Archive for the ‘hypertension’ Category

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.

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Over the Counter Cold Medicine Can Leave You With More Than A Stuffy Nose

February 17, 2015

Millions of Americans purchase over the counter cold medication to control the symptoms of stuffy nose and a dry cough. However, these OTC medications are not without their precautions. This blog will cover some of the most common OTC cold preparations and what are the caveats before using these not so harmless drugs.

Acetaminophen and liver damage. Acetaminophen, which is found in Tylenol, which can suppress a headache can be associated with fatal liver damage. The maximum safe daily dose is 3000 milligrams. If you use large quantities of acetaminophen, stay away from alcohol. Also take the lowest dose that brings relief. Also many medications contain acetaminophen, so you may be taking more than you realize.

Ibuprofen, ulcers, kidney problems. Ibuprofen, which is in Advil and Motrin, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that relieves mild aches and pains. Ibuprofen increases the risk for a a heart attack or stroke, especially if you already h ave heart disease or high blood pressure, you smoke, you have diabetes or you use it long term. If you use ibuprophen, avoid alcoholic beverages. Call your doctor if develop blood or black stools; if you experience changes in the frequency of urination; or if you have problems walking or with your vision or speech.

Decongestants and high blood pressure. Decongestants found in Triaminic, Afrin nasal spray and Dimetapp Cold Drops relieve nasal congestion by reducing swelling and constricting blood vessels in the nose, allowing you to breathe more easily. These decongestants may cause blood pressure to spike and interfere with the effectiveness of prescription medication to control blood pressure. If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma or an overactive thyroid, speak to your doctor before using decongestants.

Antihistamines and falls. Antihistamines found in Benedryl and Chlor-Trimeton, can relieve the symptoms of runny nose. However, they make users sleepy and contribute to falls and hip fractures especially in the elderly. If you have glaucoma, an enlarged prostate gland, breathing problems, high blood pressure or heart disease, you may have worsening of symptoms and probably should avoid antihistamines.

Combination medications and heart problems. OTC combinations of acetaminophen with the decongestant phenylephrine (Contac) can bring on irrgullarg heartbeat, high blood pressure and tremors. I suggest that you use a single ingredient medication.

Bottom Line: Many OTC medications are safe if used properly and with precaution in men and women who have certain conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, prostate gland problems, or glaucoma, these medications are probably safe.

What Every Woman Should Know….About Her Man

November 26, 2014

Men live 5-7 years less than women and often have poorer health than their female counterparts. This may be due to many factors but certainly one is that men seek out preventive healthcare much less often than women. This blog is intended to give you an overview of the unique healthcare problems of men and what women can do to help their men lead happier and healthier lives.

ED\Impotence
ED is a common condition that affects as many as 30 million American men. Most men are uncomfortable discussing their sexual problems with either their partners or their healthcare providers. As a result men feel embarrassed and women often feel that the man in their life doesn’t find them attractive.

About 70% of the time, ED is caused by an underlying health problem, most often diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or heart disease. The remaining 30% of men suffer from ED caused by stress, anxiety, depression, the side effects of medication, or drug and alcohol abuse.

In most cases, ED is treatable, which means that it doesn’t have to be a natural or inevitable part of growing older. Treatments include drug therapy (Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra) vacuum devices, injections, or penile implants. If your partner is suffering from ED, encourage him to seek medical care as certainly this condition can be effectively treated.

Testosterone
Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for the normal growth and development of male sex and reproductive organs. It is responsible for the development of male characteristics such as body and facial hair, muscle growth and strength, and deep voice.

Men’s testosterone levels naturally decrease as men age. But if the levels drop below the normal range, some uncomfortable and often distressing symptoms may develop, including:
Decreased libido or sex drive
Importance or ED
Depression
Fatigue or loss of energy
Loss of muscle mass

As many as 10 million men suffer from low testosterone (low T) but only 5% are being treated.

The diagnosis is made with a simple blood test that measures the blood level of testosterone. If the T level is decreased and the man has symptoms of low T, then replacement therapy with injections, topical gels, or pellets can be prescribed.

Prostate
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that manufactures fluid for semen. It is located at the base of the bladder and surrounds the urethra or the tube that transports urine from the bladder through the penis to the outside of the body.

