Health Advice



Bothersome transparent floater remains in the eye

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a transparent floater in one eye that stays in the same general area. I went to an optometrist who dilated and took retinal photos of that eye, and they saw nothing. They just told me if I started seeing "curtains, light flashes, changes" to return. Nothing different has occurred yet. My brother swears that eating fresh ...Read more

NAC supplement can help curb cravings to smoke

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'd like to have your thoughts on what value the NAC supplement may have for reducing cravings for marijuana or nicotine?

I'm 73 and have been smoking marijuana daily since I was 21. Now I'm quitting for health reasons. I've been taking 1,000 mg of NAC every morning, as I've read it helps with smoking cravings. It also seems to ...Read more

Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated by a variety of medications

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Why doesn't rheumatoid arthritis have any medicines to help treat it? -- S.S.K.

ANSWER: Rheumatoid arthritis is relatively common (as much as 1% of the population, with women twice as likely to be affected than men), but it's a much less common form of arthritis than osteoarthritis, which affects as much as 40% to 50% of an ...Read more

Addressing objections by women to receiving statin drugs

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For 10 years, my daughter has refused statins (due to cholesterol level) on grounds that women were not a part of the studies recommending statins and that heart disease manifests differently in women. Her daily eating and exercise are stellar. After a decade, her female internal medicine doctor confessed that she, too, doesn't ...Read more

UTI causes stark changes in body temperature regulation

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 80-year-old man in relatively good health. I don't smoke or drink, and I have a vegetarian diet. I exercise moderately, and I am not overweight. About 30 years ago, I contracted a serious UTI that affected me while at work. I was very cold, shivering with chattering teeth.

Luckily, the local fire department was there for...Read more

Exercise treatment for arthritis only applies to osteoarthritis

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: You recently had a column on arthritis that recommended more activity. So, what medications can help? You didn't say in your article. I take a slow-release Tylenol, but I heard of a study that says tart cherry pills help. -- B.L.

ANSWER: Tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce the risk of gout, a type of arthritis caused by ...Read more

Recreational tianeptine has potential for abuse, overdose

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've been hearing about tianeptine being sold at gas stations. Is it really dangerous? -- S.F.

ANSWER: Like so many substances, tianeptine can be a useful drug when prescribed and taken correctly (it's used in several countries for depression), but is indeed dangerous when used recreationally. Its use has been banned in several ...Read more

New medication for Type 2 diabetes has so far proven safe

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Please give me your opinion on the drug Rybelsus. It is advertised on TV as a wonder drug to reduce the A1C count for diabetics. My last A1C level was 6.8. My only problem with taking Rybelsus is that, in the package insert (or medication guide), it reads "not recommended as the first choice of medicine for treating diabetes." ...Read more

Understanding peak versus trough levels when dosing meds

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My doctor invariably prescribes four 200 mg Advils (ibuprofen), to be taken three times every 24 hours for a few days. I suspect this will create useful peaks, but also create unwanted troughs, compared to taking a smaller dose more frequently that results in the same aggregate dose every 24 hours.

My suspicion is that they are ...Read more

Statins recommended in cases where benefit outweighs risk

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 74-year-old woman with good cholesterol numbers and normal blood pressure. I've exercised regularly since I was 17 (that's 57 years), and weigh 98 pounds. I have no history of heart attack or stroke. Still, my doctor is giving me a strong sales pitch to take a statin with no mention of potential harsh side effects and no ...Read more

Salt substitutes help reduce blood pressure, stroke and more

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read that dietary potassium is very important in reducing heart disease risk, along with reducing sodium. I use a potassium-based salt replacement at home. Is there a maximum amount I should use? Why don't restaurants offer salt substitutes for people who want to reduce sodium and heart risk? -- T.S.

ANSWER: I think you ...Read more

Statins and thiazides can increase blood sugar, risk of diabetes

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My question regards the results of my fasting glucose tests for the past couple of years. I am 81 and weigh around 150 pounds. The medications I am taking concern me, with relevance to the A1C levels of my quarterly blood work. My A1C levels have mostly been near mid 5%; last was 6%. Medications relevant to this that I am ...Read more

Explaining monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Would it be possible for you to explain my recent diagnosis of monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance (MGUS)? Apparently, 3% to 5% of the population over the age of 50 show this blood abnormality. My last M-Spike result was 0.2 g/dL. -- A.M.P.

ANSWER: By definition, MGUS has no symptoms, so many people get the diagnosis...Read more

No delay necessary in getting a mammogram after vaccination

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently had a COVID booster. Not even considering that the vaccine might impact my annual mammogram, I had my mammogram done the day after my vaccine. I had no ill effects from the vaccine. I was not advised against having the mammogram so soon after the vaccine. Because of a concern with my lymph nodes, dense breast tissue ...Read more

Not getting enough iodine is rarely a concern in the U.S.

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I notice that the specialty salts I now buy, such as Himalayan or sea salt, are not iodized. Should I be concerned about getting enough iodine in my diet? -- P.M.

ANSWER: Iodine is necessary to make the thyroid hormones. In the United States, the areas with the least iodine are the Great Lakes, Appalachians and Pacific Northwest...Read more

Case of hot flashes has yet to be resolved, despite therapy

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 78 years old. I had a hysterectomy in 1976 due to excessive vaginal bleeding, but I still have my ovaries. I have had hot flashes since undergoing menopause -- they usually last three to five minutes, and I have them about every two hours around the clock (which obviously interferes with my sleep).

Over the last 28 years, I...Read more

Can melatonin provide benefits to those with Parkinson's?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 84-year-old woman. Unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease this past month. (Of course, I am mightily researching now.)

A friend of ours, who has had Parkinson's for six years, is very much impressed with melatonin. Have you heard the same?

Even if it turns out that it is not all helpful for ...Read more

Patient with high PSA score refused by urologist due to age

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm writing to you about an elderly patient who is currently 96 years old. For the last three years, his PSA score for his prostate has hovered around 30 ng/ml. He initially received an ultrasound and was determined that the prostate looked normal, despite the high PSA score. The general physician, under the following ...Read more

Shingles complication might require different drug combos

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there anything that I can do for pain after having shingles? I had shingles 18 months ago, and I still have pain on my right side in my breast and arm. I took gabapentin, plus two other prescriptions, and they all upset my stomach so bad that I had to quit. I have used lidocaine patches, but they help very little.

Some days, ...Read more

Supplements over statins not recommended for cholesterol

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 71-year-old female in good health who is quite physically active. I have been taking red yeast rice with CoQ10 to help with my cholesterol levels. (My son-in-law, who is a chiropractor and pretty knowledgeable about supplements, suggested this to me.) My cholesterol levels are still somewhat high, but my doctor has not ...Read more



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