Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’

ED and Good Health

April 10, 2017

Many men are unaware of the relationship between ED (impotence) and their overall health.  ED not only include ability to engage in sexual intimacy but also includes problems with libido, and abnormal ejaculation.

ED is defined as the consistent inability to attain or maintain a penile erection of sufficient quality to permit satisfactory sexual intercourse.

The process of diagnosis and treatment begins with a careful sexual history.  Men with a sexual problem will probably be asked:

  • Are you currently having sexual relations?
  • With whom do you have these relations (men, women, or both, and how many partners)?
  • When was the last time you had intercourse?
  • Are you satisfied with the quality and frequency of your sexual experiences?

The answers will clarify what aspects of sexual dysfunction are occurring and inform the rest of the evaluation. If libido is intact but ED is a complaint, then what underlying medical conditions or medications may be contributing to the problem? If libido is affected, are there significant psychologic or emotional contributing factors that need to be addressed as well as measuring the serum testosterone level.

Although sexual problems are not necessarily caused by aging; it is true that aging is associated with an increase in sexual issues. As early as 40 years of age, up to 40% of men report some impaired sexual function.  Inability to attain or maintain an erection consistently for satisfactory intercourse was reported in 67% of males over 69 years of age in another study.  Testosterone decline is common with age. While this may play a hormonal role in sexual dysfunction, it is important to thoroughly evaluate all possible causes before initiating testosterone replacement therapy for sexual dysfunction alone.

Similarly as men age, interest in sex may decline due to lack of novelty as well as an increase in stress that often occurs in older men. Fatigue, lack of privacy in the family setting, and unresolved anger with a partner may all be determinants of sexual problems in the older male. More critically, loss of interest in sexual activity and loss of libido may be manifestations of depression.  Depression can cause sexual problems, but the reverse may also be true.

In addition to these factors, diabetes, blockage of the blood vessels, and adverse effects from medications, both prescribed and recreational (marijuana and cocaine) may all play roles in sexual functioning. Disease states such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity can affect the blood flow into the penis. Blockage in any of the major arteries feeding the blood supply to the penis can lead to inability to obtain and maintain an erection. Diabetes, for example, this can also affect the mechanism of erection and cause ejaculatory disorders such as backward ejaculation of the fluid to the bladder instead of out of the tip of the penis at the time of orgasm.

Medications that are often identified as causes of erectile disorder which include medications used to treat depression, blood pressure lowering medications, cholesterol medications, and drugs used to treat prostate cancer.  Excessive alcohol use is the most common substance that can lead to ED, though cocaine, heroin, and marijuana have all been linked as well.

Bottom Line:  ED is a common problem affecting millions of middle age and older American men.  The diagnosis can often be attributed to underlying disease states.  A careful history and physical examination will help to elucidate the problem and start you on the road to successful treatment.

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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.

Urinary Incontinence – Don’t Depend on Depends!

March 12, 2015

Urinary incontinence affects millions of American men and women. Help is available. You don’t have to suffer in silence.

If you notice a few drops of urine dribbling out when you laugh, cough or even sneeze, you may need to consult a general practitioner as these could be symptoms of urinary incontinence, or loss of voluntary control over one’s urination. In some cases there may be a total loss of urine from the urinary bladder while in other cases there could be partial leakage too. Most commonly seen in elderly males and females, this is a condition that could cause great embarrassment and mental agony. As the person loses control over his or her urination, it drips into his inner clothes without his knowledge and this causes stains, bad smells as well as embarrassment to the person in question. This problem can prevent the person from socializing as he\she is always preoccupied with the thought that the urine might leak out and others may come to know about his or her condition. As this is a problem that often affects the elderly, it could cause severe mental agony and sometimes elderly persons may even develop depression because of it.

Causes of incontinence

Some cases of incontinence are temporary and often, these instances are caused by an external or lifestyle factor. Drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or too much of any fluid can cause a temporary loss of bladder control. Some medications — such as blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants, sedatives, and some heart medicines — may also lead to a short spell of incontinence. A urinary tract infection may also lead to instances of incontinence.

