DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 84-year-old white male who is undergoing a procedure next week. My pre-op CAT scan results showed many "white spots" in both upper legs, and I'm told that this plaque is a calcium-based substance. This caused me to ask the physician assistant if the pH of a person's blood could be turned slightly acidic so it would slowly...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a psychotherapist with an expertise in working with adults who experienced childhood trauma. I know that early trauma can lead to later mental health challenges and see this in my practice. The ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study), conducted in the mid-'90s, reveals that trauma and other adverse experiences in childhood...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: After reading your recent column on sedation during colonoscopy, I wanted to mention that I have asked for no sedation during two colonoscopies in the past several years. I did this after reading an article in the newspaper. People commented with replies, many of which were of the "don't bother with sedation" approach. Posters ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I always thought that I had a cast iron stomach; however, after a bout of suspected food poisoning about six months ago, I've had two incidences of violent vomiting for about a half hour. Both of the preceding two meals included shrimp, which I have eaten often in the past without a problem. The episodes were just a month apart. ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: After taking prednisone for several years I suffered a fracture of the tibia. My doctors took me off the prednisone and prescribed generic Fosamax. My last bone scan says that I have osteopenia and that I am 17% at risk for a break. A friend of mine said she can't take Fosamax because she has bone spurs and Fosamax targets the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'd like information about a rare condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome. The person I am asking about with this condition was born in 1958 without a uterus or vagina, and has one kidney. Were there any medicines or pills given at this time to pregnant women that could cause this condition? The mother says she ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read that with certain medications, you should never take the generic medicine over the nongeneric. I read this for Synthroid and levothyroxine, as the range for healthy varies greatly. Is this true? I have heard this true about heart drugs also. -- K.A.
ANSWER: Many physicians insist on brand-name Synthroid; however, generic ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: The new laws concerning prescription of opioids, especially the requirement of three-day or seven-day prescriptions, has caused quite a disruption in our area, causing some doctors to take early retirement. Doctors should decide how long to treat patients. There are people who could get liver failure taking Tylenol or overusing ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 66-year-old male who lives in Louisiana. I have suffered seasonal allergies all my life. They seem to be present almost year-round as I get older. I have tried every over-the-counter medication I can find and some prescription medications, with little long-term relief.
The new rage here to combat these allergies is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Some 20 years ago, as I was turning 50, a biopsy confirmed prostate cancer. I elected to deal with that through surgery, a radical perineal prostatectomy. For the following 10 years, follow-up blood tests came back showing PSA at "less than 0.1," which I interpreted to mean levels below the detectable limit. About 10 years ago ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My stepdad is 84 years old and having problems with B12 deficiency. He is taking B12 shots, 1,000 mcg once a week, in addition to taking a 5000 mcg B12 vitamin daily. The numbers come back below 200. None of our doctors can figure it out. Any advice on to what is causing this? -- R.B.
ANSWER: Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My uncle, a retired surgeon, is 90 years old. I visit my uncle periodically to inquire about his health and well-being. He eats, but is a little weak. I suggested to my aunt, a retired obstetrician, to give him a nutritional supplement. I take one myself and found it to be effective if taken regularly. The one I recommended ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you please give more insight into carcinoid syndrome? In particular, I'd like to know its symptoms and how it gets diagnosed and treated? What kind of a doctor would one see with that diagnosis? -- S.B.
ANSWER: A carcinoid tumor is a type of neuroendocrine tumor of the digestive tract or lungs. In the gastrointestinal tract,...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: At least three times a year I suffer from a pinched nerve. According to my physician, it is due to osteoarthritis and/or stress and bad posture. The pain can make me nauseated at times. On one occasion, it drove me to go to an emergency clinic. The physician prescribed gabapentin. After researching the side effects, I decided not...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am interested in your opinion of the drug Fosamax. I am a 63-year-old female who recently had my first bone density scan. The results were severe osteopenia. On the FRAX tool, I have a 10-year probability of a major osteoporotic fracture of 10%, with a hip fracture risk at 2%. The result, based on the lowest possible T-score, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 70 years old and had a kidney transplant 18 years ago. I developed diabetes, but it was controlled through oral medication. I recently went into the hospital for pneumonia and was given large doses of steroids and injections of insulin. Now I am unable to bring my sugar down with the pills I was taking. Could the cause be ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 83-year-old man who, like most men my age, has benign prostatic hypertrophy causing frequent urination. Tamsulosin, which was prescribed by my doctor, is of questionable help. I see hordes of ads for supplements claiming the ability to shrink the prostate. Do any of them really work? Is there anything other than surgery ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: For two weeks, I have had double vision when I look down to the lower side. Each eye is individually normal, but I have double vision when using both eyes. An MRI was done by my doctor and was normal. Now my doctor suspects myasthenia gravis.
Please let me know whether it is curable or for life. Is treatment available? -- P.K.S....Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 73-year-old male and have been diagnosed with a number of different medical conditions. I have one kidney (stage 4) and have had atrial fibrillation since 2008. Recently my nephrologist said I have high potassium levels. In order to treat this, he has prescribed a medicine called Veltassa. I started on it and my numbers ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 68-year-old male and have been very athletic my entire life. I never took any meds. I developed arthritis in both knees and had one set of cortisone injections. About a month later, I was diagnosed with a blood clot behind my right knee, along with cellulitis in my right lower leg. My doctor prescribed the blood thinner ...Read more