Archive for the ‘alcohol’ Category

What’s Causing Your Erectile Dysfunction? (ED)

December 2, 2015

Erectile dysfunction or impotence affects nearly 14 million American men.  The condition is often associated with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and literally hundreds of medications that side effects of ED.  There are a number of conditions that can be treated that can significantly improve your erection that doesn’t require medication or surgery.

  1. Vitamin D deficiency: vitamin D is a necessary vitamin and when the vitamin D level is decreased, which can be identified by a simple blood test, a man’s erection can be affected. A study has shown that men with severe erectile dysfunction had lower Vitamin D. The solution is as simple as getting outside in the fresh air and getting some sunshine as the sun helps convert inactive vitamin do to the active vitamin that is vital to good health. Many factors affect the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D, including season, time of day, latitude or how far you live from the equator, air pollution, cloud cover, sunscreen, body parts exposed, color, and age. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen and getting vitamin D from food and supplements rather than risk the harmful rays of the sun.
  2. Diabetes: Erectile dysfunction could be caused by undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes. If your ED is sudden, consider getting screened and if you know you already have diabetes, expect this to be a risk factor. By getting the glucose level under control and lowering the HbgA1C to normal levels, you can improve your erections.
  3. Your drinking: Alcohol has a reputation of increasing the desire for sexual intimacy but decreasing the performance or make getting and holding an erection difficult. If you have issues getting it up and you have also started increasing the amount of drinks you have, including the frequency, then consider cutting back. Heavy drinking increases your risk of ED.  One to two drinks per day is acceptable will not impact your erections.  More alcohol will certainly impact your performance in the bedroom.
  4. Stress: If you are stressed at work, home or in your relationship, it will affect your sex life. You need to be a relaxed to get in the mood for sex. This problem can also be a catch-22, because if you cannot get it up, you start to stress about that too, making it even more unlikely you will have an erection. So, basically, just relax and take a deep breath and practice mindfulness.
  5. Coffee to the rescue: Studied have found that 42 percent of men who drink between two to three cups of coffee a day are less likely to have erectile dysfunction. Caffeine helps relax the arteries and the smooth muscle within the penis which, in turn, helps increase blood flow.
  6. Not enough sex: The more sex you have, the less likely you are to suffer from ED. What is considered regular? Experts say you can shoot for two – three sexual engagements including orgasms per week.
  7. Smoking: The more you smoke, the more you risk have a flat, flaccid penis. 23 percent of erectile dysfunction occur among men who smoked.
  8. Lack of exercise: Exercises, especially weight resistance ones, do a lot to increase a man’s testosterone which helps reduce the likely of ED. Your levels or testosterone normally drop about 1%a year after age 25.
  9. Bicycle riding: Studies have shown that the longer you ride your bicycle, the higher your chance of developing ED. You do not have to stop riding though, just make some modifications. You can ride shorter distances, get off of the seat every 10-15 minutes for 30 seconds, find comfortable seat and get a bike that is sized appropriately.
  10. Your medications: Some medications like antihypertensive drugs and antidepressants (SSRIs) can cause erectile dysfunction.

 

Bottom Line:  ED is a common problem affecting millions of American men.  Often times the problem can be related to diet, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle choices. Take a look at these 10 factors that can significantly affect a man’ erection.  Make some adjustments and you will soon be “back in the saddle”!

 

 

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Blood Pressure Up? Lower It Without Medication

September 24, 2015

Millions of Americans have hypertension. Millions are taking medication to lower their blood pressure. Now the new guidelines indicate that blood pressure should be less than 120 systolic or the highest number and less than 80 diastolic or the lowest number. Here are a few ways to lower the blood pressure that do not require medication.

Exercise more

By following current guidelines on exercise—30 minutes a day, most days a week—you can bring down your blood pressure significantly. If you’ve been sedentary, try aerobic exercise to reduce your systolic blood pressure—the top number—by three to five points, and the bottom by two to three,.

People who get moving are often able to reduce the number of hypertension medications they’re on, he adds. Pick something you like—walking, running, swimming, cycling—and stick with it.

