Archive for November, 2012

Prostate Cancer-New Test For Early Detection

November 30, 2012
Location of the Prostate Gland

Location of the Prostate Gland

WWL Video Segment: http://www.wwltv.com/news/New-test-for-prostate-cancer—less-pain-more-information-181613691.html

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarrisww
NEW ORLEANS – It’s the most common cancer in men and the most common cause of death in men after lung cancer.
“Two hundred fifty thousand new cases a year, 40,000 people unnecessarily die from prostate cancer,” said Touro Urologist Dr. Neil Baum.
But a newer test for prostate cancer can take some of the guesswork out of the diagnosis and the proper treatment to have.
Dr. Baum says men have relied on the office physical exam, called the digital rectal exam, and the PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) blood test, to see if they had signs of prostate cancer. But he says the PSA can be elevated even without cancer.
“People with just a large prostate or people with prostate infections could have an elevated PSA and not have cancer,” explained Dr. Baum.
Now there is a more specific test for men who have an elevated PSA or suspicious physical exam. It’s called the PCA3 and it will not be elevated in men with a benign, enlarged prostate or an infection.
It can be used in two ways.
“The PCA3 test can be used for the man who has an elevated PSA who’s not really sure he wants to have a biopsy,” said Dr. Baum. “In the past, we only knew they had prostate cancer, but we didn’t know the degree of aggressiveness of the cancer. PCA3 can significantly help the man decide to go into the watchful waiting group or make the decision to proceed to treatment.”
And men need not worry about needles or uncomfortable probing physical exams with this.
“One more thing about the PCA3 test that I think is worthy of mention, it’s not even a blood draw. It’s a urine test,” he explained.
This test was FDA approved earlier this year, but still there are people who don’t know about it.
Private insurance pays for it, as well as Medicare.

Resources:

“General Information About Prostate Cancer,” National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.gov. URL: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/prostate/patient
“The Prostate,” National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.gov. URL: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/prostate/page2
“General Information About Prostate Cancer,” National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.gov. URL: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/prostate/patient
“What is Prostate Cancer,” American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org. URL: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_2_1X_What_is_prostate_cancer_36.asp

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Mix Grapefruit Juice With Your Cocktails Not With Your Medications

November 27, 2012

Grapefruit Juice- Careful How You Mix It With Your Medications

Grapefruit Juice- Careful How You Mix It With Your Medications


Grapefruit juice has many medicinal uses including acidify urine, provide vitamin C which can help prevent colds and flu-like symptoms, and has ingredients that may be beneficial in preventing cancer. However, the juice for all its benefits may have a deleterious interaction with many medications.

Research about the interaction of grapefruit juice with drugs suggests that compounds in grapefruit juice, called furanocoumarins (for example, bergamottin), may be responsible for the effects of grapefruit juice. Researchers believe that furanocoumarins block the enzymes in the intestines that normally break down many drugs. One glass of grapefruit juice could elicit the maximum blocking effect, and the effect may persist for longer than 24 hours. Since the effects can last for such a prolonged period of time, grapefruit juice does not have to be taken at the same time as the medication in order for the interaction to occur. Therefore, unlike similar interactions, where the interaction can be avoided by separating the administration of the two interacting agents by a couple of hours, administration of grapefruit juice with susceptible drugs should be separated by 24 or more hours to avoid the interaction. Since this is not practical for individuals who are taking a medication daily, they should not consume grapefruit juice when taking medications that are affected by grapefruit juice.

The grapefruit juice-drug interaction can lead to unpredictable and hazardous levels of certain important drugs. For example Viagra is of special interest to men. The clinical information is incomplete, but men who take Viagra should be aware that grapefruit juice might boost blood levels of the drug. That could be a good thing for some men with erectile dysfunction, but it could trigger headaches, flushing, or low blood pressure.

Bottom Line: Grapefruit juice can be of benefit to many people who drink it on a regular basis. However, the juice can impair the metabolism of many medications thus placing juice drinkers at risk for developing higher than normal blood levels of their medication. I suggest if you are a frequent grapefruit juice drinker, that you check with your doctor.

