Health Advice



Punctal plugs can provide relief from dry eye symptoms

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 65-year-old female, non-smoker, with very dry eyes living in a dry climate. My eyes often burn and tear up, which I find curious, having been diagnosed with dry eyes.

During the day, I use preservative-free eyedrops and also place a warm washcloth over my eyes. Before bedtime, I apply an ointment or a preservative-free gel...Read more

Hiatal hernia is not correlated to asthma medication

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 80 years old, still work full-time and have generally good health, except for adult-onset asthma. Advair 250/50 was prescribed for me over 10 years ago, and I've been taking it regularly each morning, thoroughly rinsing each time to prevent thrush. About five years ago, I developed an abdominal hernia just below my waistline...Read more

Bruise discoloration on foot isn't from a blood clot

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 68-year-old woman in good medical/physical condition. I run three times a week and work out with weights regularly. The only medicine I take is bioidentical hormones. Recently, the side of my foot near my baby toe felt sore as if, when I walked, I was stepping on a small pebble. It's not really painful, but annoying. This ...Read more

Joint replacement not neccessary yet for moderate arthritis

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a highly active 74-year-old female. I walk a mile and a half every morning (my dog insists), then do two step-aerobic classes with weights, two serious weight workouts with a trainer, 1-3 miles on an elliptical walker and 2-4 hours of horseback riding, plus miscellaneous activities and yard work each week. My left hip is ...Read more

Glaucoma suspect weighs using drops as proactive measure

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 70 years old, in good health, with no family history of glaucoma. My optometrist diagnosed me a year ago as having low-pressure glaucoma, early stage. He prescribed brimonidine 0.2% twice daily. I also saw an ophthalmologist for a second opinion. The ophthalmologist diagnosed me as a "glaucoma suspect." He does not ...Read more

Size of aneurysm determines whether surgery is necessary

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR ROACH: My husband will be 83 in September and was recently diagnosed with an ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm measuring 4.8 cm. Five centimeters is when they do something. After hearing about the survival rate based on your recent column, along with your comment that "most people do not survive a rupture of the aorta," I'm scared. Why ...Read more

Incontinence caused by an enlarged prostate calls for meds

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 55-year-old male in good health and was diagnosed with a slightly enlarged prostate several years ago. My primary care doctor said he wasn't concerned enough to prescribe any medications. I get an annual physical, and there haven't been any changes. However, in the past couple of years, there have been times when, once I ...Read more

Doctor drug tests patient who takes meds only as needed

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For sleep, my boyfriend (78) takes Ambien when he needs it, a few times each week. The instructions on the bottle says "take as needed." To me, that means if he doesn't need it, he doesn't take it. That's simple logic.

His doctor occasionally will order a urine drug screen looking for metabolites of Ambien -- something about ...Read more

Long-term use of cortisone increases risk of bone fractures

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is it true that a person over 55 years of age can have bone density problems? Does drinking milk and taking calcium with vitamin D help with this condition? Also, some people take oral cortisone for arthritis. Doesn't this make the bones more susceptible to bone breakage? Some doctors don't feel men can have bone density problems...Read more

Pros of adding medication outweigh small risk of bleeding

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 79 years old and have coronary artery disease. In 2006, I had a heart attack, followed by an angioplasty and a drug-eluting stent in my left anterior descending artery. I had that done again in the same artery in May 2021. I get an irregular heartbeat, and after I wore a heart monitor, they said I had atrial fibrillation from...Read more

Low blood platelets call for the help of a hematologist

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My brother has low blood platelets and anemia. He will be 73 this year and has had three back surgeries. What causes low blood platelets? Can anything be done to raise platelet count? He drinks alcohol everyday -- not hard liquor, but canned alcoholic mixed drinks. He is in constant pain from his back. Also, he has osteoporosis. ...Read more

Drinking water is not the cause of diarrhea while traveling

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: While reading one of your recent columns, I learned that all water, except distilled, contains electrolytes. I wondered if there are differences in the amount of each electrolyte in drinking water in different places in Canada, and if so, whether that might explain why I experience cramping and diarrhea when I am visiting another...Read more

The best medicine for arthritis is regular exercise

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What is the best medicine for arthritis? My doctor prescribed diclofenac sodium, and another doctor said it will damage my liver and kidney with prolonged usage. As you know, arthritis is a chronic disease. Let me know what medicine I can use for arthritis. -- A.A.

ANSWER: I'm assuming you mean osteoarthritis, the most common ...Read more

Light-adjustable lenses in cataract surgery yield better results

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a candidate for cataract surgery. When discussing this with my doctor, he mentioned that there are new lenses that can be used, which make it possible to correct my vision to 20/20. They are called light-adjustable lenses. There is a cost of $2,400 per eye. It seems to have great success with little risk. He did mention I ...Read more

Sleep monitor subtracts restless minutes in sleep time

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In one of your columns, someone asked if it was helpful to just rest during the night, and how did that compare to sleeping if one is unable to sleep.

You said just resting was not that helpful, that one really needed sleep. I wanted to ask about "restless" minutes as recorded by a fitness watch. Restless minutes are separated ...Read more

Upper body strength remains stagnant after rotator cuff injury

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been trying to increase my upper body strength, but am having difficulties. I am almost 70 and female, and have been moderately active. I exercise daily for 30 minutes using a stationary bike or a treadmill. I injured my rotator cuff last summer playing an exercise video game. There is hardware from a previous surgery for ...Read more

Continued use of Bactrim creates a resistance in treatment

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH:As a 90-year-old man in mostly good health, I have been taking one Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) pill per day for several years now preventatively for recurrent urinary tract infections. I am very pleased with this successful treatment. However, my urologist has mentioned that I might have to relinquish the Bactrim at ...Read more

Vaccines are still effective against new COVID variants

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I would like to ask you a basic question about COVID-19 booster shots, since no health authority seems to answer it directly. Why should I get a booster if the booster is based on the original alpha version of the virus from more than two years ago? Even if the booster shot were based on the delta variant, that variant passed ...Read more

Explaining the process behind names of medications

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: How do pharmaceutical companies arrive at the names of their drugs? -- M.G.

ANSWER: Every new drug starts with three names: a chemical name, a generic name and a brand name. The chemical name can be extremely long and difficult to remember or pronounce, even for experts. A generic name is meant to convey some information about ...Read more

Virus damages heart muscle, causing congestive heart failure

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent column on long-haul effects in COVID compared to the flu. About 14 years ago, a young neighbor caught some kind of virus. His wife said he was never the same after that. He was in his mid-40s. There were several fundraisers in the area to try to raise money for the young family. He needed a heart transplant and...Read more



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