DEAR DR. ROACH: I am wondering if there is a safer inhaler to use in place of an albuterol inhaler. I have high blood pressure that, at times, is very difficult to control. I have not yet tried the albuterol inhaler. I was prepared to, but stopped before doing so after reading the side effects and potential dangers to the heart for someone with ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 52-year-old sister was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol. She has significant financial resources and gold-standard health care. Her liver has failed to bounce back. This month, she was placed on a liver-transplant list. How long can my sister live with alcoholic liver cirrhosis while awaiting a liver ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a friend who lost weight on a diet designed to speed up metabolism. It seems very complicated and restrictive, and counters a lot of things I always thought to be true about weight loss, including the importance of "calories in/calories out." Is there any research to support this diet, and do you think it is a realistic ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 79 years old and have had three separate incidences of epididymitis -- not the same side, but all responding to Cipro. Why do old guys get these infections? -- D.M.
ANSWER: Male genitourinary anatomy is complex. Here's an overview:
Sperm are made in the testes. The epididymis is a structure in the male testicle, sitting on...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: After decades of feeling fatigued, I started working with a naturopathic doctor. She ordered a saliva test for my total cortisol output, which was normal at 27. She also ordered a full thyroid panel (also normal) and a test for Epstein-Barr virus antibodies. My levels are: EBV IgM is less than 36, and EBV Nuclear Antigen, IgG is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 60-year-old husband is a longtime alcoholic. He is also bipolar. His current drug of choice is cough syrup. He drinks a bottle a day or more of generic cough syrup without alcohol. At age 59, he was diagnosed with early dementia, which I attribute to the cough syrup abuse, as he doesn't have the other risk factors of age or ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: How many people must buy the three-part series of HPV vaccine for about $500 to prevent one case of cancer? You easily can find the facts if you bother to check. I am not saying that there are no benefits to the HPV vaccine or that it isn't safe. I am saying that all claims about medicines should be checked; otherwise, we are ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am interested in finding out more about steroids in sports, but I am having a hard time finding medical research on anabolic steroids. One source I found even stated: "There has been no scientific research performed to find out the effect of a specific amount of steroid on a weight-training program." I find this hard to believe...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you said that companies can pay doctors to promote a product. Can these doctors promote a product in their office when it is to just one patient? If they do, I feel that it would be crossing the line of ethical conduct. -- C.G.
ANSWER: Promoting a product to one or more patients indeed would be unethical. ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have never gotten the flu vaccine. Years ago, it was believed to be too dangerous for anyone with an autoimmune condition. They said that the body could not handle the vaccine and that it was actually dangerous to receive it. I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
I value your knowledge and opinion. Please tell me if that's true. I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I love fish and chips. I eat them once a month. I have tuna and other fish throughout the month as well. Quite often, the fishy odors linger for days until all remnants have left my body. Is there anything I can do to counteract the smell? I feel that others can tell when I have eaten fish. The odor comes from my mouth, my urine ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Regarding urine collection in boot camp, I had the same experience in the fall of 1962. As I remember the story, after a few weeks in "captivity," our systems were cleaned out and our urine had medical value. A nearby drug company used it.
I often have wondered about this, and would be most interested to know more. The military ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is there anything that I could take for an enlarged prostate that would allow me to donate blood? I have been trying saw palmetto and pygeum. Thank you. -- M.J.C.
ANSWER: One class of medicines used to treat an enlarged prostate is called the 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. These work by blocking a type of testosterone called ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Why does every article mention the formal name of drugs, and then the popular name? For example, you recently mentioned "apixiban (Eliquis)." Could the world still function with ONLY one name per product? -- G.N.R.
ANSWER: Every drug has not just two, but usually three names: a precise chemical name, which can be very long and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: There is a very easy cure for hot flashes -- and it works! Take 400 units of vitamin E twice a day. The flashes will disappear in three days. This has worked for countless women for years. Why don't doctors know about this? -- S.P.B.
ANSWER: Researchers have evaluated vitamin E for the treatment of hot flashes. One study found ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is physically fit and works out daily through biking, elliptical trainer, playing hockey, working outside, etc. He is of appropriate weight, and his cholesterol and sugar numbers are normal, as is his blood pressure. What concerns me is his diet. Every day, he eats meat -- red meat, pork or chicken. He also eats lunch ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: A recent MRI of my internal auditory canals revealed an incidental finding of "microangiographic changes" in the area of the pons. I am 65 years old, do not smoke or drink, exercise rather vigorously for an hour almost every day, eat sensibly, am not diabetic and have normal cholesterol and blood pressure without medication. Can ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 89-year-old husband died two years ago, and it has been a great sorrow and puzzlement to me and his family that his death certificate listed the cause of death as Lewy body disease. Yes, he had some dementia for the last two and a half months of his life, when he was in the hospital and then in a nursing home (where he got C-...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 69-year-old male with very low testosterone levels. My doctor started me on a testosterone cream and increased the frequency of application twice, trying to get my testosterone blood levels to "normal" without success. He then switched me to injections, increased the amount of the injections, then the frequency, and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Several months ago, you had an article in the paper about an 82-year-old man who had a constipation problem. You mentioned a couple of medications to take. I am an 82-year-old man, and just shortly after that article I became constipated for a couple of days. My wife told me to take ex-lax; I took it for two or three days, and it...Read more