Archive for the ‘diabetes mellitus’ 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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Urinary Incontinence: Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now!

November 28, 2015

Urinary incontinence affects millions of Americans and causes havoc with their lives.  It I a source of embarrassment, shame and often depression.  Other medical consequences of incontinence include skin irritation, urinary tract infections, and pelvic pain.  This blog will discuss treatment options including medications and non-medical solutions.

Urinary incontinence means that the person suffering from it starts losing his/her control over the bladder. This leads to several kinds of problems of the urinary system including sudden urination, slow but steady leakage of urine, or dripping of urine when one undertakes a physically stressful exercise like lifting weight.  Those who have incontinence often lose urine with coughing, laughing, or sneezing.

Although this is a common medical problem, many suffers continue to suffer in silence, living a secluded and reclusive life.

While these causes cannot be controlled, it is important to take note of and control factors that can worsen the condition:

Medication

If you have a problem of urinary incontinence and the symptoms have gone from bad to worse, you need to check with your doctor about the medication or drugs you have been taking. For, chances are that some of these may be exacerbating the problem. Certain drugs to treat high blood pressure are linked to an increase in incontinence.

Alpha blockers dilate blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and they also often relax the muscles of the bladder, furthering urine flow. Some drugs to treat depression can contribute to worsening incontinence symptoms.

Anti-depressants work by relaxing the nerves of the mind and may also affect the ability of the bladder muscles to contract (side effects).

Diuretics are another set of drugs that are associated with increased

urination. In fact, these drugs are also called ‘water pills’, and are designed to flush out excess salt from your body to treat conditions like high blood pressure.

Caffeine

Caffeine is an important component of our daily lives as most of us consume it through coffee, tea and chocolates. Excessive consumption of caffeine is associated with the problem of increased urination. While mild consumption doesn’t have a negative effect, excess consumption can affect the renal system, as caffeine is a stimulant. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, increasing the heart rate as well as blood pressure. This increases the rate of blood to be filtered. It also relaxes the bladder’s detrusor muscles, causing them to feel fuller more frequently. So, limiting caffeine intake is healthy.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern of today as it affects the functioning of the entire body. It also increases the risk of urinary incontinence, as well as its severity. Efforts should be made to prevent and control diabetes by keeping your weight under control, exercising regularly and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Excessive weight also puts extra pressure on the pelvic muscles and weakens them. Therefore, it is also important to control body weight.

Solutions

Besides controlling the aforementioned factors, it is important to take medical help to treat and manage urinary incontinence.

In some patients, adopting behavioral changes may help. For example, decreasing fluid intake to average levels, urinating more frequently to decrease the amount of urine that is held in the bladder and keeping regular bowel habits (as constipation can worsen the problem) may have a positive effect.

Pelvic muscle training exercises, aka Kegel exercises, can specifically help those who suffer from incontinence. The exercises help patients exercise better control of their detrusor muscles.

Weight loss has also been shown to help decrease symptoms in overweight people.

Bottom Line:  Urinary incontinence is a common condition affecting millions of American men and women.  Help is available and no one needs to “depend on Depends”!

When Viagra Doesn’t Work-Other Treatment Options For Erectile Dysfunction

September 22, 2014

Viagra-type drugs should be taken only with a doctor’s advice and are not suitable for men with serious heart conditions or who are taking nitrate medicine for angina (which, in combination with Viagra-type drugs, can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels).  This blog will discuss treatment options when Viagra or other oral medications for treating ED will not work.

Men with age-related ED or diabetes who have not responded to drugs.

It might sound like a painful solution, but injections into the penis of alprostadil, a synthetic chemical that helps produce an erection, can be effective for men who have not been helped by Viagra or similar drugs. The injection occurs through a tiny diabetic needle that causes minimal pain and discomfort.

An erection usually occurs within 15 minutes and usually lasts up to an hour. It works by relaxing the muscles and the blood vessels, improving blood flow to the penis.

