Health & Spirit

There's a new shingles vaccine in town

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Today, we heard about a new vaccine for shingles. However, very little was discussed about what it does that the older version does not do, nor was there any advice as to a safe period of time between administering the older version and the current version of the shingles vaccination.

Should we proceed with the new shingles ...Read more

Escalating drug costs create a treatment hardship for many

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: After a three-year battle with multiple myeloma, my husband passed away in July. During those three years, he had almost every kind of chemotherapy known. As time progressed, the drugs got more expensive. Last summer, they wanted to try a drug called Revlimid. When we investigated what the cost to us would be with our Medicare ...Read more

When is active surveillance of a tumor appropriate?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you addressed breast cancer in an older woman. She expressed concern about overtreatment of small tumors and if just keeping an eye on the tumor (active surveillance) might be a way to go.

Do you think active surveillance might be an option at any age in a woman's life, rather than chemo and radiation for ...Read more

The lowdown on hepatitis vaccines, past and present

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have some questions about hepatitis vaccines. I live in Los Angeles, and have recently seen a few articles in the local paper about an outbreak of hepatitis A in the area. I went to my hospital and requested the hepatitis A vaccine. I was given the first of a two-shot vaccine, and was told to come back in six months for the ...Read more

Diabetes results can be seen with dedicated lifestyle changes

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My mom is a poster child for diabetes prevention. She was born in 1921. Her dad supposedly developed Type 1 diabetes about 20 years earlier. He had to use diet and exercise to survive, since insulin was not yet developed. (I suspect that it might not have been Type 1, because I don't think he could survive that long without ...Read more

Do bloodwork numbers reflect minor cold or something more?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: For the second time in two years, I've had bloodwork done due to massive headache, general tiredness and body pains. Both times, I also had very minor signs of a cold (post-nasal drip). My recent test shows elevated neutrophils of 89 percent (normal range is 40-80 percent), with high normal absolute neutrophils. My lymphocytes ...Read more

Standards of "narrow therapeutic use" under FDA review

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: You wrote recently that thyroid medication is regulated to within 5 percent of the stated amount. Are there other drugs that are similarly regulated? Are generic manufacturers held to a different standard than the manufacturers of brand-name drugs? -- A.L.S., M.D.

ANSWER: The Food and Drug Administration continues to work on new...Read more

Provoked clots may make the case to come off blood thinners

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I would like your opinion about staying on blood thinners for the rest of my life. In July 2017, a CT scan showed a small blood clot in my lower-left lung. This was an indirect the result of a grade 3 hamstring pull suffered while jogging. I am now on 20 mg Xarelto daily.

My doctor said that I would need to stay on blood ...Read more

Anal fissure is painful, requires treatment plan

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband has been diagnosed with a rectal fissure. It has been a couple of months, and it isn't any better. He has been treated only with a stool softener. What do you suggest? -- A.T.S.

ANSWER: Anal fissures are painful. Although a stool softener is one part of management for people who have constipation, additional ...Read more

Blood pressures in right and left arms don't have to match, but shouldn't be too far off

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: At a routine

follow-up at my doctor's office, the nurse took my blood pressure on my left arm, and it was 143/73. This seemed high, so I asked her to check it on my right arm. It was 104/62 on that arm. She said she had never seen anything like that. Is there a logical reason or explanation for this? -- L.B.

ANSWER: There are ...Read more

Melatonin is safe to take daily

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you responded to a reader asking about the link between Benadryl and dementia, and near the end you mentioned that melatonin is "very safe." I've heard that taking melatonin can affect your body's natural production of melatonin, causing a loop -- the more you take, the less your body will produce -- thus ...Read more

The butterfly rash of lupus appears only on the face

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 54-year-old white female, and for the past six years or so, I have been getting a

butterfly-looking rash in the same exact place: under my breasts and around my rib cage. When the rash appears, I feel very sore, and it hurts to move. I just don't feel good and have a mild headache. The rash used to appear about six times a...Read more

Is it possible that yoga routine lowered PSA levels?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Five years ago, I added five to six minutes of easy yoga, mostly sitting exercises, to my daily exercise routine. My PSA has gone down to the 0.9-1.1 range, from 4.3. This is for someone who has had two prostate biopsies through the years. My doctor now says that the odds of me having prostate cancer are about 1,500 to 1. A few ...Read more

Using both red yeast rice and a statin drug not recommended

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: In a recent column, you said that red yeast rice acts as a kind of natural statin. Can natural and synthetic statins be used together? -- M.P.A.

ANSWER: Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese food and medicine used for circulation. It was found to decrease cholesterol by about 15 percent, and analysis of the product shows that ...Read more

What's new in herpes treatments?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am wondering about oral herpes. Have there been any advances made for treating or preventing oral herpes? I know about and use Abreva, but is there anything that works better? -- L.P.

ANSWER: Herpes simplex virus type one is the cause of oral herpes, usually called "cold sores" or "fever blisters." These often start as a clear...Read more

What are options when colonoscopy prep is too much to bear?

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old male in good health. I've had a couple of colonoscopies (the first one found some adenomas), but the required cleansing prep with harsh laxatives has become increasingly difficult for my body to take. I only got halfway into the last prep before becoming so sick that I had to discontinue the cleansing and ...Read more

True underdevelopment of male genitalia is rare

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you give any reason why a penis wouldn't grow or form like it is supposed to? My penis is undersize. It is not regular size for a man. I'd just like to know what could cause this. -- V.P.

ANSWER: I hear this question frequently, and most of the time when I perform an exam, the penis size is in the normal range (I examine a ...Read more

Mysterious body odor after shoulder surgery goes away after bathing with shampoo

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a problem that you might not have heard about. I had shoulder surgery on my left shoulder two years ago and developed strong body odor on that side. A year later, I had surgery on my right shoulder and developed body odor on that side. I never had strong body odor before. I did an online search for this problem and found ...Read more

Bicuspid aortic valve has only two leaflets

Health / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve at age 54 (I'm now 62). I see a general cardiologist annually for an echocardiogram and an EKG, and have had one transesophageal echocardiogram. However, he has never ordered a CT or MRI to thoroughly check my aorta. I've read that BAV patients may have a connective tissue disorder, ...Read more


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