Eat bananas

You probably know that eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, but most people aren’t aware of the benefits of potassium, which counters sodium’s ill effects. Most don’t get enough of this mineral.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people with hypertension may especially benefit from upping the amount of potassium in their diet. Adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams a day. A few good sources: bananas (422 milligrams each), a baked potato with skin (738 milligrams), orange juice (496 milligrams per cup), and nonfat or low-fat yogurt (531–579 milligrams per 8 ounces).

Cut salt

People with normal blood pressure, moderately high blood pressure, and full-fledged hypertension can substantially reduce their blood pressure by cutting salt intake. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that people with hypertension limit their intake of salt to less than 1,500 milligrams (600 milligrams of sodium) a day.

We get most of our sodium from processed foods, so stick with whole foods. When you do eat foods with nutrition labels, be sure to check their sodium content.

Don’t smoke

Smokers are at higher risk of hypertension. But even though tobacco and nicotine in cigarettes can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, smoking itself is not thought to cause chronic hypertension.(Instead, factors associated with smoking, like heavy alcohol consumption and lack of exercise, might be responsible.)

Nevertheless, quitting smoking may help you lower your blood pressure a bit, the other health benefits are countless.

Lose weight

Research has consistently shown that dropping just a few pounds can have a substantial impact on your blood pressure. Excess weight makes your heart work harder. This extra strain can lead to hypertension, while losing weight lightens your cardiovascular workload.

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight may be enough to get your blood pressure under control.

Cut back on alcohol

Even though moderate drinking—no more than one drink a day for women, and two a day for men—has heart-health benefits, drinking too much can elevate blood pressure in some people.

Research has found that consuming more than two drinks a day increases the risk of hypertension for both men and women. If you do drink, enjoy your alcoholic beverage with a meal, which may blunt its effects on blood pressure.

Reduce stress

Managing the stress in your life effectively may help reduce your blood pressure, but there’s not enough research to offer a step-by-step stress-reduction plan for everyone.

There are a number of things that people have developed as practices to induce a state of relaxation and … which one is better, which is the right one, these are questions that remain to be answered in clinical trials. Nevertheless, Burg recommends that people with high blood pressure look into stress management and find an approach they will be able to practice consistently.

Yoga

Yoga is a great de-stressor. A recent study from India recently found that yogic breathing exercises reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension, possibly through their effects on the autonomic nervous system, which governs heart rate, digestion, and other largely unconscious functions.

But people should not think of yoga as providing the same benefit as aerobic exercise. Each potentially produces benefit in different ways.

Skip caffeine

Coffee has some health benefits, but lowering blood pressure isn’t one of them. Caffeine can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure, even in people without hypertension.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to moderate your caffeine intake to about two cups of coffee per day. You can check whether you’re sensitive to caffeine’s blood-pressure-boosting effects by checking your blood pressure before and within a half hour after consuming your caffeinated beverage. If it increases by 5 or 10 points, you could be caffeine sensitive.

Meditate

Meditation—whether it involves chanting, breathing, visualization, or all the above—can be an effective stress-management tool for many people, Burg says. Again, the important thing is that it makes you feel good, and that you can commit to doing it consistently.

Bottom Line: High blood pressure should be controlled in order to avoid heart disease or a stroke. Many people can decrease their dependence on medication if they use a few of these ideas to lower their blood pressure. Of course, if the blood pressure does not decrease, you should speak to your doctor about one of the many blood pressure lowering medications.

Healthy Living-Healthy Sex Life: 5 Action Steps To Improve Your Sex Life

July 7, 2014

Millions of American men after age 50 suffer from ED or erectile dysfunction. Many of these men are prescribe drugs such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis which are often successful. However, men can take a non-medical approach to solving ED. This article will discuss five action steps that any man with ED can take to reduce the risk and even treat his problem of ED.

There are five action stseps that can help men with ED. These are proper weight management, adequate sleep, a structured exercise program, limited alcoholic intake and a proper, balanced diet.
Sometimes men need to make changes in their lifestyles. Sexual dysfunction in men is often caused by something that is also life threatening, such as cardiovascular problems. Men who take these lifestyle action steps are often able to go off of medication including increase their sexual performance.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Men who are obese have much lower testosterone levels, which plays a major part in sexual function. I suggest that overweight men lose the pounds by changing their diet and increasing physical activity, which helps in improving erectile problems.

