DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and had very high AST and ALT numbers. I lost about 25 pounds, and the numbers were normal. As a result of other health issues, the weight came back and the numbers went up. My liver specialist suggested we try 800 IU of vitamin E daily. Without losing weight the reports are now ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: A 74-year-old woman has a total cholesterol of 123 and was told that low cholesterol like this greatly increases the risk of diabetes, stroke and cancer. It seems she has had low cholesterol for many years. What do you think is the optimum healthy level? What would you recommend to increase her total cholesterol? -- R.I.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old man. I thought I was in excellent health until I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in a routine physical exam with an EKG about six months ago. I was and continue to be asymptomatic.
I am 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weigh 173 pounds. I do weight training and stretches at the gym two or three times each week ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 53-year-old female, and I weigh 190 pounds. A year and a half ago, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I have lost 24 pounds. I have been diabetic since about 2013. At my last blood analysis, in August 2018, my A1C was 6.5, which I understand is still high. In January 2018, my A1C was 6.6. When I had my surgery, these numbers ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Would you be so kind as to send me a copy of your recommended low-carbohydrate diet? I have been trying to follow what I think it should be, but would like an expert diet on which to base my food selection. -- K.H.
ANSWER: There is no specific diet I feel comfortable recommending for everyone. For people who want a lower-carb ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: After blood analysis revealed elevated PSA levels, a urologist felt a lump on my prostate and arranged a biopsy. Of 12 samples taken, three were cancerous. The doctor recommends removal instead of radiation or any other therapy. I asked which type of cancer it is, and he replied that it is just cancer and won't spread in a month ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read that condoms have tiny holes in them, and that they don't provide protection against HIV/AIDS. Is this true? -- G.D.M.
ANSWER: Condoms do have tiny holes in them if magnified enough; however, latex condoms are effective at preventing HIV transmission, both measured in a laboratory as well as in clinical studies. In ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My son is studying aviation maintenance, and the instructors tell the students to expect random urine tests for drugs when they are employed. Drinking alcohol is fine, but using marijuana and other drugs are cause for losing your license and thus your career. Recently we were walking around Boston for a day and we smelled pot ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My question is in regard to prostate cancer diagnosis. I'm a 65-year-old man.
Several years ago, I was placed on testosterone. At that time, my PSA reading was normal (2.5), but after being on the testosterone for two years, my PSA steadily started to increase -- to the point where my PSA reading was over 10. My doctor performed...Read more
Editor's Note: Corrects spelling of "dietitian" in 4th graf.
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 30-year-old son recently was diagnosed with gastroparesis. This occurred a few months after having a norovirus infection. Is there a cure? Are there medications to help? What can be done to reduce the symptoms of nausea and belching? -- C.R.
ANSWER: Gastroparesis (...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a "burning tongue." I've had it since my 40s. I'm now 84 years old. I could cook an egg on my tongue. It never goes away. I once mentioned this to my doctor, but she just shook her head and didn't have a clue. I'm convinced I'll never know what causes this. Any ideas? -- C.B.
ANSWER: Burning mouth syndrome is the term ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Due to an elevated PSA (5.3) my urologist recommended a fairly new test prior to deciding on a prostate biopsy. The test is referred to as an ExoDx Prostate (Intelliscore). It is performed on a urine sample and results in a score that indicates a higher or lower probability of high-grade prostate cancer.
Subsequent to taking ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: For the past 50 years I have been bothered by occasional indigestion or heartburn after eating a greasy or spicy meal. This might occur several times per month, but not more than once a week. I have always gotten instant relief through either calcium carbonate tablets (Tums) or a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm asking this question for my sister. Is it safe to use a nasal rinse solution when one has a sinus infection with green phlegm? She also sufferers from a deviated septum, dysfunctional Eustachian tubes and vestibular disorder with vertigo and tinnitus. -- K.C.H.
ANSWER: Sinus infections are common. Most are caused by viruses....Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have an enlarged prostate. My urologist has recommended that I take 5 mg of finasteride daily for this. I'm hesitant to take this medication because of potential side effects, particularly the sexual side effects that can go along with it. What is your opinion of this medication? Also, my urologist says that Flomax would not be...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Here's something I've wondered about for a long time: Years ago, I was told that I lost 5 pints of blood in childbirth. How did they come up with that number? Obviously, they weren't scooping up blood off the floor to measure it! -- L.K.
ANSWER: During surgery, there is always some blood loss, but 5 pints of blood is a great ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 84-year-old man in reasonably good health. I have taken blood pressure medicine for about 30 years. For the past six months, I have been taking trospium tablets to treat frequent urination. I have prostate cancer treated with radioactive seeds, not surgery. About two months ago, I began noticing swelling in my lower legs ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 77-year-old man in reasonably good health. I am physically active and at normal weight. About a month and a half ago, I suddenly experienced very sharp neck pain upon waking, a severe pain that prevented me from turning my neck. Some days later, my doctor indicated that time will heal it. Blood tests were normal.
This ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have dealt with irritable bowel syndrome for over 40 years. I have had less cramping and loose stools when I quit drinking milk. However, now over the past few years I have had mild constipation and very frequent bloating. I take dicyclomine, 10 mg, before meals and bedtime, that helps a little with spasms. When bloating is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column on screening tools, you made a brief statement about ovarian cancer. As a cancer survivor with metastasis to the ovary I was hoping to have read something within the response on screening for ovarian cancer. What is your response to someone in regard to screening for ovarian cancer if she presents with symptoms...Read more