DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been urinating blood for several weeks. An X-ray revealed a kidney stone; however, I am in no pain at all. The stone is said to be between my kidney and bladder. I take blood pressure medicine and an aspirin a day. The problem is this: If I don't take my medications, the bleeding stops, then when I do take them, the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What can you tell me about Fahr disease? I had an MRI, and I read the term on the report and was concerned because I hadn't been told about it. I asked my provider about it, and he told me that it usually is diagnosed when someone is young. I am soon to be 80 years old. His advice was that if it had not shown up before now, it ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My elderly sister, 73, has Type 2 diabetes, and is taking 500 mg of metformin twice a day.
After two years on metformin, her fasting glucose level is only 125 mg/dl and A1C only 6.8 percent. If she continues taking medication, will her fasting glucose level ever get to around 85 mg/dl and her A1C get to 5 percent? She wants to ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old female with an often low body temperature. I feel very warm, like I have a fever, but when I take my temperature it can be as low as 95 or 96. This has happened several times.
I've heard that a low temp is just the same as a high fever. I take numerous medications, including for my thyroid, which my doctor ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: When I was young, I had mumps and chickenpox, and one type of measles (German measles?) when I was 16, and the other when I was about 18. I had three grand mal seizures within 12 months after the second round of measles. I was told that the seizures were a result of the second bout of measles. I have been on anti-seizure ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What are the treatment options for diabetic neuropathy? What is likely to happen over time to someone with this condition? -- M.P.
ANSWER: Diabetic neuropathy is a condition of nerve damage associated with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2. It affects the long nerves of the body earliest, especially those to the feet, causing ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a grandson who pinches his face. He just graduated from high school and did very well. He will be going to college in the fall. He does not like to be around people, and when I ask him where or what would he like to go or do, he says nowhere. He does play a lot of games on his phone and TV. I have watched him and am very ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Having recently changed doctors (due to a move), I filled out a new-patient intake. It had this question: "Do you feel safe in your home?" It seemed like a question that might evoke a response for a lot of possible issues that could make a person feel unsafe. I'm pleased to know that my new doctor cares about the safety of her ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife is in dire need of knee replacements (arthritis, and bone on bone) but she is allergic to nickel, which is found to some degree in all metals -- including titanium -- used in replacements. Is there any solution to this problem? -- R.B.
ANSWER: Nickel allergy varies in severity, and a lot of people have it. Not everyone ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am trying to decide if it would be beneficial for me to get a second opinion about atrial fibrillation treatment.
I was diagnosed in May after my doctor discovered that I was in atrial fibrillation while taking my blood pressure and heart rate at a routine appointment. I was given Xarelto in the emergency room and cardio-...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I injured my left shin by impact two years and one month ago, and to my astonishment, it still hurts on a diminished but regular basis.
I had an X-ray, vein test, nerve test and, finally, an MRI, which showed "some swelling." One doctor told me that it could hurt for the rest of my life! I am in my 60s, but he said age was not a...Read more
DR.ROACHWRITES: In a recent column, I gave my opinion that physicians who are habitually late are disrespectful to their patients, and advised readers to try to get the first appointment of the day or to consider switching doctors. This generated some letters, two of which are here:
DEAR DR. ROACH: When I read this morning's item about the wait...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am confused about immunity from vaccines versus immunity gained from getting a disease. Protection from whooping cough can wane in as little as four years (both disease and vaccine), but the tetanus vaccine can last up to 30 years. However, the disease gives no natural immunity. And measles disease gives lifelong immunity. What...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent inquiry from a reader who was on prednisone long term raised a question I've been meaning to ask: Is it OK to stay on drugs for "long-term maintenance"?
I'm a 77-year-old man who has been on the following drugs on a daily basis for years: aspirin, finasteride, losartan, omeprazole, rosuvastatin and verapamil. This ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: There is a story going around the internet again that deep coughing after experiencing heart attack symptoms appears to keep the heart going while seeking help. Is there anything at all to that theory? It is being read by millions. -- M.J.
ANSWER: There is something to the story, but it will only very rarely be of help to a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I suffer from varicose veins in my lower left leg, into the ankle and top of the foot. My question is whether it is good for my veins if I wear compression socks (knee or ankle) over the bad area, or if I should be wearing the higher thigh or full compression hose alone?
Being as hot as it is in Richmond, Virginia, in the summer...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Cough seems to be going around here in the Northwest. My wife has coughed excessively for months now. She was given hydrocodone-homatropine syrup for a month, but the doctor won't re-prescribe it. So now my wife takes many OTC cough syrups and suppressants, plus nighttime cold formulas. None of them does anything, and she ...Read more
CORRECTION: Corrects spelling of "publicly" in graf 5, and changes the second sentence of the same graf.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a carotid artery problem. My right side is 79 percent blocked, but the left side is clear. My eye doctor said that surgery would not be necessary because the left side could take over if the right side is blocked. My ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 69-year-old woman. I still have hot flashes since a partial hysterectomy at age 24. I have them day and night, and they are really getting on my nerves. My doctor is treating me with venlafaxine, which helps some. I was on an estrogen patch years ago. Is there something else I can try? Why am I still having them? -- S.D.
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife, who is 66, has been leaving cupboard doors and some dresser drawers open for the past year or so. Is this a sign of anything to be concerned about? -- Anon.
ANSWER: It sounds like this is a new behavior for her, and I would indeed be concerned about it.
Changes in behavior or memory can result from many different ...Read more