DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. A spine specialist has advised surgery to fuse vertebrae in two places. I have already had surgery to remove a herniated disk on both these vertebrae and spinal epidurals with limited success.
Recently a friend suggested inversion therapy using a teeter ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there any risk starting the two-step process for the new shingles vaccine given the COVID-19 virus? My husband had the original shingles vaccine, and he has also contracted shingles. Should he get the new vaccine? He doesn't believe it is necessary. -- L.M.
ANSWER: Several people have asked whether the new shingles vaccine ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is prediabetes reversible, and if not, is it permissible to eat sweets and starches in moderation if you have it? -- C.W.
ANSWER: In many cases, prediabetes can be reversed. In North America, by far the most common type of diabetes is Type 2, and a major risk factor is being overweight.
As a rule, our diets include far too much...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 65 and get very little exercise due to a below-the-knee amputation I had 27 years ago. Although I have a prosthesis, I experience open sores. I have been diagnosed with severe arthritis and severe osteoporosis. My doctor has me taking alendronate, calcium and vitamin B. A recent column of yours and the info in the box of ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 80 years old. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I am taking methimazole 10 milligrams, two tabs daily. Whenever the endocrinologist reduces the tablets to once daily, my TSH remains low. I am also taking metoprolol. I read on my computer that beta blockers interfere with the absorption of methimazole. ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a problem called "shy bladder," which has put me in a legal predicament. I was pulled over for speeding (which I was). After passing a breathalyzer twice, I was taken to the police station to give a urine sample. I was unable to do so.
I was told I was acting nervous, but I was on the verge of a panic attack from anxiety....Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My son-in-law had Guillain-Barre as a child, and is now 39 and a new father. He has an executive job with nothing strenuous. He cannot get the flu shot and consequently got the flu. He has been diagnosed with an infection around the heart and was hospitalized for several days.
No one seems able to cure this. Recently he was told...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 69 years old. I take no medications, and I'm in very good health. Fifteen years ago, I had a hip replacement and now it is starting to squeak when I walk.
It is a ceramic socket and a titanium ball. Is there any kind of cream I can rub on my hip or an injection I could get to lubricate the joint? When will I know that I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 77-year-old woman who suffered with urinary tract infections until my gynecologist prescribed estradiol, which I currently take.
The UTIs are now infrequent, but I am sleep deprived from waking up four or five times per night to go to the bathroom. I relieve myself before I go to bed and do not drink liquid after 4:00 p.m...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: A recent column on vaccines left me unable to complete all the dots.
An 80-year-old who has been sick only once (from a vaccination) stated that he/she will never willingly accept another vaccination. You conclude your column by suggesting that by being 80, this person should look forward to a vaccine for coronavirus. If I were ...Read more
Correction: In second from last paragraph, removed extraneous word "but" before "have prescribed it."
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 69-year-old woman developing arthritis in my fingers, especially the middle joints. I do various finger bending and straightening exercises, and I rub my hands together vigorously to warm them.
I recently visited a hand ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a suggestion for the lady who complained of heart palpitations without any apparent underlying causes. My late uncle, when staying in our house, always requested a big glass of water by his bed in case heart palpitations awoke him. He said that drinking water stopped palpitations each time.
It also works for me and others...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am going to be 98 in July. A few months ago, I had a bad cough for weeks. My internist gave me guaifenesin with codeine. The medicine got rid of the cough, but I developed the inability to urinate. I went to the ER and they drained 2 liters of urine from my bladder. I had to go home with a catheter. I don't have pain, but I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In 2017, my white blood cell count was 8.9 and my lymphocytes were 3.2. My recent blood tests showed a second increase in both numbers, with the WBC 10.2 and lymphocytes 4.8. My doctor said he has many patients who are 70 and older with increased levels and that we will flag it for a follow up next year. I am worried about this ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a relative who fits the description of intermittent explosive disorder, which I recently read about. Could you please tell me what kind of therapy a person would need if diagnosed with this problem? -- T.M.
ANSWER: Intermittent explosive disorder is an impulse control disorder: an inability to restrain behaviors related ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 82-year-old female. I started to have mild low-back pain a year ago, and it escalated to sciatica in my left leg and finally culminated in a pain crisis requiring hospitalization. My treatment goal in the hospital was pain control. Following an epidural injection, I am pretty well controlled with Tylenol and gabapentin ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My urologist's receptionist asks every person to leave a urine sample for testing. They ask without knowing the reason for the visit. I would not be surprised if they ask the UPS delivery person. My reason for most appointments is for a follow-up of BPH urination frequency, not any kind of infection, etc. When I ask if the test ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife and I are 74 and in good health. Recently, I started reading about vitamin D and its effect on the immune system. We both had a vitamin D blood test for the first time ever, despite having almost yearly blood tests for the past 40 years. My level was 32 nanograms per milliliter, and hers was 22. She is now taking 50,000 ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 58-year-old male with seasonal allergies. I often take the generic versions of Zyrtec and Claritin to deal with the symptoms. While neither of those makes me drowsy, I do sleep much better -- usually longer, and I don't wake up in the middle of the night after taking either of these medications. This is more pronounced with...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I give my wife an octreotide intramuscular injection monthly into the gluteal muscle. I was taught to pull back on the needle to be sure you aren't in a blood vessel. Sometimes, I am unable to inject the medication (just can't plunge the syringe) despite being sure the needle was working before injecting. If I try again in a ...Read more