Health Advice



Testosterone therapy shouldn't come from supplement aisle

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Television is full of ads touting testosterone and other body supplements that are supposed to take a 40-something male and turn his body back into a 20-year-old again. Their spokesmen are usually once-famous athletes who claim to have been able to rebuild body muscle and slow the aging process. My doctor at the veterans hospital...Read more

Does all family history increase risk of breast cancer?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 24-year-old woman. My mother had ductal carcinoma in situ in her mid-40s, successfully treated with surgery and radiation. One of my paternal aunts survived a malignant breast cancer. Am I considered high risk for breast cancer? I know my mom's cancer increases my risk, but does DCIS increase the risk level as much as a ...Read more

Rehab for cigarette smokers?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a question in terms of people who are addicted to smoking cigarettes. How come there aren't any rehabs for people addicted to cigarettes? I heard trying to quit smoking is much harder and more difficult than quitting heroin. Any ideas? -- C.A.M.

ANSWER: Tobacco smoking is incredibly difficult to quit. Many tobacco users ...Read more

How to avoid a daily dose of food-drug interaction

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've been taking levothyroxine for 30 years. I take my daily dosage at about 4 a.m. and eat breakfast at 6:30, more or less. I usually have the same breakfast: rolled oats with some flax meal, blueberries, pea milk and half a banana. I just read an article in the newspaper that says I should wait four hours before eating any ...Read more

When should COVID infection be blamed for heart block?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is COVID-19 infection a cause of heart block? I recently had a complete heart block, tested positive in the ER for COVID-19 (symptomless and post-vaccine), and was fitted with a permanent pacemaker. I'm 63, female, in good health except for a luckily nonsevere, 10-year diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome.

My cardiologist doesn't ...Read more

You can still do weight-bearing exercise at home indoors

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a healthy 79-year-old female who recently underwent a right total knee arthroplasty. In a routine post-operative X-ray there was indication of early osteopenia in my long bones. I live in Montana and walk regularly during the summer months, but during winter it is more difficult. I have an exercise bike and can change the ...Read more

CHEK2 is one of many breast cancer genetic mutations

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a healthy 63-year-old woman. My 29-year-old niece was just diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She discovered that she carries a mutation of her CHEK2 gene. Her father, who is my brother, also has the gene. Should I get tested for the gene and should my children be tested? What can you tell me about the CHEK2 gene? -- D...Read more

A straight answer on what constitutes excessive NSAID use

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an active 72-year-old male in good health. I do, however, suffer from arthritis in my left ankle, the result of a broken bone while playing football in high school. When the pain flares, I take an Aleve, and it provides quick and nearly total relief. I have read that the excessive use of Aleve can result in kidney damage. My...Read more

What's worse: allergy symptoms or allergy med side effects?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I suffer from frequent allergic sneezing and coughing. Every day I seem to sneeze and sniffle. A daily Zyrtec controls the symptoms, but I am reluctant to take it daily as I understand it is an anticholinergic and continual use can have cognitive effects and cause other issues. I also have friends who use ipratropium every day ...Read more

Cinnamon supplement appears to effect glucose reading

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had slightly elevated glucose levels (104-109) for several years. I found a dietary supplement of cinnamon, vitamin D and chromium. I took the directed amount for a period of time and had a glucose test of 61. I don't know if it was a fluke or not. A recent A1C test came in at 5.9%. I backed off that dosage and now take ...Read more

Some medicines can make blood sugar control harder

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been prediabetic for around 13 years and had been able to keep it that way though diet and exercise -- no medications for it. But the real issue now is that I have developed congestive heart failure, which probably sounds worse than it really is. However, the medications I have been given for it (Lasix, spironolactone, ...Read more

Compression stockings to the rescue

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My 86-year-old mother has swollen ankles. Usually, her ankles will swell only in the summertime, but this year they have not deflated. A blood test this year indicated that she had low sodium, so her cardiologist told her to reduce her water/fluid intake and increase her salt intake (by drinking V-8 juice). She is on three blood ...Read more

Dementia caused by fish oil? Not likely!

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Since I suffer from age-associated cognitive impairment, I read with interest an advertisement that claims that this condition may be caused by fish oil, which I have been taking regularly for many years. That ad says that "a highly-acclaimed MD" states that today's low-grade supermarket fish oil is causing the surge in America's...Read more

For coffee benefits, it doesn't matter if it's caffeinated or decaf

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I switched from drinking caffeinated coffee to Swiss water process decaffeinated coffee about two years ago. The reason I switched to decaf is that I was experiencing dizziness when I would get out of bed at night to use the restroom. The dizziness lasted for only a few seconds, but it was unsettling. My doctor suggested ...Read more

What could be the cause of mysterious hot flashes?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old male. I walk a mile every day, have a pacemaker and hearing aids, and use a CPAP machine. All in all, I feel pretty good, but there is something that bothers me and my doctor has no answer. Several times a day, or at night in bed, with no consistency, I get hot flashes and a cold sweat, starting at my head and...Read more

Blood pressure med caused terrible leg cramps

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have high blood pressure, and I hope that you can advise me. For 10 years, I have suffered with terrible leg cramps in one or both calves. I visited numerous doctors in order to learn what the cause was. Not one practitioner questioned the blood pressure medicine that I had been taking: amlodipine. My research showed that in ...Read more

Enlarged prostate and overactive bladder play alternating roles

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 77 years old and have a quite enlarged prostate, according to my doctor. Often, an hour or so after I drink a cup of coffee, I'll feel like I have to urinate. If I'm in the middle of doing something trivial and try to put it off, it will become more and more urgent to the point where I will start to leak. Once I start to ...Read more

To aspirate or not to aspirate before a shot? Both are OK

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Would it be reasonable for me to ask the tech to aspirate the plunger when I go for a vaccine? I understand that the veins in the shoulder are rarely accessible to an IM needle, but still, I would not mind the extra 5 to 10 seconds of discomfort while the tech looks to see if blood has appeared because the needle is in a vein. ...Read more

Is reluctance to prescribe certain medications warranted?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently, I've noted within the medical community a dramatic increase in resistance to prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines at the same time. I have been taking one 0.5 mg clonazepam at night for insomnia and one, or at the most two, 5 mg Percocet per day for pain as needed. Since the Percocet is "as needed," I've probably ...Read more

Cataract surgery switches out a cloudy lens for a clearer view

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: When should a person have cataract surgery, and can you ever have them removed? I am concerned, as I am a 65-year-old male with cataracts. Can glasses be prescribed so I never need surgery? I ask because I know people who had surgery and had a special lens put in (may I add, not covered by insurance) and did well at first then ...Read more



Mike Du Jour Steve Breen Non Sequitur Kirk Walters Bob Englehart Kevin Siers