Prostatitis is a condition often caused by a bacterial infection or an inflammatory response similar to that seen with allergies and asthma. Symptoms may include a discharge, discomfort, pain in the area underneath the scrotum or testicles, frequent urination, and burning with urination. Treatment usually consists of medication and medications t decrease the inflammatory response in the prostate gland.

Benign prostate gland enlargement affects most men after age 50. The symptoms consist of frequent urination, getting up at night to urinate, and a decrease in the force and the caliber of the urine stream. Treatment consists of oral medication to reduce the size of the prostate gland, or medication that can relax the prostate and improve the urine flow. Now there are minimally invasive treatments such as microwaves, lasers, and even a new treatment, UroLift, that pins open the prostate gland in a 15 minute procedure in an outpatient setting.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Nearly 240,000 new cases are diagnosed every year and causes 30,000 deaths each year making it the second most common cause of death due to cancer in men. The diagnosis is made by a digital rectal exam and a blood test, PSA test. If prostate cancer is caught early, it is often curable and nearly always treatable.

In the early stages, prostate cancer usually causes NO symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, so do the symptoms such as hip or back pain, difficulty with urination, painful or burning on urination or blood in the urine.

Every man should consider a baseline PSA test and a digital rectal examination at age 40. Additionally, African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer see a physician annually beginning at age 40.

Treatment options for prostate cancer include surgical removal of the prostate gland, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy or cryosurgery. Some men with localized, low risk prostate cancer might select active surveillance or watchful waiting which closes monitors the cancer to see if it progresses or becomes aggressive. If the cancer progresses, then treatment is usually instituted.

Testicular cancer
Cancer of the testicle is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15-35. Although, there is nothing to prevent testicular cancer, if the cancer is diagnosed early, there is a high cure rate. Early detection is the key to success.

Symptoms of testicle cancer include:
Lumps or enlargement of either testicle
A feeling of pulling or unusual weight in the scrotum
Pain or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum
Dull ache in the lower abdomen
Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts

The best way to diagnose testicle cancer is be doing a testicle self-examination. Men\boys should examine themselves once a month just as women are recommended to do a monthly breast self examination. If a man experiences a lump or bump on the testicle or in the scrotum, contact your physician as soon as possible.

So what do I recommend?
In your 20s
A physical examination every three years
Check blood pressure every year
Screening for cancers of the thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth, and skin every three years
Cholesterol test every three years
Testicular self-exam every month

In your 30s
All of the above and a physical exam every two years

In your 40s
A physical exam every two years
A PSA test and a digital rectal exam if you are in a high-risk group
A stool test for colon and rectal cancer every year

At age 50 and above
A colonoscopy every 5 years or as recommended by your physician
A PSA and digital rectal exam every year

Bottom Line: Women can be so helpful in guiding men to good health. If you love your man, encourage him to follow these guidelines.

In the next blog we will discuss what men need to know about women’s health.

Can’t Get It Up? Your ED (Erectile Dysfunction) May Be Telling You That Your Health Is Headed Down

September 22, 2014

Nearly every man has an occasional problem with his erection. However, if it is a persistent problem, it may be an indication of a more serious health problem. This blog will discuss some of the common conditions that may not have any symptoms that are associated with ED and what you need to do if you do have ED.

High blood pressure

An estimated one in three men with high blood pressure has no idea they have it, and impotence could be a vital warning sign. As we get older, our arteries become narrower and less elastic, which forces our blood pressure to rise gradually as the heart beats ever harder to get blood around the body. This damages the arteries, reducing blood flow to the penis.

What you can do: Ask your GP to check your blood pressure. Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and lowering salt intake may improve erectile dysfunction.

If you are already taking blood pressure medication and suffer from impotence, mention it to your doctor as some pills, such as Thiazide diuretics and beta blockers, can trigger or worsen it and your GP may be able to prescribe an alternative.

Heart disease

The many stresses of modern life, compounded with poor diet, lack of exercise, drinking and smoking, can put you at risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, both of which cause narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart — and to the penis. Weak erections can be an early sign of heart trouble.