Other causes of incontinence include:
Aging: As you age, your bladder muscles becomes weaker and incontinence becomes more likely. Any issues with your blood vessels will make this situation worse.
Vaginal delivery or surgery in the pelvis: Any damage caused to your pelvic floor muscles can lead to incontinence, since these muscles support your bladder. In some cases, they can be damaged or weakened by surgery—usually during a procedure to remove the uterus—or during childbirth.
Enlarged prostate: In nearly all men, the prostate gland enlarges with age. It is common for men to experience some incontinence as a result.
Cancer and stones: Prostate cancer in men, or bladder cancer in men or women can cause incontinence. In some cases, the cancer’s treatment will cause incontinence as a side-effect. A tumor, whether malignant or benign, can also cause incontinence by blocking the usual flow of urine. Kidney or bladder stones can also have the same effect, say experts.

Evaluation of the man or woman with incontinence
The condition is determined after a person records regular urine leakages. Diagnosis of urinary incontinence may involve a physical exam, an ultrasound, urodynamic testing and tests including cystoscopy, urinalysis and a bladder stress test. Sometimes, I may ask the person to keep a bladder diary.

Prevention
Although it is not always possible to prevent UI, one can lower its risk by practicing Kegel exercises, especially during pregnancy, following a healthy high-fiber diet, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding caffeine and acidic foods.

Treatment of this condition
Most cases of urinary incontinence can be treated with lifestyle changes and bladder training exercises but medication and other coping strategies like use of diapers (that can absorb the excess urine) are also used if the problem is due to urgency or mixed incontinence. There are a few effective ways to put an end to your battle with incontinence, such as –

• Drink fluids in moderation
• Empty the bladder completely
• Lose weight
• Avoid drinking tea and coffee
• Stop drinking alcohol
• Treat digestive problems
• Read labels on medications
• Apart from these, there is a therapy to improve the symptoms of frequency, nocturia, urgency, and urge incontinence.
Treatment options also include anticholinergics, antispasmodic agents, and tricyclic antidepressants (Tofranil). Pharmacologic therapy for stress incontinence and an overactive bladder may be most effective when combined with a pelvic exercise regimen.

Some surgical procedures like tape or sling procedures, bladder suspension, urethral bulking agents, artificial urinary sphincter in men with incontinence after prostate surgery and other surgical procedures are available as treatment.

Bottom Line: Men and women who suffer from incontinence don’t have to suffer in silence and wear diapers. Help is available. See your doctor to discuss an evaluation and treatment options.

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.

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.

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

Medical Tests That You Can Do Without

March 11, 2014

I just had my annual physical examination. I am without any symptoms; take a baby aspirin and a vitamin; have no co morbid conditions. I asked myself did I really need a chest x-ray when I am exposed to so much radiation during my work at the hospital or did I need an EKG with no symptoms and a negative family history? I found my answer in a recent AARP article about “10 Tests To Avoid”.

1. Nuclear stress tests, and other imaging tests, after heart procedures
If you have had heart bypass, stent or other heart procedure, you don’t need nuclear stress test or other tests that their hearts are beating strong and the results rarely change the plan of management. Instead, patients and doctors should focus on what does make a difference in keeping the heart healthy: managing weight, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure and increasing exercise.

2. Yearly electrocardiogram or exercise stress test
Someone at low risk for heart disease could be 10 times more likely to get a false-positive result than to find a true problem with their heart. The stress test could lead to unnecessary heart catheterization and stents. Instead, it is important to have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked at least once a year. And if you’re at risk for diabetes, have your blood glucose level checked as well.

3. PSA to screen for prostate cancer
Cancer is always scary, but the PSA test often finds slow-growing cancers that won’t kill men. An estimated 75 percent of tests that show high PSA levels turn out to be false alarms.
The American Urological Association, of which I am a member, supports the use of PSA testing, but should be considered mainly for men ages 55 to 69. I also believe that no testing is required in the man without any symptoms if the man is more than 75 years of age. However, men with a positive family history of prostate cancer and African American men should have an annual PSA test and a digital rectal examination.

