Health Advice



Limited data available on probiotic use to prevent disease

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have started a long-term treatment taking a "cocktail" of four different antibiotics (Bactrim, Rifadin, Zithromax and Myambutol). I have been advised that I may suffer gastrointestinal side effects because this group of antibiotics will not only be killing bacteria related to my MAC (mycobacterium avium complex) infection, but ...Read more

Medical cannabis can be a pain management tool

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Would you please offer your take on this situation regarding pain management and opioid use? I suffer from chronic pain due in part to degenerative disc disease and stenosis. Combined with neuropathy, severe arthritis and fibromyalgia, this has rendered me unable to work or to even perform the most basic tasks like walking, ...Read more

When your eyes don't agree, that's double vision

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Recently I didn't take my blood pressure meds for a few days, which I know was foolish. All of a sudden, my vision went sideways. By this, I mean I was seeing differently out of each eye. I don't know if you'd call it double vision, but I was driving when this happened. It was a short distance and traffic was light, so I tried ...Read more

In most cases, leave surgical hardware where it is

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 75-year-old female. In 2012, I broke my ankle and they put in a plate and six screws on one side, and one screw on the other side. I've been reading that one should not leave the screws in for the rest of their life, because it can cause problems with the bones, causing arthritis. I can touch and feel the screw heads. The ...Read more

Short naps can be a boon for night-shift workers

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Naps are a big part of the day for most of my adult friends. Please comment on their significance and any techniques that increase their value. What are good times of day to nap? What about length of naps? -- N.M.G.

ANSWER: Some people do very well with naps; others do not. In general, I don't advise people for or against naps ...Read more

What's the next step for osteoarthritis of the spine?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 68 and have osteoarthritis all over -- neck, spine, hips, knees, shoulders, hands -- and all are getting worse. One hip was replaced two years ago, and my shoulder was replaced four months ago. Four years ago, X-rays showed arthritis in my spine and severe stenosis in lower lumbar (L4-L5). I'm at the point now where I can't ...Read more

The controversy over estrogen reduction and ED

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a bad case of erectile dysfunction. I am 80 years old and otherwise in good health. I have received an ad in the mail that says it is not a lack of testosterone, but rather too much estrogen in the body. They make a lot of promises, but it scares me to reduce estrogen without further knowledge. What do you know? How can I ...Read more

After prostate cancer treatment, prognosis remains good

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 68 and have prostate cancer. I had PSAs, an MRI and a biopsy. My Gleason score was a high 7. No genetic testing as I can recall. My urologist said I had "upper moderate" cancer and that I could remove my prostate or do radiation therapy. I underwent three months of radiation treatment from September to November 2020. I've ...Read more

Searching for the cause of shortness of breath

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old male and have exercised daily all my adult life. I take a baby aspirin and 10 mg pravastatin daily. I have eaten very little red meat since I was 40.

I had an EKG in 2020 that showed a heart attack, but my cardiologist said that with no shortness of breath, "not to worry -- the EKG was probably wrong." In 2021...Read more

Does a history of blood clots preclude future pregnancy?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a question about blood clot history and pregnancy. I'm in my mid-30s, married without children, and just experienced my first blood clot. It started in the vein on the inside of my calf but then moved to just below my knee. My doctor prescribed Eliquis after the clot moved, and I am starting to feel MUCH better.

I know to...Read more

The heart doesn't explode, but it can rupture

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What causes heart explosion? I heard that it can relate to a heart attack. I knew of two people who had it. How often does it happen? -- L.B.

ANSWER: The heart doesn't actually explode, so I suspect you are talking about rupture of the wall of the left ventricle, which fortunately is a rare complication of a large heart attack. ...Read more

What's the prognosis for 'microvascular disease'?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 80-year-old active male taking only thyroxine. I have no known health issues. In November 2021, I experienced a migraine with aura and have a slight vision loss in my right eye. After seeing an eye doctor, a retinal specialist and a primary care doctor, the only thing I am hearing is the term "microvascular disease." This...Read more

Rh factor can complicate pregnancy for Mom and baby

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife is Rh negative, and I am Rh positive. Our baby (fetus) is positive. I am worried about my wife and my baby. Is this dangerous? What can be done? This is her second pregnancy. -- H.D.

ANSWER: Blood types are complicated. A simple version that's familiar is the A, B and O types. An additional layer to that is the RhD ...Read more

Is it or isn't it cancer?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In 2015, I was diagnosed with a myeloproliferative neoplasm, essential thrombocythemia. My question is simple: Is it cancer or not? There seems to be a fundamental disagreement between my oncologist and my hematologist about the "c" label. Not that it makes any difference treatment-wise, but I would like clarification. -- L.F.F. ...Read more

Panic attacks resumed when reader weaned off meds

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I've been on Cymbalta for 16 years. I had had panic attacks, and my doctor suggested it, along with talk therapy. After a year, my therapist told me they weren't made to be used long term and I should eventually wean myself off them. I did at one point and was good for about seven months, at which point the panic attacks came ...Read more

The relationship between estrogen and uterine cancer risk

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR. DR. ROACH: I saw a recent reply to a letter about estrogen and wanted to ask my own related questions. I'm a 93-year-old woman with many of the problems and issues of others my age. When I was going through menopause, my doctor put me on oral estrogen. He said it was to protect my heart and bones. About 20 years later, I developed uterine ...Read more

Desiccant acts as a pill protector in bottles of medication

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I take telmisartan for high blood pressure. Included in each bottle is one of those tiny moisture-absorbent packs. Once the package is opened and I begin taking the pills, is it necessary to keep the dehydrator "pill" in the bottle, or can I discard it? I have, more than once, almost popped the dehydrator in my mouth, as it is so...Read more

The controversial role of eggs as a dietary component

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My friend thinks I eat too many eggs. I have eggs every day. I make an omelet of two egg whites and one whole egg about three or four times a week. Other days, I have omelets made with three egg whites. With my cholesterol in the 200-225 range, is that too many eggs? I am on a low-carb, high-protein, weight-loss plan. I have no ...Read more

Pain from ganglion cyst should prompt a checkup

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I had a ganglion cyst removed in 2018. I had no pain before it was removed, nor since -- until now. I can see a very small lump forming, and it seems to be hitting a nerve. There is pain. Is it important to get it checked out now? -- S.B.

ANSWER: A ganglion cyst is a common benign tumor, most frequently found in the hand and ...Read more

Wife's breathing problems require a deeper diagnosis

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife had nasal polyps removed many years ago and within a year was diagnosed with adult asthma. She also contracted MAI several years ago, for which she was treated. In the past, she had one or two difficult periods of breathing, and her pulmonary doctor prescribed prednisone to get her through those severe times. When she ...Read more



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