Health Advice



Don't let preconceived notions about aging limit your potential

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: After reading several of your columns, where readers asked if they are too old for some activity, I wanted to make older adults aware of their untapped reservoir of energy and ability. I notice that most tend to be hesitant to try various activities thinking they are probably too old to attempt it.

I am a retired music teacher; ...Read more

Optimal blood pressure goal needs to be individualized

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My father is 91 years old, and I am concerned that his elevated blood pressure isn't being properly addressed. Recently, it seems to run in the mid-170s to mid-80s (176/86). He has a number of health issues, such as a kidney stent every three months, diabetic neuropathy and a transient ischemic attack. He takes metoprolol (25 mg ...Read more

HSV diagnosis doesn't need to doom love life

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 57 and finally divorced my cheating husband a year ago. Now that I am interested in dating again, I went for a consultation and exam with my gynecologist, complete with STD testing. I am in excellent health and all tests were negative except the one I feared: herpes, both oral and genital.

I am not only upset but also ...Read more

Putting a pause on the shingles virus until age 60

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: At what age do you recommend the shingles vaccine? I'm 56 and my doc is recommending it, but I've heard that people frequently have negative side effects. I'm doing everything I can to stay well and out of the doctor's office during coronavirus.

Would you recommend I wait until next year, when we've all (hopefully) been ...Read more

Does HRT affect the duration of hot flashes?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: If women are prescribed a hormone replacement for hot flashes, do the hot flashes return once the medicine is discontinued. If you take hormone replacement therapy, are you just delaying the symptoms for a while and will have to deal with hot flashes either way? -- C.H.

ANSWER: Hot flashes are a common symptom when women go into...Read more

This is the year: Do not skip out on the flu shot

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DR. ROACH WRITES: Every year around this time I write a column on the different flu vaccines that are available. Before doing so this year, I want to implore readers to get their flu vaccine. If you have never gotten one, now is the time. If you had a bad reaction 20 years ago, give the vaccine another chance this year. If you have never had the...Read more

Don't skip the shots or the PT for frozen shoulder

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been diagnosed with frozen shoulder after an X-ray by an orthopedic doctor. He sent me to physical therapy, but this is the slowest recovery and the most agonizing pain. No over-the-counter products help, and I do not want surgery. He offered a shot for the pain. I declined. I could go back for it but, I do not want a ...Read more

Was son's heart inflammation the muscle, lining or both?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In September 2017, my son, then 17, was rushed to a nearby children's hospital and ultimately diagnosed with myocarditis, but did not have a biopsy. He was given an infusion of immune globulin that left him quite ill for about 10 hours. Upon discharge the pediatric cardiologist reassured us that my son was free of this and could ...Read more

Insulin resistance can be minimized

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I hear about insulin resistance all the time. What is it and how do you prevent it? -- M.E.

ANSWER: Insulin lowers blood sugar levels by moving the sugar into the cells that need it. Without insulin, cells starve for energy despite very high amounts of sugar in the blood.

A small amount of insulin should drop the blood sugar ...Read more

How long will swelling last post-blood clot

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 76-year-old man. Some time ago, I had a blood clot in my leg. They removed the blood clot and now the blood flow in my leg is back to normal, but my foot swells up every time I stand on it. But when I put my foot higher than my head, the swelling goes right down and I start all over again. Two doctors are telling me in ...Read more

Fabric or detergent may be aggravating mask wearer

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I wear a face mask whenever I go into a store. My problem is that even wearing a mask for a short time gives me a scratchy throat the next day, causing me great anxiety because I fear that I have contracted the coronavirus. That scratchiness does dissipate during the day, but it can take a while. I wear commercially made fabric ...Read more

What is the value in testing a healthy person for COVID-19?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In the coronavirus pandemic, many people are getting tested for 1) active illness and 2) antibodies. What's the value of an asymptomatic person getting tested for an active infection? Do we even know if having antibodies gives you any protection? I'm reluctant to get tested for either if it can't really alleviate the need to ...Read more

Gout pain comes from crystals that form in joints

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 71-year-old woman recently diagnosed with gout. I have been put on colchicine and allopurinol. Are these the best medications? Will it ever go away? I have it in my right foot, but I worry about my left foot. Why the feet? I don't drink. What kind of diet would you suggest? -- B.B.

ANSWER: Gout is a disease that's been ...Read more

Masks may be uncomfortable, but they are not harmful

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old working 20+ hours a week in retail. I have just returned to work after being furloughed because of the pandemic. My associates and I are required to wear masks, averaging seven hours daily. We feel as if our breathing is being compromised, as we are breathing in our own air, with no outside fresh air. Our ...Read more

Using vitamin A in the fight to recover sense of smell

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My 90-year-old mother lost her sense of smell several years ago. We think it was related to a new medication. I read that vitamin A deficiency can be responsible for this, and I have reason to believe she has a real deficiency. She also has poor night vision, dry eyes and skin problems.

Her doctor nixed the idea of taking any ...Read more

Surgery is a last resort for chronic back pain

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

CORRECTION: 2nd graph, 6th sentence: The superfluous "getting" has been removed." It now reads: "I am having trouble getting opioids prescribed ..."

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old man with chronic back pain. I first started having serious back pain in college after spending much of my time hunched over a drawing board. Later, as an ...Read more

Tight pants and packed pockets may cause tingling, numbness

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had meralgia paresthetica for two and a half years. I have all the classic symptoms: tingling, pins and needles, some numbness and stinging in the top and side of my left thigh. I have tried numerous exercises and been treated by a physical therapist and an acupuncturist. Nothing has helped. My doctor has suggested the ...Read more

Epic search launched for cause of high hemoglobin level

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 51-year-old male in very good health. I have had blood tests taken yearly for the past 15+ years. Nearly every test shows high hemoglobin. My average is 17.4, but has been as high as 18.1 within the past several years. (Anything above 17.5 is considered high.)

My primary care physician was never concerned. He said that my...Read more

Over 70? It might be time for a statin

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 71-year-old male in reasonably good health. At a recent routine checkup, my primary-care physician suggested I consider taking Lipitor 10 mg. My total cholesterol is in the 150-160 mg/dL range, although my LDL is slightly elevated, and my HDL is slightly low and has been for many years. My usual blood pressure is 130/80, ...Read more

Where does diet soda fall on the vice spectrum?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've never smoked, drank alcohol or used illegal drugs. My doctor says I'm in great health. My only vice is drinking diet soda, and I drink three or four cans a day. I'd like to know what you think about it. I know it's not great for me, but I figure it's better than the other vices. -- P.V.

ANSWER: I'm not sure "vice" is the ...Read more



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