To Your Good Health

By: Dr. Keith Roach

To Your Good Health

Dr. Roach answers reader questions on disease, public health and sports medicine. 5TW

An informative and educational column on infectious diseases, public health and sports medicine by Dr. Keith Roach, a highly respected physician at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

[dr-keith-roach-with-bkg6-307x360] Dr. Keith Roach graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in molecular biology. He earned his M.D. at the University of Chicago, and did his internship and medicine residency training there.

In 2000, Dr. Roach moved to New York, joining the faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital as an Associate Attending Physician and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine. He has won every major teaching award offered by that institution. He also served as program director for the primary care internal medicine training program.

The focus of his research is in the prevention of disease with rational use of screening technology and with tools that empower people to make lifestyle choices that improve not only their health but their life expectancy. Dr. Roach also serves as Chief Medical Officer for Enforcer eCoaching, a company dedicated to giving individuals specific daily coaching on improving diet, smoking cessation, weight loss and exercise.

Dr. Roach lives in Larchmont, N.Y. with his wife, Dr. Victoria Muggia, M.D. (a specialist in infectious disease), and their three teenagers, David, Hannah and Jonathan. Dr. Roach is a competitive triathlete.

The email address [email protected] is available directly for readers to leave feedback or ask questions of Dr. Roach.

Does elevated TPO alone constitute hypothyroidism?

July 23, 2018 - 10:51am

 DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm female, 68 years old with hypothyroidism but no other medical problems. I exercise about 10 hours a week and try to eat healthy. During one of my physical checkups, my TSH was 0.002, so I saw an endocrinologist. After three months of blood tests, everything became normal even without medicine. My T4, T3, TSH and complete metabolic panel results all are in the normal range. The one that is not is the TPO level, which is greater than 600. She asked me to take 25 mcg of levothyroxine once a day.

Vitamin supplementation low-risk, but not rewards-filled

July 19, 2018 - 6:22pm

 DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your recent column on vitamin C. I am 88 years old, and my family and I have taken supplemental vitamins most of our lives. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and survived it with radiation treatments and a change of diet. I had taken a handful of vitamins every day for years, including 400 IU of vitamin E. My doctors told me that my prostate cancer probably was caused by taking too much vitamin E.

Testimonials don't tell the whole story of ozone therapy

July 13, 2018 - 2:20pm

 DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 36 and have had Crohn's disease for years. I'm having a mild Crohn's flare. My specialist is leaning toward biologicals (Remicade, Humira, etc.), but I'm not game for that. I've been hearing more and more about ozone therapy, pioneered in Germany. Do you have any experience with that? -- P.G.
       ANSWER: I don't have any experience with ozone, and when I looked it up, I found many treatment centers with impressive testimonials. However, when I looked it up in the scientific literature, I found nothing. It took further research to try to identify why.

Legitimate causes for fingerprint loss

July 11, 2018 - 11:10am

 DEAR DR. ROACH: Are there any medical conditions that can lead to loss of fingerprints? -- Anon.
       ANSWER: There are several skin conditions that can lead to loss of fingerprints, with nonspecific dermatitis leading the list, according to a recent study. Other causes identified were primary hyperhidrosis, irritant contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, psoriasis and mechanical abrasion.

Quitting smoking has a host of benefits

July 10, 2018 - 11:00am

  DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is a smoker. I have begged him to quit, but he won't. He sleeps sitting up, with his legs hanging, because he has trouble breathing. This way of sleeping causes his feet and ankles to swell. His doctor ordered diuretics and urged him to quit smoking. He also recommended that he sleep in a bed, with his legs elevated -- that would help with the swelling. My husband doesn't agree. My husband reads your column every day. Maybe you can convince him. -- G.U.

Doctors have an ethical obligation to put their patients first

July 9, 2018 - 10:48am

DEAR DR. ROACH: I was shocked recently when I read an article from a reputable source implying that sooner rather than later (and maybe already), doctors who have a patient who could be treated successfully only with massive doses of antibiotics would be required to allow the patient to die rather than run the risk of creating a generation of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. In other words, one person must die for the sake of many.

Gut health basics: How and when to take probiotics

July 5, 2018 - 1:20pm

 DEAR DR. ROACH: With the current focus on gut health, I have been hearing a lot about probiotic supplements. Who should take them? Does the number of bacteria matter more than the types listed on the container? Does one take them daily, for a brief time period, or for extended time periods? -- K.V.S.
       ANSWER: Probiotics are healthy bacteria in the large intestines that aid in digestion and possibly other functions in the body. Scientists are just beginning to understand how the intestinal bacteria (called the microbiome) affect many areas of health.

Phantom itch is an international mystery

July 3, 2018 - 10:33am

 DEAR DR. ROACH: Two years ago, I spent a month in Havana, Cuba, to study Spanish. We were staying in a good hotel. Without warning, one morning they started the pest control, spraying the rooms with DDT. The substance was confirmed by our group leader. Our clothing and belongings stayed in the rooms, and we were told to stay out for three to four hours. The fumes were thick and heavy. Afterward no cleaning was done, no bedding was changed, and we had to sleep with smelly sheets breathing the fumes.