DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 63-year-old male with well-controlled coronary artery disease. I also have chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. Last June, I was in a horrific automobile accident where a person hit me head-on. It took an hour for responders to extract me from my car. I was in intensive care for eight days, suffering from ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read on the internet that you should take your blood pressure medicine at night. I just recently started taking medicine for my blood pressure and my instructions were to take it first thing in the morning. So, when is the best time to take it? -- B.H.
ANSWER: A study published last October showed that, as a group, people who ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 75-year-old male, 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 123 pounds with a blood pressure of 110/60. The only known ailment I have is hypothyroidism, which is being treated. I recently began seeing a new primary care physician who ordered a series of bloodwork. The bloodwork came back showing a glomerular flow rate of 55, which ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: A few months ago, my husband was told that his prostate cancer has returned. He now has stage 4 cancer. We asked all of his doctors (five of them!) what his prognosis is and received wildly varying answers -- everything from two months to maybe 10 years. I understand that his prognosis depends on many factors, but is there a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently read that tuberculosis kills more people than any other infectious illness. Can people who have no symptoms spread this disease? -- R.R.
ANSWER: Tuberculosis, an ancient disease, is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It infects 10 million people per year and kills 1.5 million people yearly worldwide, mostly in ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent column regarding cognitive decline after surgery suggested careful consideration prior to elective surgery. Does this advice apply to screening colonoscopies? Since it's done for screening and there is no indication of any problem, does the risk outweigh the benefits for a patient 65 or older? -- K.B.
ANSWER: The ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am having a serious, lengthy battle with cellulitis on my lower leg. For nearly three months, nothing any doctor has recommended or prescribed has worked. The inflammation and skin discoloration have not abated even with three days of intravenous injections of antibiotics and three courses of antibiotic pills. I have soaked my ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 83-year-old African American female who is contemplating having a neurostimulator implanted in my back. I am a noninsulin diabetic, and my last A1C was 6.7. I had a laminectomy with fusion 15 years ago. I have researched the procedure and found many cons as opposed to pros. What are the risks and prognosis? -- S.
DEAR DR. ROACH: There are a lot of flu cases in my state, and people are very worried. My mom, a retired nurse, says that I should wash my hands several times a day for at least 20 seconds each time, including under my nails, between my fingers, and the backs of my hands, because that will also prevent colds and other respiratory illnesses. She ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: A friend told me that her husband, who is 80, is claiming that the French eat a lot of butter, cream, cheese, pastries and red meat, and have the lowest rate of heart disease in the world. That seems crazy to me, and I'm wondering if there's any truth to it. She does all of the food shopping and cooking, and he is complaining ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: On my mother's side of the family, all four sisters out of seven children were diagnosed with cancer and have died from the disease. Their ages at the time they passed ranged between 60 and 70, and the type of cancer was different for each of them (lung, gallbladder, uterus and stomach). The men in the family do not seem to be ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My brother is 65 years old and was spitting up when eating. He went for an endoscopy yesterday and was diagnosed with Grade 3 esophagitis.
He has been drinking five glasses of wine daily for years. Did this cause his problem? He said he will stop drinking wine and drink some other, less acidic alcohol. What is esophagitis and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What are the known causes of leukemia? -- B.B.
ANSWER: "Leukemia" comes from the Greek roots for "white blood" because an excess of white blood cells can be seen even without a microscope in a test tube of spun whole blood. It's not one disease, but several.
White blood cells are the infection- and cancer-fighting blood cells. ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have recently been diagnosed as having early stages of cataracts. Is there anything I can do to reverse the cataracts or reduce their progression? I am 67, don't smoke, drink in moderation, and have a glucose level under 100. I hear lanosterol eyedrops show promise. Is there any harm in trying them? -- M.L.
ANSWER: Cataracts ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you wrote: "The acid reflux you have been treating might be something more concerning." What else could it be? -- C.P.
ANSWER: The symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease vary widely. Some people have heartburn and an acid taste in their mouth after eating a provocative meal, such as one that's large or ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am approaching 70 years old and am in good health. I exercise by swimming and walking every day. I have decided to go to Egypt, as I have always wanted to see the amazing pyramids.
I contracted hepatitis C through a transfusion many years ago. While I was being treated, my doctor advised me not to receive either hep A or hep B...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What tests check for emphysema? Are they the same tests for COPD? My age is 80. -- P.T.
ANSWER: There are two main forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The main risk factor is cigarette smoking, but there are other risk factors, including a genetic condition, alpha-1-antitrypsin ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I keep hearing that amlodipine, my blood pressure medicine, has a cancer-causing agent in it. I had ovarian cancer surgery in 2010. So far, my doctors say I am doing well. I am very concerned the amlodipine might be to blame. -- M.H.
ANSWER: I do not find any literature showing a significant association of amlodipine (Norvasc ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband and I are very fortunate to have had a happy relationship for many years. Our lovemaking has always been a pleasure for both of us. Now, we have to add Viagra to the mix. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't, which is a disappointment to both of us. Is there anything we can do to enhance its effectiveness? Or is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 67-year-old woman who works with young children. I get a physical each year for my job, and until this year it was acceptable to say that because I was born before 1957, I was presumed to have immunity to measles, mumps and rubella. This year I was required to get an immunization titer, and it came back that I do not have...Read more