Sex and The Male Senior Citizen

November 24, 2012

Couple in Love

Couple In Love


You are 60 years of age and you note that your erections are not as strong as there were at 40 years of age. It takes longer to get an erection than a decade ago and once you ejaculate it takes longer to get the next erection. Welcome, guys to the middle ages. These are normal consequences of aging for men. This doesn’t mean that you pack up your penis and never use it again. It means that you will use it differently than years ago.

What are the normal, expected changes in a man’s penis as he ages?

Appearance. There are two major changes. The head of the penis (glans) gradually loses its purplish color, the result of reduced blood flow. And there is a slow loss of pubic hair. You don’t have to worry about your manscape as nature will take care of your pubic hair for you.

Penis Size.
Weight gain is common as men grow older. As fat accumulates on the lower abdomen, the apparent size of the penis changes. A large clump of fat in the lower abdomen makes the penile shaft look shorter. If you want a bigger penis, check out your core and trim it down and your penis will grow larger….or at least it will appear to be longer.
In addition to this apparent shrinkage (which is reversible) the penis tends to undergo an actual (and irreversible) reduction in size. The reduction — in both length and thickness — typically isn’t dramatic but may be noticeable. “If a man’s erect penis is 6 inches long when he is in his 30s, it might be 5 or 5-and-a-half inches when he reaches his 60s or 70s.
What causes the penis to shrink? At least two mechanisms are involved, experts say. One is the slow deposition of fatty substances (plaques) inside tiny arteries in the penis, which impairs blood flow to the organ. This process, known as atherosclerosis, is the same one that contributes to blockages inside the coronary arteries — a leading cause of heart attack.
Another mechanism involves the gradual buildup of relatively inelastic collagen (scar tissue) within the stretchy fibrous sheath that surrounds the erection chambers. Erections occur when these chambers fill with blood. Blockages within the penile arteries — and increasingly inelastic chambers — mean smaller erections.

As penis size changes, so do the testicles. Starting around age 40, the testicles definitely begin to shrink. The testicles of a 30-year-old man might measure 2 inches in diameter, he says; those of a 60-year-old, perhaps only 1.5 inches.

Curvature. If penile scar tissue accumulates unevenly, the penis can become curved. This condition, known as Peyronie’s disease, occurs most commonly in middle age. It can cause painful erections and make intercourse difficult. The condition may require surgery.

Sensitivity. Numerous studies have shown that the penis becomes less sensitive over time. This can make it hard to achieve an erection and to have an orgasm.

Libido or sex drive
As men get older the testosterone level falls. Testosterone is the hormone produced in the testicles that is responsible for the sex drive. It reaches a peak in the 20’s and early 30’s and slowly declines at a rate of 2% a year. Men who have this problem can obtain a blood test, a serum testosterone test, and if it is low and there is no history of prostate cancer, then the man can receive testosterone supplements in the form of an injection every two weeks, the application of a daily gel to the lower abdomen or shoulders, or the insertion of a pellet under the skin which lasts for 4-6 months.

Bottom Line: Yes, there are changes that are going to occur as a man ages just as there are changes in muscle mass, bone density, memory, hearing, and vision. But this doesn’t mean the end of a man’s sex life. With good health, a willing partner, and a desire to pleasure your partner, you, too, can enjoy sexual intimacy in your silver years.

Treating Erectile Dysfunction (ED)-Viagra And\Or Testosterone?

November 22, 2012

Some men use Viagra and have a weak response to this oral medication. If they have a testosterone test and it is found to be decreased, adding testosterone may not improve the erections.

A study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that there is no benefit to adding testosterone to Viagra.
The study consisted of 140 men with low testosterone. All of the men took Viagra. Some also received testosterone while others got a placebo.
During the study, the men reported how often they had sex and rated their sexual satisfaction, sexual desire and orgasms, and their ability to achieve and maintain an erection. On average, the men’s erectile function improved, with or without testosterone.
While low testosterone and [erectile dysfunction] ED can be related, they are separate issues, and need to be treated differently. Treating low testosterone will improve ED, but it will likely improve libido and interest in sex.
Bottom Line: erectile dysfunction and decreased libido or sex drive are two different aspects of man’s sexuality. Treating ED with oral medication may improve his erections but adding testosterone may not make his erections any better. For best results check with your doctor.