ADEQUATE SLEEP
Men who snore should be evaluated for sleep apnea. This is because sleep apnea will interrupt a man’s sleep cycle, affecting the normal cycles of erections that happen during the night. I also recommend that men get adequate sleep, as sleep deprivation can affect a man’s sex drive. A good sign of a good night’s sleep is a man’s early morning erecttion. If that involuntary morning erection is missing, then men are advised to improve their sleep habit.

REGULAR EXERCISE
Without question, a man in good physical health will have a much better sex life. The fitter you are, the better your sex life will be. A structured exercise program is not only a great way to lose weight and decrease obesity, but it also helps a man to feel better about himself and boost his confidence. Regular exercise also boosts his testosterone, which will rev up his desire.

BALANCED DIET
Lowering cholesterol can help increase a man’s testosterone levels, so diet is crucial when it comes to sexual function. Plus, high sugar levels in men with diabetes can affect the function of the nerves in his penis. Men are advised to change their diet to a more nutritionally balanced one, which will lead to an overall better health, aid in weight management and sugar control, which will get the nerves in the penis going again.

LIMITED ALCOHOL
Surprisingly, a little alcohol can actually help men with ED. One to two drinks a day decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems – a major cause of erectile dysfunction. But don’t go overboard, this can lead to the reverse effect. Moderation is the key here. Animal studies have shown that high volumes of alcohol cause the penis to contract, which is the opposite of what should be going on during sexual arousal.
Alcohol is a suppressant, and the suppression of the central nervous system will cause a decrease in sensitivity to sexual stimulation.

Bottom Line: ED is a common condition that can significantly impact a man’s quality of life. Although medications are helpful, men can take alternative non-medical solutions to get his ED back on track. Not only are these suggestions helpful for controlling ED, they lead to overall health improvement in so many other areas of a man’s life.

Impotence: The Body’s Thermometer

February 28, 2014

When you have a fever, the elevated temperature provides you with a sign that there’s something wrong with your body. Usually it is a viral infection and the illness passes spontaneously or, if the fever persists, you go seek the assistance of your physician. Impotence or erectile dysfunction can also serve as a thermometer of illness occurring somewhere else in your body.

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition affecting nearly 30 million American men. Since the introduction of Viagra in 1998, hundreds of thousands of men have sought treatment and nearly 6 million prescriptions have been written for this drug that helps men engage in intimacy with their partners.

There are still millions of men who continue to suffer in silence. More importantly, there are millions of men whose suffer from erectile dysfunction which may serve as a thermometer of other life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, and cancer of the prostate gland.

In order for an erection to occur, there must be an integrated and coordinated function of the nerves, hormones and blood vessels that supply the penis. The diameter of the blood vessels that supply the penis are 1-2 mm (less than 1\10 of an inch) in diameter. The blood vessels to the coronary arteries that supply the muscles on the heart are 5-6 mm (approximately 1\5 of an inch). Therefore, any disease process like arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries is more likely to cause symptoms at the level of the penis before symptoms occur in the heart. That is why men who have difficulty obtaining and maintaining an erection should see their doctors, as the erectile dysfunction may be an indicator of more serious heart disease.

Erectile dysfunction is more common in men with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and obesity. For example, men with 42-inch waists are nearly twice as likely to have impotence as men with 32-inch waists. Another risk factor is alcohol consumption. But not all alcohol is going to negatively impact a man’s potency. As a matter of fact, 1-2 drinks per day have a protective affect against heart disease and erectile dysfunction. On the other hand those who drink more than 1-2 drinks per day are more likely to the experience a decrease in their potency.

High cholesterol levels are also predictive of erectile dysfunction. In men with total cholesterol levels >200 mg, or high density lipoproteins (HDL), or good cholesterol, <40 mg, they are more likely to have erectile dysfunction. The reason is that cholesterol-like plaques are deposited on the lining of the blood vessels and reduces the lumen or size of the blood vessels and consequently decreases the blood supply to the organ or tissue supplied by that blood vessel.