Alprostadil also comes as a grain of rice sized pellet that’s pushed into the end of the urethra, where it dissolves, though this is less effective than the injection. Approximatley 10 per cent of users experience a burning pain upon insertion of the pellet.

Men with who have poor response to ED drugs, and who also suffer fatigue should have their testosterone level checked.

Men’s levels of testosterone can decline with age or as a result of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stress.

If you have a distinct drop in libido or erectile dysfunction, your doctor may give you a blood test to check your levels and prescribe replacement of the testosterone deficiency.

Testosterone can be highly effective and safe, and potentially life-changing for men and their partners.

There are studies showing people with low testosterone have higher mortality rates, but there are also studies suggesting the reverse.

When all else fails, consider surgery

Most men can be helped with medication or injections. However, when these conservative options are ineffective, there are surgical procedures that ca restore a man’s potency and sexual performance.

Performed under a general or spinal anesthetic, this involves inserting semi-rigid or inflatable silicone implants into the shaft of the penis.

The inflatable devices have cylinders connected to a tiny pump implanted inside the scrotum. Squeezing the pump transfers fluid into the cylinders for erection, which afterwards go back to the pump and a reservoir underneath the muscles of the abdomen.

Erectile dysfunction can impact many men.  Although most men can be helped with oral medications, there are men who cannot take oral medications or the medications are ineffective.  There are additional options for men where Viagra does not work.  Men don’t need to suffer the tragedy of the bedroom.

ED Prevention-It May Take More Than Take Two Aspirin In the Morning

March 19, 2014

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects millions of American men. Most of the causes are do to physical reasons and many can be reversed. This article will discuss action steps every man can take prevent and perhaps reverse ED.

Most men will experience an occasional erection problem. However when ED occurs most of the time, it is an indication that action steps need to be taken and an evaluation of a doctor is in order.

Here are some steps to consider to prevent ED from rearing its ugly head.

Kick the butts in the butt. Numero uno on your ED prevention list is to stop smoking. For men under the age of 40, smoking is the biggest cause of erectile dysfunction.

That’s because maintaining an erection requires a healthy blood supply, and nicotine causes your blood vessels to constrict, and can even result in your penis shrinking in size. The longer you’re a smoker, the more difficult it is to treat or reverse erectile dysfunction.

Get off your butt and get moving. Regular exercise is a must for both your heart and circulation — and because of that, it’s also an important way to prevent ED.

Regular exercise can improve blood flow to the penis, as well as to the rest of your body. Not to mention, working out increases your energy, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, helps you sleep better, and makes you feel (and look!) more attractive — which are all helpers in avoiding erection problems.

Deep six the alcohol bottle. Sure, kicking back with a little booze is a great way to de-stress — but in large amounts, alcohol is a depressant. That means the more you drink, the more likely the alcohol will lead to erectile dysfunction (depression is one of the biggest causes of ED). This effect increases as you get older, so older men who are at greater risk for erection problems should take steps to limit the number of alcoholic beverages they consume. Talk to your doctor to find out if you should aim for less than the two-drinks-per-day maximum that’s often advised for men.

Fruits and veggies are an ED buster. A number of studies show that obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are linked to erectile dysfunction. Since a healthy diet is one of the best ways to protect against these diseases, it makes sense for your sexual health to eat healthily. What foods should be a part of your ED-prevention diet? Lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of fiber, and very little saturated fat. If you’re struggling with your weight or cholesterol, ask your doctor for help.

Floss and brush your teeth. 
Turns out, erectile dysfunction and chronic gum disease share many of the same risk factors. In one recent study, 80 percent of men who had severe erectile dysfunction (caused by poor penile blood supply) also had chronic gum disease. Keeping your mouth healthy with flossing, brushing, and regular dental visits is one more way to keep your sex life in tip-top shape.

