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02 21 roach

The Rapid City Journal - 2/23/2017

Dear Dr. Roach: There is an extensive history of ADHD in my family. My son, who was formally diagnosed at 8 and is now 14, has just started taking meds. In looking at my own history, I can see the same patterns in my behavior. I have been fairly successful at work by using coping mechanisms such as making lists and keeping everything perfectly organized; however, if one thing slips out of place, I see the behaviors come right back. I am 48 years old. Am I too old to start meds for this condition? -- M.F.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common condition, affecting about four percent of adults in the U.S. The condition certainly may have been undiagnosed when you were a child and teen. I have had many adult patients who, after being diagnosed, got treatment and saw improved function.

The first step is establishing a correct diagnosis. The World Health Organization has created a self-administered screening test (available at which can give an idea whether consulting an expert is reasonable.

I can't comment on what the appropriate treatment might be.

Dear Dr. Roach: I have been suffering from insomnia for many years, but lately, after taking a magnesium supplement, I could see improvement. (I take half of a 600-mg capsule of powdered magnesium malate in a little water before going to bed.)

I also have angina and take diltiazem and sometimes nitroglycerine. Will the magnesium have a negative effect on my heart problem? If not, can I continue taking the magnesium forever? -- M.F.

The U.S. recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 320 mg for women, 420 mg for men. The amount of magnesium you are taking is not dangerous. It's a safe long-term dose.

Magnesium is safe for most people (except those with kidney disease).

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 74-year-old female who has regular annual checkups with a family physician. My physicals last about 15 minutes and often seem perfunctory and incomplete. Besides the physical examination and annual labs, I am considering a mobile testing group that does preventive screening for several early-risk health issues at an affordable cost. What is your opinion? -- J.L.M.

Without knowing what your physician is doing or the details of the screening you are considering, I can't answer directly. Some services commonly provided by wellness screening programs are recommended against by expert groups. In low-risk people, test results are more likely to be false-positive and can lead to more unnecessary tests and procedures, and are overall more likely to harm than to help.


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