Health & Spirit

Vapor may be better than smoke, but best is quitting both

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I quit smoking about six months ago and was able to resist the temptation to smoke again because I took up vaping immediately afterward. Thanks to vaping, I think this time I will be able to stay off of cigarette smoking permanently after unsuccessfully quitting a half dozen times over the years. I recently read some very ...Read more

Honey has long been used as a treatment for wound care

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, a reader questioned the advice of their doctor to use Vaseline rather than an antibiotic ointment on a surgical incision following removal of skin cancer. The doctor stated concern about antibiotic resistance, and you added that antibiotic creams could cause skin irritations.

I have had eight surgical ...Read more

More advice for women taking aromatase inhibitors

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a medical oncologist, specializing in breast cancer, at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.

In regard to your recent column on side effects of aromatase inhibitors, there are other approaches to helping women stay on potentially life-saving anti-estrogen therapies in addition to "regular exercise and anti-...Read more

No need to rush surgery for some types of abdominal hernia

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A few years ago, I developed visible fat between my naval and my rib cage. My doctor told me that it's a ventral hernia, which is nothing serious. I was told surgery is an option but not necessary. I am a female, 75 years old. Should I be concerned? -- A.M.

ANSWER: If your doctor is right, which I have no reason to doubt, you ...Read more

It's time for your annual flu vaccine

Health / Keith Roach /

DR. ROACH WRITES: If you haven't gotten your influenza vaccine yet, it's time to think about it. This year's vaccine is similar to last year's, but two of the components have been updated to match the strains that are circulating worldwide and expected to be epidemic in North America. In fact, this year's decision on which specific types to ...Read more

Mono is no fun

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Our 18-year-old has been exposed to mono. Can you provide some information about this disease, including symptoms, treatment, complications and dangers of exposure to other family members, including toddlers and senior citizens? -- F.J.M.

ANSWER: Infectious mononucleosis symptoms can be caused by several viruses and one parasite...Read more

For the best ride, consult a professional bike fitter

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am writing to you about an orthopedic problem for which I hope you can suggest a treatment. Apparently, not having my bike saddle high enough has caused pain in the right side of my right knee. Cycling is now my primary source of exercise, as I am no longer a runner.

The pain occurs when I walk and to some extent when I cycle,...Read more

Knowing when to go to the emergency room can be tricky

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I recently had an episode of food poisoning with vomiting and diarrhea. It lasted four hours. I live alone. I'm 84, and in good health except for chronic atrial fibrillation and well-controlled high blood pressure. My question is, When does it become serious enough to call a doctor, and how do I determine if it is one of the ...Read more

Assessing the risks of secondhand cigarette smoke

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My mom recently passed from COPD. She smoked for 50 years, while pregnant and all through our childhood. Riding in the car was the worst. My question is, How will the secondhand smoke we were subjected to impact our health in the long term? Is there anything we should do or mention to our doctors? My siblings and I are in our 50s...Read more

Using a CPAP machine won't trigger vertigo

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was recently prescribed a CPAP machine for mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. I have a history of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and wondered if the pressure of the CPAP might cause the vertigo to kick in. -- L.B.

ANSWER: Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is believed to be caused by calcium crystals in the organ ...Read more

Gustatory rhinitis might be cause of after-dinner 'sneezures'

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Frequently, after eating and most often after dinner, I begin to sneeze. The sneezing goes on up to 10 times. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat or where I am. My husband calls the episodes "sneezures," and we found that if he tickles me, I start to laugh and the "sneezures" cease. I've tried to research this phenomenon with no...Read more

Choose the right fish to avoid eating too much mercury

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I love fish, but I am worried about mercury. I read that one could get too much mercury by eating too much fish. I can find no reference to mercury on the packaging. I also like to finish a package before going on to something else. By eating fish three or four times a week, am I getting too much mercury at one time? -- G.W.H.

...Read more

An expert's help with hearing aid is critical

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What can help a senior citizen with profound hearing loss? Many audiologists say a hearing aid can definitely help, but it seems it never happens. Mild and moderate hearing loss do well with amplification, but severe and profound are a different ballgame. What about a cochlear implant? -- G.P.

ANSWER: Hearing loss is measured in...Read more

People with autism need understanding, not destructive 'cure'

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: A friend took her autistic son to a clinic in Mexico where he was fed a bleach solution that was supposed to cure his autism, but instead it made him very sick. He was deeply distressed and regressed in his behavior, and there was nothing my friend could do because in Mexico these kinds of clinics are allowed to operate with ...Read more

Autoimmune disease targets connection of nerves and muscle

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What can you tell me about myasthenia gravis? My dear friend was diagnosed with it and hospitalized for eight days. She is able to walk and move about, but now, six weeks later, she is still on a liquid diet and unable to move any of her facial muscles. -- I.M.

ANSWER: Myasthenia gravis, from the Latin and Greek for "serious ...Read more

Leaking mitral valve lets blood move backward within heart

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 87 and have survived melanoma, which is now under control. I garden, grow flowers and landscape daily. I keep busy two to three hours a day outside. But last week I was winded from a 12-step steep staircase. I was amazed.

My doctor noted that I have "nonrheumatic mitral valve insufficiency." Does this explain my shortness of...Read more

Is a foot box the answer to relieving nighttime foot cramps?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a very healthy 74-year-old male. I am not on any medications and enjoy normal blood pressure and great stats from my regular bloodwork. I weigh 140 pounds and have been exercising every day faithfully for decades.

A couple of years ago, I started getting cramps in both legs throughout the night. My toes would curl down and ...Read more

Lifestyle changes can be life-changing, with dedicated effort

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I ran across a recent article of yours about carotid artery stenosis. In this article you state that "there is no miracle food, drink or supplement that can clear out arteries."

This is actually not true. I'd like to point out Dr. Dean Ornish's work as well as Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's work on heart disease. Both doctors showed ...Read more

Testing for tuberculosis recommended only for those at risk

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a nursing student in my 30s and originally from the Philippines. As part of my testing, I had a skin test for tuberculosis, which was positive. I had a friend in the hospital recently with tuberculosis. My doctor has recommended that I get treated for latent tuberculosis. What does this mean? -- A.C.S.

ANSWER: Most people ...Read more

Balancing the risks of heart disease and stroke

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent article on statins/strokes piqued my interest since you mentioned that statins might cause hemorrhagic strokes. My husband had a hemorrhagic stroke in 2014, cause unknown. The stroke caused aphasia and seizures. He was prescribed Crestor 10 mg and then increased it to 20 mg. His calcium score is very high.

He also ...Read more


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