DEAR DR. ROACH: A friend was diagnosed with high blood pressure several years ago and has been on a hypertensive drug since then. However, over the past years, he has lost over 50 pounds and is no longer overweight. He works out every day. He never exercised prior to his diagnosis. He seems to be eating healthier foods now, too. Shouldn't he be ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm an 88-year-old woman in good health except that I have had a lot of leg and back pain in the past two or so years. I had spinal stenosis, and I have arthritis as well. A vascular surgeon performed a lower extremity duplex Doppler test last month. It showed an ankle-brachial index of 0.76 on the right and 0.57 on the left. The...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Would you explain what postnasal drip is? How damaging is it, and can it be cured? My wife has it and coughs a lot. Her eyes water, and she always feels poorly. -- M.G.
ANSWER: Postnasal drip isn't a diagnosis, it's a symptom. The nasal passages have an opening in the front (the nostrils) as well as in the back, to the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In your recent column referring to the shingles vaccine, you do not mention younger adults. My son had a very bad case of chickenpox when he was only 6 months old. He is now 40 years old, and earlier this year had an attack of shingles that affected the area behind his ear. He wanted to get the shingles vaccine to hopefully avoid...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there a difference between COVID-19 treatment in academia vs. the real world? I had a telemedicine appointment the other day to see my internist, and he said to call right away if I developed symptoms consistent with COVID. He would order tests for me and start me right away on hydroxychloroquine, doxycycline and zinc. I told ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Why don't you inform your patients about Fosamax causing a stroke? This is well studied, and my mother is currently hospitalized from stroke, most likely from Fosamax. Doctors need to learn how to be doctors and stop handing out medication. Doctor incompetence killed my father and now is working on killing my mother. -- J.Q.
DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently I had a sudden onset of appendicitis and was operated on the following day laparoscopically. The surgeon explained to me that the surgery took longer than usual because of scar tissue from a total hysterectomy 10 months earlier. He said my appendix was enlarged and inflamed around the site and had some samples sent for ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am under the care of an ophthalmologist, and on a routine exam I was told that I have pinguecula of the eyes. What does this mean? I was given artificial tears and am to follow up regularly. The eye doctor is going to reevaluate in three months. I am very worried. -- V.P.
ANSWER: A pinguecula is a benign lesion made of fat and...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I would like to know what you think about brain supplements and whether you would recommend any. My age is 84 and I am in good health, but my memory is getting bad. -- B.S.
ANSWER: I see advertisements daily for supplements touted to have benefits in preventing or slowing progression of dementia. A careful review of the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 55-year-old woman. I recently went to see a surgeon for a torn hip labrum. I learned that labrums do not heal on their own, and injections and physical therapy can only mitigate pain. I'm leaning toward surgery, because it makes more sense to have surgery at 55 and increase my quality of life rather than wait until 75 and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: How do pimples form? Why do they itch? How can I remove them? -- B.B.
ANSWER: Acne is caused by plugged hair follicles, which are associated with sebaceous (oil-producing) glands. These are more likely to be plugged under control of androgenic hormones; with increased oil production; in the presence of the bacteria Cutibacterium...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 67-year-old male who had a major heart attack 19 years ago. I am very active. Prior to the pandemic I was going to the gym five days a week and then came home and spent a few hours doing yardwork and gardening. I still spend two to four hours a day in my yard. This past week I had lab work done with a full lipid panel. I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm writing in regard to your recent column about a 56-year-old person, recommending he or she wait till 60 for the shingles shot. In 2010 I was 56 and was told by my insurance company that they would not cover the shot till I was 60. Unfortunately, that year I suffered a shingles attack that started on the back of my head and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you share as much information as you know about a procedure called Inspire that supposedly helps reduce the serious issues of sleep apnea?
What are the benefits, and how does it work? What are the risks, since the procedure does involve surgically installing a tiny motor and wiring in the chest with the wiring connected to ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old woman who is blessed with good health. In my adolescent years, I occasionally got strep throat, but a respected doctor of internal medicine (later head of a medical school) cautioned my mother against ever having my tonsils taken out. The general advice of the day was to have them removed, but he said that the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a longtime GERD sufferer and have used omeprazole (up to 80 mg daily) for years. I have tried everything else over 50 years, with limited success. I tried a product containing caraway oil and menthol three months ago, and have had no symptoms since. Just a food supplement? It's hard to believe. How would you explain it? -- P...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 57-year-old male who is healthy and physically fit. I contracted Valley fever last November while visiting Arizona. The initial symptoms were flulike body aches, a rash and profound night sweats that lasted for about three weeks. After returning to Canada, my family physician ordered a CT scan, which showed nodules in the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 62 years old and have no health problems except seasonal allergies during spring and fall. I exercise regularly and eat only healthy vegetarian food and fruits.
My symptoms are watery eyes and nose, itching, chest congestion, sneezing, coughing and difficulty sleeping at night due to pollen in the air during early spring/...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am anxious to know your opinion regarding removal of surgical hardware. Fourteen months ago, I broke and dislocated my wrist. It was a serious injury and required surgery. They put in a cadaver bone, a plate and eight screws. My recovery has gone quite well, and I have pretty good mobility and strength considering how bad the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Do you find in your practice that "normal" A1C for non-diabetics changes with age? -- D.D.
ANSWER: The hemoglobin A1C is a measure of how much sugar is on a hemoglobin molecule. Blood sugar will attach to hemoglobin, and the more sugar in the blood, the more that will become bound to hemoglobin over the lifetime of a red blood ...Read more