Health & Spirit

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

Bleeding problems have reader second-guessing anticoagulant

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For the past two years, my husband has been taking Eliquis twice a day as prescribed by his cardiologist for atrial fibrillation. He's having serious problems with bleeding, especially on his legs when he bumps into furniture or corners. The skin tears so easily, along with a lot of bruising around the tear. The bleeding takes ...Read more

Lack of vitamin D absorption prompts search for cause

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a severe vitamin D deficiency. My blood test indicates a level of 21. I have severe cramps in my hands, feet and legs caused by this deficiency. I know because when it is normal, I don't have the cramps. These numbers are after I have been taking megadose vitamin D2 (50,000 IU). At my last appointment, my doctor said, "...Read more

Are therapies for bladder cancer and macular degeneration compatible?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with stage 1 bladder cancer in April. My urologist advised me to have BCG therapy for it. I just completed six weeks of the therapy.

I also have macular degeneration in both eyes and have had Avastin injections in my left eye for almost two years. I have had a couple of injections into my right eye, too, the last...Read more

Tongue twister diagnosis describes a wayward electrical signal

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR ROACH: My 35-year-old son recently complained of some chest pain. He went to his doctor, and it was determined that he strained himself exercising. However, the doctor recommended he go for a stress test. By the time he got to a cardiologist, his chest pain was gone, but he underwent a stress test anyhow. His cardiologist wrote: "Your ...Read more

Vitamin D3 is usually well-absorbed by the body

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 60 years old and generally healthy, but my vitamin D is low (below 20). I took 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 for six weeks, then 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for the past two years. Recently, I started magnesium glycinate, because I read in a journal that it helps D3 get absorbed better in our body and that otherwise, 90% of D3 is...Read more

Insurance, location can influence cost of medical procedures

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there a way to determine the average cost for certain medical procedures in a specific location? For instance, a colonoscopy? I know some health insurance policies cover it, but when your policy doesn't, what is the best way to see what the costs would be? Is it something someone should shop around for? -- K.

ANSWER: If ...Read more

Soothing the symptoms of hemorrhoids

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Any suggestions for hemorrhoids? -- D.K.

ANSWER: Hemorrhoids are normal veins located in the lower rectum. They are only a problem when they get dilated. Internal hemorrhoidal veins have no pain fibers and are therefore painless, but external hemorrhoids have lots of pain receptors and can be exquisitely painful in some ...Read more

At what age can a woman stop annual mammograms?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old woman in very good health. I have had a mammogram done every year for the past 45 years, each scan being excellent, with no problems. I have stipulated in my living will that I do not want chemotherapy or radiation treatments should any kind of cancer develop. Do I really need to continue with the procedure of...Read more

Can you actually catch shingles?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am hoping you can clarify a lot of conflicting information regarding shingles. I know it is contagious, but can you actually catch shingles from a person? If you never had chickenpox or the vaccine, would you catch shingles or chickenpox?

During an outbreak, how does a caregiver protect him- or herself from catching the virus?...Read more

BCG vaccine can cause a false positive result for tuberculosis

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you please speak about the BCG vaccine? My daughter was born in Bolivia and received it as an infant. Now she always tests positive for tuberculosis, and people in the medical field never seem to know or understand when we explain about the vaccine. It's such a hassle to get straightened out. -- M.P.A.

ANSWER: Bacille ...Read more

Risk calculator is a helpful, but general, tool

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My friends and I are athletic seniors with no health conditions. We take no medications and eat a plant-based diet. When we put our similar (all in range) test scores in the CVD risk calculator, we made an interesting discovery.

Our numbers consistently fell above the 7.5% 10-year risk until we entered in a younger age. For ...Read more

Should breast cancer survivor become a teetotaler?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been reading and hearing that alcohol is now suspect in causing breast cancer. As a stage 1 survivor (lumpectomy and tamoxifen), should I completely give up all alcoholic beverages? I may have between one and three drinks per week. All of my medical team say that is fine. Daily heavy consumption is the problem. What are ...Read more

The magic of math in assessing risk

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you reported using "the standard risk calculator" to determine that a person has a risk of heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years of "6.8%." What exactly does this mean? How was the risk determined? How does such a risk calculation compare with "number needed to treat," the number of persons who must be ...Read more

Registered dietitian nutritionist helps you choose best foods

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you wrote "nearly everyone can reduce their heart disease risk by having a diet with very little meat but high in vegetables, legumes and nuts, along with whole grains and fruits." Because of poorly functioning kidneys, my kidney doctor has told me I need to stick to a diet low in potassium, which means ...Read more

The link between Lyme disease and arthritis

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What is known about arthritis later in life for someone who had early treatment for Lyme disease? I had it as a teenager in the late 1980s and was told by my doctor that arthritis could be an issue later. I was treated with an IV antibiotic, which I believe was the go-to treatment at the time. -- J.A.

ANSWER: Lyme disease, a ...Read more

With NSAIDs, pick the one that works best, and stick with it

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 79-year-old man in generally good health. What is not under control is the lower back pain I have been suffering due to disk deterioration. I have been able to control it with physical therapy, stretching exercises, chiropractic and occasional NSAID medication. As I'm getting older, the pain is getting worse, and I have to ...Read more

Low pulse rate doesn't guarantee a future pacemaker

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband has been on metoprolol for about eight years. He was prescribed that medication right after he had a stent put in due to a clogged heart vessel. He is doing very well. His recent stress test was normal. The metoprolol took his heart rate down to a pulse of between 55 and 60 shortly after he started it. He is an active ...Read more

Vapor may be better than smoke, but best is quitting both

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I quit smoking about six months ago and was able to resist the temptation to smoke again because I took up vaping immediately afterward. Thanks to vaping, I think this time I will be able to stay off of cigarette smoking permanently after unsuccessfully quitting a half dozen times over the years. I recently read some very ...Read more


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