Health Advice



Intermittent fasting can be a useful weight-loss tool for some

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am interested in your perspective on intermittent fasting. I am in a walking group of seniors (all 65+ years). Six of us have been on this diet for six to eight weeks, and everyone has consistently lost a pound a week. There is a lot of debate about how it works. We are on an eight-hour eating window and 16 hours of fasting. ...Read more

No definitive link uncovered between talc and ovarian cancer

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Please help me understand the connection between the use of baby powder or talcum powder and ovarian cancer. I can't grasp how a product that is applied externally can migrate to the ovaries and cause cancer. -- K.M.

ANSWER: Talcum powder, in its raw form, contains small amounts of asbestos, which is known to cause lung cancer ...Read more

Bones sometimes show up in unlikely places

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: On Nov. 2, 2020, I had a total right hip replacement. The surgery was successful, and the incision has healed completely. X-rays on the day of the surgery are clear. However, X-rays in April this year show something the surgeon called heterotopic ossification. It feels as if there is something large growing inside my hip. How ...Read more

Consider first aid needs when planning remote travel

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: How is preventive medical care handled when an individual is traveling to a remote location? For example, I will be hiking this summer in a remote area with no medical care available (it would take three days to get to a doctor). Can a nonmedical person pick up prescription medication prior to the trip, just in case it is needed?...Read more

Risk of contracting HSV-2 can be reduced not eliminated

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a healthy man in my late 40s. I was married for 18 years to my first sexual partner. Since my divorce three years ago, I have had two additional partners. These were casual flings. I used condoms and did not catch anything. I was happy to meet a woman who stated she is not into casual sex. I see relationship potential. The ...Read more

There's no evidence that COVID vaccine affects fertility

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A friend is not getting vaccinated for COVID-19 because she thinks the vaccines could cause permanent fertility issues. Would you please comment on this? -- M.S.

ANSWER: I can understand why a woman would be concerned about losing fertility. However, this is just not a concern that is borne out by the science. One theoretical ...Read more

The Achilles tendon at risk from increased vigorous activity

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing basketball seven years ago at the age of 49. I was able to recover and continue playing. My question has to do with others who have suffered from this: Why do so many young people appear to tear their Achilles? I can think of a handful of guys I know who have recently done this, and all of ...Read more

In the diabetic's toolbox: diet, exercise and blood sugar control

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a recently diagnosed diabetic. Can you please give me advice on how to reverse it if possible? -- H.M.

ANSWER: I'm assuming you have been newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by resistance to insulin. Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, is an autoimmune disease caused by ...Read more

There's more than one kind of food poisoning

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you tell me about food poisoning? I often hear the term, but it seems to mean different things to different people. -- V.A.

ANSWER: Foodborne illnesses are indeed a very large and diverse group. Although the term may refer to toxins in food, such as poisonous mushrooms or heavy metal contamination, it most often refers to ...Read more

Reader bemoans lack of precise post-vaccine immunity testing

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you comment on the lack of a test that truly demonstrates the effective level of immunity an individual has from receiving the COVID vaccine? My wife has lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine over a month ago. Now we learn that her immune system may not have created any antibodies against ...Read more

High calcium score warrants a closer look at heart attack risk

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 74 and in good health except for osteoporosis. I'm 5 foot, 3 inches tall and weigh 106 pounds, and have followed a plant-based diet for eight years. I take no medications, walk briskly daily and still work, but my calcium score was 640. What's happening here? -- D.H.

ANSWER: Regular exercise and a plant-based diet are very ...Read more

What's the source of cracking sound in ear?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: About two or three months ago, I got a cracking sound in my right ear, and it hurts off and on. This happens several times a day, both day and night. I saw my doctor, who said it was nothing. He told me to take Sudafed two times every 24 hours. It does let up when I take it. Can you help ease my mind? -- M.M.

ANSWER: The two ...Read more

Coconut oil in coffee can have mixed results on cholesterol

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've started using coconut oil instead of milk and sweetener in my coffee. I find that a quarter teaspoon of coconut oil blended with 12 ounces coffee is pretty yummy. But I want to make sure I'm not doing any harm, since my own LDL has risen and my HDL has fallen since December. I have heard that coconut oil is healthy, but also...Read more

The (slowing) march of medical advancement

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Are medical advances going backward? If not, why are so many people dying in their 50s and 60s? Just look at the obituaries. By now, we all should be living into our 80s and 90s. What's your take on this subject? -- R.S.

ANSWER: Medicine has made incremental benefits on many fronts. There have also been dramatic, life-changing ...Read more

Optimistic news on COVID vaccine: drop in asymptomatic cases

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you get long COVID from symptomless post-vaccine infection? -- L.B.

ANSWER: "Long COVID" refers to long-term symptoms following an infection with the novel coronavirus. These symptoms, which may persist for months (at least), include fatigue, difficulty concentrating often called "brain fog," persistent loss of smell or ...Read more

When and how long to treat a tick bite to prevent Lyme disease

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Two days ago, I was bitten by a tick, which drew blood. Yesterday I was given just two 100-mg doxycycline caps to be taken together with a meal and instructions to "continue the observation of any symptoms." It does not seem sufficient to me. Last year, when I was bitten, I received a two-week course of the antibiotic. I am ...Read more

Violent nighttime movement likely REM sleep disorder

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am very concerned about an issue with my husband that is getting worse quickly. He is 76 years old, has some heart problems and has had artery and heart surgery and pulmonary problems primarily caused by toxic exposures to pesticides in the past.

The situation is that at night, after we have been asleep for a little while, he ...Read more

Find source of iron shortage before resuming blood donations

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A year ago, I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. A colonoscopy found no problems. An endoscopy found a small raw spot on my stomach lining; it was not bleeding. My iron count was 7. Two months earlier it was 102. I was told to take an iron supplement twice a day. Now a year later, it is back up to 78. Up until my ...Read more

The difference between vaccination and variolation

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently watched a TV program about vaccines. I've always thought that vaccines dated to Jenner and his cowpox vaccine. The program pointed out that before Jenner started experimenting, some countries (the program mentioned Africa, India and China) had a tradition of cutting the arm of a healthy person and then smearing the cut...Read more

Weighing osteopenia treatment against periodontal disease

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 80-year-old female in good health except for a diagnosis of osteopenia. My primary care doctor has prescribed medication for my osteopenia. I have periodontal disease and have been advised by my periodontal specialist not to take medication for osteopenia due to deterioration of the jawbone. I think I am in a lose-lose ...Read more



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