DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband had a hemorrhagic stroke in 2014. He is 75 years old. His blood pressure in the past five days has gone from 123/64 with a heart rate of 50 to 142/77 with a heart rate of 45. It will be in the green for days and then read in 140s for a couple of days. He becomes very upset when he sees the yellow light come on. He ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I've been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and prescribed 1,500 mg of metformin. My A1C is now 6.0, although even when it was 5.8, my endocrinologist kept the same dosage. My primary care physician suggested I cut the dosage down to 1,000 mg, but my endocrinologist told me that taking 1,000 mg rather than the 1,500 mg is like "...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 64-year-old woman with a family history of heart disease. Both of my parents had heart attacks and open-heart surgery. At ages 50, 55 and 60, I experienced what I thought were signs of a heart attack. With each experience, I ended up in the hospital and was given a nuclear stress test. None of the tests showed blockages, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My left thumb has been "clicking" and locking in position for the past five months. Moving it from one position (straight) to another position (bent) can be done with the help of my other hand. Trying to move it without the other hand's assistance can be quite painful. It's an acceptable level of pain during daytime, but it is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Back in late 2014, I noticed a dampness in my underwear -- no coloration, only dampness. I consulted a gastroenterologist about a possible anal discharge. After obtaining a history, we took some conservative approaches to deal with this, including probiotics and exercises for the anal muscles. After there was no change, we did a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you wrote that migraine of any kind starting in a person's 60s is uncommon. I am a 66-year-old male in relatively decent health. I have controlled blood pressure and cholesterol. In the past six months I have started following a "plant-centric" diet and my blood pressure and cholesterol are well within ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a male, 67 and I have difficulties urinating during the night. I get up three or four times from bed to do so, and the flow is very weak. I have no issues urinating during the day. Is there a reason to be concerned? -- K.S.
ANSWER: By far, the likeliest reason for that symptom (called "nocturia" for the Latin word for "...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have worked at the election polls in a school gym for years and know that presidential elections bring out close to 2,000 voters in my precinct. Most of my fellow workers are 70 and older. I am the youngest at 60. Is it safe for us to work over 15 hours while exposed to so many people even if we get masks and gloves? I'm torn ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What can you tell me about cancer of the penis? I can't seem to find information. -- S.S.
ANSWER: Cancer of the penis is quite rare in industrialized nations, accounting for less than 1% of all cancers in men. By contrast, it is quite common in parts of Africa, Asia and South America, where it can account for 10% to 20% of all ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 90-year-old father has been diagnosed with breast cancer. His doctor is recommending mastectomy, after which time they will determine a course of treatment. My father is fairly healthy for his age, although he does have high blood pressure, diabetes and spinal stenosis, for which he takes oral medications. He has a history of ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I lived in England in 1985-1986, during the mad cow disease outbreak. Since then, I have been ineligible to give blood. It is one of the few questions they ask. This has been 35 years and, obviously, I don't have and have never had the disease itself. Is this still a valid reason to rule me out as a blood donor? -- B.R.
ANSWER: ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Like everyone, I have been using a lot of hand sanitizer and a lot of disinfecting wipes throughout the day. Do these sanitizing products get absorbed through the skin and build up in our bodies? I ask because I have come down with a difficult case of seborrheic dermatitis on my face, though I don't use any of these products on ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In your column about statins, you said they have the potential for side effects. Why don't doctors know or consider these when prescribing them or tell you when to stop taking them? After a few years on statins, I had muscle aches, especially in my legs. Not one doctor acknowledged it when I asked if it could be the statins -- ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 35, and have newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. My hemoglobin A1C went down from 7% to 6.6% on metformin, and my doctor just added Januvia. My cholesterol level is also a bit elevated, and I would like to get my cholesterol and triglycerides down a bit. I am taking Crestor.
My question is about the role of fiber ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My mother has been on anxiety medication for one year. Her anxiety level continues to increase to the extent that she is unable to rest. She currently takes 30 mg buspirone daily for anxiety. She is also on 20 mg losartan. She is in otherwise good health. Is there any additional or different medication that you would recommend ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I found your response to a question about shortness of breath in a recent column very interesting, since I had the problem for a couple of years before the cause was identified. I had been to an oncologist, cardiologist and family practice, and had all proper tests and X-rays with no answers. The answer was found at the eye ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm quite overweight, with some physical mobility and fatigue issues because of autoimmune-related inflammatory arthritis. Some days, I can get about a block at a fairly brisk pace but I have to stop for a few minutes because of the pain in my legs, pelvis and back or I will fall down. Other days, I can get two or three blocks at...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a history of cancer with an elevated CA-125 level. Recently I had a shingles shot and soon thereafter, my CA-125 level was high. An extensive workup showed up nothing significant, and a repeat CA-125 level was back down to normal. Could the shingles shot have elevated my CA-125 level? -- K.R.
ANSWER: CA-125 is a tumor ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently saw an ad on TV for Vascepa. It seems to be a drug for lowering triglycerides. I did some additional research and found that it also works as an anti-inflammatory. My triglycerides on my last bloodwork were 160. Would this drug be of benefit for me? Some say it's merely fish oil, which I have taken for several years. I...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is it true that fructose is a trigger for migraines? -- L.J.S.
ANSWER: Migraine headaches are a form of episodic headache, often associated with nausea, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. There are many subtypes of migraine, including migraine without headache, and any given person may identify his or her own trigger for...Read more