DEAR DR. ROACH: I have scleroderma with Raynaud's phenomenon, and friends and family members have told me that I might get help from Viagra.
Frankly, I hadn't read or heard that from either my rheumatologists or dermatologists. I already tried a short course of nifedipine over a decade ago (it just gave me a headache), so I just stick with ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have always read that when you are having your blood pressure taken, your arm should be elevated above your heart. When mine is taken this way, it is normal, around 120/70. When I go to the doctor, my blood pressure is taken with my arm hanging at my side. I often get a much higher reading taken this way, say, 140/90. Is there ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a friend whose daughter has an egg allergy. She said her daughter will break out in a rash if she eats anything that even has trace amounts of egg in it. Another friend of hers told her to use CBD oil to prevent reactions, but I am skeptical. I cannot find anything credible to support the claim. What are your thoughts? -- ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an avid hiker, and I live in an area with lots of Lyme disease. I recently developed some fever, headache, shaking chills and dark urine, and just felt awful. My doctor did some blood tests and said I had Babesia and/or Anaplasma. Are these related to Lyme disease? -- I.J.M.
ANSWER: Like Lyme disease, babesiosis (caused ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 74-year-old female who smoked a pack a day for 40-plus years, having quit smoking about 18 years ago. As a precaution, I asked my primary doctor to order a screening CT scan, knowing that I'm a candidate for lung cancer. The results showed a 3-mm nodule in one lung, and I was advised not to worry and that my doctor would ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with COPD a year and a half ago and have several questions. I seem to be unable to get answers from my pulmonary doctor, as he is always busy and doesn't have a lot of time to spend with me.
How fast does COPD progress? I'm 78 years old, in reasonably good health and exercise regularly. I have chronic bronchitis ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: How are sleep apnea, sighing and heart failure related? Recently, I was told that I have severe sleep apnea and that I must use a CPAP machine. I have noticed that during the day I frequently take a spontaneous deep breath. Is that sleep apnea while awake? I have coronary heart disease and have three stents. Will the CPAP machine...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am looking for advice on diet pills. I have tried everything. I eat well, go to the gym and walk, but my meniscus problem limits my walking speed. Since menopause, I have gained 30 pounds. I am sure there is something out there that will kick-start my metabolism. I am so depressed, and my doctor has no sympathy. -- A.R.
DEAR DR. ROACH: My question is about microscopic hematuria. I see a rheumatologist for sarcoidosis. In February 2018, I had various lab tests, including a urinalysis. That test and several since then have shown microscopic hematuria. The rheumatologist sent me to a urologist, who did scans and a scope of the bladder up through the right kidney. ...Read more
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am due to have a mammogram in July, but around the same time I am supposed to have a chest CT as a follow-up to my chondrosarcoma cancer. I have a CT every other year, and an X-ray on the opposite years of both my affected arm and my lungs. Does a chest CT have the potential of showing a similar finding as a mammogram? I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have no health issues, but I'm a cheapskate. I see products labeled as "grain-free" or as "gluten-free," but they always cost more than the regular product. Are there any health benefits to using these, or are they marketing gimmicks? -- L.C.
ANSWER: They are not marketing gimmicks at all. People with celiac disease have a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Last year, at 57, I was diagnosed with Type 1 LADA diabetes. Initially I was put on insulin to get my blood sugar within the normal range. Then I was just on metformin until the "honeymoon period" was over. My endocrinologist is great. I now am back on insulin (six units at night). I walk anywhere between 3 and 8 miles about ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 77-year-old man in good health. At my recent annual physical exam, my physician ordered a Cologuard kit to be sent to me to screen for colorectal disease. I have never had symptoms of disease or problems with any part of my gastrointestinal tract. I had two colonoscopies at different times several years ago, the results of...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a strong history of premature heart disease in my family, and I have been having some unpleasant side effects of blood pressure medicine. I decided to try a completely plant-based diet: grains, vegetables, legumes, fruit, seeds and nuts.
After about a month on the new diet, my total cholesterol dropped 44 points to 159, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you addressed the costs of vaginal Premarin but did not mention the risks associated with stroke and dementia. Do you consider these risks to be of importance? I am wary of using Premarin, although I suffer from vaginal atrophy. -- J.S.B.
ANSWER: Hormone replacement, given orally or by patch, increases risk ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm an 82-year-old man, taking 10 mg of atorvastatin daily. My HDL is 85, and my LDL is 46. I recently read that people with low LDL cholesterol levels might have increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke, like a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. Should I be concerned? -- G.G.
ANSWER: A stroke is a brain injury with death of brain...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old woman, mostly healthy (apart from well-controlled high blood pressure). Looking at me, people assume I am skinny, but I have a well-concealed HUGE belly along with my thin arms and legs. I look like an olive stuck with toothpicks. My diet is healthy for the most part: I eat snack foods, deep-fried fast foods or...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I picked up a cough while traveling in Europe almost two years ago. No other symptoms have ever presented. Since that time, I have received every test imaginable, including spirometry, multiple breathing tests, CT scans, X-rays and most recently a bronchoscopy. Nothing was discovered through any of these tests. Other than the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Ten years ago, I experienced a brief five-second TIA with classic symptoms. I had an MRI, which confirmed it was a stroke. But nothing was done, as it had just gone away after the five seconds. The cause was, I believe, an overdose of erectile dysfunction pills I had taken.
Then about four years ago, they saw on my ultrasound ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been taking sertraline (100 mg) and bupropion for depression. Due to the number of medications I am on for physical ailments, I would like to be weaned off the antidepressants. In a recent column, you suggested that SAM-e might be a safe and effective alternative to antidepressants. Do you feel that it might be worthwhile ...Read more