DEAR DR. ROACH: I will never willingly get a vaccine for anything. I have been sick only once in my life, and it was from a vaccination that I received in the seventh grade. I am now 80. Besides my bad experience, I do not get vaccinations because I do not know what they are. Also, I do not know the difference between a virus, a germ and ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 56-year-old-female with very high lipoprotein(a) and am wondering if I should be as concerned about it as I am. I became aware of it in 2018) after I was tested as part of an executive-type physical. After almost two years of looking for a doctor to take my concern seriously, I was tested again. I also had a carotid ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently, a well-respected consumer organization ran an article asserting that hundreds of thousands of people die every year just from eating deli meat! The problem is supposedly that the nitrates and/or nitrites in the meat combine to make nitrosamines, which are supposedly carcinogenic.
Just what evidence is there that ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My doctor started me on Wellbutrin 150 mg XL for depression, but I have had terrible insomnia. She said it would get better in two to four weeks, but I am having severe anxiety due to not sleeping. Do you have any suggestions? -- N.M.N.
ANSWER: Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is an antidepression medicine in another kind of class from ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: At the end of January, I had my yearly physical, and my doctor recommended that I start taking a statin drug. I am a female, 71 years old and take no prescription drugs now. At the end of the physical the doctor told me that I am "very healthy."
My cholesterol is 212 with an HDL of 39. My blood pressure is 106/60. I chose to ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent column on the value of the shingles vaccination. In 1991, I had a mastectomy and, as a precautionary measure, I had my other breast removed in 1994, with all lymph nodes removed in both arms. After my surgeries my instructions were never to have blood taken, blood pressure or injections in either arm. I ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife had a laparotomy several months ago, and she lost the hearing in her right ear, possibly from an antibiotic given (intravenous vancomycin). She has had four steroid injections into the right ear, to no avail. She now has to be fitted with a hearing aid. What is the likelihood of her hearing ever coming back, and why did ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Our excellent insurance allows for a yearly wellness visit at no cost. My regular copay is a very reasonable $10. So, the cost is not the real issue. For the past few years, after my visit, I have received a bill for $10, with the explanation that while the wellness visit was free, I was being charged for a regular visit also. ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I know an elderly woman who has been taking 60 milligrams of NP thyroid, then she needed a new doctor, who prescribed 37.5 micrograms of levothyroxine. Why would the new doctor change her thyroid medication when she is having no problems with the NP? Ever since the change, she suffers from headaches in the left rear side of her ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have primary biliary cirrhosis, for which I take Actigall. My numbers are good now. I have had loose bowel movements since a colonoscopy several months ago, and sometimes I do not make it to the bathroom in time! My doctors have not given me any advice. -- S.P.
ANSWER: Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune disease, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 80-year-old man who still has psychological drive, but who has lost the physical ability for an erection. Is there any safe way to restore this? I have had multiple bypass surgeries, so I am fearful of medicines like Viagra or Cialis, but I wonder about the safety of testosterone. -- F.E.D.
ANSWER: Although older men ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My grandson is 26 years old and has a rare disease called pseudohypoparathyroidism. The only doctor in our area who knows this disease has only ever seen one case. The medicine my grandson is on is not working and causes bad headaches. His back hurts. He also has blood in his urine and can't work. He takes .5 milligrams of ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Short of amputation, what's the best one can expect in minimizing the sporadic but harsh symptoms of restless legs? -- J.M.
ANSWER: Restless legs syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, is an underdiagnosed condition. The major symptom involves an overwhelming urge to move the legs, often in conjunction with other symptoms, ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I walked into a glass wall and hurt my nose. It swelled up immediately and later developed bruising. My friend told me to ice it, but that an emergency room visit wasn't necessary. Now I'm wondering if I should have gone. What's the right thing to do when you think you might have broken your nose? -- A.T.G.
ANSWER: Moderate to ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My son had a pacemaker placed in 2013 and got it checked every four months. He developed an ulcer on his coccyx. He was being seen every two or three weeks in a wound clinic, and I was told it was 98% healed. The visiting nurse came between visits to the doctor and sent him to the emergency room because of a bad odor.
The ER ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 62-year-old woman who has dealt with heart palpitations for many years. I have seen a cardiologist, and after many tests -- including a heart catheterization after a false positive on my stress test -- he has determined that I have a strong heart with no problems. I have told him repeatedly about the episodes I have where ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a nonsmoking woman living with a smoker. He smoked cigarettes outside. Now he is vaping, but inside. How dangerous is secondhand vape smoke? I am having a problem finding any information on the subject. Could you please inform me? -- H.D.
ANSWER: You can't find much because there is little known. It is known that vape "...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a male, 67 years old, and I am afflicted with urinary problems -- having to urinate several times a night, burning after urinating and the need to urinate often in small amounts only. My doctor prescribed tamsulosin, 0.4 mg. For more than a year, I have taken one capsule every night 30 minutes after supper.
After a few ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a very active 78-year-old woman. I had a CT scan for calcium and an aneurysm of the ascending thoracic aorta was found. In 2014 it measured 3.6 cm and in 2019 3.7. My doctor flippantly said "I'll see you in five years." No other comments from him. Is there anything I can do to slow it down? All I've read is that with an ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 84-year-old white male who is undergoing a procedure next week. My pre-op CAT scan results showed many "white spots" in both upper legs, and I'm told that this plaque is a calcium-based substance. This caused me to ask the physician assistant if the pH of a person's blood could be turned slightly acidic so it would slowly...Read more