Erectile dysfunction is also common in many men with diabetes. Nearly 50 percent of men with adult-onset diabetes mellitus will experience erectile dysfunction. Also erectile dysfunction may be the first manifestation of diabetes. In a significant number of men the onset of impotence may be the first presenting symptom of diabetes, a condition that can be controlled with diet and medication.

Here are 10 actions steps that you can use to prevent impotence:

1. Recognize the normal signs of aging. Remember, it may take longer to obtain an erection at age 60 than at age 20. More genital stimulation and foreplay are required as a man ages.

2. Beware of medications that can cause impotence. There are literally hundreds of medications associated with the side effects of impotence. These common medications include tranquilizers, medication for high blood pressure and ulcers.

3. Avoid tobacco. Tobacco it is a performance-zapper because its effect on blood vessels can decrease blood flow to the penis.

4. Drink alcohol in moderation. 1-2 drinks per day may relax you and even protect your heart. More than 2 drinks per day may impact your sexual performance.

5. Timing can be everything. Sexual performance is influenced by body rhythms. Hormonal levels can vary at different times of the day. It is important to find that time of day or evening that is best-both mentally and physically-for you and your partner.

6. Accept occasional failure. One episode of impotence-even if it last for weeks-does not mean that a man is permanently impotent. Stress and fatigue, and anticipation of failure, can paralyze your sex life. Accept occasional impotence as something that happens to every man at different times in his life.

7. See your physician at least once a year. If you are more than 50 years of age, the cause of your erectile dysfunction is usually physical and not due to psychological or emotional reasons. You need to be sure there are not more serious, life-threatening conditions lurking behind the sexual problem.

8. Balanced nutrition is important for sexual function. The American Heart Association states that a low-fat, a low-cholesterol diet prevents heart disease and arteriosclerosis which also affects a man's erection.

9. Excess stress. Excessive, long-term stress is "counter erotic" and affects both a man and his partner’s capability to have a happy sexual relationship.

10. Get help. Persistent, chronic impotence needs medical attention before it interferes with relationships. Not treating erectile dysfunction may result in more severe illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Bottom line: If you or your loved one is suffering from erectile dysfunction, see your physician because help is available and no one needs to "suffer the tragedy of the bedroom." If you want to keep it up, get a checkup!

Dr. Neil Baum is a urologist and can be reached at 504 891 8454 or visit his Web site at http://www.neilbaum.com

Fertility-Steps To Improve Your Chances

August 21, 2013

Common Causes of Infertility in Men

Hoping for a child

Hoping for a child


About 10 percent of reproductive-age couples in the United States will have difficulty getting pregnant. About 30 percent of cases are due to fertility problems in the man, 30 percent to fertility problems in the woman, and the rest to unexplained causes or multiple factors involving both partners.

If you’ve had regular, unprotected sex for more than a year (or six months if you’re over 35) without conceiving, see your doctor. The National Infertility Association says at least half of those who have an infertility evaluation and treatment will be able to have a successful pregnancy.

A reproductive urologist can identify male fertility issues, recommend treatment options, and help couples decide which options to pursue. You also may want to see a genetic counselor. Sometimes, there’s a genetic reason for male infertility that could be passed down to children. A genetic counselor can help couples understand their options for conceiving.

Read on to learn about the common causes of infertility and available treatments. Keep in mind that success rates may vary because one couple can have multiple fertility problems.

Lifestyle factors. Making healthy choices can improve your fertility. You may be at greater risk of having trouble conceiving if you:

Smoking can be deleterious to your fertility

Smoking can be deleterious to your fertility

• Smoke;
• Drink alcohol heavily; Use drugs;
• Take anabolic steroids;
• Take certain medications, including testosterone replacement therapy;
• Have been treated for cancer;
• Have poor nutrition;
• Are significantly over- or underweight;
• Are exposed to toxins, such as pesticides or lead.

