Personal Health

To Your Good Health: Increase in Prescription Price Can Be Hardship

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: I had a partial thyroidectomy over 40 years ago due to an enlarged thyroid, which was benign. I have been on varying amounts of thyroid hormone replacement ever since — initially Armour, then Synthroid, and now levothyroxine 88 mcg. Until recently, the cost of levothyroxine was under $20 for 90 tablets; however, my last refill was $76.77. I have excellent prescription coverage, so I do not pay …

Offering Answers About COPD

Monday, March 23, 2015

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects some 24 million Americans, and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer, according to the American Lung Association. Over his 35-year career, Donald Mahler, a pulmonologist, has seen hundreds of patients who have COPD, and answered hundreds of …

To Your Good Health: Source of Low Iron Must Be Investigated

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a healthy, energetic 63-year-old woman who has had elevated RDW levels for the past few years. My doctor and I looked into this, and did a ferritin panel. Although my B-12, folic acid, hemoglobin and hematocrit are normal, my transferrin saturation is low, at 6 percent, and my iron and ferritin also are slightly low. I give blood …

To Your Good Health: In an Emergency, Accurate Communication Is Key

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: At 62, I was recently diagnosed with central diabetes insipidus, and I am awaiting my first appointment with an endocrinologist to determine what might have caused it, and also to get started on the medication desmopressin. In a few articles I have read about this …

Choices My Mom Never Had

Friday, March 13, 2015

A few weeks after my surgeries, I often heard the comment from friends and family: “You must be so relieved now that it’s over.” Each time, I paused, because the question implies a clear line between before and …

To Your Good Health: High Calcium and PTH Numbers May Indicate Parathyroid Tumo

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 56-year-old female. I had some blood work done recently, and two numbers came back high: My ionized calcium level was 6.0, and my PTH Intact level was 136.6. I am relatively active and feel good. Any thoughts? — L.K. Answer: Ionized calcium …

Officials: Continue Vaccines

Sunday, March 8, 2015

New York — Certain that they are right, struggling to find ways to get their message across, public health officials are exasperated by their inability to persuade more U.S. parents to vaccinate their children. “I think we’re all …

To Your Good Health: Psyllium Allergy Rare but Possible

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: I would like to know if you have ever heard of a person being allergic to psyllium fiber? My doctor suggested I take Metamucil for constipation, as opposed to stool softeners. However, when I took it, my face and eyes began to itch, I began …

Fines Rare Even As Health Data Breaches Grow

Sunday, March 1, 2015

In a string of meetings and press releases, the federal government’s health watchdogs have delivered a stern message: They are cracking down on insurers, hospitals and doctors offices that don’t adequately protect the security and privacy of medical records. “We’ve now moved into an area of more assertive …

To Your Good Health: For Some Terminal Patients, Routine Procedures Can Be Unnecessary Care

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: My mother has stage 4 cancer. She just went to a dermatologist, who performed Mohs surgery on her nose. I am BEYOND upset by this unethical behavior. The country is already deeply in debt, and Medicare is paying for this? Unconscionable! Not to mention the …

Mastectomies Gain Favor, Traction

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nearly 25 years ago, the National Cancer Institute declared that women with early-stage breast cancer could be spared mastectomies. The institute acted after studies found that breast removal offered no survival benefits over removing just the lump and following up with radiation treatments. This caused the pendulum to …

To Your Good Health: Carcinoid Tumors May Be on the Rise

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: My father suffers from carcinoid syndrome, and I was wondering if it is hereditary. For many years now, I have gotten a strange numb feeling in my mid-abdomen region that comes and goes. At other times I have a mild, dull pain in the same …

To Your Good Health: Too Hot or Not? What Defines a Fever?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 77-year-old woman. For as long as I can remember, my body temperature has been between 97.7 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit. If my temperature were 99, would that be a fever to worry about? My doctor does not seem to worry about it, …