Relax. 
Stress and anxiety are frequent contributors to erection problems. That’s because stress causes your body to release stress hormones that are good for your “fight or flight” response, but bad for your blood flow because it causes blood vessels to contract. To prevent ED, find ways to reduce stress (without resorting to drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol, of course).

Good Zzzzzzzs can be a game changer. 
Fatigue can be a detriment to your sex life — so getting plenty of rest before a romp in the hay is always a good idea. But if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep and feeling drained throughout the day, you could have a condition called sleep apnea (which is signaled by very noisy snoring and periods of interrupted breathing). Studies show that men with erectile dysfunction are more than twice as likely to have sleep apnea, so if your partner is sleeping in the other room because of your snoring, talk to your doctor.

Bottom Line: ED is a devastating condition that can be a harbinger of other conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, depression, kidney disease and stroke. Take the steps provided in this article and you will have better erections and a much healthier life.

Dr. Neil Baum is a urologist in New Orleans and can be reached at (504) 891-8454 or through his website: http://www.neilbaum.com

Preventive Healthcare For Women – What You Need To Know

January 21, 2013

Women have had an interaction with the healthcare profession from birth to old age. They have achieved good health as a result of frequent visits to their doctors and practiced good health habits. This blog is written for the purpose of providing women with suggestions for continuing the process of maintaining good health.

Why Screening Tests Are Important
Remember that old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Getting checked early can help you stop diseases like cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis in the very beginning, when they’re easier to treat. Screening tests can spot illnesses even before you have symptoms. Which screening tests you need depends on your age, family history, your own health history, and other risk factors.

Breast Cancer
The earlier you find breast cancer, the better your chance of a cure. Small breast-cancers are less likely to spread to lymph nodes and vital organs like the lungs and brain. If you’re in your 20s or 30s, your health care provider should perform a breast exam as part of your regular check-up every one to three years. You may need more frequent screenings if you have any extra risk factors.

