Archive for the ‘diabetes’ 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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The Link Between Low T (Testosterone) and Depression

August 17, 2015

Most men think of testosterone as the sex hormone responsible for libido or sex drive. Yes, that is true but there is a also link between low testosterone levels and depression.

A study released at this year’s meeting of the Endocrine Society bring important news that men should know: Depression can go along with borderline or low testosterone levels.

A solid 56 percent of testosterone-deficient participants in the study, from the division of endocrinology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., had significant symptoms or a diagnosis of depression and/or were taking an antidepressant.

The study involved men with testosterone levels of between 200 and 350 nanograms per deciliter. (A level below 300 ng/dL is considered low.)

Although I don’t recommend screening for low testosterone levels, I do suggest that men who are feeling depressed or not as happy as they would like to feel, consider getting their T levels checked.  It’s something your doctor could have missed that is very important to be addressed.

 Discussions about sex and erections

In general, doctors say men don’t like to discuss symptoms of low testosterone – such as erectile dysfunction and reduced sex drive – and that can make getting to the root cause of the condition and treating it harder.

There are symptoms of low testosterone that are specific to low testosterone – like a blood level less than 300 ng/dL, erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, large breasts and osteoporosis – and symptoms that are not, such as weight gain, decreased muscle strength and mood changes. Depression falls into the non-specific category.

If a person is treated for low testosterone and their mood improves, it could be said in hindsight that low testosterone probably caused their depression, but it’s hard to make a definite correlation at the onset.

Testosterone naturally starts to drop after age 30 at a rate of about 1%\year.

Testosterone replacement therapy, which can be given in the form an injection, a patch, a topical gel or a pellet inserted beneath the skin which lasts for 4-6 months.

Low T and Other Medical Problems

There is a correlation between low testosterone and a variety of indicators of poor health – obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, a lack of exercise as well as depression.

There is a well known connection between low T and obesity.  Obesity is the No. 1 cause of low testosterone levels and if you lose 10 to 15 percent of your total weight, your testosterone level will come up. In patients who have a testosterone level of less than 200 ng/dL and in younger patients who have a disease or a cancerous tumor that is causing low testosterone, medication is the obvious choice and usually yields improvement.

Paying attention to decreased testosterone is important because low testosterone raises a man’s risk of death and its decline is markedly accelerated by each co-morbidity.

WHAT’S KEEPING YOU AND YOUR ERECTIONS DOWN?

August 7, 2015

Millions of American men suffer from ED or erectile dysfunction. For young men having difficulty achieving an erection, here are some common causes:
Stress : Among men in their teens, 20s and 30s, most cases of ED are linked to psychological issues. Anxiety and stress are a major factors especially if these are factors right before sex. Many young men who are inexperienced feel pressure to perform the best sexually and also have concerns about size. This stress can lead to performance anxiety. This buildup of stress can cause an influx of adrenaline or epinephrine which can inhibit an erection.
Too much bike riding : Now, just to be clear, if you’re an avid biker, it doesn’t mean you’re going to develop ED. But if you experience numbness as you ride within the first few miles or after biking marathons you may be causing long-term damage. Below the prostate (and what directly rests on the bicycle seat) are the nerves responsible for bringing blood the penis, which is what happens during an erection. Try getting fitted for a better seat if you’re experiencing this.
Medicines : Cold medications like Sudafed contain pseudoephedrine, which acts as epinephrine in the body and decreases the ability to achieve an erection. It increases your body’s natural fight or flight reaction and makes your body think you’re scared of something. The effects of the drug aren’t permanent.
Partying : Drinking and recreational drug use may also serve as a proponent of ED. Alcohol is a depressant and relaxes you but can cause the inability to perform. Cocaine for example, will lower your testosterone levels.
Cancer treatments : If young men have been diagnosed with testicular cancer or another cancer and are being treated with chemotherapy and radiation may lower testosterone levels which affect blood flow to the penis. Radiation can also directly damage the lining of the blood vessels or cause nerve damage.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are other causes of ED because diabetes impacts the body’s ability to produce nitric oxide. Another major factor is being obese or overweight. Anything that’s bad for your heart is bad for your penis. Blood vessels are tiny in the penis and if they’re clogged the blood won’t flow there. Eating right and exercising makes everything work better.

1. STOP SMOKING

Heart problems aren’t the only issue keeping men down. Erectile dysfunction is commonly caused by stress, medications, partying, cancer treatments, or even bike riding.