4. PET scan to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
In the last few years, doctors have begun using PET scans with a radioactive dye to look for beta-amyloid protein that is found in the brains of people with the Alzheimer’s disease. Even if a PET scan could accurately diagnose the disease, it’s untreatable. If you’re concerned about your memory, the better course is to have a complete medical evaluation by a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating dementia.

5. X-ray, CT scan or MRI for lower back pain
Back pain is incredibly common — 80 percent of people will suffer from back pain some time in their lives. It can be both excruciating and debilitating. Naturally, people want to know what’s wrong. Here’s the catch: The best imaging machines in the world often can’t tell them. Many older people with no back pain can have terrible-looking scans.
Most back pain goes away in about a month and imaging tests tend to lead to expensive procedures that often don’t help or shorten recovery. If you don’t feel better in a month, talk to your doctor about other options such as physical therapy, yoga or massage. But if your legs feel weak or numb, you have a history of cancer or you have had a recent infection, see your doctor.

6. Yearly Pap tests
The yearly Pap smear is a common part of women’s health checklists, but it doesn’t need to be. Women at average risk only need them every three years, since cervical cancer generally takes 10 to 20 years to develop. If women have also had negative tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is now known to cause the cancer, they only need a Pap test along with the HPV test every five years. And women older than 65 who have had several normal Pap tests in a row can stop having them altogether. Also, if you have had a total hysterectomy for a benign condition such as uterine fibroids and the entire uterus and cervix have been removed, you do not need any further Pap test. Do note, however, that a yearly visit to an ob-gyn stays on the to-do list.

7. Bone density scan for women before age 65 and men before age 70
For the estimated 10 million people — mainly women —in the United States who have osteoporosis, bone-strengthening medications can lower the chances of breaking a bone. But many experts argue that for those ages 50 to 65 who have osteopenia — mild bone loss — testing and subsequent drug prescriptions may be a waste of time and money. Not only is the risk of fracture often quite low, medications such as Fosamax (alendronate) and Boniva (ibandronate) have been linked to throat or chest pain, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, muscle pain, bone loss in the jaw and thigh-bone fractures. And there’s scant evidence that people with osteopenia get much benefit from the drugs.
To help keep your bones strong, try walking and weight-bearing exercises,. Get enough calcium, 1000mg\day, and vitamin D, 1000IU\day, in your diet. If you smoke, quit.

8. Follow-up ultrasounds for small ovarian cysts
Many women receive repeated ultrasounds to verify that ovarian cysts have not become cancerous, but current research says that these tests aren’t necessary. For one thing, premenopausal women have harmless ovarian cysts regularly. For another, about 20 percent of postmenopausal women also develop harmless cysts.
The likelihood of these small simple cysts ever becoming cancer is exceedingly low.

9. Colonoscopy after age 75
Most people should have screening for colon cancer at 50 and then every five to 10 years after that, if the first test is normal. By age 75 — if you’ve always had normal colonoscopies — you can stop taking this test altogether. That should be good news, because a colonoscopy can cause serious complications in older people.
To protect your colon, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains for fiber. Cut down on fatty foods, red meat and processed meats. Lose weight if you’re overweight and exercise. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s the best advice for protecting the rest of your body — and mind — as well.

10. Yearly physical
There’s little evidence that having an annual checkup can keep you healthy. Now I they tell me! Many tests that doctors regularly perform — to diagnose anemia, liver disease or urinary tract infections, for example — don’t make sense unless there’s a reason to suspect a problem.
Certainly, if you have an illness that needs treatment, you should see your physician. And do talk to your doctor about how often you need to have your blood pressure and cholesterol tested.

Bottom Line: Use good judgment about your health and your visit to the doctor. Ask the doctor if the test is really necessary and if the results will change how he\she is taking care of you. My message is that patients, including myself, need to become involved in their healthcare.
This article was inspired and modified from AARP, 10 Test to Avoid, by Elizabeth Agnvall, http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2014/choosing-wisely-medical-tests-to-avoid.3.html

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

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

December 26, 2012

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function


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

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

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

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

Tips On Good Health-Get Moving

October 27, 2012

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

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

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

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

Get off the bus a stop early.

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

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

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

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

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