‘The blood vessels in your penis are 1mm to 2mm wide, much smaller than those in the arteries to your heart (3mm to 4mm wide), so they show up signs of narrowing more quickly.

Impotence occurs, on average, about three years before a heart problem appears, especially in men in their 40s or 50s. Men with erectile dysfunction are 50 times more likely to have heart problems than men with normal heart function.

What you can do: Get your heart and cholesterol levels checked. Improving your diet and boosting exercise levels can reduce your cholesterol levels. Your doctor might also recommend a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. There is some evidence that statins can help with erectile dysfunction.

Diabetes

More than a million people in the U.S. are believed to have undiagnosed diabetes — a condition where your body cannot process the sugar in your blood effectively. Left untreated, this can lead to damage to the blood vessels and the nerves, and can cause poor blood flow to the penis, too.

What you can do: Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to irreversible ED. If you are diagnosed with, or already have, diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels stable (through diet and possibly medication) may help prevent impotence.

More than 50 per cent of diabetics will have ED at some point, and it becomes more common as they grow older.

Enlarged prostate

The prostate is a small, doughnut-shaped gland that sits under the bladder, around the urethra.

Prostate problems are common with age — typically these are prostatitis, a bacterial infection which causes the gland to become swollen, and an enlarged prostate, which is linked to testosterone.

Both can trigger pain, difficulty passing urine and temporary problems with erectile dysfunction.

Prostatitis can be treated with antibiotics (it usually clears within four weeks) and an enlarged prostate may shrink after treatment with an alpha blocker such as Flomax or Rapaflo or the use of drugs that block the effects of testosterone, reducing the gland’s size.

Treatments for prostate cancer — surgery, radiotherapy, ultrasound, cryotherapy and hormone therapy — can trigger erection problems.

Early prostate cancer can be treated surgically with a nerve- sparing technique, which gives a better chance of erections afterwards.

Erectile dysfunction can be an indicator of other medical problems. If you are experiencing a regular loss of erections or are unable to obtain an erection most of the times you engage in sexual intimacy, you should check with your physician.

10 Reasons That Sex Contributes to Good Health

June 1, 2014

On so many occasions many of my male and female patients have indicated that as they reach middle age, that sexual intimacy has taken a back seat and is less important than it was years ago. For this blog, I would like to illuminate 10 reasons to take the sex drive off the back shelf and put it on the front burner. Both you and your partner will be glad you did.
Sex not only feels good. It can also be good for you. Here’s what a healthy sex life can do for you.
1. Revs Up Your Immune System Humming
Sexually active people miss fewer days of work and make fewer visits to the doctor.
People who have sex have higher levels of what defends your body against germs, viruses, and other foreign substances. Researchers found that those men and women who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the a certain antibody compared to those who had sex less often.
You should still do all the other things that make your immune system happy, such as:
Eat right.
Stay active.
Get enough sleep.
Keep up with your vaccinations.
Use a condom if you don’t know you and your partner’s STD status.
2. Boosts Your Libido
Having sex will make sex better and will improve your libido.
For women, having sex increases vaginal lubrication, blood flow to the pelvis, and elasticity of the vagina, all of which make sex feel better and help you crave more of it.
3. Improves Women’s Bladder Control
A strong pelvic floor is important for avoiding incontinence, involuntary loss of urine, something that will affect about 30% of women at some point in their lives.
Good sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. When you have an orgasm, it causes contractions in those muscles, which strengthens them.
4. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Research suggests a link between sex and lower blood pressure. Numerous studies have reported that sexual intercourse lowered systolic blood pressure, the first or top number on your blood pressure test.
5. Counts as Exercise
Sex is a really great form of aerobic exercise. It won’t replace the treadmill, but it counts for a short cardio workout.
Sex uses about five calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV! It bumps up your heart rate.
So get busy! You may even want to clear your schedule to make time for it on a regular basis. Consistency or regular sex helps maximize the benefits.
6. Lowers Heart Attack Risk
A good sex life is good for your heart. Besides being a great way to raise your heart rate and provide you with a cardio workout more fun than spinning, sex helps keep your estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men in balance.
When either one of those is low you begin to get lots of problems, like osteoporosis and even heart disease.
Having sex more often may help. During one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease than the less sexually active men who had sex rarely.
7. Lessens Pain
Before you reach for an aspirin, ibuprofen or a pain pill, try an orgasm.
An orgasm can block pain by releasing endorphins which are much more powerful than morphine. Orgasm releases endorphins that helps raise your pain threshold.
Stimulation without orgasm can also be effective. Vaginal stimulation can block chronic back and leg pain, and many women report that genital self-stimulation can reduce menstrual cramps, arthritic pain, and in some cases even headache.
8. Send Big “C” Out To Sea
Going for the sexual homerun or orgasm may help ward off prostate cancer.
The prestigious the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that men who ejaculated frequently (at least 21 times a month) were less likely to get prostate cancer.
You don’t need a partner to reap this benefit: Sexual intercourse, nocturnal emission, and masturbation were all part of the equation.
9. Improves Sleep
You may nod off more quickly after sex, and for good reason.
After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness after sex.
10. Eases Stress
Being close to your partner can soothe stress and anxiety.
Even touching and hugging can release your body’s natural feel-good hormones. Sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that revs up your brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Sex and intimacy can boost your self-esteem and happiness, too,
Bottom Line: Who would have “thunk” that sex is good for you and can help keep you healthy and well. As my wise Jewish mother, St. Sara, would say, “It may not help but it voidn’t hoit!” Rest in peace St. Sara.