Did you take Your Vitamins Today? It May Lower Your Risk of Cancer

November 19, 2012

After a series of conflicting reports about whether vitamin pills can stave off chronic disease, a large clinical trial of nearly 15,000 older male doctors followed for more than a decade found that those taking a daily multivitamin experienced 8 percent fewer cancers than the subjects taking dummy pills.

This clinical trial examined whether a common daily multivitamin had an effect on overall cancer risk. This was one of the largest and longest efforts to address questions about vitamin use.

About half of all Americans take some form of a vitamin supplement, and at least one-third take a multivitamin. The American Cancer Society recommends that people eat a balanced diet, but that those who take supplements choose a balanced multivitamin that contains no more than 100 percent of the daily value of most nutrients.

It is a small overall effect, but other than quitting smoking, there’s not much else out there that has shown it will reduce your cancer risk by nearly 10 percent.

Multivitamin use had no effect on the incidence of prostate cancer, which was the most common cancer diagnosed in the study participants. When researchers looked at the effect of vitamin use on all other cancers, they found a 12 percent reduction in occurrence. Overall cancer deaths were reduced among vitamin users.

Bottom Line:  A multivitamin is an inexpensive option for good health.  If you don’t overdo it, it may be beneficial in reducing your risk of cancer.  If you combine vitamins, exercise, and a healthy diet, you are on the road to a healthy lifestyle. Oh, and one more thing: alcohol in moderation and no smoking!

This study was reported online in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Brain Health and Your Blood Pressure-One More Reason To Check For and Treat Hypertension

November 19, 2012

Researchers at University of California, Davis found that high blood pressure could damage the brain’s structure and function in people as young as 40.

They found accelerated brain aging among hypertensive and prehypertensive individuals in their 40s, including damage to the structural integrity of the brain’s white matter and the volume of its gray matter.

This suggests that vascular brain injury develops insidiously over the lifetime with discernible effects. The study is the first to demonstrate that there is structural damage to the brains of adults in young middle age as a result of high blood pressure.

Structural damage to the brain’s white matter caused by high blood pressure has been associated with cognitive decline in older individuals.

The research emphasizes the need for lifelong attention to vascular risk factors for brain aging.

Normal blood pressure has a systolic blood pressure below 120, and a diastolic pressure below 80. Prehypertension blood pressure range is a top number between 120 and 139, and a bottom number between 80 and 89.

Elevated blood pressure affects about 50 million Americans and is associated with a 62 percent risk of cerebrovascular disease, and a 49 percent risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study says there is evidence that lowering blood pressure among people in middle age and in the young elderly can help prevent late-life cognitive decline and dementia.

Bottom Line: People can influence their late-life brain health by knowing and treating their blood pressure at a young age, when you wouldn’t necessarily be thinking about it.

Article appeared in Lancet

Hot Flashes? Exercise Your Way To Calm The Fire

November 19, 2012

Hot flashes are one of the most disturbing aspects of menopause.  It makes women uncomfortable and can wreck havoc on their lives.  This blog will describe how exercise can cool the hot flash. 

Increased energy and a fit body are just a few of the benefits of exercising. There is another advantage of working out for women. For menopausal women who exercise, they experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours after physical activity.

Women who are inactive or obese are more likely to have a higher risk for hot flashes.

The study subjects were between the ages of 40 to 59 years old, had an average of two children, and were not participants in hormone therapy. The researchers organized the women into normal weight and overweight/obese categories as well as higher fit and lower fit categories for analysis purposes. These categories were not mutually exclusive.

Women in a study at Penn State had fewer hot flash symptoms following exercise. As well, women who were identified as overweight, had a lower level of fitness, or experienced more frequent or more intense hot flashes, sensed the smallest reduction in symptoms.

