Cervical cancer diagnosis stems from exposure to HPV
DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer in my 70s. I read that HPV causes this cancer, but I have never been diagnosed with that. I also haven't been intimate with anyone since my 60s, when I became a widow. What could explain my cancer diagnosis? -- J.R.
ANSWER: I am sorry for your diagnosis. Essentially, all cervical ...Read more
Brain fog lingers after operations using general anesthesia
DEAR DR. ROACH: Would you please explain the pros and cons of general versus spinal anesthetic? I have had three bladder tumor resection operations with general anesthetic in the past two years and have suffered the consequences of anesthetic fog, which is sometimes very disturbing and inconvenient.
I am 82, and I'm worried about how much ...Read more
No health risks shown from working in a building with asbestos
DEAR DR. ROACH: I worked in a building from 1975 to 2002 that is now being torn down due to asbestos. The people who worked in the building didn't know at the time of any asbestos exposure. What problems could we potentially have? Should anything be done? This isn't good! -- L.B.
ANSWER: Asbestos is scary. Most people know that exposure to ...Read more
Underlying cause of excess sleep may be depression
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a problem I've never seen addressed in your column. Unlike many people who are my age (85), I get too much sleep. I am pretty healthy, and I work out three times a week. Until last year, when my husband died, I was always busy taking care of him at home. Even then, I was getting about seven and a half hours of sleep a ...Read more
Exercise builds strength, improves limits in those with arthritis
DEAR DR. ROACH: I so appreciated your recent column on arthritis -- specifically osteoarthritis. I'm a big exerciser; however, I have always heard that this arthritis is caused or exacerbated by wear and tear. I was surprised to hear otherwise!
I have modified or given up a handful of exercises that seem to cause my joints more pain, ...Read more
Health risks of using natural gas appliances at home are low
DEAR DR. ROACH: There is much mainstream news recently about the health risks of using natural gas appliances. I am 75 and have survived playing with mercury from broken thermometers as a child, a lifetime of cooking and home heating, and hot water from natural gas. I certainly don't advise playing with mercury, but how seriously should I, and ...Read more
Risk of heart disease could be significantly lowered by statins
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband's doctor is repeatedly pushing statins on my husband. His cholesterol was high in the past and is still slightly high (239 mg/dL -- borderline high). I've checked the heart risk calculator. It said his risk is 22.1% and goes down to 16.6% if he goes on statins, which is still considered high risk.
Also, my mother had ...Read more
Primary biliary cholangitis of the liver brings on severe itching
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old female who has had primary biliary cirrhosis of the liver for many years. I have been on 300 mg of ursodiol taken three times a day for all those years, with no problems until now. I currently have severe itching all over my body. I am now taking 4 g of cholestyramine a day to relieve this terrible itching, ...Read more
Rare condition of bladder inflammation requires no treatment
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am looking for some clarification on cystitis glandularis. My 53-year-old son was recently diagnosed with this condition. He has been experiencing urinary frequency/urgency for more than two years. He is in excellent health and works out religiously, but he does smoke.
Online research provides conflicting opinions. Some sites ...Read more
Patient with risk of breast cancer questions safety of yearly MRI
DEAR DR. ROACH: Due to a slight genetic risk of breast cancer (my Tyrer-Cuzick Model score was 20.6%), my doctor wants me to get breast MRIs with contrast annually. I am concerned about long-term exposure to the gadolinium-based contrast dye. I've learned that this heavy metal is considered safe, but traces of it can be stored in the brain and ...Read more
Diabetes meds questioned due to insulin resistance and weight
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is an over-the-road truck driver, and he is 68. He has been on metformin for a long time, and I have been reading that this medicine does not help bring down blood sugar. He is also using human insulin two times a day.
What I want to know is if there's a better medication for him to take? I think he is gaining weight ...Read more
Daily back or hip pain calls for higher dose of meds or surgery
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a degenerating L5-S1 disc as well as osteoarthritis in my left hip, and both are bone on bone. I will eventually need a hip replacement and possibly back surgery, but I'm trying to prolong anything until I get on Medicare in eight months. I stay as active as I can by walking my dog, exercising (weights and biking), and ...Read more
Does radon gas present dangers in the air quality of homes?
DEAR DR. ROACH: I would like your thoughts as to the danger that high levels of radon gas pose to owners and residents of a first-floor condominium. We reside in a condo located on a golf course in Naples, Florida. As a result of my work as a realtor, the sale of homes and condos typically require inspections for various issues, including radon ...Read more
Salt substition can provide benefits to people at any risk level
DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you said that using salt substitutes can reduce blood pressure and that, across a population, this would result in far fewer heart attacks and strokes.
While lowering blood pressure would have that effect, my understanding is that there is no significant research showing benefits from lowering salt intake in ...Read more
Cipro prescription is no longer the first-line treatment for UTIs
DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with a UTI on my yearly physical urinalysis, but had no symptoms. I was prescribed Cipro. The five pages of warnings attached to the prescription scared me! So, I checked the FDA and Mayo Clinic websites. Both said that the "risks outweigh benefits" and it "should not be first choice to treat UTI." But my doctor ...Read more