Health Advice



Blood donations are still needed, helpful to many

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had both COVID-19 vaccinations and am planning to donate blood. Would any of my immunity pass on to the person receiving my blood? -- D.J.

ANSWER: Although we may think that blood is taken out of the donor and given whole to the recipient, that almost never happens. After you donate blood, the components are separated out...Read more

When records and patient memory differ, it's best to revaccinate

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 77-year-old female. I am current on all vaccines, but I do have a question about the pneumococcal vaccine.

My current physician recommends that I get one. I thought that I had gotten that vaccine a few years ago from my physician who retired. We are unable to find in my medical file that it was given. That was also a time...Read more

Are two vaccines better than one when it comes to COVID-19?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife and I are grateful to have recently received our second Moderna vaccine. When the crush relents, would you see any difficulty in adding the J&J vaccine at my own expense? It seems that the different vaccines vary in how they protect against different strains, and I'd like to double up (or even more) if there are no major ...Read more

Ear-popping jaw pain stems from TMJ

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have seen several doctors for my TMJ: my primary doctor and dentist, an ear nose and throat doctor, the dental hygienist and also "ask Google."

I am a 73-year-old female and have had this problem on the left side of my face for at least a couple of years. It started with pain in my left ear that can last for 10 minutes or all ...Read more

Does my implantable heart recorder get international service?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Many years ago, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and then was on medication for 10+ years. I eventually had an ablation done, and I am finally back in normal rhythm. I have been off all meds for AFib for over a year.

Two of my family members have had strokes due to AFib, so I am very concerned. I brought these events up ...Read more

The best COVID vaccine is the one you can get quickly

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you please explain the science behind the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine? I hear it differs from the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines as it does not contain the mRNA and is only a single dose. I also heard it compared to the flu vaccine. I am a regular flu vaccine recipient and if this is true, that may be the vaccine I am ...Read more

Good advice for all: Avoid hand contact

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A few years ago, my sister was diagnosed with an IgA deficiency, which is an autoimmune disorder. She was told by her doctor to avoid large crowds and to never shake hands with anyone. My sister is a major event organizer and was unable to simply quit her job, so she developed a strict practice of bumping elbows. What is ...Read more

Guidelines for get-togethers post-vaccination

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Please provide some clarity on family get-togethers in the new age of post vaccinations. Some members of our family have now been vaccinated, while others (mostly younger members in their 20s to 50s) have not yet -- or may never be vaccinated, for reasons that confound me.

Our family would like to gather this year in a small ...Read more

Is vein stripping safe for a person with mild liver disease?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have liver disease (my doctor calls it mild cirrhosis) and terrible, painful varicose veins. Is it safe for me to get a vein stripping? -- V.P.

ANSWER: The risk of an operation always depends on the type of operation and the underlying medical condition of the patient. Liver disease is highly variable, and the operative risk ...Read more

Neurologist can offer second opinion on spinal stenosis plan

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 77-year-old female with spinal stenosis and have been treated by a pain management doctor over the course of several years. My pain is from my neck down to my lower back and radiates to my legs. The pain is constantly moving from one place to another and sometimes everywhere at the same time. I have received numerous ...Read more

Comparing lightheadedness and vertigo

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Why do older people tend to get lightheaded (not vertigo) and therefore become liable to trip or fall? What causes that, and can anything be done? I'm an 83-year-old lady afraid to trip over the garden hose or her own feet. -- A.R.

ANSWER: I'm glad you made a distinction between lightheadedness and vertigo. Vertigo is a ...Read more

Got gout? It's best to be sure of the diagnosis

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 76-year-old female in reasonably good health. Around Thanksgiving last year, my left ankle was swollen, red and very painful. I thought it was tendonitis, so I stopped going for my half-hour walks in the morning. Around Christmas, my doctor ran a blood test that showed my uric acid was high. He said I had gout and ...Read more

What's causing woman's hair to fall out?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What is causing my hair to fall out? What can I do to stop it? I'm 72 years old and female. Could I be hypothyroid? -- L.O.I.

ANSWER: By far, the most common cause of hair loss in women in their 70s is female pattern hair loss. This pattern of hair loss can be highly characteristic, typically affecting the scalp above the ...Read more

Factor V Leiden can complicate risk of clot after surgery

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Over a year ago my husband had surgery. A couple of days later he was diagnosed with a blood clot in his calf. They did blood testing on him, and one test came back positive for "one copy of the Factor V Leiden Variant." We have never heard of such a thing. He was put on 5 milligrams of Eliquis twice a day. We were told to have ...Read more

Lung cancer screening only recommended for those at high risk

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For over six decades, I have lived with smokers. My parents smoked around their children inside our family home and inside the family car. Later, most of my siblings smoked. Family gatherings were always smoky affairs. I also married a smoker who smoked in the house until an infant grandson came to live with us. Though my husband...Read more

Agent Orange linked to some cancers, but not melanoma

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent column on melanoma piqued my interest. My husband was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam in 1968. He had a melanoma on his neck removed with lymph nodes in 2007. On July 31, 2017, he was finally declared disabled from exposure, due to damage to his heart and lungs. He died four days later. Could you please comment on ...Read more

There is more than one type of cancer for each organ

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband recently died from anaplastic thyroid cancer. I always thought thyroid cancer was one of the most successfully treated cancers that exist. Could you please explain the difference between anaplastic thyroid cancer and regular thyroid cancer? Thank you very much. -- M.A.S.

ANSWER: I am very sorry to hear of your husband...Read more

Alcohol consumption played tricks with routine bloodwork

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 55-year-old female. I have always been in excellent health, but this year, my routine bloodwork showed that my creatinine is 1.08 (high) and that my GFR is 58 (low). Can that be because I drank alcohol the night before my bloodwork? My 2019 test showed GFR 65 and creatinine 1.00. -- C.R.

ANSWER: Creatinine and GFR are ...Read more

Jock itch not responding to the usual cures

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been suffering for some time with jock itch. The resulting scratching leaves my groin area and thighs abraded and oftentimes bleeding. In addition to the ketoconazole I've been prescribed, I have tried several over-the-counter sprays and ointments, to no avail. My doctor prescribed generic Claritin (loratadine) and I use a...Read more

Bladder leaks continuously after hip replacement surgery

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a male, 83, and my bladder leaks continuously since I had a hip replacement surgery. The surgeon used a catheter during the surgery, and when it was first removed, I could not urinate. I went home with a new Foley catheter. Five days later, it was removed, and I have dripped ever since. It has been over two months since the ...Read more



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