DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 71-year-old Type 2 diabetic woman, but I find the glucose monitoring systems requiring blood samples so painful to use that I don't test. At present, I get along by taking a 500-mg metformin tablet three times a day and having bloodwork done about twice a year. My last fasting glucose test result (1/19/18) was 134 mg/dL, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 84-year-old female. Luckily for me, I have never been ill with chickenpox, measles or mumps. My family doctor thought that I should still get the shingles vaccine, even though a blood test proved that, indeed, I'd never had chickenpox. So I did. I read in the paper that there is a new shingles vaccine available and that ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Do Trimix injections work for erectile dysfunction, and are they safe? -- M.B.
ANSWER: Erectile dysfunction is a common problem in men, especially as they get older. It may be a clue to serious disease of blood vessels, but also can represent low testosterone or other abnormal hormone levels, neurological issues or problems with...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: A year ago, I had surgery for bladder cancer, and had a small stroke and pulmonary clot. During this past year, I've had five CT scans, three chest X-rays and a couple of other scans to diagnose the stroke and clot. I also had some kind of scan in radiology to put in and then take out an IV blood filter. I am having another CT ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Fifteen years ago, I had a successful brachytherapy treatment for prostate cancer. Subsequent annual PSA results indicate minimal levels. I am 82 years old and in otherwise excellent condition, and generally very active. However, in the past few years I have had periods of considerable fatigue. My blood counts are within the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I never eat breakfast. Most times I eat just once a day, at dinnertime -- and no, I don't pig out then, either. I have boneless, skinless chicken breast or pork chops baked or on the grill, with a boxed pasta side dish, and I feel just fine and have lost ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I write to you to try to understand the effects of commingling large amounts of wine -- normally a bottle or more -- then taking a capful of over-the-counter sleep medicine. He is 78 years old, in EXCELLENT health. The wine revs up his mind, so he takes the sleep aid. It worries me that this could be harmful. He sometimes wakes ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 82-year-old female. In 2002, I had a triple bypass. Something went wrong, and I have been in almost constant pain ever since. The pain is in my chest wall. I also have other health issues, including atrial fibrillation. My cardiologist recommended pain medicine doctors, who have prescribed many different medications over ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am writing to inquire about the effects of statins on the body. My husband is a 66-year-old diabetic taking metformin and atorvastatin. A highly respected chemist friend told us that the statin drugs completely deplete the body of CoQ10, and recommended blood testing of the lipid particle size before beginning any statins. Is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have developed the habit of unconsciously clenching my jaw during the day. I tend to worry about things and have trouble turning off enough to relax. I actually don't mind clenching my jaw, since it offers some relief. But now my jaw hurts on one side when I chew food, and sometimes I have trouble opening my mouth wide enough ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Our 31-year-old daughter has fought a losing battle with acne since adolescence. Accutane has been suggested many times, and now she is about to begin treatment. We have always been too afraid of this powerful drug to try it. Are we right to be afraid? -- L.E.M.
ANSWER: Isotretoin (Accutane) is indeed a powerful medication, and...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: You should be aware that the AREDS2 vitamin supplement has not been shown to have any benefit in low-risk age-related macular degeneration patients, and has been associated with lowering the risk of advance in only 25 percent of moderate- to high-risk AMD patients. As such, it should not be considered a treatment or preventative....Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a patient with myelofibrosis, and have been under treatment for over three years. At one time I was receiving blood transfusions every three weeks and taking Jakafi (very expensive) to stabilize my hemoglobin and platelet levels, and Exjade to get rid of excess iron caused by frequent transfusions. Although my hemoglobin is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am asking for a restatement/clarification of your position on flu shots for those who have had autoimmune disorders.
I am a 69-year-old male who suffered an attack of Guillain-Barre syndrome in 1973. I have residual neurological and muscular damage, but otherwise I am in excellent health. I have declined the flu shot up to ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: At what point is high blood pressure a medical emergency (i.e., needs to be treated TODAY, or at least before, say, going out of the country next week)?
I've never had an issue with high blood pressure -- at a gynecology appointment last year it was fine, and at a general internist appointment the year prior it also was fine. In...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 62-year-old female in excellent health. I eat right, exercise and have a great genetic history. I have no high blood pressure. For about four years I have been taking two Sudafed pills, 30 mg per tablet, on average every other day, to alleviate morning headaches and congestion. Is there any long-term danger to taking ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm set to have a CT scan of my lungs with iodine dye. I have hypothyroidism and am on 25 mg of levothyroxine. Should I take the medicine the day of the test? Or should I have the CT scan without the dye? -- L.T.M.
ANSWER: Most of the intravenous contrast dyes used in CT scans contain iodine (oral contrast dye is usually made ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a man in my late 50s. I now am told to sleep on my right side and not my left side, because it's better for the heart. However, my sinuses seem to open up and it's easier to breathe lying on my left side. What, if anything, will happen if I sleep on my left side? Can it damage the heart permanently or lead to an early death?...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been reading a lot about the cardiovascular and general health benefits of supplemental vitamin C and lysine given that human beings are the only animal that does not produce vitamin C. I also read that otherwise healthy adults should be taking 4,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 2,400 milligrams of lysine, with adults ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband has Parkinson's disease. He also has a stent in his heart. We have been to many doctors to address a breathing problem: fast breathing. He experiences this daily, and we are told that it is anxiety. It is difficult to watch him go through this. It sometimes happens before he is due for his Sinemet, but other times ...Read more