DEAR DR. ROACH: What is causing my hair to fall out? What can I do to stop it? I'm 72 years old and female. Could I be hypothyroid? -- L.O.I.
ANSWER: By far, the most common cause of hair loss in women in their 70s is female pattern hair loss. This pattern of hair loss can be highly characteristic, typically affecting the scalp above the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Over a year ago my husband had surgery. A couple of days later he was diagnosed with a blood clot in his calf. They did blood testing on him, and one test came back positive for "one copy of the Factor V Leiden Variant." We have never heard of such a thing. He was put on 5 milligrams of Eliquis twice a day. We were told to have ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: For over six decades, I have lived with smokers. My parents smoked around their children inside our family home and inside the family car. Later, most of my siblings smoked. Family gatherings were always smoky affairs. I also married a smoker who smoked in the house until an infant grandson came to live with us. Though my husband...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent column on melanoma piqued my interest. My husband was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam in 1968. He had a melanoma on his neck removed with lymph nodes in 2007. On July 31, 2017, he was finally declared disabled from exposure, due to damage to his heart and lungs. He died four days later. Could you please comment on ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband recently died from anaplastic thyroid cancer. I always thought thyroid cancer was one of the most successfully treated cancers that exist. Could you please explain the difference between anaplastic thyroid cancer and regular thyroid cancer? Thank you very much. -- M.A.S.
ANSWER: I am very sorry to hear of your husband...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 55-year-old female. I have always been in excellent health, but this year, my routine bloodwork showed that my creatinine is 1.08 (high) and that my GFR is 58 (low). Can that be because I drank alcohol the night before my bloodwork? My 2019 test showed GFR 65 and creatinine 1.00. -- C.R.
ANSWER: Creatinine and GFR are ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been suffering for some time with jock itch. The resulting scratching leaves my groin area and thighs abraded and oftentimes bleeding. In addition to the ketoconazole I've been prescribed, I have tried several over-the-counter sprays and ointments, to no avail. My doctor prescribed generic Claritin (loratadine) and I use a...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a male, 83, and my bladder leaks continuously since I had a hip replacement surgery. The surgeon used a catheter during the surgery, and when it was first removed, I could not urinate. I went home with a new Foley catheter. Five days later, it was removed, and I have dripped ever since. It has been over two months since the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: With all the masks, hand-washing, sanitizing and social distancing, will we all have weak immune systems when life goes back to normal? -- J.D.H.
ANSWER: No. The immune system remembers pathogens for life, and constant exposure to germs is not necessary for the immune system to function correctly.
The "hygiene hypothesis" ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a problem with chronic urine infections. I am 78 years old, and suffer often from it. I frequently go to the bathroom five or six times during the night and feel pressure under my stomach. My doctor suggested a biopsy and found blood in my urine, which was later tested for cancer. I was told a week later that I do not have...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you please provide your recommendations on how we should conduct ourselves after we get the COVID vaccine? Please include an explanation of how immune we actually will be. -- T.S.
ANSWER: Three vaccines are approved under an emergency authorization at the time of this writing: Two mRNA vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer,...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am currently on rituximab immunotherapy. I have had my first Moderna vaccine, and my second shot is scheduled in four weeks. My oncologist is not sure how the rituximab affects the immunization and the effectiveness of the vaccine. Can you explain how people on immunotherapy should most effectively take the vaccine while ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'd like to know what kind of damage to look out for after being a heavy drinker between the ages of 19 and 40, at which age the drinking slowed to a comparative trickle. I used to have many binge events plus regular consumption three to four nights a week and now have a couple of glasses on weekends. The data on alcohol-related ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I've had regular swab tests for COVID-19, which have always been negative. The last one was just a few days ago. I had an antibody test six weeks ago that also was negative, but my antibody test this time was strongly positive. I've been very careful about protecting myself and I haven't had any symptoms! I'm scheduled to get my ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had low GFR readings ranging from 53 to 37 for the past 15 years. I'm an 87-year-old female in good health. I do strength training and Pilates, and am quite active walking my dog and doing my own yardwork. I've had heart disease for 10 years with no symptoms, and echocardiograms are normal.
My cholesterol runs around 180,...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife and I tested positive for COVID-19 on December 20, 2020. Due to our ages, we qualify to receive a vaccine now. But we have heard and read conflicting advice relating to the appropriate vaccination timing for people who have tested positive, ranging from get it as soon as you can, to wait 90 days after the positive COVID ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What is celiac artery compression syndrome? I'm told I have this, and it's causing an aneurysm that needs to get repaired. I found out on a scan taken for another reason. I have had some pain after eating. -- I.J.M.
ANSWER: The celiac artery is one of three large arteries that provide blood to the abdominal organs, especially ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My doctor is insisting I take cholesterol medicine after I've refused to take it for years. I am 66 years old, and my total cholesterol is 301 (triglycerides 76, HDL 83 and LDL 206). He has prescribed rosuvastatin, 20 mg a day. I feel with my triglycerides and my HDL being good levels that perhaps the dose may be a little ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had over 50 vaccinations in my life (I'm 78), most of them while I was in the military. I have often wondered how the vaccine spreads throughout the body, as the shots are almost always given in the upper arm. I would welcome your explanation of what exactly takes place. Pardon my ignorance. -- C.C.
ANSWER: Recognizing ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old woman. Last September I had severe pain in my right hand. The pain was so bad that I had to go to the emergency room, where they did an MRI. Results showed I have cervical radiculopathy, a pinched nerve in my neck. They put me on hydrocodone and prednisone. A few days later I had extreme pain in both upper arms...Read more