Health Advice



A coronary calcium scan is not a universal test for heart health

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am now 78 years old. My mother's two brothers died of heart attacks at 55 and 65, so when I was in my 50s, I had a calcium scan of my heart. Since then, I have been taking 10 mg of atorvastatin along with blood pressure medication.

Last year, I had my aortic valve replaced, and an angiogram showed about 30% blockage in my ...Read more

Yes, breast cancer can come back, sometimes many years later

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Sixteen years ago, at age 56, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 HR+ breast cancer. I was treated with a modified radical mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, then about seven years of oral anti-estrogen drugs. I also had a prophylactic simple mastectomy on the opposite side.

My primary care doctor retired ...Read more

For many cases of gastroparesis, no cause can be identified

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed a few years ago with gastroparesis, and I took domperidone for a while. The medicine didn't change anything, so I discontinued it. I've had stomach-emptying tests, colonoscopies and endoscopies looking for answers. I have pain in my upper-right abdomen and also occasionally get a cramp in the muscle in that area ...Read more

Post hip surgery, one leg is shorter than the other

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Four years ago, my wife had hip surgery caused by a fall. About eight months after the surgery, she noticed her left leg was 3 inches shorter that her right one. Her doctor agreed it was shorter and said that does happen frequently. She must use a cane to walk and is now in a lot of pain just walking in a market or around the ...Read more

Mom worries about husband's family history of breast cancer

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am concerned that my 33-year-old daughter will have breast cancer. I have no history in my family of breast cancer, but my husband's grandmother, mother and sister all have had breast cancer with double mastectomies. I have heard that the DNA follows the mother's side and not the father's. Is this true or an old wives' tale? ...Read more

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: How do you diagnose bipolar disorder? Do you need a blood test, or can it be diagnosed by a person's actions? -- A.Y.

ANSWER: Bipolar affective disorder, formerly called manic-depressive illness, is a psychiatric condition that is frequently misdiagnosed. Over a third of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder waited at least 10 ...Read more

Fatty tumor removal is not a simple solution

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 88-year-old male suffering from a fatty tumor located on my gluteus maximus. Two different local gastroenterologists have refused to remove this 2.5-inch-diameter tumor, probably due to my daily blood-thinning medication apixaban. The tumor continues to grow and is becoming an impediment to good health. I am writing to ...Read more

Jawbone death is a rare complication of osteoporosis meds

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am taking Fosamax for osteoporosis. One of the side effects is osteonecrosis of the jaw. Does this only happen if you have major dental work, such as pulling teeth or root canals, or can it happen with routine cleanings, fillings? -- G.D.

ANSWER: The word osteonecrosis literally means "bone death," so osteonecrosis of the jaw ...Read more

Addressing the fear and frustration surrounding parasite infection

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm looking for some answers or some advice, please. I'm crying out for help, and no one seems to care. Doctors just look at you like you're crazy, but I feel like our lives are in danger. I have a parasite. My sister has had a parasite in her for a couple years now. She has been to several doctors and not one has tested her for ...Read more

Could a COVID vaccine cause trouble for a transplant recipient?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an organ transplant recipient who has received both COVID vaccinations and both boosters. I did this because numerous medical professionals recommended them for immunosuppressed patients, but I am wondering if I did the right thing.

I take immunosuppressants to keep my body from producing antibodies that would attack my ...Read more

Strenous workout resulted in grossly swollen arms

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 57-year-old woman in excellent health. I practice holistic wellness, which includes eating nutritiously, exercising daily, sleeping seven to eight hours a night and taking minimum alcohol and no drugs. In May 2019 after a strenuous workout, I developed exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis; my main symptom was swelling of my ...Read more

Quick weight loss doesn't mean it can't be forever

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: Does losing weight fast when you are first trying mean you will always gain it back? -- L.R.S.

Answer: We used to think that fast weight loss universally led to regaining it, but more careful studies have shown that weight loss of at least 5 pounds in the first four weeks of trying to lose weight is a marker for future success, ...Read more

After ruptured aorta repair, he's not wasting his second chance

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 78-year-old man who suffered a ruptured aorta six months ago. It was successfully repaired, and I am in generally good health, physically active, back to the gym (less weight than before) and I feel about as I did before the rupture. I want to get back to playing touch rugby, which means running hard for short distances ...Read more

How often do you need to visit your podiatrist?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am an 85-year-old female. Three years ago, a podiatrist diagnosed neuropathy (non-diabetic). He prescribed an orthotic for my shoe, measured some numbness and said come back in a year. I have made two yearly visits with his cutting my nails and checking feeling, which has progressed with numbness in my toes and the balls of my ...Read more

When shingles lingers, the pain is called postherpetic neuralgia

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: My spouse, now 61, had shingles two years ago. Though the rash cleared up quickly, the nerve pain has never subsided. Is the virus still at work, or does she have permanent nerve damage? Because her doctor has always kept her vaccines up to date, we are not sure how she missed getting a shingles vaccine, unless she was below the ...Read more

Slow heart rate recovery after exercise can be a telling sign

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am 77 and exercise regularly. I just got a fitness tracker to monitor my heart rate, etc. I have always been very slow to get back to a resting heart rate. For instance, if I get my rate up to 130 beats per minute during exercise, it will be at 90 half an hour later, and at 70 after an hour. My resting heart rate is about 56 ...Read more

Ablation of posterior nasal nerves may alleviate condition

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old female in relatively good health. I have a history of allergic rhinitis. A regimen of allergy testing and shots was successful in controlling my seasonal allergies. I also have vasomotor rhinitis, which results in a runny nose during meals, drinking hot or cold beverages and after tooth brushing. I never get ...Read more

Curcumin may increase risk of bleeding

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My brother took turmeric every day, after hearing all the hype about it being the new superfood. At his next annual checkup, it was noted that his blood platelets were very low. A month later he died of a stroke. He was 70. After doing some research on turmeric, I read that indeed it can lower your blood platelets. Is there any ...Read more

Risk of hearing loss from acetaminophen is small

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 81-year-old male with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. During the night I have pain in my thighs and feet. I've been taking two extra-strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) nightly for the past year, as my doctors and nurses who give me flu and COVID shots say it is safe to take for pain. One of the side effects of CMT is hearing ...Read more

Does air bubble in IV cause harm?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A few years ago, when being prepped for a colonoscopy and gastroscopy, I had an IV line inserted into my right arm with a sedative in it. As I waited to pass out, I noticed a large air bubble slowly moving down the IV line toward my arm. I got concerned about an air embolism and called the nurse over, who pooh-poohed my concern: ...Read more



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