DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old woman who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia decades ago. I suffered before my diagnosis and have suffered since with every single symptom that defines this disease.
It is a disease without obvious signs; therefore, we who suffer are seen as whiners and hypochondriacs. The flare-ups come in waves and in varying...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm concerned about my blood pressure. I take readings twice a day, in the a.m. and p.m. I find that when I first take my blood pressure, it is high. Then, after I wait 5-10 minutes and retake it, it is sometimes 10 points lower in the second reading. If I am recording these pressures for my primary care physician, should I use...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 77 and have an enlarged prostate. My PSA score has been between 5.2 and 5.9 ng/mL for years. Recently, my internist had me take a PSA test, and it was 9.5 ng/mL. Two weeks later, my urologist did another test, and it was 5.7 ng/mL. The two tests were done by different lab groups. Are PSA scores calculated differently by ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently, I was rejected from donating plasma (not blood), since my iron that day was 57 mcmol/L and the maximum allowable was 54 mcmol/L. I am rescheduled to get retested in a few days. The technician said to eat beans and similar foods to lower my iron levels.
I checked my own records and found no results that fell below the...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 73-year-old man. I exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and have not eaten beef or pork in over 40 years. In spite of all of this, I was diagnosed in January 2022 with a 90% blockage of the left anterior descending artery and had a stent put in. I have felt great ever since.
After the procedure, I was put on ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 58 years old and was diagnosed with high blood pressure back in 2021. Since then, I've been prescribed atenolol, which slows down my heart rate. I was later prescribed 10 mg of amlodipine, which I'm told relaxes and dilates my blood vessels.
I wouldn't say it's severe, but I never experienced ongoing constipation problems ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 79-year-old healthy female. My doctor advised me to have a CT scan due to the bump above my head and the fact that I might have a brain bleed. Since I had quite a few regular X-rays in the past, I really did not want to do a brain scan. The technician advised me that the scan would take only 2 minutes.
When I was under the...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is 80 years old and a survivor of liver cancer after receiving four years of immunotherapy. On a recent follow-up visit to his oncologist, the doctor told him that he has a heart murmur. He takes medication for his thyroid and adrenal glands.
Could you please explain what a heart murmur is, what causes them and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old male who recently had a colonoscopy and had several polyps removed, but there was also a "flat polyp" that couldn't be removed. My doctor said that he usually recommends surgery to remove this, but because of my age, as well as my heart (stents, high blood pressure) and kidney problems (they have been stable ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old woman who has been using Estrace vaginal cream weekly for several years. I am in excellent health, work out daily, run half-marathons and have my own business. I take 10 mg of atorvastatin daily. Ten years ago, I had melanoma removed from my arm.
My concern is the use of Estrace. My gynecologist recommended ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 71-year-old woman who still works full-time as a teacher. I have osteoporosis and have had two bone scans. My latest scan showed a slight deterioration from the first two years ago. My T-score in my spine went from -2.2 to -2.6. It was recommended by my endocrinologist that I get the Reclast infusion because I have acid ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Are cancers and COVID considered to be autoimmune diseases? Someone said this to me recently, but I have never heard this before. -- M.C.
ANSWER: No, both cancers and COVID-19 infections are essentially failures of the immune system. The job of the immune system is to keep us safe from invaders -- either outside invaders like ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been taking Plavix (clopidogrel) for 15 years because of a mild heart attack that resulted in three stents. Next month, I am having a prostate MRI and biopsy. The urologist told me to stop taking clopidogrel seven days prior and substitute 81 mg of aspirin in its place. I am very concerned about a possible blood clot ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am at my wit's end and hope that you can answer this for me. I am a 76-year-old male. Next week, I'm going to have surgery in my genital area. My urologist told me to wash with Hibiclens starting one week prior to surgery. He then went on vacation, returning several days prior to my surgery. However, I am supposed to start ...Read more