Bottom Line:  Becoming and staying active on a regular basis as part of your lifestyle is the best way to ensure healthy aging and well being, regardless of whether you experience hot flashes or not.

The findings are published in the current issue of Menopause.

Loss of Libido-Finding It Without Medication

November 17, 2012

Many men are experiencing a decrease in their libido or sex drive. The symptoms consist of more than just a loss of libido. Men may also have decreased energy, falls asleep after the evening meal, and may loss muscle and bone mass. There some suggestions that men can follow to boost their testosterone level without the necessity of taking medications or testosterone replacement therapy.

10: Drink in Moderation
One alcoholic drink can lubricate a nervous first-date situation. By reducing anxiety and stress one drink can help get you in the mood for sex. But beware, alcohol is a depressant, too much booze and you can end up with quite the opposite problem.

9: Try Aphrodisiacs
There is no magic love potion but aphrodisiacs can be fun. Often they are foods that look sexually suggestive like asparagus. Others, like oysters, gain their love-inducing reputation by containing antioxidants and trace elements necessary for good sexual functioning. For example, oysters are packed with zinc, a mineral central to fertility and good prostate health.

8: Stop Smoking
It’s well known that smoking can have a terrible affect on blood flow to the sexual organs as it causes the blood vessels to narrow. It also saps your stamina and most people don’t like kissing an ashtray.

7: Keep Fit
Moderate regular exercise will help improve blood flow to the sexual organs. In addition, exercise helps you feel good about yourself. Anything that improves self-esteem will improve libido.

6: Lose Weight
Being overweight can affect not only your self-esteem and your feelings of sexuality but you’re likely to suffer from blood vessel disease which can reduce essential blood flow to the genitals.

5: Eat the Right Things
If your body becomes frail due to bad health, sex invariably suffers. Five to nine fruits and vegetables a day can provide the cornerstone to your health. The vitamins and antioxidants will help maintain good blood flow to the sex organs and prevent certain chronic diseases.

4: Massage
Massage techniques can do wonders for sexual arousal particularly if you’re stressed, worried or angry. Prepare the room with soft lighting and soothing music then start with a back massage.

3: Yohimbine
Long used in Africa as an aphrodisiac and often called natural Viagra, yohimbine is thought to improve male impotence although clinical trials have been disappointing. There is little evidence that it works for women.

2: Gingko Biloba
This herbal remedy made from the leaves of the gingko biloba tree, is known to improve blood flow to the brain and sexual organs. It is thought to have an enhancing effect upon desire, excitement and orgasm.

1: Feel Good About Yourself
Nothing reduces your interest in sex more than low self-esteem. Spoil yourself when you’re feeling down and take some time to relax or do an activity that makes you feel better within yourself.

Bottom Line: Loss of libido is just one aspect of erectile dysfunction. The diagnosis is easily made with a simple blood test to measure the serum testosterone level. If the above suggestions do not work, you may want to consider hormone replacement therapy with testosterone injections, topical gels, or the new pellets that can be inserted under the skin and provides a normal blood level for 4-6 months.

High Blood Pressure-A Silent Killer

November 14, 2012

Control Your Blood Pressure And Protect Your Hear

More men than women in the United States have hypertension, that men are less likely than women to be aware of their condition and to be taking medication to reduce the high blood pressure. The study appeared from the national health and nutrition examination survey.

The data from the study showed that less than 80% of the men were aware of their condition of high blood pressure compared with 85% of women. In addition, 70% of men were taking medication for hypertension compared with 80% of women with hypertension.

Bottom line: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may apply to your car but not to your heart and blood vessels. Hypertension is a silent disease and often has no symptoms until complications occur. See your doctor at least once a year to have a blood pressure determination.

Smoking pot may put your testicles in the cancer klinker

November 14, 2012

Marijuana smokers are nearly twice as likely to develop testicular cancer as not users of marijuana. The study was published in an online journal, Cancer.

Bottom line: Be careful about smoking pot. If you do smoke marijuana, be sure to do a testicle self-exam at least once a month.