Health & Spirit

Adult whooping cough can drag on and on

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Thirty years ago, when I was in my 40s, I was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, which was considered a disease of young children. When lying down in bed at night, I coughed to clear my rattly chest and suddenly could not breathe at all. It was terrifying, and just before passing out, my breath returned with the bray of a donkey. This...Read more

A look at several markers can give insight into 'uncertain significance' of MGUS

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In September 2016, I was diagnosed with IgM MGUS. Repeat bloodwork in November 2017 revealed both IgA and IgM MGUS. I have no measurable M protein. I have had no fatigue, bone pain or other symptoms. I am a 65-year-old female in good health; I eat carefully, do not drink or smoke and exercise almost every day. Can you comment on ...Read more

Sudden total deafness in one ear has no identifiable cause

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I hope you can advise me on a current hearing issue. I'm a 63-year-old man, and I woke up one morning to total deafness in my left ear (my right ear was OK). I got in to see an ENT doctor immediately. He ran a hearing test, which verified my deafness, and started me on a regimen of steroids (prednisone). After two weeks, there ...Read more

Is permanent remission from rheumatica possible?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 69-year-old woman who has been recently diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica after three months of severe pain and no diagnosis. I am now on prednisone, with some pain relief. It is worse in the evening, and I take the prednisone before bed. There is a great deal of pain and some weakness in all my joints, but ...Read more

Meds and PT are indicated for arthritis and herniated disks

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 44 years old and female. Nine months ago, I suddenly experienced severe low backache without any associated physical activities. I was bedridden for five days, though during that time I experienced severe spasmodic lower backache just in my back. My bowel and bladder function were normal. I had pain on lifting my right leg. ...Read more

The 'perfect diet' is an elusive target

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you recommended "a diet based mostly on plants and legumes, with nuts, some fruits, whole grains and almost no refined sugars and starches." By "some fruits," are you suggesting not eating certain fruits, or just a limited amount of fruit overall? I ask because my cardiologist has recommended an Atkins-type ...Read more

When is a heart valve leak not worth worrying about?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with a minor to moderate tricuspid valve leak, as well as a minor to moderate aortic valve leak and a trace mitral valve leak. My doctor says that there is no need to worry; he says we will just watch it. He also says that I can live a lifetime and not have any changes. Is he right? I'm worried all the time about ...Read more

MAI is a lung infection that resembles tuberculosis

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 65-year-old woman in relatively good health. I've been diagnosed with a nontuberculous mycobacterial lung infection (mycobacterium avium-intracellulare, or MAI) leading to bronchiectasis. I'm taking three antibiotics (rifampin, azithromycin and ethambutol). I've been referred to specialists in both infectious diseases and ...Read more

Post-back-surgery foot drop possibly nerve-related

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband had surgery two weeks ago to fuse his three lowest vertebrae due to degenerative disc disease. He had no issues with his legs or feet prior to surgery.

Since the surgery, his back pain is gone, but his legs are extremely weak -- he can walk only with a walker, and his left foot has drop foot. My main concern for him ...Read more

Antibiotics before teeth cleaning not recommended for most

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had two angioplasty procedures completed, one in 1999 and the second in 2014. Stents were inserted during each procedure. As a preventive measure, my dentist wants me to take four antibiotic pills (amoxicillin) before I see the hygienist. What is the reason for this? Do you feel it is necessary to take antibiotics before ...Read more

New field of pharmacogenomics shows promise in better guiding drug dosages

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Do you have any information on cytochrome P450 testing for drug sensitivity? -- S.S.

ANSWER: Cytochrome P450 is a family of enzymes that are important for cell metabolism and critical for detoxifying many drugs. Any given person has a particular set of P450 enzymes, and understanding them sometimes can help determine the correct...Read more

Pneumonia vaccine can be administered in thigh if necessary

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a badly torn rotator cuff on my left shoulder, so that arm is basically a constant problem. In January 2017, my physician suggested that I would benefit from the pneumonia vaccine and that it would take two applications, one year apart, to complete. I agreed to have the vaccine, which was administered into my upper left ...Read more

Observant reader nails description of Cheyne-Stokes breathing

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife of 52 years is 71 and has developed what I assume is a problem with her breathing when she sleeps. During some periods of sleep, she starts taking a rhythmic set of breaths. There usually are four deep breaths followed by four shallow breaths. Each set of the four breaths decreases in intensity, and the shallow breaths ...Read more

What can be done after diagnosis of chronic kidney disease?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 76-year-old woman. I read your column daily, but I do not remember reading anything about chronic kidney disease. I have just been diagnosed with CKD and have been reading as much as I can get my hands on. This is very frustrating, since much of what I find is contradictory. However, my biggest concern is that the doctor ...Read more

'Fracture disease' diagnosis needs a better explanation

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 63-year-old female who broke her wrist back in June. There were three fractures involving both the radius and the ulna. Surgery was required, with two metal plates installed. After nearly six months of occupational and physical therapy, my wrist and hand still are extremely stiff and have limited range of motion.

I was ...Read more

Pregabalin and pregnancy

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 13 weeks pregnant, and I am on pregabalin (prescribed off-label for anxiety). I asked my GP if it is safe to continue to be on it while pregnant, and he was very dismissive and hurried me out the door without really telling me anything. I read about a very small study that was conducted that seemed to show a risk of birth ...Read more

Lip inflammation causes unending irritation

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For over two years, my wife has been having a problem with her lower lip. From morning on, it swells, irritating her and causing her to lick her lips constantly. She has seen doctors, dentists and specialists, all of whom have no answer and have no one to refer her to. It causes her no end of irritation. Do you have a reason, a ...Read more

High pulse rate may be side effect of blood pressure meds

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been on blood pressure medicine (nifedipine) and cholesterol medicine for approximately 30 years. I am 72. Over the past two years, an average of my readings (morning and night) is 135/85, and my pulse is 103.

I exercise 20-25 minutes every day, farm, play golf, work in my wood shop and stay active. Why is my pulse so ...Read more

It's time for a more thorough examination of nipple pain

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a healthy 94-year-old woman. Over the past four months, I have had pain in the nipple of my left breast. I went to my doctor and was told to put hydrocortisone on it twice a day. I did and it didn't help, but the doctor told me to continue. I saw a gynecologist, who ordered a mammogram, which was negative. I had an ...Read more

When bladder doesn't empty, urinary-tract infection is likely

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old male. In 2013, I experienced an episode of total urinary retention. My urologist's diagnosis was enlarged prostate, and he tried treating me, unsuccessfully, with drugs, after which I underwent a TURP operation. Six months later, I experienced another episode of urinary retention, which resulted in a ...Read more


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