DEAR DR. ROACH: I am currently on rituximab immunotherapy. I have had my first Moderna vaccine, and my second shot is scheduled in four weeks. My oncologist is not sure how the rituximab affects the immunization and the effectiveness of the vaccine. Can you explain how people on immunotherapy should most effectively take the vaccine while ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'd like to know what kind of damage to look out for after being a heavy drinker between the ages of 19 and 40, at which age the drinking slowed to a comparative trickle. I used to have many binge events plus regular consumption three to four nights a week and now have a couple of glasses on weekends. The data on alcohol-related ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I've had regular swab tests for COVID-19, which have always been negative. The last one was just a few days ago. I had an antibody test six weeks ago that also was negative, but my antibody test this time was strongly positive. I've been very careful about protecting myself and I haven't had any symptoms! I'm scheduled to get my ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had low GFR readings ranging from 53 to 37 for the past 15 years. I'm an 87-year-old female in good health. I do strength training and Pilates, and am quite active walking my dog and doing my own yardwork. I've had heart disease for 10 years with no symptoms, and echocardiograms are normal.
My cholesterol runs around 180,...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife and I tested positive for COVID-19 on December 20, 2020. Due to our ages, we qualify to receive a vaccine now. But we have heard and read conflicting advice relating to the appropriate vaccination timing for people who have tested positive, ranging from get it as soon as you can, to wait 90 days after the positive COVID ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What is celiac artery compression syndrome? I'm told I have this, and it's causing an aneurysm that needs to get repaired. I found out on a scan taken for another reason. I have had some pain after eating. -- I.J.M.
ANSWER: The celiac artery is one of three large arteries that provide blood to the abdominal organs, especially ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My doctor is insisting I take cholesterol medicine after I've refused to take it for years. I am 66 years old, and my total cholesterol is 301 (triglycerides 76, HDL 83 and LDL 206). He has prescribed rosuvastatin, 20 mg a day. I feel with my triglycerides and my HDL being good levels that perhaps the dose may be a little ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have had over 50 vaccinations in my life (I'm 78), most of them while I was in the military. I have often wondered how the vaccine spreads throughout the body, as the shots are almost always given in the upper arm. I would welcome your explanation of what exactly takes place. Pardon my ignorance. -- C.C.
ANSWER: Recognizing ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 78-year-old woman. Last September I had severe pain in my right hand. The pain was so bad that I had to go to the emergency room, where they did an MRI. Results showed I have cervical radiculopathy, a pinched nerve in my neck. They put me on hydrocodone and prednisone. A few days later I had extreme pain in both upper arms...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My mother was diagnosed with right frontal lobe meningioma 17 years ago when she was 83 years old. Surgery was successful in that most of it was removed and it was found to be nonmalignant. The doctor told us he couldn't remove it completely, and that it was a very slow-growing type of tumor and wouldn't return for about 20 years...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My doctor recently retired, my new one is very concerned about my systolic blood pressure, which was 150. I made quarterly visits to my old doctor, who never had a comment about my pressure numbers. My new doctor wants me on medication, and we agreed I would buy a home blood pressure machine to check my pressure.
I recorded it ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Is it safe for me to get the COVID-19 vaccine or will getting the vaccine make my tachycardia or other symptoms worse? -- K.K.
ANSWER: The body goes through a complex set of changes to adapt to an upright posture. When changing from reclining to sitting or standing, the heart and...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I participated in a research study and received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 30. I have lab-confirmed antibodies. Gyms are known to be especially susceptible to the virus spreading, but is it reasonably safe to return to the gym after having the vaccine and taking normal precautions? I haven't been to the gym in...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 73-year-old male with continued pain in my right foot and ankle for the past five years. I try to stay active by golfing two days a week in season, and I walk 3 miles four times weekly around the neighborhood. The pain started about five years ago after a very active week of walking five days straight. My family doctor ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I was sick for two weeks at home with the coronavirus and made a complete recovery. Why wouldn't recovering from the virus be at least as good as getting the vaccine? I've heard that I'm probably safe for three to eight months. Surely, they don't expect the vaccine to be good for only three to eight months, although I know that ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My daughter-in-law has anxiety attacks. It gets so bad that she ends up throwing up. She has seen a doctor, but so far it has not helped. Can you give her any advice? -- M.L.
ANSWER: Anxiety is something that nearly everyone has felt when confronted by a difficult, unexpected or time-consuming problem. An anxiety disorder is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently had an EKG that showed first-degree heart block and "inferior infarct, age undetermined." What does that mean? What should I do to make sure it doesn't get worse? I will be seeing a cardiologist in a few months to get an exercise stress echo. What is that? -- C.P.
ANSWER: The EKG uses the electrical activity in the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: About two weeks ago, I received the vaccine for COVID-19. By the next day I had a great deal of pain in the shoulder area where the vaccine was administered. For about five days, I could barely lift my arm. It is still sore but the pain is subsiding, and I can now fully raise my arm. If the vaccine got into the bursa (as ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 76-year-old man who was treated for prostate cancer starting in summer 2017. Following radiation therapy, I was given Lupron injections every six months for two years. It's been two years since my last injection, but I still experience hot flashes as a result. Will these hot flashes stay with me for the rest of my life? My ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: You have written about PPIs such as Prilosec, which I have successfully taken for over 10 years to fight a severe case of GERD with a small hiatal hernia.
However, what is your opinion on my long-term usage (which has been a true lifesaver) and continuing it essentially forever? My gastro specialist seems to be of the "keep ...Read more