DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a history of cancer with an elevated CA-125 level. Recently I had a shingles shot and soon thereafter, my CA-125 level was high. An extensive workup showed up nothing significant, and a repeat CA-125 level was back down to normal. Could the shingles shot have elevated my CA-125 level? -- K.R.
ANSWER: CA-125 is a tumor ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently saw an ad on TV for Vascepa. It seems to be a drug for lowering triglycerides. I did some additional research and found that it also works as an anti-inflammatory. My triglycerides on my last bloodwork were 160. Would this drug be of benefit for me? Some say it's merely fish oil, which I have taken for several years. I...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is it true that fructose is a trigger for migraines? -- L.J.S.
ANSWER: Migraine headaches are a form of episodic headache, often associated with nausea, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. There are many subtypes of migraine, including migraine without headache, and any given person may identify his or her own trigger for...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old man in good health. I have lost about 12 pounds in the past year, with no explanation. I'm 5 feet, 9 1/2 inches tall, and my morning weight has dropped from 166-168 pounds to 154-156 pounds. It is still slowly falling.
I eat well, and I've exercised an hour every other day for 36 years. I've had on-and-off ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: With all the different medications available for high blood pressure, what factors determine the medicine a doctor will prescribe? -- J.E.P.
ANSWER: The first consideration is whether the person has any other medical conditions that would make a particular medication more advantageous. Someone with diabetes and protein in the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: After reading several of your columns, where readers asked if they are too old for some activity, I wanted to make older adults aware of their untapped reservoir of energy and ability. I notice that most tend to be hesitant to try various activities thinking they are probably too old to attempt it.
I am a retired music teacher; ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My father is 91 years old, and I am concerned that his elevated blood pressure isn't being properly addressed. Recently, it seems to run in the mid-170s to mid-80s (176/86). He has a number of health issues, such as a kidney stent every three months, diabetic neuropathy and a transient ischemic attack. He takes metoprolol (25 mg ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 57 and finally divorced my cheating husband a year ago. Now that I am interested in dating again, I went for a consultation and exam with my gynecologist, complete with STD testing. I am in excellent health and all tests were negative except the one I feared: herpes, both oral and genital.
I am not only upset but also ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: At what age do you recommend the shingles vaccine? I'm 56 and my doc is recommending it, but I've heard that people frequently have negative side effects. I'm doing everything I can to stay well and out of the doctor's office during coronavirus.
Would you recommend I wait until next year, when we've all (hopefully) been ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: If women are prescribed a hormone replacement for hot flashes, do the hot flashes return once the medicine is discontinued. If you take hormone replacement therapy, are you just delaying the symptoms for a while and will have to deal with hot flashes either way? -- C.H.
ANSWER: Hot flashes are a common symptom when women go into...Read more
DR. ROACH WRITES: Every year around this time I write a column on the different flu vaccines that are available. Before doing so this year, I want to implore readers to get their flu vaccine. If you have never gotten one, now is the time. If you had a bad reaction 20 years ago, give the vaccine another chance this year. If you have never had the...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been diagnosed with frozen shoulder after an X-ray by an orthopedic doctor. He sent me to physical therapy, but this is the slowest recovery and the most agonizing pain. No over-the-counter products help, and I do not want surgery. He offered a shot for the pain. I declined. I could go back for it but, I do not want a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In September 2017, my son, then 17, was rushed to a nearby children's hospital and ultimately diagnosed with myocarditis, but did not have a biopsy. He was given an infusion of immune globulin that left him quite ill for about 10 hours. Upon discharge the pediatric cardiologist reassured us that my son was free of this and could ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I hear about insulin resistance all the time. What is it and how do you prevent it? -- M.E.
ANSWER: Insulin lowers blood sugar levels by moving the sugar into the cells that need it. Without insulin, cells starve for energy despite very high amounts of sugar in the blood.
A small amount of insulin should drop the blood sugar ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 76-year-old man. Some time ago, I had a blood clot in my leg. They removed the blood clot and now the blood flow in my leg is back to normal, but my foot swells up every time I stand on it. But when I put my foot higher than my head, the swelling goes right down and I start all over again. Two doctors are telling me in ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I wear a face mask whenever I go into a store. My problem is that even wearing a mask for a short time gives me a scratchy throat the next day, causing me great anxiety because I fear that I have contracted the coronavirus. That scratchiness does dissipate during the day, but it can take a while. I wear commercially made fabric ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In the coronavirus pandemic, many people are getting tested for 1) active illness and 2) antibodies. What's the value of an asymptomatic person getting tested for an active infection? Do we even know if having antibodies gives you any protection? I'm reluctant to get tested for either if it can't really alleviate the need to ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 71-year-old woman recently diagnosed with gout. I have been put on colchicine and allopurinol. Are these the best medications? Will it ever go away? I have it in my right foot, but I worry about my left foot. Why the feet? I don't drink. What kind of diet would you suggest? -- B.B.
ANSWER: Gout is a disease that's been ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old working 20+ hours a week in retail. I have just returned to work after being furloughed because of the pandemic. My associates and I are required to wear masks, averaging seven hours daily. We feel as if our breathing is being compromised, as we are breathing in our own air, with no outside fresh air. Our ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 90-year-old mother lost her sense of smell several years ago. We think it was related to a new medication. I read that vitamin A deficiency can be responsible for this, and I have reason to believe she has a real deficiency. She also has poor night vision, dry eyes and skin problems.
Her doctor nixed the idea of taking any ...Read more