Health Advice



Can red light change Dad's dementia diagnosis?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My 78-year-old father is experiencing the early signs of dementia. It has been suggested that he try a $500 device that would aim a low-intensity red LED light into his nose to stimulate his brain and stabilize or perhaps even reverse the symptoms of dementia. On the surface, it seems like a modern version of snake oil designed ...Read more

Drained hydrocele is refilling itself

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Three weeks ago, I had to have removal of fluid that had collected around my testicles. Nearly half a liter was removed. Five days later, fluid started to build up again, and now it has filled back up. I have been checked for cancer and infection, and have neither. What is happening? What can be done now? -- R.H.

ANSWER: It ...Read more

How can an EKG show evidence of an old heart attack?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: When I went to my new doctor, whom I like very much, I found that they do a lot of things in their office for which I would normally be sent elsewhere. The nurse drew four vials of blood and gave me an EKG.

The EKG showed I had a heart attack sometime in the past. After thinking about it, I decided it was in 2010. My friend and ...Read more

LASIK surgery pros and cons

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was considering LASIK surgery for my eyes, but I recently saw some concerning information on the news that makes me doubt the safety of the procedure. Is it safe? -- L.B.

ANSWER: With 20 million or so procedures done in the U.S., LASIK is a commonly performed surgery. It corrects refractive error so that a person can see ...Read more

Liver disease can be present without alcohol use

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a normal-weight female, age 71, who is very active. I take no medications and have never had an alcoholic drink in my life. My liver tests were abnormal (AST 58, ALT 71), and my doctor found moderate strands of fat in my liver, but no fibrosis on a FibroScan.

What is the difference between high liver enzymes and fatty liver...Read more

Mobile tank is a safe, beneficial option for low oxygen therapy

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is on oxygen, and he won't take the mobile tank while he is outside. Will being on oxygen give him longer life? -- M.K.

ANSWER: Many causes of chronic lung disease lead to low oxygen levels. If the resting oxygen level is low (less than 89% oxygen saturation), then oxygen is usually prescribed. Oxygen may also be ...Read more

Fish oil supplements: friend or foe?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have heard that fish oil can clog the arteries and cause problems, but I've also heard it's good to take. I don't know if it is good or bad! Can you help me out with this? -- G.G.

ANSWER: There remains controversy about fish oil, but recent studies prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee to recommend ...Read more

What's the best time to fix a Dupuytren's contracture?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 73-year-old active lady. I recently noticed a wrinkle in my palm near my ring finger. I had a consultation with a nearby doctor, and he diagnosed Dupuytren's contracture. He said I should come back when the finger is curved down. I was surprised! Wouldn't it be better to have it taken care of before it gets to be a serious...Read more

Mystery guidance to avoid flu shots has patient troubled

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: When I was quite young, my doctor told me to never get a flu shot because it could kill me. I do not remember the reason behind this statement. I'm in my 70s now and am very concerned about not getting the shot. I had yellow jaundice as a child and don't know if this had anything to do with the doctor's statement. Could you ...Read more

Mass on jaw is Paget's disease of bone

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My dentist saw a large mass on my jaw and sent me to an oral surgeon, who said the mass was too large. He sent me to a maxillo-facial surgeon, who did a scan and biopsy. I was diagnosed with Paget's disease but the surgeon had never seen a case before and sent me to a rheumatologist. That doctor sent me for a blood test and a ...Read more

A tart remedy to keep kidney stones from recurring

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband had a kidney stone, and the doctor used shock waves to clear it up. Now the doctor says he needs to take fresh lemon juice twice a day, all his life. None of the other men in the community center with stones have been recommended lemon juice. We would like your opinion. -- M.C.

ANSWER: Lemon juice is tart because of ...Read more

Granulomas in sarcoidosis can make their own vitamin D

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR ROACH: Many years ago, while I was battling breast cancer, a scan showed spots of concern in my midthoracic area. Upon further testing, it was determined that I have sarcoidosis. My pulmonologist warned me to stop all calcium and vitamin D supplements. Now, after 15 years, my primary care doctor wants me to begin taking a multivitamin. I...Read more

This murder mystery is not likely lurking in your refrigerator

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: We watch a murder mystery show on TV. The detective finds any number of dead people who have been poisoned by almond and cherry pits. I drink almond milk several times a day. Am I in any danger? -- L.J.

ANSWER: Stone fruit pits (the kernels inside the stone) contain the substance amygdalin, which the body converts after ...Read more

Vitamin D's odd connection with pancreas inflammation

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Are you aware of the possibility of pancreatitis resulting from long-term vitamin D2 supplementation? I was diagnosed with IPMN with chronic pancreatitis after being on 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 once a week for nine months. I had mild upper left quadrant pain, which I am told is quite unusual for pancreatic cysts. After doing some ...Read more

Stopping some prescription meds requires tapering off

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Many folks take prescription medications for years, for example Valium to help with anxiety and sleep and to help mellow out their lives. You mentioned in a recent column that these can be dangerous long term. Is it safe to stop taking them cold turkey? -- P.M.

ANSWER: I don't think I emphasized enough in my previous column that...Read more

Vaccines don't always mix with compromised immune systems

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Correction: Fixes spelling of Enbrel in graf 2.

DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent column on the shingles vaccine did not address those of us with compromised immune systems. I take Enbrel and could not take the original shingles vaccine. What is the protocol as of now with the new vaccine? -- C.H.

ANSWER: Unfortunately, there is still no consensus ...Read more

It's OK to get the shingles vaccine, even if you can't remember having chickenpox

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 75-year-old male who can't remember whether or not he's had chickenpox as a child. This is somewhat important, as I'm considering getting the shingles shot to prevent that horrible illness. Which would be a prudent approach: go ahead and get the shingles shot or wait in suspense? -- R.B.

ANSWER: Although some of my ...Read more

Erratic blood pressure may be emotional reaction

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm an active 85-year-old woman. For the past four years, I have been having erratic blood pressure readings. Sometimes my blood pressure is 80/50, other times 200/90 or higher. I am treated with nadolol as needed.

My cardiologist said he cannot help me. The doctors at the hospital have no idea why I have this problem. When my ...Read more

Limb-girdle dystrophies begin in shoulders and hips

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have two boys diagnosed with limb girdle muscular dystrophy. I am looking everywhere for some help, but can't seem to find anything. Is there a cure? -- F.I.I.

ANSWER: There are many types of muscular dystrophy. Some start in childhood; others later in life. The limb-girdle muscular dystrophies are a diverse group of inherited...Read more

Can new technology help with movement disorder?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My 18-year-old niece has Friedreich's ataxia and is getting used to living in her dorm but requires a walker or wheelchair to get around. We know that there isn't a cure or really any treatment outside of some potential drug trials and that the long-term prognosis is dire. But could a CRISPR type of technology hold promise? -- I....Read more


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