If you have any of these risk factors, be sure to tell us about it during your consultation.

Blockages. A small percentage of men have a blockage in their ejaculatory duct that prevents sperm from getting into ejaculate fluid. If your vas deferens or epididymis tubes are blocked or damaged, they can prevent your sperm from getting to your partner’s egg. Infection, injury, congenital defects, or a vasectomy could cause this blockage.
• Possible solutions: Surgery to repair an obstruction or reverse the vasectomy, or surgery to remove sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Varicocele. Varicoceles (enlarged veins, similar to varicose veins, in the scrotum) raise the temperature in the testes, which may affect sperm production.
Possible symptoms: Some men have scrotal pain, and others have no symptoms. (The problem can be detected through a physical exam or ultrasound.)
Possible solutions: Surgery to repair the varicocele, artificial insemination, or IVF.

Sperm making contact with egg

Sperm making contact with egg


Irregular sperm. If you have little to no sperm, poor sperm motility (ability to move), or abnormally shaped sperm, your sperm may not be able to fertilize your partner’s eggs.
Possible solutions: fertility drugs; artificial insemination with donor sperm (or with your own if your count, shape, and motility are not too abnormal), or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

10 New Years Resolutions You Can “Live” With

January 5, 2013

New Years resolutions are made and many are aborted in days or weeks after January 1. Here are 10 suggestions for better health that you can probably keep. If you do, you will probably have a longer and happier life.

1. Celebrate with a friend
People with social connections with family and friends are less likely to experience a decline in ability to reason and remember. Social activity may help preserve your ability to perform your day-to-day activities as you age.

2. Get a pet
People who own pets have healthier hearts and make fewer visits to the doctor. Dogs make better exercise partners than birds, as they want to go for a daily walk.

3. Chew some chocolate
Chocolate is now considered the darling of the heart healthy diet family. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which is a natural anti-oxidant that helps the body’s cells resist damage that may contribute to cancer.

4. Embrace your cup of coffee
Regular or decaf coffee appears to lower the risk of dying from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and pneumonia. Coffee also protects against skin cancer, liver damage, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. One study purported that three cups of coffee a day may protect against Alzheimer’s disease or delay its onset.

5. Wine is wonderful
A glass of either red or white wine is heart-healthy. Even beer is good for the heart. The key to drinking either wine or beer is moderation-one glass a day for women; two glass a day for men.
6. Sex-A little is good, more is better
The damaging myth about older adults is that aging means putting your sex life on the back burner. Sex is good for you regardless of your age if it is safe sex. Sex causes the brain to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety. Sex also bolsters the immune system. More sex is also associated lower levels of depression.

7. Music is medicinal
Music boosts mood and reduces anxiety and even makes it possible to get a good nights sleep. Studies show that people feel less pain and need less pain medications after surgery if they listen to music while recuperating.

8. Nap like a baby
A mid afternoon nap can improve mood, memory alertness and learning. A 20 minute nap improves alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy. Sipping a cup of coffee before closing your eyes will help you wake up alert. It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to enter the blood stream, so its effects start to kick in when you wake up.

9 Say hello to nature
Being around nature for as little as five minutes a day can boost your mood and sense of well-being.

10. Select a healthy soap
Soaps that contain antibacterial triclosan, which are no more effective than plain soaps, may be harmful. Washing your hands in warm water with plain soap for 20 seconds will be just as effective as using expensive antibacterial soaps.

Bottom Line: Ponce de Leon scoured the coast of Florida for what he hoped was the legendary fountain of youth. Five centuries later, no one has found the fountain of youth, but we can add youth to our aging process by just adhering to these 10 health resolutions. Happy New Year to all of my friends, family, and followers.

A Drink A Day Keeps A Heart Attack Away

November 14, 2012

Moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of heart disease.

Alcohol in moderation may help the heart

A recent study from Japan evaluated moderate alcohol consumption in in men , especially those with metabolic syndrome which consists of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol levels, found higher levels of HDL bandeaux in men who did not consume any alcohol. Again, there may be a medicinal advantage to moderate alcohol consumption.

Hypertension awareness
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 may grow, 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.