Screening With Mammography
Mammograms are low-dose X-rays that can often find a lump before you ever feel it, though normal results don’t completely rule out cancer. While you’re in your 40s, you should have a mammogram every year. Then between ages 50 and 74, switch to every other year. Of course, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings if you’re at higher risk.
Cervical Cancer
With regular Pap smears, cervical cancer (pictured) is easy to prevent. The cervix is a narrow passageway between the uterus (where a baby grows) and the vagina (the birth canal). Pap smears find abnormal cells on the cervix, which can be removed before they ever turn into cancer. The main cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a type of STD.
Screening for Cervical Cancer
During a Pap smear, your doctor scrapes some cells off your cervix and sends them to a lab for analysis. A common recommendation is that you should get your first Pap smear by age 21, and every two years after that. If you’re 30 or older, you can get HPV tests, too, and wait a little longer between Pap smears. Both screenings are very effective in finding cervical cancer early enough to cure it.
Vaccines for Cervical Cancer
Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, can protect women under 26 from several strains of HPV. The vaccines don’t protect against all the cancer-causing strains of HPV, however. So routine Pap smears are still important. What’s more, not all cervical cancers start with HPV.
Osteoporosis and Fractured Bones
Osteoporosis is a state when a person’s bones are weak and fragile. After menopause, women start to lose more bone mass, but men get osteoporosis, too. The first symptom is often a painful break after even a minor fall, blow, or sudden twist. In Americans age 50 and over, the disease contributes to about half the breaks in women and 1 in 4 among men. Fortunately, you can prevent and treat osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Screening Tests
A special type of X-ray called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) can measure bone strength and find osteoporosis before breaks happen. It can also help predict the risk of future breaks. This screening is recommended for all women age 65 and above. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, you may need to start sooner.
Skin Cancer
There are several kinds of skin cancer, and early treatment can be effective for them all. The most dangerous is melanoma (shown here), which affects the cells that produce a person’s skin coloring. Sometimes people have an inherited risk for this type of cancer, which may increase with overexposure to the sun. Basal cell and squamous cell are common non-melanoma skin cancers.
Screening for Skin Cancer
Watch for any changes in your skin markings, including moles and freckles. Pay attention to changes in their shape, color, and size. You should also get your skin checked by a dermatologist or other health professional during your regular physicals.
High Blood Pressure
As you get older, your risk of high blood pressure increases, especially if you are overweight or have certain bad health habits. High blood pressure can cause life-threatening heart attacks or strokes without any warning. So working with your doctor to control it can save your life. Lowering your blood pressure can also prevent long-term dangers like heart disease and kidney failure.
Screening for High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings include two numbers. The first (systolic) is the pressure of your blood when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) is the pressure between beats. Normal adult blood pressure is below 120/80. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is 140/90 or above. In between is prehypertension, a sort of early warning stage. Ask your doctor how often to have your blood pressure checked.
Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol can cause plaque to clog your arteries (seen here in orange). Plaque can build up for many years without symptoms, eventually causing a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking can all cause plaque to build up, too. It’s a condition called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Lifestyle changes and medications can lower your risk.
Checking Your Cholesterol
To get your cholesterol checked, you’ll need to fast for 12 hours. Then you’ll take a blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides (blood fat). If you’re 20 or older, you should get this test at least every five years.
Type 2 Diabetes
One-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it. Diabetes can cause heart or kidney disease, stroke, blindness from damage to the blood vessels of the retina (shown here), and other serious problems. You can control diabetes with diet, exercise, weight loss, and medication, especially when you find it early. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.
Screening for Diabetes
You’ll probably have to fast for eight hours or so before having your blood tested for diabetes. A blood sugar level of 100-125 may show prediabetes; 126 or higher may mean diabetes. Other tests include the A1C test and the oral glucose tolerance test. If you’re healthy and have a normal diabetes risk, you should be screened every three years starting at age 45. Talk to your doctor about getting tested earlier if you have a higher risk, like a family history of diabetes.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It’s spread through sharing blood or body fluids with an infected person, such as through unprotected sex or dirty needles. Pregnant women with HIV can pass the infection to their babies. There is still no cure or vaccine, but early treatment with anti-HIV medications can help the immune system fight the virus.
HIV Screening Tests
HIV can be symptom-free for many years. The only way to find out if you have the virus is with blood tests. The ELISA or EIA test looks for antibodies to HIV. If you get a positive result, you’ll need a second test to confirm the results. Still, you can test negative even if you’re infected, so you may need to repeat the test. Everyone should get tested at least once between ages 13-64.
Preventing the Spread of HIV
Most newly infected people test positive around two months after being exposed to the virus. But in rare cases it may take up to six months to develop HIV antibodies. Use a condom during sex to avoid getting or passing on HIV or other STDs. If you have HIV and are pregnant, talk with your doctor about reducing the risk to your unborn child.
Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Most colon cancers come from polyps (abnormal masses) that grow on the inner lining of the large intestine. The polyps may or may not be cancerous. If they are, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Removing polyps early, before they become cancerous, can prevent it completely.
Screening for Colorectal Cancer
A colonoscopy is a common screening test for colorectal cancer. While you’re mildly sedated, a doctor inserts a small flexible tube equipped with a camera into your colon. If she finds a polyp, she can often remove it right then. Another type of test is a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which looks into the lower part of the colon. If you’re at average risk, screening usually starts at age 50.
Glaucoma
Glaucoma happens when pressure builds up inside your eye. Without treatment, it can damage the optic nerve and cause blindness. Often, it produces no symptoms until your vision has already been damaged.
Glaucoma Screening
How often you should get your eyes checked depends on your age and risk factors. They include being African-American or Hispanic, being over 60, eye injury, steroid use, and a family history of glaucoma. People without risk factors or symptoms of eye disease should get a baseline eye exam, including a test for glaucoma, at age 40.
Bottom Line: It’s good health sense to talk with your doctor about screening tests. Some tests, such as a Pap test or breast exam, should be a routine part of every woman’s health care. Other tests might be necessary based on your risk factors. Proper screening won’t always prevent a disease, but it can often find a disease early enough to give you the best chance of overcoming it.

