Health & Spirit

Look to physician, not nutrition, for cause of low blood cell count

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 90 years old and in good health. I recently saw my doctor and had abnormal blood test results. My white cell count was 2.1, my hemoglobin 9.5 and my hematocrit was 29 percent. Is there any kind of vitamin or food I can take to raise these levels? -- M.A.

ANSWER: Both your white blood cells and red blood cells are abnormally...Read more

New baby? Yes, family members' vaccinations matter

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm expecting a baby in a few months, and my doctor told me that everyone who will come into contact with her must get the Tdap vaccine. If some family members don't get it, should I keep them from meeting the baby until she's old enough to be fully vaccinated? -- H.C.

ANSWER: Hope and congratulations are in order. May your baby...Read more

BP meds affect bleeding from kidney stone

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been urinating blood for several weeks. An X-ray revealed a kidney stone; however, I am in no pain at all. The stone is said to be between my kidney and bladder. I take blood pressure medicine and an aspirin a day. The problem is this: If I don't take my medications, the bleeding stops, then when I do take them, the ...Read more

Fahr disease is a rare brain condition

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What can you tell me about Fahr disease? I had an MRI, and I read the term on the report and was concerned because I hadn't been told about it. I asked my provider about it, and he told me that it usually is diagnosed when someone is young. I am soon to be 80 years old. His advice was that if it had not shown up before now, it ...Read more

What is the trick to setting an A1C goal for diabetes treatment?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My elderly sister, 73, has Type 2 diabetes, and is taking 500 mg of metformin twice a day.

After two years on metformin, her fasting glucose level is only 125 mg/dl and A1C only 6.8 percent. If she continues taking medication, will her fasting glucose level ever get to around 85 mg/dl and her A1C get to 5 percent? She wants to ...Read more

Is low body temperature a cause for concern?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am an 85-year-old female with an often low body temperature. I feel very warm, like I have a fever, but when I take my temperature it can be as low as 95 or 96. This has happened several times.

I've heard that a low temp is just the same as a high fever. I take numerous medications, including for my thyroid, which my doctor ...Read more

Epilepsy can result from measles complication

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: When I was young, I had mumps and chickenpox, and one type of measles (German measles?) when I was 16, and the other when I was about 18. I had three grand mal seizures within 12 months after the second round of measles. I was told that the seizures were a result of the second bout of measles. I have been on anti-seizure ...Read more

There are treatment options for diabetic neuropathy

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What are the treatment options for diabetic neuropathy? What is likely to happen over time to someone with this condition? -- M.P.

ANSWER: Diabetic neuropathy is a condition of nerve damage associated with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2. It affects the long nerves of the body earliest, especially those to the feet, causing ...Read more

Face touching or pinching associated with multiple causes

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a grandson who pinches his face. He just graduated from high school and did very well. He will be going to college in the fall. He does not like to be around people, and when I ask him where or what would he like to go or do, he says nowhere. He does play a lot of games on his phone and TV. I have watched him and am very ...Read more

Doctors are well positioned to screen for domestic violence

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Having recently changed doctors (due to a move), I filled out a new-patient intake. It had this question: "Do you feel safe in your home?" It seemed like a question that might evoke a response for a lot of possible issues that could make a person feel unsafe. I'm pleased to know that my new doctor cares about the safety of her ...Read more

Nickel allergy doesn't nix knee replacement surgery

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife is in dire need of knee replacements (arthritis, and bone on bone) but she is allergic to nickel, which is found to some degree in all metals -- including titanium -- used in replacements. Is there any solution to this problem? -- R.B.

ANSWER: Nickel allergy varies in severity, and a lot of people have it. Not everyone ...Read more

There is more than one approach to atrial fibrillation

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am trying to decide if it would be beneficial for me to get a second opinion about atrial fibrillation treatment.

I was diagnosed in May after my doctor discovered that I was in atrial fibrillation while taking my blood pressure and heart rate at a routine appointment. I was given Xarelto in the emergency room and cardio-...Read more

Shin injury has been painful for too long

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I injured my left shin by impact two years and one month ago, and to my astonishment, it still hurts on a diminished but regular basis.

I had an X-ray, vein test, nerve test and, finally, an MRI, which showed "some swelling." One doctor told me that it could hurt for the rest of my life! I am in my 60s, but he said age was not a...Read more

Readers weigh in on issue of long wait for doctor visit

Health / Keith Roach /

DR.ROACHWRITES: In a recent column, I gave my opinion that physicians who are habitually late are disrespectful to their patients, and advised readers to try to get the first appointment of the day or to consider switching doctors. This generated some letters, two of which are here:

DEAR DR. ROACH: When I read this morning's item about the wait...Read more

Immunity conferred in many ways and sometimes not at all

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am confused about immunity from vaccines versus immunity gained from getting a disease. Protection from whooping cough can wane in as little as four years (both disease and vaccine), but the tetanus vaccine can last up to 30 years. However, the disease gives no natural immunity. And measles disease gives lifelong immunity. What...Read more

Part of long-term maintenance might be long-term medicines

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Your recent inquiry from a reader who was on prednisone long term raised a question I've been meaning to ask: Is it OK to stay on drugs for "long-term maintenance"?

I'm a 77-year-old man who has been on the following drugs on a daily basis for years: aspirin, finasteride, losartan, omeprazole, rosuvastatin and verapamil. This ...Read more

For heart attack, learn CPR rather than asking patient to cough

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: There is a story going around the internet again that deep coughing after experiencing heart attack symptoms appears to keep the heart going while seeking help. Is there anything at all to that theory? It is being read by millions. -- M.J.

ANSWER: There is something to the story, but it will only very rarely be of help to a ...Read more

The best way to use compression stockings for leg support

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I suffer from varicose veins in my lower left leg, into the ankle and top of the foot. My question is whether it is good for my veins if I wear compression socks (knee or ankle) over the bad area, or if I should be wearing the higher thigh or full compression hose alone?

Being as hot as it is in Richmond, Virginia, in the summer...Read more

With persistent cough, a search for underlying cause is key

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Cough seems to be going around here in the Northwest. My wife has coughed excessively for months now. She was given hydrocodone-homatropine syrup for a month, but the doctor won't re-prescribe it. So now my wife takes many OTC cough syrups and suppressants, plus nighttime cold formulas. None of them does anything, and she ...Read more

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