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

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

A Pill Or Pounding the Pavement To Produce Good Health And Lower Healthcare Costs

January 5, 2014

Many times I am consulted by patients for a solution for their medical problem. Most often it comes with a pill, an injection, or a surgical treatment. But I enjoy having conversations with middle-age men who visit my office to find a solution to their problem with erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence. Many of these men are 50-70 years of age and are over-weight; take multiple medications for arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. I then have the following conversation with them:

Mr. Smith if I could offer you a pill that would lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, decrease your pain in your back, knees and hips, decrease your obesity, decrease your glucose level and improve your diabetes, improve your mood, decreases your risk of prostate and colon cancer, has absolutely no side effects and is very affordable and would be covered by your insurance company, and best of all it will make your penis appear 1-2 inches longer, would you take the pill?

One hundred percent of the men say, “Why yes. Will you write me a prescription?”

I respond by gently tapping the man on his shoulder and say, “Mr. Smith, I’m so very sorry, it’s not a pill; it’s exercise!”

That’s exactly what exercise will do for you. It will improve your overall health and will make it possible to throw away so many of the multiple medications that middle age men AND women take. We are a polymedicated society and look for a pill to solve our healthcare needs. Except for genetics, which we can’t change, there are lifestyle changes that ALL of us can make that will improve our health and allow us to live longer and healthy lives.

Let’s look at the facts about obesity in America.
Obesity rates are soaring in the U.S.
Between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled among adults. About 60 million adults, or 30% of the adult population, are now obese.

Similarly since 1980, overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents – increasing the number of years they are exposed to the health risks of obesity.

Fact: Most people still do not practice healthy behaviors that can prevent obesity
The primary behaviors causing the obesity epidemic are well known and preventable: physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

Despite this knowledge: Only about 25% of U.S. adults eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

More than 50% of American adults do not get the recommended amount of physical activity to provide health benefits.

No one knows with any degree of certainty what the Affordable Healthcare Act (ObamaCare) will bring to modern medicine. One thing we do know for sure that one of the best ways to control healthcare costs is to control obesity. Obesity-related costs place a huge burden on the U.S. economy Direct health costs attributable to obesity have been estimated at $52 billion in 1995 and $75 billion in 2003 and by now is over $100 billion of the more than a trillion dollar healthcare budget.

Bottom Line: As Everett Dirkson, the late Senator from Illinois, once said, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” This holds true today as it was uttered by the senator nearly 50 years ago. Americans must take responsibility for their health. We need to quit looking for the quick fix or a pill to solve our healthcare problems. We need to start exercising. You will be happier, your doctor will be pleased with your weight reduction, and the percent that Americans spend on healthcare related to obesity will come down. Advice from Doctor Baum…..get moving!

P.S. How does the penis get longer from weight loss? When you lose that belly fat and reduce your abdominal girth, you will see your toes and the end of your penis for the first time in many years!