Move Over Viagra-Weight Loss May Be An Alternative To Medication For Treating ED

December 26, 2012

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function


Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is a common problem that affects nearly 30 million American men. ED is often associated with diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity. A new study shows that shedding as little as 5 percent of body weight helped obese diabetic men reverse erectile dysfunction.

31 obese men with type 2 diabetes were placed on a low calorie diet. The researchers found that modest weight loss rapidly reversed sexual and urinary problems that plague men with diabetes. And the effects lasted for as long as a year.

Previous research had shown losing larger amounts of body weight through surgery, like 30 percent, would improve sexual symptoms in overweight men.

Bottom Line: Most men know that carrying extra weight can have an impact on more than just a man’s quality of life. Losing weight can reduce blood pressure, brings the blood glucose and cholesterol levels under control. If those aren’t reason enough to lose weight, think about your erections which may become stronger and last longer.

Tips On Good Health-Get Moving

October 27, 2012

Go to the mall and look around. You are likely to see obese young boys and girls who are eating fast food at the food court. They are inactive, eating unhealthy food, and developing a life style that will lead to such illnesses as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and arthritis. American medicine needs to step up to the plate and get Americans eating a healthier diet and doing more exercise. I hear so many of my patients telling me that they don’t have time for exercise. Here’s a few ideas that even the busiest man or woman can do nearly every day.

Here are some tips for adding more activity to your lifestyle:

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. I don’t know who said it but it is true that you can tell a man or woman’s health by what they do by twos: climb the stairs or take pills!

Walk whenever you can, instead of driving. Even if you drive park several blocks away from your destination and walk a few blocks.

Get off the bus a stop early.

Stand up while talking on the phone. Not only is this better exercise but it puts more energy in your voice.

Lose your TV remote control–get up to change channels.

At work, use lunch hours to take a walk around the building.

Make social occasions more active–instead of dining out to eat, go bowling or dancing!

Bottom Line: Most of the illnesses that we have are related to a poor diet and a lack of exercise. You can stop many of the medications that are prescribed for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes by improving your diet and daily exercise. So eat right and get moving.

Diabetes Drug Linked to Bladder Cancer

June 19, 2012

Attached is a blog submitted by Elizabeth Carrollton who wants to alert us to the relationship of a diabetes drug, Actos, and bladder cancer.

When diet and exercise aren’t enough, medical professionals turn to trusted medications to help type 2 diabetes patients live longer and healthier lives. But many of the medicines that are aimed at improving diabetes can have the opposite effect on other bodily functions.
One of the most popular type 2 diabetes drugs on the market, Actos (pioglitazone), is also one that comes with the biggest dangers. Studies have linked this popular once-daily pill to an increased risk of bladder cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), edema and other life-threatening conditions.
Worldwide, drug regulators have put the brakes on Actos. But in the United States, drug regulators have allowed Takeda Pharmaceuticals to continue its prolonged study into its drug while sales continue. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has done little to protect vulnerable Actos patients.

Evidence in Scientific Studies
Since Actos belongs to the thiazolidinedione drug family, medical professionals have had their doubts about the drug. The two other drugs in this family, both of which were also used in diabetes patients, have been pulled from pharmacy shelves because of serious medical dangers.
Even before Actos was mass marketed in 1999, clinical trials indicated problems. Studies showed links between Actos and bladder cancer, CHF, bone fractures, edema and blindness. Instead of holding the drug back for more research, Takeda launched a 10-year study into bladder cancer risks while sales of the drug skyrocketed. When the drug’s link to CHF was pinpointed, the FDA gave the drug a black-box warning instead of taking it off the market. (The black box is the strongest type of warning the FDA can require.)

