Archive for the ‘obesity’ Category

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.

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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.

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

Obesity and Sedentary Life Style Can Affect Your Prostate and Your Outcomes of Treatment

January 24, 2014

Obese men are more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer and are more likely to die of their disease. Researchers at Johns Hopkins may have uncovered the explanation. Obese men have shorter telomeres. Telomeres are like aglets on shoelaces or the little tips that protect the ends of their chromosomes. Short telomeres can cause the chromosomes to become unstable and this abnormality is strongly associated with cancer. Their research in collaboration with doctors at Harvard Medical School found that men with shorter telomeres had a much higher risk of dying from prostate cancer.

Not only did obesity demonstrate shorter telomeres and who were physically inactive had even shorter telomeres compared to men of normal weight and who were the most physically active.

Bottom Line: Telomere shortening in prostate cells is associated with obesity and decreased physical activity. Therefore, this is one more reason for men to adopt a healthy lifestyle and develop good nutritional habits and get moving!

Penis Size-Facts, Fiction, and What You Can Do To Get a Bigger Penis

November 5, 2013

“It’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it.”
– Anonymous

As a urologist I am asked every day “Is my penis normal? What can I do to make it larger?” One of the most widely searched topics on AskMen.com, penis size has remained an enduring interest to men for decades and is understandably a source of much anxiety. However, while size does matter, it really does not matter as much as most men think. The issue here is one of perception: Men perceive it as the defining element of their masculinity, while women often evaluate the whole package: looks, style, intelligence, personality, behavior, and even a man’s sense of humor.

Regardless of whose perceptions are misplaced, penis size will forever persist as a primary concern for men worldwide, which is why AM has explored the topic so deeply. Look no further, as all you need to know is here, standing at the ready.

Penis Size Fact
When surveyed, women consistently claimed that girth was more important than length. This surprising response is seemingly odd as there appears to be no physiological basis for such claims, although more girth may provide more clitoral stimulation.

In fact, plenty of well-endowed men are ashamed of their penises, while lots of men with smaller penises strut their stuff with confidence, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Men worry far more than women about penis size, according to Veale and his colleagues. One study, published in April in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that women preferred larger penises only up to a point anything bigger than a flaccid length of 2.99 inches did not additionally impress women.

So what is average? A recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study found that the average American man’s penis measures 5.6 inches long when erect.

Now let me leave you with a guaranteed method to make your penis 1-1.5 inches longer. Let me ask you if I could offer you a pill that would lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of diabetes, lower your cholesterol level, decrease your risk of prostate cancer and colon cancer, improve your mood and libido or sex drive, help you lose weight, it’s very inexpensive and, yes, it will make your penis longer, would you take the pill? Every man answers, “Yes, of course. Where do I get those pills? I then smile at the man and say, “I’m sorry, it’s not a pill, it’s exercise!” Why is this the case? When you exercise, lose weight and lose the girth of your abdomen, your penis will appear longer. If you don’t believe me, try it. Lose 25 pounds and see for yourself. You’ll also be able to see your toes or shoes, too!

Bottom Line: It’s true, use it or lose it. It’s a good idea to have regular sex and to not be preoccupied with the length of your Johnson!

Lose Weight and It May Affect Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

October 28, 2013

Prostate cancer is a slow growing tumor that affects millions of American men. More than 2 million men in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors. There are 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer discovered each year. Although more than 80% of prostate cancer patients are diagnosed with cancer confined to the prostate gland, the relative 10-year survival rate is 93% for all men regardless of how far advanced is the cancer. Most men are interested in finding out what they can do to prevent prostate cancer. This blog will discuss how exercise may help prevent prostate cancer.

There is new evidence that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer and, more importantly, regular exercise decreases the risk of prostate cancer. 
Studies of exercise and prostate cancer risk have mostly shown that men who exercise may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Exercise has many other health benefits and may reduce your risk of heart disease and other cancers. Exercise can help you maintain your weight, or it can help you lose weight.

A study performed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined the records of 2,705 men who had been diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer over 18-years. The men in the study reported the time they spent exercising on a weekly basis. This included running, bicycling, walking, swimming, other sports, and even outdoor work. Men who reported vigorous activity for at least three hours per week had a 61% lower risk of a prostate cancer-specific death, compared with men who exercised for less than an hour per week.

The results of this study suggests that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine.
A little is better than none

The researchers observed benefits at very attainable levels of activity and that the study suggests that men with prostate cancer should do some physical activity for their overall health, even if it is a small amount, such as 15 minutes of activity per day of walking, jogging, biking, or mowing the law\gardening.

There is good evidence that doing vigorous activity for three or more hours per week may be especially beneficial for prostate cancer, as well as overall health. The research shows a significant risk reduction for prostate cancer mortality with increasing vigorous activity.
The study is published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Decreased physical activity, which may be the result of the cancer itself or the treatment, can lead to tiredness and lack of energy. Regular, moderate exercise can decrease these feelings, help you stay active, and increase your energy. Even during cancer therapy, it is often possible to continue exercising.

If you don’t already exercise, make an appointment with your doctor to see if it’s OK for you to get started. When you begin exercising, go slowly. Add physical activity to your day by parking your car farther away from where you’re going, and try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Risk of prostate cancer is higher in men who are African American descent or who have a father, brother, uncle, or close relative with prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk. 
Some men have an increased risk of prostate cancer. For those with a very high risk of prostate cancer, there may be other options for risk reduction, such as medications.

Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is a common malignancy that affects millions of American men. There are risks of increasing prostate cancer and steps you can take like improving your diet and increasing your exercise level that will decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

The New Equation: Stress = Excessive Eating = Obesity

May 25, 2012

Stress can impact your eating habits and lead to obesity, the national epidemic affecting millions of Americans. Doctors have now unraveled the relationship between stress and obesity. With chronic stress, the hypothalamus, located in the brain and where stress starts, sends a signal to the pituitary gland to release ACTH or adrenocorticotrophic hormone, which travels via the blood stream to the adrenal gland and stimulates the release of cortisol. Chronic stress leads to far more cortisol than is necessary which in turn stimulates the appetite as the cortisol secretion is turned on and off with excess stress resulting in excess ACTH to fuel the reaction. Cortisol has now been shown to activate lipoprotein lipase, the enzyme that facilitates the deposition of fat. Finally chronic stress is associated with increase anxiety, apathy, and depression, which by themselves may lead to excessive eating and obesity.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that exercise can help relieve chronic stress, reduce your appetite, and promote weight loss. Physical activity can protect against feelings of distress, defend against symptoms of anxiety, guard against depressive symptoms and the development of major depressive disorder and enhance psychological well-being.

Studies have documented that 30 minutes of exercise a day appear to have stress-reducing benefits. The type of exercise does not seem to make a difference. However, the intensity of the exercise does have an impact on stress reduction. The research shows that moderate to vigorous physical activity reduces stress better than low-intensity activity.

Bottom Line: Stress can be a killer just like heart disease. Want to make yourself heart healthy? Then reduce your stress by exercising. Your heart and so many other organ systems in your body will thank you.

For more information go to my website, http://www.neilbaum.com