Health Advice



The best medicine for arthritis is regular exercise

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: What is the best medicine for arthritis? My doctor prescribed diclofenac sodium, and another doctor said it will damage my liver and kidney with prolonged usage. As you know, arthritis is a chronic disease. Let me know what medicine I can use for arthritis. -- A.A.

ANSWER: I'm assuming you mean osteoarthritis, the most common ...Read more

Light-adjustable lenses in cataract surgery yield better results

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a candidate for cataract surgery. When discussing this with my doctor, he mentioned that there are new lenses that can be used, which make it possible to correct my vision to 20/20. They are called light-adjustable lenses. There is a cost of $2,400 per eye. It seems to have great success with little risk. He did mention I ...Read more

Sleep monitor subtracts restless minutes in sleep time

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In one of your columns, someone asked if it was helpful to just rest during the night, and how did that compare to sleeping if one is unable to sleep.

You said just resting was not that helpful, that one really needed sleep. I wanted to ask about "restless" minutes as recorded by a fitness watch. Restless minutes are separated ...Read more

Upper body strength remains stagnant after rotator cuff injury

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been trying to increase my upper body strength, but am having difficulties. I am almost 70 and female, and have been moderately active. I exercise daily for 30 minutes using a stationary bike or a treadmill. I injured my rotator cuff last summer playing an exercise video game. There is hardware from a previous surgery for ...Read more

Continued use of Bactrim creates a resistance in treatment

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH:As a 90-year-old man in mostly good health, I have been taking one Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) pill per day for several years now preventatively for recurrent urinary tract infections. I am very pleased with this successful treatment. However, my urologist has mentioned that I might have to relinquish the Bactrim at ...Read more

Vaccines are still effective against new COVID variants

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I would like to ask you a basic question about COVID-19 booster shots, since no health authority seems to answer it directly. Why should I get a booster if the booster is based on the original alpha version of the virus from more than two years ago? Even if the booster shot were based on the delta variant, that variant passed ...Read more

Explaining the process behind names of medications

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: How do pharmaceutical companies arrive at the names of their drugs? -- M.G.

ANSWER: Every new drug starts with three names: a chemical name, a generic name and a brand name. The chemical name can be extremely long and difficult to remember or pronounce, even for experts. A generic name is meant to convey some information about ...Read more

Virus damages heart muscle, causing congestive heart failure

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent column on long-haul effects in COVID compared to the flu. About 14 years ago, a young neighbor caught some kind of virus. His wife said he was never the same after that. He was in his mid-40s. There were several fundraisers in the area to try to raise money for the young family. He needed a heart transplant and...Read more

Magnesium might be the cause of underlying bowel issues

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old woman in good health, but I have been plagued for years with muscle cramps and spasms in my legs. My physical therapist suggested magnesium supplements. I have been taking these supplements for about four years with good results.

About a year ago, I started having very loose bowel movements. To ease that, I ...Read more

Transient ischemic attack leads to high prescription dosage

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 68-year-old man, and I recently had a 30-minute TIA. I spent one day in the hospital and had many tests done, all of which were normal. They found no blockage issues. My total cholesterol has been below 200 for forever. The hospital prescribed 40 mg of Lipitor. I could not tolerate this well -- I had muscle aches -- so I ...Read more

This sleep med can weaken stomach valve, worsening reflux

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am an 80-year-old female and have been on 10 mg Elavil for 30 years to help me sleep. I have been having reflux problems from time to time for quite a while. I have been diagnosed with LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux). I have read that there could be a connection between Elavil and weakened sphincter. If I am able to wean myself ...Read more

Colon inflammation makes it hard to leave the house

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I have had microscopic colitis since 2013 and have been prescribed 3 mg of Entocort every day. I have some good days but mostly not-so-good days.

Changing my diet does not seem to help, and I have been advised that this problem will continue for the rest of my life. I am now 77 years old and of average weight. I have a glass of ...Read more

Consuming collagen is not proven to reduce wrinkles

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: Several months ago, I started adding 25 grams of whey protein to an afternoon smoothie each day. I was worried about muscle loss after reading an article. I have seen the sagging muscles and skin in my arms and thighs. I am a 71-year-old woman who plays tennis twice a week and goes to the gym about once a week.

I have friends my...Read more

Careful monitoring of medications is medically necessary

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: Your recent article on electrolytes reminded me of my mother's experience. At 89, she was dizzy, fainting and falling. I took her to her doctor. Her blood tests showed dangerously low levels of electrolytes, and I was told to get her to the emergency room quickly. The doctor there determined that her problem was caused by drugs -...Read more

Length of hormone treatment depends on individual

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 60-year-old woman at the end of a five-year regimen of hormone therapy. My doctor has advised me to eventually stop use of estrogen and progesterone by this summer, as she says women have an advanced risk of breast cancer at this stage. Another friend a few years younger than me was told by her doctor that she could ...Read more

Earwax removal provoked tinnitus, or was it there all along?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a healthy 76-year-old woman, and over the years I've tended to accumulate earwax and periodically have it removed. The doctor used a slim vacuum, and the noise was very significant. Directly after that he gave me a hearing test, and I have hearing loss in my right ear.

Since that incident about two months ago, I have ...Read more

When it comes to HPV, some numbers are better than others

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: My girlfriend had a routine gynecological exam and a colposcopy, and was positive for HPV 6 and had something called CIN1. She was told to come back in a year. Do I need to worry about this? -- P.A.A.

Answer: There are many different subtypes of the human papillomavirus, some of which can cause cervical cancer. (HPV 16 and HPV ...Read more

Your blood thinner may have its roots in a field of cows

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I'm taking the blood thinner Eliquis. I wonder if I can stop taking it and go on something natural, like tea or something else. Thank you. -- M.K.

Answer: Please don't.

Long ago, farmers noticed that cows were dying from internal bleeding if they ate sweet clover hay that had stayed damp and gotten moldy. A scientist at the ...Read more

Is coffee the enemy when it comes to preserving height?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a woman, age 68. When I was 12 years old, I was 5 feet, 5 inches tall. Now I am 4 feet, 8 inches tall. I have scoliosis plus degenerative arthritis of the spine and walk bent over.

While walking with a retired doctor, I mentioned that I am not supposed to drink coffee, as it has a bad impact on my bones. With raised ...Read more



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