Health Advice



Is there still a case for calcium supplements?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've been taking calcium supplements for many years to assist in strengthening my bones. I'm 74, weigh less than 95 pounds and stand 5 feet tall. I'm on the verge of osteoporosis, and have been getting Evenity injections for almost a year. Now I'm hearing that calcium supplements may have no value. What's the truth? -- H.

...Read more

Ideal living will includes detailed instructions for care

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: At what point in COVID-19 does a person's do not resuscitate order become an issue? When does treatment become an "exceptional or extraordinary" effort? It would seem that organ transplants, if not coma/prolonged artificial ventilation would qualify. I have never seen anything on this issue. -- R.S.

ANSWER: A do not resuscitate ...Read more

Some hospitals do mandate COVID vaccination for employees

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Why aren't the hospitals nationwide mandating all personnel be COVID vaccinated? I am getting conflicting information. Don't you think the first-line people treating the ill, whether it is to check a patient in to the hospital or a nurse, should have their vaccine in order to work in the hospital? -- K.W.

ANSWER: More and more ...Read more

HIPAA is for insurance company, not employer or business

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am confused about how HIPAA applies to my medical information. Some people are saying they don't have to tell people if they have been vaccinated or not or respond to an employer that is requiring the vaccine to go back to work or to businesses that may require vaccination for entry. I always thought HIPAA applied to doctors ...Read more

Pain of shingles can linger, sometimes for months or years

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old female, and I am in my 10th week of shingles. I have them on my left chest and back (at the bra line!) and on my upper arm. I can't go anywhere because I can't stand when my clothes or bra touches me. I now have severe shooting pains on my arm area, mostly at night but also during the day. The rash on my chest,...Read more

Where do COVID variants come from?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: We know COVID-19 came from Wuhan, China. Where are the delta and other variants coming from? -- D.B.

ANSWER: COVID-19 was first described in Wuhan, China, although the exact mechanism of how the virus that causes COVID-19 (called SARS-CoV-2) came to infect humans is not known. Most authorities believe it evolved from a bat ...Read more

Post-COVID natural immunity has its limits

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: How does one manage natural immunity to COVID-19 if one has an autoimmune disease? Does that person take vitamin D3, zinc, etc.? -- J.K.S.

ANSWER: "Natural immunity" refers to the protection that is conferred after a natural infection, as opposed to vaccination. Studies have shown that protection from infection following a case ...Read more

Suspicious interaction during colonoscopy should prompt report

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been having colonoscopies regularly since 1990. I was due for one last year, but postponed due to COVID-19. My previous doctor had retired, and I found another physician who I thought would be excellent.

While on the bed, waiting to be moved to the procedure, the doctor came and sat down on one side of the bed. My other ...Read more

Many older adults face balance problems

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 79 years old, male and in good shape. The only medication I take is 20 mg of Lipitor daily. Approximately five years ago, I fell off a small ladder. The fall was caused because I lost my balance. From that time on, my balance has worsened. I notice that when I lose my balance, most of the time I fall backward. I consulted an...Read more

Catheterization can help protect kidneys if done correctly

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 85 and in good health despite having had open heart surgery 10 years ago. I have been using a catheter three times a day for two years to drain urine, because my enlarged prostate distorts my bladder. It looks like I will use an intermittent catheter for the rest of my life. I am currently taking Flomax and finasteride, but ...Read more

Thoughts of pancreatic cancer trouble reader with EPI

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently I was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency after symptoms of unexpected and sustained diarrhea for three months. I was also diagnosed with NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) last November. A year ago, I first noticed slight weight loss (5 pounds) and decreased energy. I am 69 years old, 6 foot, 2 inches...Read more

Unvaccinated hairdresser may be too close for comfort

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My hairdresser is being evasive about whether she has been vaccinated for COVID. She does not wear a mask. I am vaccinated, and I want everyone else to be as well, to avoid more harmful strains of the disease. I'm 67 and have underlying conditions. Should I find a new hairdresser? -- Anon.

ANSWER: Being fully vaccinated means ...Read more

Primary progressive aphasia is a type of dementia

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: About a year ago, my 77-year-old wife started to have some trouble speaking, and in some cases remembering or forming words. It's not so bad that you don't understand her and it's not constant. But it's there just the same. The family thought she may have had a TIA, as at the time she had been drinking quite a lot -- she has ...Read more

Mom is convinced nighttime sounds have a name

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I need help with my mother's question (she's 86). She reports hearing glass breaking or being smashed. It's so loud that it wakes her out of her sleep. She looks around and never is there a glass broken. She says it's also a loud crashing noise, like something slamming up against a door. This only happens at night in her sleep. ...Read more

Blocked carotid arteries could lead to stroke

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What could precipitate a need to check an 83-year-old man's carotid arteries for blockage? What percentage of blockage would necessitate surgery? -- W.M.

ANSWER: There are two carotid arteries, running on either side of the neck, bringing blood to the head. They provide a great deal of the blood flow to the brain, and blockages ...Read more

How do doctors choose their doctor?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

ANSWER: I asked my colleague, Dr. Susana Morales, for her advice, and she wrote this:

"I am sorry that you have had such a frustrating experience with doctors. Finding the right doctor can definitely be challenging.

"It sounds like there may be a language barrier when you meet with doctors. It is your legal right to have a trained medical ...Read more

Once-daily thyroid replacement is effective for most people

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: If levothyroxine (the T4 hormone) has a long half-life (seven days), how does the pituitary gland provide fine control of the thyroid's T4 hormone during a short time period (minutes, hours)? If there is such fine control between the pituitary and thyroid, manually trying to simulate that feedback mechanism by taking one pill a ...Read more

Here's how to handle heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What is heatstroke? I exercised a lot in the heat yesterday, and today I feel dizzy and nauseated, even though it isn't as hot as yesterday. -- L.C.

ANSWER: Heatstroke and heat exhaustion have similar names but are different conditions. People who exercise in conditions of high heat and humidity are at risk for heat exhaustion. ...Read more

The fountain of youth, debunked again

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have always been a proponent of the attitude that "no matter how much you make yourself look younger on the outside, you are still aging on the inside." I read a recent article on the benefits of the supplement NAD+, which describes the inside anti-aging benefits. It appears that there are quite a few. I am very interested in ...Read more

Assessing estrogen replacement after ovary and uterus removal

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My question concerns the benefits and risks of taking oral estrogen following removal of ovaries and uterus due to my concerns about ovarian cancer. I have recovered well from having this laparoscopic-robotic surgery. I am a healthy 69-year-old with a family history of ovarian cancer (mother) and breast cancer (mother and sister)...Read more



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