DEAR DR. ROACH: I was told by my doctor that I need a tetanus booster shot, but when I was 17, I cut my foot and needed stitches. I was told then that I was allergic to the tetanus shot, so they gave me penicillin instead. Of course, that was a long time ago, since I'm now 81 years old. How could they have determined I was allergic to the shot, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently had a surgery, and prior to the surgery, my doctor ordered some routine blood tests. My aPTT level was high, but the PT level was normal. The doctor said it was probably nothing, and the surgery went fine. But, when I went back for my annual checkup, he rechecked it, and it's still high. Do I need to worry? -- B.W.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 88-year-old female in relatively good health. A year and a half ago, I did experience atrial fibrilliation and had two cardioversions. (The first was good for a year; the second lasted only three months.) The diagnosis is paroxysmal AFib.
My cardiologist has recommended a third cardioversion, which would require taking ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 61-year-old white woman who is 5'5" tall and weighs 150 pounds. I walk two miles just about every day, and easily hit more than 10,000 steps almost every day. I have never smoked. I do not have high blood pressure.
However, I have very high cholesterol. Here are the numbers of my last reading in February: total ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Seniors are advised that one of the best forms of exercise is walking. The advice is to "walk briskly" for at least 150 minutes per week. There are those of us who, because of knee or hip pain, or other reasons, are not able to walk briskly. Does that mean that we shouldn't bother to walk at all? I would think that walking slowly...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 71-year-old female with no children, but I did have an ectopic pregnancy at age 43. Other than that, I have had no "female" issues. I was getting a CT scan for my spleen area, when it was discovered I had enlarged pelvic veins in my groin. I don't have pelvic pain, nor do I have pain with sex, so the only symptoms I have, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Both my husband and I just had the flu. We initially suspected that it was COVID, but the tests were negative. My symptoms, especially cough and runny nose, hung on for over two weeks. I visited an urgent care clinic where I was told I most likely had the (seasonal) flu, and I was prescribed an inhaler as well as a cough ...Read more
DEAR DR ROACH: I have a lot of allergies, and my allergist wants to start me on allergy shots. She wants me to discontinue atenolol before starting allergy shots. Can you please shed some light on this? -- B.S.
ANSWER: Allergy immunotherapy involves giving a patient very small doses of the substance that they are allergic to. This causes the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Should a patient's spouse surreptitiously inform the patient's physician that the patient is intentionally refusing to report an important symptom? I am guessing that the "unforthcoming patient" situation happens frequently, because several of my own doctors over the years have said to me, "Is there anything else you should tell ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 38-year-old daughter has an impacted stomach. The doctors gave her antibiotics to take with her food. She still cannot eat much, because it makes her so sick to eat anything. She tries eating soft foods like soup. She's tough, and has had Type 1 diabetes since age 11. Can you help with any suggestions? -- R.P.
ANSWER: It ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife's handicap parking placard expired, and she asked her primary care physician to fill out a renewal application. The new placard was received, followed by a letter from the DMV instructing my wife to return her license within 10 days because a medical professional had deemed it unsafe for her to drive. There was no ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband and I recently achieved the near impossible task of becoming attached to a family doctor! After many years without getting tested, our first order of business was a complete blood panel test, which -- to our horror -- showed that we both have high cholesterol. Our results are almost identical with high HDL, normal LDL,...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What causes a sudden feeling of being nervous and having your chest beat hard and restless? One time, I ran to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack, but all test results came back normal, including my electrocardiogram, hormone level, potassium, complete blood count, cholesterol, uric acid, liver, blood ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My brother-in-law (age 78) recently developed dementia. Everything after the age of about 20 is gone for him, and he lives in the past, though he does still connect with my sister. For some time now, he has taken a psychopharmaceutical (Zoloft) for PTSD, stemming from earlier experiences. My question is, what is there to do in ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 59-year-old female in good health, except for my rheumatoid arthritis, which is controlled with a prescription of methotrexate.
My question pertains to Pap smears. My OB-GYN says that guidelines indicate Pap smears are to be done every three years, unless there is a complication. My most recent one, last month, came back ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 66-year-old male diagnosed about 15 years ago with mild coronary artery disease, with some blockages in my peripheral arteries. I was taking the maximum recommended dosage of pravastatin to maintain a low cholesterol, but I experienced complete ruptures of both Achilles tendons. These incidences occurred five years apart, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 66-year-old woman who recently had an ECG prior to my knee surgery. The interpretation I received stated that I had an abnormal ECG with a "left anterior fascicular block." Needless to say, this alarmed me. I saw a nurse practitioner who stated: "Don't be concerned by the language; your doctor viewed the ECG and said it ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My romantic partner of one year (a 51-year-old male) is being treated for prostate cancer with Eligard. He received a second injection two months ago. I am satisfied with our level of sexual intimacy, even though it has not included penetration. He is frustrated that his sexual desire has decreased. This is not about an erection,...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read on the internet that coffee is full of antioxidants. Is this true? -- L.C.
ANSWER: The simple answer is that yes, coffee has lots of antioxidants. At least six different families of antioxidant compounds are found in coffee that has been roasted and brewed, the way coffee is almost always consumed in North America.
What ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have osteoporosis. My mother had it very badly, so I was screened and treated early. I've had a five-year-long Reclast prescription, and I worry about my chance of a femur fracture. My T-score for my hip is -3.4 and has worsened despite the Reclast. Prolia scares the heck out of me. I just wonder if you know anything about ...Read more