DEAR DR. ROACH: After years of controlling my herpes outbreaks, I began having severe outbreaks again. I noticed that they began after I had completed a week's worth of prednisone.
Since then, and after a few more steroid prescriptions over the years, I have been on valacyclovir, which has cut the symptoms of the virus down to feeling daily ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 60-year-old male. In April 2020, while watching TV, I developed dizziness, changes to my vision, difficulty standing and walking, and sudden deafness. I did not want to go to the hospital right away. I finally went to the hospital the third day after symptoms appeared.
I was informed by my doctor at the hospital after ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I think I have a middle ear infection. I noticed it last night. It doesn't hurt except when I swallow. Otherwise, I feel fine. Should I wait 24 hours before seeing my doctor, or should I try to see him today? -- J.B.
ANSWER: First, let's review the anatomy. The ear has three components: the inner ear where the organs of ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In the 1950s, I worked for a plumber covering pipes with asbestos. In 1976, I lost my entire lung on the left side, operated on at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York. From that moment in 1976, I never had a problem with my other lung until about three months ago, when I had trouble breathing on the treadmill. I happened to ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 75 and have had Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia for three years, which has been treated with ibrutinib (Imbruvica) and is now in remission. A side effect of Imbruvica is bleeding, and it requires the drug to be withheld before procedures. I need a colonoscopy and a prostate biopsy now. Ideally, how long before and after the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a female over 90 years old who has been urged to take an essential oil wolfberry supplement with a drop of frankincense to prevent cancer. I recently had a mastectomy in my left breast. Please comment. -- D.H.
ANSWER: Wolfberry, also called goji berries, has been touted as a cancer curative and preventive, but there is no...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is 84 years old and has critical stenosis in his back. He is also diabetic (his A1C level is 8.8% with insulin), has high blood pressure that is under control, and takes amiodarone for his heart. He received an epidural for back pain, but it did not help. He is now doing physical therapy, but gets very little relief ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My friend uses an Inspire device for sleep apnea. It bothers him during the day when he feels it stimulating his tongue. Can you tell me about this? -- R.S.
ANSWER: Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the back of the tongue closing the airway when the muscles relax during sleep. (Snoring is caused the same way, and severe ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 69-year-old who used to walk up 75 to 90 flights of steps several days a week as exercise. After a steering wheel airbag went off and damaged my heart, I am afraid my ability to do that stopped. After years of medications, I am now on a pacemaker, which definitely helps.
Could the exercise I was doing have weakened my ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 54 years old, and I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation that comes and goes. I was prescribed Xarelto, but since I am scheduled to have a colonoscopy done soon, I asked my cardiologist if I can start the medication after the procedure. She agreed, but I am still a little concerned. Can you please help me? I know that if...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Have you ever heard of "fibromuscular dysplasia"? My mom was diagnosed with this blood disorder and understands that there is no known medical procedure to treat it. She claims this is a blood disease that is affecting her kidneys, and she had a stent placed near the opening of her kidney to relieve any blockage.
Can you ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I had a hernia in my belly button for 20 years that didn't bother me until two weeks ago. Then, the pain hit, and the belly button could not be pushed in. I waited until Monday to call the doctor. This wait resulted in an emergency surgery due to strangulation of the intestine and a bowel reconstruction.
Tell your patients ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent column on PSA testing and have a simple question. You mentioned that a PSA test could do more harm than benefit in men over 75, but since it is a simple blood test, I don't understand what the harm would be. (I'm 75 years old and certainly plan to live more than another 15 years.) I have been getting PSA tests ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had an unsightly rash on my legs for many years. I finally went to the dermatologist today, and he said I have skin-picking syndrome and that all of the findings on my leg are due to my picking at the skin. He suggested I talk to my doctor about starting an SSRI drug, but my regular doctor didn't agree. What do you think...Read more