Health Advice



Are all puzzles created equally?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Are all puzzles created equal in terms of their value in keeping the mind sharp? I enjoy Sudoku and word-finding puzzles, with an occasional crossword puzzle thrown in. I also play games requiring puzzle solving on my computer or handheld device. My partner primarily enjoys crossword puzzles. This has been something I've wondered...Read more

Blood antigens can cause trouble for transfusion patients

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I had two blood transfusions in 2012 during an almost yearlong bout with an out of control infection that ended up in a fused knee. In a recent antibody screen, I was identified as having anti-jkb. The information on this that I was able to find on the internet was incomprehensible to me. In simple terms, what does this mean? Am ...Read more

Specialty epilepsy drug requires continued eye monitoring

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been taking Sabril for five years. I have drug-resistant epilepsy, and this is the first drug that has worked. It is a high-risk medication, as it can affect eyesight. I have my eyes checked every three months.

You don't hear much about this drug. Is this safe to keep taking, or should it be only taken for a short time? I...Read more

Consistently lower than 'normal' temperature may be just fine

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a healthy 79-year-old male. My doctor tells me that my blood pressure and pulse are better than most men half my age. I feel good.

I have been taking my temperature about three times a day, using both digital and mercury thermometers, careful to wait at least an hour after eating or drinking. My temperature is consistently ...Read more

In rare cases, brand name meds are a must

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I just read your article that there wasn't any difference between Synthroid and levothyroxine. I come from a family with severe sensitivities, allergies and asthma. I was started on Synthroid and did well. My insurance decided not to pay for it, so my doctor switched me to levothyroxine. I developed severe rhythm problems and ...Read more

Healthy food has all the vitamins your body needs

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I follow you regularly, but I haven't heard one word on ways to build your immunity. Supplements abound, offering strength for the immune system. For me, some have been a tremendous support. I'm 65 and thankfully healthy, but I take vitamin Bs and Ds, and many other body-support supplements. Why no mention of supplements? Surely ...Read more

Intermittent fasting is one more tool in weight-loss toolbox

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My adult son has lost over 100 pounds on an intermittent fasting diet (16 hours fasting per day) and now wants to continue fasting in the morning and just eat a heavier lunch and dinner to maintain his new weight. I am not sure that this kind of long-term fasting is good for his health. For his meals, he eats anything he wants ...Read more

How well does A1C reflect diabetes control?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In one of your recent columns a writer had Type 2 diabetes with an A1C level usually no higher than 6.2% controlled with oral medication. You said that level is so well-controlled that you wondered if the person needed the medication, and that many experts would reduce or eliminate medication in a 66-year-old with that A1C. ...Read more

Essential oil and immune support: many claims, limited study

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Many of my friends assert that the use of essential oils "supports" their immune system and reduces their risk of getting sick. They diffuse them into the air at home, add them to water or tea and apply them to the soles of their feet. Are there studies to back up these claims? -- K.M.

ANSWER: There are studies that show that, ...Read more

A tear in artery leaves behind headaches, vertigo and pain

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Our 44-year-old daughter had an event called VAD, vertebral artery dissection -- a tear in an inner artery -- which has turned her life upside down. She was very fortunate to have been seen by an emergency room doctor who had heard of VAD and immediately put her on aspirin and Plavix to try to prevent a stroke. The pain was a ...Read more

Don't count portable oxygen as protection from inhaled virus

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old man with severe COPD who is on oxygen 24/7. I use a portable oxygen generator when I need to go to the store or for medical appointments. Does the oxygen protect me from getting virus or flu germs, or is it more likely I will inhale them with the air and deliver it to me in my oxygen? I go out seldom and try to...Read more

Female infertility drug also treats low testosterone in men

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: The last time I saw my urologist, I asked him to check my testosterone level because it hadn't been checked in a couple of years. His nurse notified me that it was low and that I should make an appointment with one of his colleagues that specializes in treatment for that. When I saw that doctor, he prescribed generic Cialis for ...Read more

For prostate enlargement treatment, it's meds first, surgery last

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a prior column, you discussed an enlarged prostate, or BPH. How does one know if they have BPH or overactive bladder? I wake up three times a night to urinate. I tried Flomax for three weeks, but it did not work. Tamsulosin plus finasteride seems risky, having two drugs in one's system. Why not just get surgery to reduce the ...Read more

Pneumonia vaccine still a good idea, even if ineffective against coronavirus

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Many seniors, like myself, have received pneumonia shots within the past five years. Since the flu and coronavirus can result in a form of pneumonia in a severe case, would these shots be helpful to prevent or treat this virus even slightly? If seniors are most vulnerable, then maybe those who may not have received these shots ...Read more

Balancing bone health and breast cancer risk

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I just read your column about Fosamax and wondered what you thought about Evista (raloxifene). I have been on it for 13 or 14 years because both my sisters have had breast cancer and I have osteopenia. Is this something that can be taken indefinitely, or do I need to stop? My gynecologist says to keep taking it, but I wonder what...Read more

Some antidepressants require a long tapering period to stop

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Would you please speak about the proper way to wean off of Paxil? I have been taking 20 mg daily. To wean off, I took 10 mg alternating with 20 mg every other day for one week, then 10 mg daily for four days, then stopped. After three days, I developed dizziness, nausea, fatigue, tinnitus and intermittent "brain zaps." I felt ...Read more

Bowel changes in young woman could be IBS symptoms

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My 18-year-old daughter has had digestive problems on and off for a few years now. Her appendix was removed in March 2015. She had brutal abdominal pain, but the ultrasound scan didn't show anything wrong with her appendix. Summer 2018, she started having bad digestion problems. She could hardly hold anything in. The food came ...Read more

Aggressive statin treatment won't affect immune system

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 69-year-old male in good health. In 2017, I experienced a pulmonary embolism in my left lung. Following that episode, my cardiologist put me on a statin regimen of 40 mg Lipitor. This was to get my LDL numbers down to 60 or lower in order to counteract a buildup of plaque in arteries after an angiogram revealed less than ...Read more

All X-rays and CT scans use radiation

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I became short of breath walking upstairs or during mild exercise, like walking a short distance. My stress test was normal, heart normal and blood pressure good. My doctor has ordered a coronary calcium score. Should I be concerned about the amount of radiation in this CT scan? -- P.M.

ANSWER: A coronary calcium score is ...Read more

Let go of negative childhood experiences and get vaccinated

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I will never willingly get a vaccine for anything. I have been sick only once in my life, and it was from a vaccination that I received in the seventh grade. I am now 80. Besides my bad experience, I do not get vaccinations because I do not know what they are. Also, I do not know the difference between a virus, a germ and ...Read more


Social Connections


Master Strokes: Golf Tips Scary Gary Rubes Andy Capp Luann Dennis the Menace