Dr. Neil Baum is a physician at Touro Infirmary and can be reached at 504 891-8454 or through his website, http://www.neilbaum.com

Impotence or Erectile Dysfunction Can Affect More Than Your Bedroom Activities

August 21, 2013

Impotence It’s reversible
Nearly 50% of all men have a problem obtaining and maintaining an erection adequate for vaginal penetration. Having an occasional problem getting or keeping an erection is normal. But when it happens most of time and it’s severe that you cannot achieve an erection adequate for penetration, it’s time to consult with your physician

But erection issues aren’t only a problem in the bedroom, there is now strong evidence they are “a dangling stress test” – a warning sign you may high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or damaged arteries that may increase your risk of heart attacks.
When I went to medical school in the late 1960’s most erection problems were thought to be psychological and 20 per cent physical. We now know it’s probably the other way around and that 80% are due to physical causes and less than 20% are due to psychological causes. There are some clearly psychological causes of sexual problems but they’re the minority overall. There are often some pretty clear clues as to whether the problem is psychological; probably the one that clearly suggests that the problem is psychologic is that the man gets an erection upon awakening in the morning. Men with psychological impotence are able to get an erection with self-stimulation or masturbation. And finally, men with psychological erections will state that they can get an erection with another woman but not with their wife or regular partner.

Usually if it’s a physical issue, it will affect erections occurring at all times – whether they’re spontaneous, masturbatory or provoked erections. In men with severe erection problems, it’s nearly always physical.

Many men get a lot of comfort from knowing this is a medical problem. I think it helps men to know ED is just another symptom, like trouble with urination or something else that’s indicative there may be some physical disease going on and it needs to be assessed, rather than something wrong with their masculinity. It is important to mention that a physical cause can lead to secondary psychological problems too.

At any age there can be a specific cause, it might be drug or alcohol abuse, it might be prostate cancer, it could be a drug for treating high blood pressure or it could be low testosterone, the male hormone produced in the testicles that is responsible primarily for the sex drive or libido.
But as men move through their 40s, 50s, 60s, there’s also an increase in the prevalence of ED and in a big portion of this group it’s frequently a vascular [blood vessel] problem.

It’s not so much that there’s necessarily heart disease at that point, but the factors that lead to heart disease are now starting to show up in the penis. The blood supply to the heart is through blood vessels that 6-8mm in diameter. The blood vessels that supply the penis are only 3-4 mm in diameter. Therefore if the man has a condition that narrows the blood vessels such as atherosclerosis, the penis will be affected before the heart. That is why erectile dysfunction will often occur years before a man has a heart attack. In a sense, the penis is a barometer because to get an erection and maintain it, you need to increase the blood flow by about 10 or even 15 times. There’s no other organ in the body like that. So if you’ve got minor things affecting the vascular system, it will show up in the penis.

There’s strong evidence if you develop ED in your 30s, 40s and 50s, you’re at greater risk of having a heart event over next five years. Even minor erectile problems could be an indicator of future heart risks. I wouldn’t say if you’ve got ED you should be sitting there thinking, “oh I’ve got heart disease “, although that could be the case.
If you are experiencing ED, begin by consulting with your doctor. Your doctor will test you for diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. There are a lot of lifestyle issues, which when dealt with there and then might have a big effect of reducing the risk of heart disease [or its progression] and possibly restore erectile function. Early intervention will potentially lead to better sexual function because you get a better responsiveness to drugs such Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis which can improve erections].
Use it or lose it. Once the penis has been inactive for a length of time, it gets changes in its structure. These make the tissues less malleable so it’s harder to maintain an erection. You don’t have to be having sex, just having an erection to prevent these changes in the tissues of the penis. Any erection has a value in that it’s oxygenating and stretching out the penis and [this] allows it to work at its best.

Bottom Line: Don’t be in denial, not a river in Egypt, if you are experiencing ED. There is likely an underlying problem that needs your attention. See your doctor, identify the problem, and get treatment. Your penis and your partner will thank you!

High Blood Pressure-A Silent Killer

November 14, 2012

Control Your Blood Pressure And Protect Your Hear

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

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

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