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  1. Artificial sweeteners' link to weight unclear

    Dear Dr. Roach: I am currently dieting and, with that, trying to reduce my sugar intake. I prefer drinks sweetened with aspartame over water most of the time. Am I asking for trouble?

  2. Patient prefers to split thyroid medication

    Dear Dr. Roach: I had my thyroid removed for a goiter 35 years ago. My doctor put me on 100 mcg of thyroid medication; however, when I took it, I got sick. My hands shook, and my heart beat very quickly (over 100). So one doctor told me to split it, and take 50 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. I felt better, and I took it twice a day for 30 years. After menopause, a different doctor changed it to 88 mcg and said to take it one time a day.

  3. Does man have herpes or antibiotic allergy?

    Dear Dr. Roach: Four years ago, my husband had an abscess. What started as a boil became so deep and hard that he required general anesthesia to remove it. The wound was left open, and we had to change the packing twice a day for eight weeks. It was diagnosed as MRSA, and he was put on Bactrim. Six months later, an abscess appeared in his armpit, and again he was put on Bactrim. But this time he also broke out with sores in his mouth and genitals.

  4. Healing collarbone may take longer than six weeks

    Dear Dr. Roach: I am a healthy 71-year-old man. I broke my collarbone in the middle. I was told the bone should stop moving and heal in four to six weeks. More than six weeks have passed. There has been slow but steady progress in moving my arm, but the bone is still moving. I have been told that I should start to consider an operation if it is still moving in a few more weeks.

  5. How to treat RA in an HIV-positive patient

    Dear Dr. Roach: I am 49 years old and fairly healthy. Iíve been HIV-positive for over 20 years and have diabetes. My HIV doctor told me that my rheumatoid factor was 112, and said to see a rheumatologist. He told me that the shot for arthritis isnít good for me because my immune system is not healthy. What do you think?

  6. Surgery may affect the nervous system

    Dear Dr. Roach: I have had hot flashes, similar to those experienced by post-menopausal women, ever since my coronary bypass in 1990. I can be sitting quietly in a chair reading or at my computer, and suddenly I find myself dripping with perspiration. I also have had panic attacks, with increased heart rate and other physical symptoms. A few years ago, a 24-hour EKG showed heart-rhythm irregularities and that my heart stopped briefly while asleep.

  7. Alcohol abuse can inhibit sexual function

    Dear Dr. Roach: Please en≠lighten your readers about too much alcohol causing impotence. My husband drinks beer after beer daily, from noon until night, then expects to be able to perform. Heís done this for years, and now canít get an erection. Heís 65. Iíd like to know the damage he is doing to himself and what to look for in the future concerning his health.

  8. Do statins affect the heart muscle?

    Dear Dr Roach: I have had coronary bypass surgery, and I take cholesterol medicine. I have significant muscular weakness from my medicine. If the medicine affects muscles, what about my heart muscle? My ejection fraction has started going down.

  9. Headache a hallmark CSF leakage symptom

    Dear Dr. Roach: After many weeks of a unilateral nasal leakage of clear watery liquid, I was diagnosed with a cerebrospinal fluid leak. I experience almost constant leakage from the right nostril, which is irritating as well as embarrassing. After CT scans and an MRI, the source of the leak was found to be a small opening in the skull above the sinus. The next step is surgery, and the surgeon tells me I will need to be in the hospital for five to seven days.

  10. Pain and numbness in the hand may be a sign of nerve problem

    Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 92-year-old man with lots of age-related problems. I am dealing with them, but a few months ago I noticed that my right hand, particularly the little finger and the one next to it, became numb. It was mildly numb at first, but itís become more and more unpleasant and is somewhat painful now. I have difficulties writing and even pushing the computer keys, and it makes my life miserable.

  11. Is back brace to blame for swelling of foot?

    Dear Dr. Roach: I am 83 years old. I was lifting a heavy end table back in November, and I heard a crack. I went to the hospital and was there for six days. They took an X-ray, which showed moderate facet arthropathy, mild degenerative disc disease and a mild compression fracture at T12.

  12. Which diet is the right diet?

    Dear Dr. Roach: I am taking Zetia and niacin for extremely high cholesterol and triglycerides. Exactly what type of diet should I be on to lower my cholesterol and triglycerides? Many of the processed (cheese, ice cream, cookies, etc.) fat-free, cholesterol-free foods are high in sugar. Should I be on the South Beach Diet or a strictly vegetarian diet? How many calories, carbohydrates and fat grams should I consume daily to lose weight? Iím a 5≠feet-4-inch-tall, 160 pound female.

Health Columnist

Dr. Paul Donohue writes a daily column titled "To Your Health" that is syndicated to more than 175 newspapers. The question-and-answer series is one of the oldest health columns in the North America, having first appeared in the 50s. Dr. Donohue took over the series nearly 20 years ago.

Dr. Donohue is board-certified in his primary specialty, internal medicine, the specialty that emphasizes diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of illnesses. He also is board-certified in the subspecialty of infectious diseases.

He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has a master's degree in public health from Tulane University in New Orleans and did advanced work on infectious diseases at the University of California, Davis. After completing medical school, he served two years in the Army Medical Corps and 18 months as battalion surgeon in the 173rd Airborne Brigade-for which he was awarded two Bronze Stars, one of which was for valor during combat.

  • Write to Dr. Paul Donohue at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
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