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Health & Spirit

Capsaicin is a reliable topical pain-relief option

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am writing to you on behalf of my cousin, an 83-year-old female, 5 feet tall, weighing 100 pounds. She takes only vitamin D. Her blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., all are within the normal ranges. However, she has osteoarthritis in her knees and lower back. Ibuprofen sometimes helps a bit, but she would like more relief during...Read more

Chicken soup as good as a pill when it comes to collagen

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you please address the benefits and safety of taking an oral collagen supplement. I am confused, as there are so many collagen products on the market professing miraculous results with regard to diminishing or preventing wrinkles, strengthening the nails and hair, and helping with joint pain. I have been taking a ...Read more

Does too much vitamin D cause reduction in bone mass?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 70, Caucasian and slim. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis five years ago. Before that, I took Fosamax for five years. The only things I take are 1,000 mg calcium citrate, 3 mg boron and a multivitamin containing 2,000 IU vitamin D. An X-ray showed three compression fractured vertebra. I read that taking more than 1,000 IU of ...Read more

Considering nose strips and other nighttime congestion aids

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have allergies and am congested a lot at night. I have read about over-the-counter clips and adhesive tapes. Would they help me breathe better? Are they safe for the long term? -- M.V.M.

ANSWER: There are many different types of external devices that are designed to open the nasal passages during sleep to make breathing easier...Read more

What measurements trigger surgery for aneurysm?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 68-year-old male in good health with a 3.3-centimeter aneurysm in my internal iliac artery. I have no symptoms. It was 1.9 cm eight years ago.

My physician says that an aneurysm measuring over 3 cm requires surgical intervention. I have looked at recent studies that say an aneurysm measuring less than 4 cm can be safely ...Read more

Comparing the array of treatments for prostate cancer

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently have been diagnosed with early prostate cancer. My Gleason score is 7. My urologist has informed me that he doesn't think I am a good candidate for surgery, due to having atrial fibrillation. My radiation oncologist has recommended traditional radiation therapy. However, I am worried about the possible side effects. I ...Read more

Daughter's diabetic boyfriend must clean up his diet

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My daughter has been dating a man who is diabetic but is not diligent about his diet. He is outwardly in good health, in that he runs competitively and bicycles in races, but sometimes he has blood sugar readings of 300 plus. He loves a diet of meat, sauces, and rich and sugary foods, and is trying to cut back, but not very hard....Read more

Much info about low-carb diets is misleading

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR ROACH: I recently had my yearly physical with my primary care doctor of 10 years. I am a male, 75, who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 152 pounds.

He sent me my lab results and commented: "Your A1c (5.8) was in the prediabetic range of 5.8-6.4. Please remove all grains/breads/carbs/sugars and processed food from your diet and ...Read more

Leg-length discrepancy is common in polio survivors

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I had polio when I was 11 years old, many years ago, and miraculously, recovered enough to live a normal life. When I was in my 40s, I developed constant back pain and visited a renowned orthopedist in Stamford, Connecticut. When I told him I'd had polio, he rolled up a paper towel and placed it under my right heel. He told me ...Read more

Seniors can have adverse reactions to BP meds

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I wonder if you could comment on the negative side effects of various blood pressure medications for those over 65 -- particularly folks who are 80-plus.

Should a person be on more than two medications if one's blood pressure is generally 150-160/70-80? Does the answer change if the person also has chronic atrial fibrillation?

...Read more

What exactly is Helicobacter pylori?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My 82-year-old husband was diagnosed with H. pylori and was treated with two antibiotics and omeprazole. Would you please expand on what exactly H. pylori is? -- T.R.

ANSWER: Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria species that is able to live in the stomach. It was identified in a paper from 1984 and is now recognized as a major ...Read more

Concerned parent seeks advice about unruly vaping teens

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My teens keep smoking all these flavored, ethereal wand vapors. They claim it tastes good and even try tricks with the vapor. I'm a concerned parent as I hear these are dangerous magic cigarettes. I would like to know more about them and get your advice on how to deal with these unruly teens. -- H.R.

ANSWER: Vaping has become ...Read more

Flu shot's influence on possible dementia is good, not bad

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've read mixed reviews as to whether the flu shot can contribute to Alzheimer's disease. I'm anxious to see your input. -- J.W.

ANSWER: There is no reliable evidence, nor any good biological plausibility, that influenza vaccination increases the risk of either Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia. In fact, there are ...Read more

When to get a flu shot if you have Lyme disease

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Should people with Lyme disease avoid the flu shot? -- L.A.

ANSWER: Lyme disease is a potentially serious infection caused by the bacteria Borrellia burgorferi, passed on by a tick bite. Lyme disease can go unrecognized for a period of time, especially when the classic rash is not present, which is not uncommon. Without prompt ...Read more

The myth of male menopause

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there such a thing as male menopause, with the associated hot flashes? My problem is hot flashes. I am a 93-year-old male in fairly good health; I am active, but not enough, though I maintain a year-round garden. I've beaten prostate cancer with a cryogenic procedure at the turn of the century and had a couple of hernia ...Read more

Tramadol's long-term use should not be taken lightly

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I just read your column regarding concerns about taking tramadol long term for arthritis pain. I am a 74-year-old female, and I take one or two 50-mg tablets a day, depending on my pain level. Most days, my pain is controlled on that dose. I also take 1,300-mg acetaminophen twice daily. I have chronic atrial fibrillation, and ...Read more

Symptoms and new meds align, but are drugs the culprit?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Following placement of two stents in my arteries (not my heart), my cardiac physician has me on an 81-mg aspirin and 75 mg of clopidogrel daily. I am much weaker during my exercise class, fall asleep in the late morning and am utterly unable to have sex. My primary physician is adamant that aspirin does not cause loss of strength...Read more

Does your insurer affect the wait for an appointment?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, a person wrote that it took weeks to schedule an appointment with her primary care physician. I have found that it takes months, not weeks, to schedule an appointment with primary care physicians in my area (a large city with two medical schools). I am on Medicare, as are many of my friends. They have said ...Read more

Fact-checking 'wellness guru' sister

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR ROACH: I started taking betaine hydrochloride for my digestive health. I have had some ongoing issues, and my sister, the wellness guru, has been sharing some things she has learned and suggested this to me. In the first week I have noticed a difference. My wonderful partner, who is always skeptical, is wondering if there is true value ...Read more

Reader is in gray area of treatment for osteoporosis

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I took Fosamax for years but stopped five years ago. My bone density score is now -2.5. Should I restart Fosamax? If it creates more mass of brittle bone, then it does not seem advisable. -- K.B.

ANSWER: Fosamax (alendronate) works by preventing absorption of bone by osteoclasts (bone-absorbing cells). When used for three to ...Read more

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