Banned in Europe; Whistleblowing in the U.S.
Even after the initial results of Takeda’s bladder cancer study revealed that Actos patients taking the drug for longer than a year had a 40 percent increased chance of getting the disease, the FDA did little to regulate it. Instead, in 2011, the FDA added yet another warning to the drug’s label. At the same time, France, Germany and Canada took steps to restrict or remove the drug from the market.
Adding to the skepticism about Takeda’s truthfulness regarding Actos, a former medical reviewer for the company filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit. Dr. Helen Ge said that Takeda repeatedly lied to the FDA about the drug’s safety record.

Doctors Make Other Choices
While the FDA waits for Takeda to finish and publish its final bladder cancer study results in 2013 — and as the whistleblower’s Actos lawsuit makes its way through the court system — Actos continues to be readily available. However, many medical professionals have been opting to instead prescribe type 2 diabetes drugs with better safety records.
Bottom Line (by Neil Baum): Patients taking ACTOS should see their doctor and obtain a urine test and a urine cytology. If either of these tests are abnormal, then a cystoscopy is in order. This is a test to look into the bladder with a small, lighted tube to be sure no bladder tumors are present.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

Low Testosterone Affects More Than Your Libido

March 30, 2012

It has been accepted that testosterone is responsible for a man’s libido or sex drive. However, we have now discovered that testosterone is responsible for far more than a man’s libido.
Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and high blood pressure have all been linked to testosterone deficiency. Low testosterone isn’t known to cause these health problems, and replacing testosterone isn’t the cure. Still, the associations between low testosterone and other medical conditions are interesting and worth a look.
Does Low Testosterone Indicate Poor Health?
In recent years, researchers have noticed general links between low testosterone and other medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Diabetes and Low Testosterone
A link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established. Men with diabetes are more likely to have low testosterone. And men with low testosterone are more likely to later develop diabetes. Short-term studies show testosterone replacement may improve blood sugar levels and obesity in men with low testosterone.
Obesity and Low Testosterone
Obesity and low testosterone are tightly linked. Obese men are more likely to have low testosterone. Men with very low testosterone are also more likely to become obese.
Losing weight through exercise can increase testosterone levels. Testosterone supplements in men with low testosterone can also reduce obesity slightly.
Testosterone and Heart Disease
Testosterone has mixed effects on the arteries. Many experts believe testosterone contributes to the higher rates of heart disease and high blood pressure that tend to affect men at younger ages. Testosterone deficiency is connected to insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes. Each of these problems increases cardiovascular risk. Men with diabetes and low testosterone also have higher rates of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
Testosterone and Other Conditions
Low testosterone often exists with other medical conditions including depression and erectile dysfunction.
For men with low testosterone levels as measured by a blood test who also have symptoms of low testosterone, such as decreased libido, loss of muscle mass, lethargy, and falling asleep after meals, the decision to take testosterone replacement is one to make with your doctor.

Bottom Line: Testosterone is the male hormone produced in the testicles and is responsible for a man’s overall health. Deficiency can lead to many life threatening disorders that can be treated with hormone replacement therapy.

Warning: Actos, a diabetes drug, is a potential link to bladder cancer.

June 23, 2011

 

The FDA is informing the public that using the diabetic medication Actos for more than 1 year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

Information about this risk will be added to the “Warnings and Precautions” section of the label for Actos. The patient medication guide for these medicines will also be revised to include information on the risk of bladder cancer.

According to the FDA the risk of bladder cancer with Actos use was noted among patients with the longest exposure to Actos and in those exposed to the highest dose of the drug.

The FDA recommends that doctors should not use Actos in patients with active bladder cancer and use it with caution in patients with a history of bladder cancer.

Bottom Line: There is a slight increased risk of bladder cancer in patients using Actos for long periods of time.  If you are on this medication, I suggest that you speak to your doctor and arrange for a urine cytology test and possibly for a cystoscopy on a yearly basis.