DEAR DR ROACH: I am a 70-year-old man in good health. I have had regular colonoscopies since my 50s, but I wonder about the wisdom of a colonoscopy at my age. My doctor has sent repeated requests for me to schedule the procedure. Is this a valid exam at my age, or is the clinic taking advantage of my excellent medical insurance? -- R.R.
DEAR DR. ROACH: About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and began years of increasing numbers of medications and higher doses, until all but one is maxed out. The Jardiance, metformin and Rybelsus I take are at their max doses, and the Tresiba is close.
About six months ago, my doctor decided to find out how much insulin my ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a fit 85-year-old woman. I walk regularly and eat healthily. I have severe COPD and have been on the recommended dosage of Symbicort for 40 to 50 years. Within the past several years I have been getting urinary tract infections every second month, if not every month. My doctor has given me a standing order for urinalysis and...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 61-year-old husband has had 24 squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) surgeries on his scalp in the past five years. He has used dandruff shampoo (Head & Shoulders brand or similar) for the past 36 years or more. He has a full head of hair and is not bald. My question for you: Do you know of any correlation between using ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 71-year-old female in very good health. I have been taking a thyroid replacement since I was 12 years old. I currently take 125 mcg of thyroxine once daily, as well as 60 mg of Cymbalta. Other than arthritis and obesity, I have no health problems. My question is regarding my lab results. My TSH is 0.04 (the normal range is...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Why is it that no matter what time a surgery is scheduled, the rule is "no food or drink after midnight"? My recent procedure was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. I was told I could have no food after midnight. My procedure would take two hours and recovery was for two hours. That's over 16 hours without eating! When I told the scheduler...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been having pains and discomfort in my chest area for over a month now. I am a woman and in my early 30s. My doctor says my heart is OK, but I can't help but wonder. The pain is mostly in the right side of the chest but will stretch to the left and recently, I feel like the muscles in the left side of my chest are ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently went to my dermatologist because I noticed a dark mole I hadn't seen before. He did a biopsy, and it was called a "moderately dysplastic nevus." He recommended removal, which was done right away. During the appointment he mentioned that I am now at greater risk for melanoma, even though I have no family history of ...Read more
Long COVID refers to symptoms, not transmission of virus
DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you elaborate on "long COVID"? Specifically, do people experiencing long COVID carry the virus for an extended period? Are they contagious during long COVID, or does the term refer to lingering symptoms but not necessarily testing positive? -- S.E.
ANSWER: People with...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My daughter is still nursing her 10-month-old son. She decided to get the Pfizer vaccine and continue breastfeeding. Her doctor did not advise her against it. Do you have an opinion or more information about this matter? I've read that COVID antibodies are present in breastmilk. -- B.H.
ANSWER: COVID-19 vaccination is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently, in the middle of all the news about the newly circulating delta COVID-19 variant, a friend of mine flew to Mexico with her husband and teenage daughter for a five-day resort vacation. After she returned, she went to an outdoor concert with a group of friends, and the following day went to an indoor event with several ...Read more
DR. ROACH: My friend is taking care of his 89-year-old mother. She has been drooling for the past two years or so. I read that aging causes muscles used for swallowing to become weaker and causes dysphagia, which in turn causes drooling. Is this true? -- G.P.
ANSWER: Drooling in older people is a common problem that, in addition to being ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 69-year-old Caucasian woman with newly found necrosis of the knee bone, along with a fracture. I do not have diabetes, but I received a month of steroids last November when I had COVID. I also use Adair daily for asthma. I am scheduled for total knee replacement this coming October. My primary care doctor, my orthopedist ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old male who has been experiencing an increase in breast size (slightly more on the left than the right) over the past year. I am healthy and have taken no medications for the past six months except sildenafil, on an as-needed basis. I am approximately 10-15 pounds overweight, but exercise regularly. Because of ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you wrote that there is no risk to family from shedding after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. You failed to mention that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the grandparents could catch COVID and spread it even after being fully vaccinated. Also, according to the CDC, they might be ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you explain the difference between the delta variant and the common cold? How is one to know if an illness is the common cold with cough for weeks or the virus! -- Anon.
ANSWER: The virus that causes COVID-19 -- SARS-CoV-2 -- is a coronavirus that can cause many different symptoms, some of which are similar to the cold. ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is taking Eliquis 5 mg (half a tab daily). He has had erectile dysfunction for 15 to 20 years and is 78 years old. Since we are in a new marriage, he obtained Viagra in Mexico. His cardiologist would not prescribe it. What precautions should he take or symptoms to look for when he starts taking it? He also takes ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have multiple sclerosis, Addison's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I am on steroids daily as well as potent immunosuppressives. In November 2013, I received a flu shot, and 10 days later I came down with Guillain-Barre syndrome. I was paralyzed for six months. Half of my doctors say I should take the COVID vaccine; the...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My doctor recommended both pneumococcal vaccines for me. He recommended the PCV-13 (Prevnar) first, followed two months later by the PPSV-23 (Pneumovax). He also told me that if I had them in the reverse order, I would have had to wait a full year between the shots, not just two months. Why is that? -- R.S.
ANSWER: I'm afraid ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read about the benefits of having a glass of wine per day for women, or two glasses for men. Can you please tell me how your health will be affected if you have more? My husband often drinks a bottle of wine a night, and if we go out he will have cocktails as well. -- Anon.
ANSWER: I wish nobody had ever said that a glass...Read more