Health & Spirit

What's the reason for the flu season?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Why is there a flu season instead of it being a year-round health challenge? And why do flu strains originate in Southeast Asia instead of, say, Poughkeepsie, New York? -- M.S.

ANSWER: Why there is a flu season is a bit of a mystery. Scientists used to think it was due to people staying indoors more during cold weather or ...Read more

The prognosis on extra heartbeat is usually normal

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm an 83-year-old woman in very good health who takes no medications. My doctor informed me that I have an "extra" heartbeat, but I have no noticeable symptoms. What is my prognosis? Will my heart wear out sooner? -- R.P.

ANSWER: Based on what you've told me, I'm going to guess that you have an irregular heart rate due to some ...Read more

Must a person stay put to have a movement?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am in my early 90s and have read your column and those before yours, and have not seen this topic covered.

Long ago, my primary doctor told me that many people suffering from constipation are not aware that they are ignoring the natural urge for a bowel movement that comes within 15 to 30 minutes after every meal, often ...Read more

What's the real story on medical negligence?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A 2016 Hopkins study reported that medical negligence accounts for 250,000 deaths per year. And that's just mortality; it does not include any contributions to living with disease. My own view is to attribute nearly all of this to the fact that physicians are severely overworked. What do you think about all of this? -- R.A.

...Read more

Water restriction is the key to treating too-low salt levels

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A few years ago, while skiing in Utah, I became violently ill and could barely walk. I called 9-1-1 and was taken to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with hyponatremia. It took a week in the hospital to recover. My internist eventually prescribed 1 gram of salt/sodium a day and to not drink too much water.

Even though I take ...Read more

A flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've caught a flu. That's despite taking vitamin C, garlic and oil of oregano. I gave up on echinacea a long time ago. I try to get enough rest and live a relatively healthy life. I take no prescription drugs, and you'd think at age 59 I'd have built immunity to the latest bug.

If there's a cold or flu circulating, I always get ...Read more

Goal-setting for diabetics: What is a 'normal' glucose level?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: All my friends who are hypertensive have been able to bring their blood pressure to 120/80 or less. However, I have diabetic friends who are taking several diabetic drugs but none has been able to bring the fasting glucose levels to the ideal amount, around 85. As a matter of fact, none is even near 100. Is this situation common?...Read more

Excess production of stomach acid misdiagnosed as IBS

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For more than three years, I lived with never-ending diarrhea. My doctor diagnosed me with irritable bowel syndrome. Once, I got very dehydrated and passed out after taking a shower. I was admitted to the hospital. An evaluation at that time, including a nuclear test, showed a tumor on my pancreas and another on my duodenum. My ...Read more

Salt substitute is a tricky replacement for potassium pills

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 91-year-old man with swollen legs. I take 20 mg of furosemide and 20 mEq of Klor-Con daily. I understand that the Klor-Con is to replace the potassium loss caused by the former. I also understand that I should reduce my salt intake to the lowest amount possible. Because of my age and the poor condition of my taste buds, ...Read more

Cheek chewer reaches out for help preserving teeth

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: No one seems to understand a bad habit of mine, especially dentists! I bite off the loose skin on the inside of my cheeks. I remove little bits of cheek matter that is loose and sort of just hangs and is rough. It's sort of like picking at a scab or a hang nail. Once I start, I can't stop until it's removed. Usually I end up just...Read more

Practical tips for avoiding a deep vein thrombosis

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My brother-in-law has had blood clots in his legs twice before. Now he has another one in his calf, and tests showed several in his lungs! What causes blood clots, and how can you prevent them? -- M.K.E.

ANSWER: The body must have a robust ability to stop bleeding, which needs to be ready at any time. That ability has a cost: ...Read more

Caution essential when emphysema meets beta blocker

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have emphysema. I was prescribed metoprolol, but a book I have on prescription medication said never to take this medicine if you have emphysema. It also said not to stop taking it suddenly. What's your comment? -- J.F.

ANSWER: Metoprolol is a beta blocker that's used most often for its effects on the heart. Epinephrine, ...Read more

Long-term hiccups have been a plague since youth

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My friend has been struggling with almost never-ending hiccups since she was young. There seems to be no apparent trigger for them. They happen all hours of the day and even wake her up in the middle of the night. She will hiccup until it starts to become very painful for her, and she cannot make them stop. She's tried every ...Read more

Aortic abnormality may have been cause of lifelong chest pains

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Our mother passed away at 91, after decades of medical problems. She had complained over the years to many doctors of chest pains, difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing. After she passed, we saw in her medical records the diagnoses of "Kommerell diverticulum" and "excavatum deformity." Can you explain these? Are these ...Read more

Is it the alcohol or grapes that give wine a good-for-you rep?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Alcoholism runs in my family. I do not drink. For years I've read studies showing how good a glass of red wine is for you. Just recently something came out on the local news that "wine is good for your gut."

On a far less frequent basis, news appears that grape juice is also good for you. Is it the alcohol that makes wine good ...Read more

The best imaging test depends on what you're looking for

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you please explain in layman terms the difference between an X-ray, CT scan, MRI and PET scan? -- C.D.B.

ANSWER: All four of these tests provide images of the body, which your doctor can use to evaluate symptoms or search for a specific anatomical condition. Some conditions, such as depression, have no visible changes on ...Read more

Kratom not a safe choice for anxiety

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: With the current popularity of CBD and hemp products, I wonder your thoughts on Kratom, another plant-derived product. It is sold nearby. Is it an effective way to treat anxiety? -- D.H.A.

ANSWER: Kratom is an herb (Mitragyna speciosa) often used as treatment for opioid withdrawal, as a stimulant or sedative (depending on dose),...Read more

TMS is a treatment option for some kinds of depression

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: After reading your recent column regarding psilocybin for depression, I looked online and found information on transcranial magnetic stimulation. I had three rounds of electroconvulsive therapy, and had to stop the last two because the amnesia and reactions to anesthesia were so bad. Can you give me your input on TMS as a ...Read more

Making the case for prophylactic brain radiation

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. After radiation and chemotherapy my chest CT scan is now clear. My radiologist recommended prophylactic brain radiation even though my head CT scan is clear. When I asked how much this would decrease my chances of brain metastasis, he couldn't give me an answer. He did say that I could...Read more

Eating cigarettes is a recipe for nicotine poisoning, not parasite relief

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I talked to a person who said they'd eaten a cigarette and it cured all of their symptoms of parasite infection, because tobacco is an "ancient cure" or something like that. I looked up the topic on poison control and was shocked to see cases of children who've been hospitalized, etc., for this. Is tobacco actually effective for ...Read more


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