Smoking can cause blood vessels to narrow, which can have a detrimental effect on blood flow to sex organs. Similarly, smoking diminishes your stamina, limiting the amount of rigorous activity one can handle – which unfortunately can leave your partner wanting more.
2. WORK IT OUT
Notwithstanding my earlier comments about biking, moderate regular exercise has been shown to help improve blood flow to the sexual organs. Exercises focused on thighs, buttocks and pelvis are especially good for genital circulation. In addition, exercise boosts self-image and confidence. Anything that improves self-esteem will in turn improve libido.
3. LOSE WEIGHT
Study out of Duke, found that up to 30% of obese people seeking help controlling their weight indicate problems with sex drive, desire, performance, or all three. This is because being overweight can reduce blood flow and lower testosterone levels. High cholesterol as well as type 2 diabetes, both associated with being overweight, impact sexual performance. Both can cause penile arteries to shut down when arteries get clogged with fat deposits. Erectile dysfunction leads to decreased sexual desire and libido.
4. GINGKO BILOBA
Herbal remedies like tea or supplements derived from ginkgo biloba can have a positive effect on sexual desire and even orgasm. This age-old remedy is known to improve circulation, yet again enhancing sex.
5. TRY SOME LIBIDO-BOOSTING FOODS
Certain foods, like those high in zinc (think oysters!) can increase sperm production and testosterone- the hormone in men responsible for sex drive. Also, foods high in essential fatty acids like flaxseeds, sardines, and nuts help to increase testosterone production and increase libido.

This article was written by Dr. Samadi a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery, and an expert in robotic prostate surgery in New York City.

To Your Good Health. Give Me a High Fi-Ber!

September 30, 2014

We are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Doctors advise us to avoid processed food, take vitamins, and to exercise on a regular basis. Part of leading a healthy life style includes including plenty of fiber in our diets. Most men and women consume only 15gms of fiber a day. The daily recommendation for men is 35gms daily of fiber and for women the recommendation is 25gms. You can increase your fiber by 7gms a day by increasing vegetable and fruit consumption by two portions a day.

Good sources of fiber include what, rice, oats, barley and beans. Also fiber can be found in nuts and seeds, carrots, cauliflower, citrus fruits, strawberries and apples.

There’s no shortage of research showing how fiber may boost your health. Some of its top potential benefits include:

  • Blood sugar control: Soluble fiber may help to slow your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control.
  • Heart health: An inverse association has been found between fiber intake and heart attack, and research shows that those eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.
  • Stroke: Researchers have found that for every seven-grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent.
  • Weight loss and management: Fiber supplements have been shown to enhance weight loss among obese people,3 likely because fiber increases feelings of fullness.
  • Skin health: Fiber, particularly psyllium husk, may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing them from being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.
  • Diverticulitis: Dietary fiber (especially insoluble) may reduce your risk of diverticulitis – an inflammation of polyps in your intestine – by 40 percent.
  • Hemorrhoids: A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Fiber may provide some relief from IBS.
  • Gallstones and kidney stones: A high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, likely because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.

Bottom Line: High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Finally, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.

Modified from article by Dr. Maureen Hecker-Rodriguez from Touro Infirmary

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.

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.

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.

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.

Your Chair May Be Hazardous To Your Health-The Sins of Sitting

January 13, 2012

You’ve seen that advice about smoking hazardous to your health which is posted on every package of cigarettes. Now they may be putting a similar warning on the very chair you sit on. It was just fifty years ago when half of American jobs involved moderate physical activity, often in manufacturing or agriculture. Today less than 20% are physically active at work. The rest spend most of their time sitting in a chair at work and at home. Most Americans now spend more time sitting than they do sleeping. Many spend 10 hours a day in a car, at work or at home in a chair. The problem is worse with older Americans. Nearly 75% of middle age and older Americans are sedentary, and more than 40% get no physical activity at all. Women who sit more than six hours a day outside of work had a 34% higher risk of death than those who sat fewer than three hours a day. Even physically active men were 64% more likely to die of heart disease if they sat more than 23 hours a week in front of the TV.

The Benefits
Going for a daily walk will immediately help you feel better. Regular walking can help protect the aging brain against memory loss and dementia, help cut the risk of heart disease, and reduce the change of developing type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults. You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by merely getting at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

How to Get Started
Start by thinking of ways to add physical activity to your workday and leisure time. You might consider parking your car a few blocks away from where you work and walk to and from the office. Walk up a few flights of stairs a few times every day. Reduce TV viewing. There are many who will watch 10-12 hours of football games every weekend. During a commercial or time out, you can drop down and do 10-15 push-ups or sit-ups. The famous Heisman Trophy winner and professional football player, Herschel Walker, said he never lifted weights but did push-up and sit-ups during commercials while he was watching T.V.

Consider working on your computer while standing up.

Deliver message to colleagues in person instead of texting or E-mailing.

Set the clock in your computer to remind you to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes.

Train yourself to standup when the phone rings.

