Health Advice



Size of aneurysm determines whether surgery is necessary

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR ROACH: My husband will be 83 in September and was recently diagnosed with an ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm measuring 4.8 cm. Five centimeters is when they do something. After hearing about the survival rate based on your recent column, along with your comment that "most people do not survive a rupture of the aorta," I'm scared. Why ...Read more

Incontinence caused by an enlarged prostate calls for meds

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 55-year-old male in good health and was diagnosed with a slightly enlarged prostate several years ago. My primary care doctor said he wasn't concerned enough to prescribe any medications. I get an annual physical, and there haven't been any changes. However, in the past couple of years, there have been times when, once I ...Read more

Doctor drug tests patient who takes meds only as needed

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For sleep, my boyfriend (78) takes Ambien when he needs it, a few times each week. The instructions on the bottle says "take as needed." To me, that means if he doesn't need it, he doesn't take it. That's simple logic.

His doctor occasionally will order a urine drug screen looking for metabolites of Ambien -- something about ...Read more

Long-term use of cortisone increases risk of bone fractures

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is it true that a person over 55 years of age can have bone density problems? Does drinking milk and taking calcium with vitamin D help with this condition? Also, some people take oral cortisone for arthritis. Doesn't this make the bones more susceptible to bone breakage? Some doctors don't feel men can have bone density problems...Read more

Pros of adding medication outweigh small risk of bleeding

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 79 years old and have coronary artery disease. In 2006, I had a heart attack, followed by an angioplasty and a drug-eluting stent in my left anterior descending artery. I had that done again in the same artery in May 2021. I get an irregular heartbeat, and after I wore a heart monitor, they said I had atrial fibrillation from...Read more

Low blood platelets call for the help of a hematologist

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My brother has low blood platelets and anemia. He will be 73 this year and has had three back surgeries. What causes low blood platelets? Can anything be done to raise platelet count? He drinks alcohol everyday -- not hard liquor, but canned alcoholic mixed drinks. He is in constant pain from his back. Also, he has osteoporosis. ...Read more

Drinking water is not the cause of diarrhea while traveling

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: While reading one of your recent columns, I learned that all water, except distilled, contains electrolytes. I wondered if there are differences in the amount of each electrolyte in drinking water in different places in Canada, and if so, whether that might explain why I experience cramping and diarrhea when I am visiting another...Read more

The best medicine for arthritis is regular exercise

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What is the best medicine for arthritis? My doctor prescribed diclofenac sodium, and another doctor said it will damage my liver and kidney with prolonged usage. As you know, arthritis is a chronic disease. Let me know what medicine I can use for arthritis. -- A.A.

ANSWER: I'm assuming you mean osteoarthritis, the most common ...Read more

Light-adjustable lenses in cataract surgery yield better results

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a candidate for cataract surgery. When discussing this with my doctor, he mentioned that there are new lenses that can be used, which make it possible to correct my vision to 20/20. They are called light-adjustable lenses. There is a cost of $2,400 per eye. It seems to have great success with little risk. He did mention I ...Read more

Sleep monitor subtracts restless minutes in sleep time

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In one of your columns, someone asked if it was helpful to just rest during the night, and how did that compare to sleeping if one is unable to sleep.

You said just resting was not that helpful, that one really needed sleep. I wanted to ask about "restless" minutes as recorded by a fitness watch. Restless minutes are separated ...Read more

Upper body strength remains stagnant after rotator cuff injury

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been trying to increase my upper body strength, but am having difficulties. I am almost 70 and female, and have been moderately active. I exercise daily for 30 minutes using a stationary bike or a treadmill. I injured my rotator cuff last summer playing an exercise video game. There is hardware from a previous surgery for ...Read more

Continued use of Bactrim creates a resistance in treatment

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH:As a 90-year-old man in mostly good health, I have been taking one Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) pill per day for several years now preventatively for recurrent urinary tract infections. I am very pleased with this successful treatment. However, my urologist has mentioned that I might have to relinquish the Bactrim at ...Read more

Vaccines are still effective against new COVID variants

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I would like to ask you a basic question about COVID-19 booster shots, since no health authority seems to answer it directly. Why should I get a booster if the booster is based on the original alpha version of the virus from more than two years ago? Even if the booster shot were based on the delta variant, that variant passed ...Read more

Explaining the process behind names of medications

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: How do pharmaceutical companies arrive at the names of their drugs? -- M.G.

ANSWER: Every new drug starts with three names: a chemical name, a generic name and a brand name. The chemical name can be extremely long and difficult to remember or pronounce, even for experts. A generic name is meant to convey some information about ...Read more

Virus damages heart muscle, causing congestive heart failure

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent column on long-haul effects in COVID compared to the flu. About 14 years ago, a young neighbor caught some kind of virus. His wife said he was never the same after that. He was in his mid-40s. There were several fundraisers in the area to try to raise money for the young family. He needed a heart transplant and...Read more

Magnesium might be the cause of underlying bowel issues

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old woman in good health, but I have been plagued for years with muscle cramps and spasms in my legs. My physical therapist suggested magnesium supplements. I have been taking these supplements for about four years with good results.

About a year ago, I started having very loose bowel movements. To ease that, I ...Read more

Transient ischemic attack leads to high prescription dosage

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 68-year-old man, and I recently had a 30-minute TIA. I spent one day in the hospital and had many tests done, all of which were normal. They found no blockage issues. My total cholesterol has been below 200 for forever. The hospital prescribed 40 mg of Lipitor. I could not tolerate this well -- I had muscle aches -- so I ...Read more

This sleep med can weaken stomach valve, worsening reflux

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am an 80-year-old female and have been on 10 mg Elavil for 30 years to help me sleep. I have been having reflux problems from time to time for quite a while. I have been diagnosed with LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux). I have read that there could be a connection between Elavil and weakened sphincter. If I am able to wean myself ...Read more

Colon inflammation makes it hard to leave the house

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I have had microscopic colitis since 2013 and have been prescribed 3 mg of Entocort every day. I have some good days but mostly not-so-good days.

Changing my diet does not seem to help, and I have been advised that this problem will continue for the rest of my life. I am now 77 years old and of average weight. I have a glass of ...Read more

Consuming collagen is not proven to reduce wrinkles

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: Several months ago, I started adding 25 grams of whey protein to an afternoon smoothie each day. I was worried about muscle loss after reading an article. I have seen the sagging muscles and skin in my arms and thighs. I am a 71-year-old woman who plays tennis twice a week and goes to the gym about once a week.

I have friends my...Read more



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