about "long flu" or similar impacts. Is that because COVID really is different, or is it more the case that we have billions of people affected and an unprecedented amount of money and research ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: Please advise: Do our bodies "reject" certain foods as we get older? I am a healthy, slender 70-year-old woman on no medications. For several years now, I can't eat anything made of corn or oats (to name a couple). I get an irritation in my throat and mucus buildup, which drives me crazy! This is not an allergy. I have no other ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: My blood pressure crept up on me, and I went on medication. I had been eating what I thought was a healthy diet to keep my blood pressure in check. My nutritionist suggested to me I back off my handful of almonds daily and check my intake of other foods high in oxalates. Two weeks later, my blood pressure was normal. I stopped ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: My son was recently diagnosed with factor V Leiden. He has had heart issues since he was 12 (chest pain, irregular EKGs with no explanation and intermittent irregular heart rate). He has worn a heart monitor twice with no conclusive results and has done cardiac stress tests with still no answers. He had a doctor tell him it is ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: I have a question for your column. What is the number of LDL cholesterol that would necessitate taking statins? I am an active 51-year-old female and weigh 126 pounds at 5 feet, 2 inches tall. I eat a healthy diet and avoid trans fat. My total cholesterol is 260, LDL is 173 and HDL is 67. I have had high LDL since I was a ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: Can you explain electrolytes? How can we make sure we keep our electrolytes in the normal range within our body? Are we wasting our money purchasing bottled water that says, "includes electrolytes"? I came across an electrolyte powder that can be added to water. Is this the best way to keep electrolytes in the normal range? How ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: I'm a 78-year-old retired medical oncologist. While in residency in New York, I got a gastrointestinal virus that left me with lactose intolerance. After a while, it improved somewhat. But in the past couple of years, using Lactaid tabs when I ate yogurt started not to be enough, and I was plagued by liquid stools once a day to ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: My wife and I are both in our late 60s. She has gotten three doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and I have gotten three doses of the Moderna, only because that was what was available when we got our first dose. Because of our age, we are considering getting a second booster dose. I know the recommendation is that either vaccine would ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: I'm trying to find the best high blood pressure drug with the least side effects for a Hispanic male, 77 years old, with swollen ankles at the end of the day and readings of 160/76 with a pulse of 64.
Of all the drugs in the market for treating high blood pressure, which one is the best with the least side effects? Some ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: What is dissociative identity disorder? There are a lot of movies and TV shows about it. -- Anon.
Answer: Most people will be more familiar with dissociative identity disorder's former name: multiple personality disorder. DID is a complex psychiatric disorder that has been frequently mischaracterized in the media. The hallmarks ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old male in fairly good health. I recently was prescribed Bactrim (a sulfa drug) for an ear infection but didn't know I am allergic to sulfa. I had a severe reaction to the drug: a raging, very itchy rash on most of my body. It made my life miserable. I was given prednisone, which did not help a great deal. I was ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had bad experiences with my local trauma center. Mainly, they will not consult with my doctor or my hospital, and vice versa. Things would move more quickly and safely if they got my medical history rather than starting from scratch. As a result, I ask the EMTs or paramedics to take me to MY hospital, which is not that ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old with O-negative blood type. When I was 40, the Red Cross notified me that antibodies of hepatitis C had been detected in my blood and they would no longer accept blood donations from me.
Following this discovery, I was lucky to enroll in a two-year study at my local Veterans Affairs hospital that tracked my ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I heard that air fresheners and fabric softener sheets may cause lung cancer. Is this true? -- P.G.
ANSWER: What is true is that these products release volatile organic compounds, according to a 2011 study. VOCs encompass a large group of chemicals, some of which will increase the risk of cancer if ingested at high-enough ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I work with a group for people with a type of cancer resistant to chemo or radiation, and many of the members have had to have numerous, life-altering surgeries, including amputations. A member asked whether others had symptoms of PTSD and said two therapists told her that PTSD could not be caused by medical issues. But I have ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: What is an ectopic pregnancy? -- SA
Answer: "Ectopic" comes from the Greek roots meaning "out of place," and that's just what it is. A normal pregnancy is in the uterus (also called "womb"). The most common places for an ectopic pregnancy are along the path the ovum (egg) travels, meaning from the ovary, through the fallopian ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 65-year-old woman and have had pain in my right hip for more than a year. I have a normal body mass index. My general practitioner diagnosed trochanteric bursitis and recommended stretches plus Voltaren cream to reduce the pain. The stretching helped control the pain, but Voltaren cream did nothing for me.
At my last ...Read more
Dear Dr. Roach: What are some natural ways to reduce blood pressure? -- JW
Answer: Too often, physicians jump to medication treatment to control blood pressure, when there are non-drug ways of reducing blood pressure that are often overlooked.
Not every person with high blood pressure is salt-sensitive, but overall, reducing salt can make a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have struggled with IBS and GERD since I was a small child. I have had multiple gastroscopies and have been on countless medications over the years for my issues. I've followed every diet and lifestyle change that my doctor has suggested, with, at best, moderate results.
Recently, a friend of mine suggested having my gut flora...Read more
Editor's note: In the second graf of the first answer (first sentence) the 12% and 8% were transposed.
Dear Dr. Roach: Would you comment on some information I discovered about statin drugs, which I think reveals some nefarious numbers on behalf of the drug companies?
So far I have found two reports that say the actual number of people who have...Read more