DEAR DR. ROACH: Considering things I've heard on the news regarding the accuracy of the COVID-19 tests for both the virus and the antibodies, what are the chances of a false positive or false negative? I understand that there are different "brands" of tests, for lack of a better word, and some are better than others. Would it be wise to get ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My recent fasting blood test showed my glucose number as 99, but the A1C said 7%. My doctor immediately wanted to put me on metformin, but I refused for two reasons:
1. I am a senior, 69 years old, and I heard this medicine's side effects could be dangerous;
2. I am not convinced I have Type 2 diabetes, because I don't exhibit ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: About 20 years ago, I was prescribed amantadine to offset the side effects of psychiatric medications I was being given. I also have always been predisposed to serious flu complications, even though I did get flu shots. Amantadine not only helped with side effects, but I very seldom got the flu.
Then my doctor thought it best ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a male, 71, with a bovine aortic value that was installed 11 years ago. I went into atrial fibrillation six years ago and had an electric shock to stop it. That lasted a week, and was followed by an ablation, which kept me out of atrial fibrillation for five years. I went into atrial fibrillation again last year, and the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: A recent column discussed shortness of breath on exercise. My aunt had this exact same scenario, and it turned out to be lung cancer. She ignored it for a while, then when she got checked out, it was too late -- she had stage 4 lung cancer. Please tell this person to see an oncologist. I write this with a heavy heart and tears. I...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: We have been hearing for quite a while about the health risks of obesity, and these have become of even greater concern given the pandemic. The discussion usually involves connecting the higher risk to various medical problems obese people frequently have -- for instance, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
I have ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 60-year-old female who went through menopause at age 45. My belly has blown up like a balloon, and I am often asked by people in public if I am pregnant. This is embarrassing. I have tried numerous exercises, and they all put a strain on my lower back and cause pain. Could you recommend an effective exercise for women 60 ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I've been a vegetarian for the past few years, and I'm concerned about how to get enough protein without consuming meat from any type of animal. Until recently I was supplementing my diet with protein drinks and protein bars, but now I've been told that because these are processed foods, they're not good for my health. What are ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My primary care doctor prescribed a cardiac calcium test after seeing me breathing hard while climbing onto the examining table. I don't feel a need for it, as I am over 72 years old and it is common in this age. I checked with another doctor and he asked what if you have higher cardiac calcium as I am already taking atorvastatin...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a question about excipients, something you discussed in a recent column about thyroid medication. Twice in my life, I took Celebrex for orthopedic pain. The episodes were about five years apart. Both times, I suffered severe liver disfunction, turned yellow, lost weight and had dark urine and abnormal ALT, AST and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an almost 69-year-old man in generally good health. Until the pandemic, I exercised regularly, but with Pilates studios closed I have only been walking. I have always been troubled with insomnia and have tried every sleep aid -- both prescription and nonprescription -- to no avail. That was until my internist prescribed ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a friend who's 28 with "really low" urine pH (I don't know how low). Apparently, it is due to constant dehydration and drinking coffee all day long, to the point that the doctor recommended that he drink lots of water with lemon (perhaps just to prevent dehydration and nothing else.)
That sounds counterintuitive to me. I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 86, and was finally, after a few false starts, diagnosed with two compression fractured vertebrae, which were very painful. This was followed by a diagnosis of osteoporosis. The doctor who diagnosed it told me that it was a disease mainly of the northern part of the planet, affecting folks living in the Scandinavian countries...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: As a family physician, I must differ with you on your advice to the 71-year-old lady whose doctor wanted to start her on a statin. Using a Mesa score and her desire not to take any medicine, you advised her to decline the statin.
I am able to obtain generic Crestor with the GoodRx app and a pill cutter for 13 cents a day. I am ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent response to a man having withdrawal issues from short-term Paxil use. Could you take a shot at a bigger, yet related problem I have? I have been on 9 mg bromazepam daily for over 40 years. I am now 75. My diagnosis was manic depressive, which is now, I believe, bipolar, as well as an anxiety disorder.
About 10...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband has been an alcoholic for 30 years. I have recently started to sleep in our living room due to his smell. He is furious! I have not slept well for so long -- I know it's affected my health. He doesn't want me sick, but he is making me sick. Please stress in your column how important sleep is -- for everybody! -- S.D.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been suffering from fatty liver for the past 10 years. Is there any medication to reverse it? -- A.A.
ANSWER: Fatty liver is a very common finding that refers to the accumulation of excess fat in the liver cells. The most common cause, in people who do not drink excess alcohol, is being overweight, which eventually leads ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been diagnosed with bursitis on my left hip, and my pain management doctor says she can give me an injection to help. I had one last year by an orthopedist. The pain management nurse recommends my orthopedist do it because they use X-ray to guide the injection. But if X-rays don't show tissue, how is that useful? Should I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you discuss Elmiron side effects and the pending lawsuit? I have been on this for years for interstitial cystitis and am worried about staying on it even though it is the only relief I can find. -- C.H.
ANSWER: "Interstitial cystitis" is a term used for chronic bladder pain when no other cause has been identified. It is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. A spine specialist has advised surgery to fuse vertebrae in two places. I have already had surgery to remove a herniated disk on both these vertebrae and spinal epidurals with limited success.
Recently a friend suggested inversion therapy using a teeter ...Read more