You can place the waste paper basket on the other side of the room, which forces you to stand up and walk a few feet to make a deposit into the waste paper basket.

If you have to use the restroom, walk up a flight or two instead of using one down the hall on your floor.

Take a brisk 20-minute walk at lunch and eschew the desert.

Bottom Line: Americans, we need to get moving and spend less time sitting. There are simple ways to get more exercise even if you have a sedentary job. Remember, your chair may be dangerous to your health.

Facts on Fiber

December 11, 2011

Most of us haven’t a clue how many grams of fiber we get from our diets in on a typical day. Yet for many Americans, this number should be doubled.
Most of us don’t even come close to the recommended intake of 20 grams to 35 grams of fiber a day. Americans’ mean fiber intake is about half that –14-15 grams a day.
That’s not surprising when you consider that we get fiber from ‘roughage’ like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds, and beans. The typical American isn’t exactly loading his or her plate with these foods (you’d be hard-pressed to find a fruit, vegetable, whole grain, or bean in your average fast-food value meal).
Why Is Fiber so Good for Us?
Eating a higher-fiber diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, improve and prevent constipation, slow digestion and can help us eat less — and lose weight.
Simply doubling the amount of fiber you eat from the average of 15 grams per day to around 30 grams helps reduce calorie intake. Fiber has been shown to increase satiety, not only by lowering the energy density of foods (that is, how many calories they have per serving) but also by slowing the rate that foods pass through the digestive systems.
When you increase dietary fiber, do it gradually to avoid gastric distress, and to drink plenty of fluid to avoid constipation.
Dietary fiber not only makes us feel fuller, but reduces digestibility. Some studies have shown that large amounts of fiber in the diet can help regulate blood glucose and insulin. These may be reasons why people who eat higher-fiber diets tend to weigh less and are less prone to gain weight as they age.
The research findings on fiber’s benefits keep pouring in. Some recent studies have shown that:
• Eating a higher-fiber diet, as part of an overall healthful lifestyle, may play a role in a healthful BMI ( body mass index). One study found that women who ate more whole grains and total fiber consistently gained less weight over 12 years than those who ate less fiber and whole grains. Another study found that women with low-fiber, high-fat diets were more likely to be overweight than those following high-fiber, low-fat diets. Weight control advice for American women should place greater emphasis on consumption of fiber.
• A high-fiber diet may reduce your risk of colon cancer. If populations with a low average fiber intake suddenly doubled their fiber by making wiser food choices, they could lower their risk of colon cancer by 40%, according to a study involving data collected from 10 European countries. A recent National Cancer Institute study also linked high fiber intakes to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. This was especially true for fiber from grains, cereals, and fruits.
Fiber may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Those who ate a diet high in refined carbohydrates and low in cereal fiber were more likely to increase their risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study. And a recent Finnish study showed that as whole grain and cereal fiber intake increased, the risk of type 2 diabetes seemed to decrease. But it may not just be all about the fiber in this case; high-fiber foods are also rich in important micronutrients. That’s why it’s better to concentrate on including whole plant foods in your diet than to take a fiber pill or supplement.

Fiber intake has also been linked to the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes:
• Higher intakes of fiber (from cereal and whole-grain products) were linked with a slower build up of cholesterol filled plaque of the arteries in postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease. In another study, in men and women aged 40-60 and free of heart disease, viscous fiber (especially pectin, the type of soluble fiber found in apples) appeared to protect against the progression of atherosclerosis in neck arteries.
• High intakes of oat fiber appeared to have a protective effect on the heart, by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol without decreasing HDL “good” cholesterol.

The 2 Types of Fiber
Though both have health benefits, there’s a difference between the insoluble, type of fiber found in whole grains, carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce, and the softer, water-soluble type found in oatmeal, pears, strawberries, and apples.
Soluble or viscous fiber is the softer type that dissolves in water.
When digested, it helps prevent cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestines. This type of fiber is also thought to help minimize the rise in blood sugar levels after a meal, which is particularly helpful for people with diabetes.
This type of fiber comes from: beans (they have both types of fiber), oatmeal and oat bran, some fruits (apples, mangoes, plums, kiwi, pears, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, citrus fruits, dried apricots, prunes, and figs), and some vegetables (dried peas, beans, and lentils).
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water.
It helps keep bowel movements regular, and may reduce the risk of colon problems. It may also reduce the risk of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and obesity (by making us feel full).
Insoluble fiber is found in: Whole-wheat grain and wheat bran, brown rice, bulgur, seeds, and vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, and tomatoes).
The bottom line: All dietary fiber is good for you. Just get more of it. So feast on fiber!
This was modified by an article from WebMd High-fiber foods boost health and help control your weight by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD