Glucose Tolerance Test Can Clear Up Confusing A1C Results
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm confused by the relationship between my blood glucose level and A1C. My blood glucose has crept up from 100 to 112 in one year after I started taking 40 mg of atorvastatin. My A1C level is 5.1%, apparently "normal," so my doctor is unconcerned about the blood glucose reading.
When is it time to become concerned? When my ...Read more
What Is Considered Alcohol Use Disorder Or Problem Drinking?
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there such a thing as a functional alcoholic? -- Anon.
ANSWER: The term "alcoholic" is imprecise and no longer used. There are several conditions to describe problem drinking, including risky use of alcohol, which puts a person at risk for health consequences.
Although any given individual may have a greater or lesser ...Read more
Recognizing Differences In Sex Development
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old man. Yesterday, I read that I am considered intersex because urine does not come out the end of my penis, but rather under the penis shaft. This does not surprise me much, but I am really curious about it. I want to see a psychiatrist just to talk about it. What do you think? -- Anon.
ANSWER: Hypospadias is ...Read more
How To Avoid Calcium When Taking Thyroid Medication
DEAR DR. ROACH: I had a thyroidectomy, and I take levothyroxine. Instructions for the medication say not to take it within four hours of having calcium. No discussion of the drug has clearly stated whether this only refers to calcium supplements or whether this also includes high-calcium foods.
I usually take levothyroxine when I wake up, ...Read more
Hemorrhoid Surgery Does Not Deserve Its Bad Reputation
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 30-year-old and otherwise healthy grandson has been suffering from and treating hemorrhoids for two years. He is anemic due to his loss of blood. He's had several bandings; they couldn't complete the last one because he was in too much pain. They said they couldn't anesthetize the area because his lack of feeling would ...Read more
Recurrent Condition Prompts Patient To Consider Circumsion
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have some questions about adult men getting circumcised. I am 93 and of reasonably good health. I do take some medicines -- a diuretic, a blood pressure control medication and a statin.
All my life, I've had problems with balanitis, but I've only had problems with posthitis in recent years. I have never been able to figure ...Read more
Dealing With Chronic Edema And Venous Insufficiency
DEAR DR ROACH: I am in my early 90s and was diagnosed with "venous insufficiency" in both legs about 20 years ago. Over the years, I have attempted to deal with chronic edema in both ankles and feet by using elevation and compression devices. Of course, these are only temporary measures and only provided a brief period of some relief. I have ...Read more
Ecg Produces An Incidental "Low Voltage" Finding
DEAR DR. ROACH: I will be undergoing a thyroidectomy to reduce the chances of thyroid cancer, given my family history, a CHEK2 mutation and ongoing thyroid nodule growth. My concern is that I had an ECG for pre-op purposes and received results that stated I had low voltage on the extremity leads. Otherwise, I have normal results. I have a BMI ...Read more
Eliminating Unhealthy Foods Based On Cholesterol Level
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband and I have been watching our fat intake, and we have eliminated almost all red meat and processed foods from our diet. We do eat a lot of fish (salmon primarily) and boneless/skinless chicken. I am, at times, confused about the information on nutrition facts labels. As an example, the label on a package of boneless ...Read more
How Certain Diet Styles Work To Lower Heart Disease Risk
DEAR DR. ROACH: Which diet styles in particular are associated with a lower risk of heart disease? Many people are confused about what actually is a healthy diet. Is a Mediterranean diet easier than an extreme low-fat diet? -- D.H.H.
ANSWER: There are several styles of diet that have been proven to be healthier than a typical North American ...Read more
Fingers And Toes Turn Blue, Become Numb When Cold
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm an 83-year-old male. I eat a plant-based diet, and I exercise at my local YMCA at least three times a week. I'm concerned that my toes and fingers will turn blue daily, in response to getting cold. My fingertips also become numb. -- W.H.
ANSWER: Fingers and toes turn blue due to a change in the blood flow to the area. If ...Read more
What Is Considered Proper Hand Hygiene?
DEAR DR. ROACH: Everyone knows that they are supposed to wash their hands after using the toilet, but does that advice only apply when using a public toilet? Since whatever came out of the person is technically theirs, do they need to wash their hands at home if they live alone? And can you also address whether it makes sense to wash your ...Read more
An Extreme Itch Causes Concern For Inflammatory Breast Cancer
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 68-year-old female who has had four benign breast biopsies/lumpectomies in the last 25 years. I've also been dealing with extreme itching on one side of my breast. I recently had my annual 3D mammogram as well as an ultrasound, which didn't show anything amiss. Could scar tissue from lumpectomies be a cause behind this? ...Read more
High Blood Pressure Results Call For Additional Daytime Meds
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 68-year-old female who was diagnosed with high blood pressure at 32. I am 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weigh 130 pounds. I've been taking 240 mg of verapamil for all of these years.
A few years back, my medication started coming in 120-mg dosages, so I started taking one in the morning and one at night. My blood pressure ...Read more
Woman Feels Her Rheumatological Symptoms Are Being Ignored
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there a possibility of having some type of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), even though it doesn't show up clearly in the blood work? (My CRP level was 0.3, rheumatoid factor was 10, anti-CCP result was 15 u/mL, and ANA test came out negative.) I have symptoms that I feel I am not getting treated for because of this. I have other ...Read more
Do Companies Advertise Ineffective Supplements?
DEAR DR. ROACH: I see supplements advertised on television that are supposed to clear "brain fog" and do many other beneficial things. Are these any good, and can they actually do the things that they claim to? If they are effective, why aren't they sold at drugstores? If not, how is it that companies are allowed to make these false claims and...Read more