Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Diet and Exercise May Reduce Risk of Cancer

March 23, 2017

There isn’t a day that goes by that the Internet or the print media isn’t bombarding readers with a new diet that prevents cancer.

Every day, there are headlines that bombard readers with various diets that purportedly prevent cancer: “The Diet That Stops Cancer” and “Eating Your Way Out of Cancer.” But what do the hard data really say about lifestyle choices preventing cancer?  Studies have shown that the combination of healthy eating, not smoking, and regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80 percent and of stroke and some cancers by 70 percent.

Although no diet has received conclusive evidence of presenting cancer, there are lifestyle choices such as exercise that support conclusions that they can serve as deterrent of cancer.  Even the American Cancer society recommends avoid being overweight and includes being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.  They also suggest eating a mostly plant-based diet; limiting red meats and avoiding processed meats; limiting alcoholic drinks (two glasses of wine a day for men and one glass for women); and to protect against cancer (Table 1). Other recommendations include avoid sugary drinks, limit consumption of processed foods and eat more vegetables, whole grains, and legumes such as beans.  Limit salt intake to 1.5 grams per day and limit consumption of salty foods, chips, pretzles, smoked or cured meats like salami, baloney, and beef jerky.

Other Cancer Prevention Recommendations

To prevent breast cancer, the ACS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, alcohol intake of one or fewer drinks per day, and maintaining a body mass index (BMI) less than 25 kg/m2. In a study of 2905 women at high-risk for breast cancer, adherence to these three recommendations reduced the risk for breast cancer by 44%.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that BMI itself is a risk factor for cancer. Too much body fat triggers insulin resistance, raising levels of insulin and growth factors that promote cancer. Fat also increases estrogen production, which can fuel some cancers, and fat secretes enzymes that promote inflammation.

Numerous medical studies have concluded that avoiding adult weight gain confers protection against certain types of cancer, particularly among nonusers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The study found that for each 5-kg increase in adult weight gain, the relative risk was increased 11% for postmenopausal breast cancer among no or low HRT users; 39% and 9% for postmenopausal endometrial cancer among HRT nonusers and users, respectively; and 13% for postmenopausal ovarian cancer among no or low HRT users. For each 5-kg increase in men, the risk for colon cancer increased by 9%. The relative risk for kidney cancer comparing highest and lowest level of adult weight gain was 1.42.

In addition to lowering the risk of cancer, eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk for all-causes of death and lower risk of dying of cardiovascular causes such as heart disease or stroke.

Bottom line on diet and exercise and cancer prevention:  Weight gain, lack of exercise, and high alcohol intake are the key factors for leading a healthy lifestyle and decreasing the risk of cancer.

 

 

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Seven Habits That You Don’t Want to Break

November 1, 2016

Nearly all men and women in their 20’s and 30’s have a sense of invulnerability and immortality.  I know when I was that age someone who was 50 was considered old. Today I consider a 50-year old as youthful.  So what advice do I have for millennials?  In order to enjoy good health as a septuagenarian or octogenarian, you have good health habits during your younger years.  Here are 7 tips that I have taken from an article in a recent New York Times about developing good health habits.  They are easy to do and will make all the difference in the world on how you feel today and how healthy you will be tomorrow.

#1. Make the bathroom scale your new best friend. Nothing is more deleterious to your long-term health than being obese or overweight.  Give yourself an acceptable range and when you approach the higher end of that range, cut your calories or increase your exercise.

#2 become your own chef.  Your focus should be on ways to add variety to your diet and to boost the intake of vegetables and fruits. Cut down on unhealthy fats, sugar and excessive salt, i.e., no more than 1200 mg\day.

#3 Sugars, like those found in candy bars, sweetened cereals, and sugared soft drinks.  Excessive sugar has been shown to be one of the main culprits obesity and diabetes.  Excessive sugar represents empty calories with no important nutrients needed in a balanced diet.  Giving sugar to children can make them addicted to sugar which can be more addictive than heroin or cocaine!  Instead consume more fruits and vegetables.

#4 Get off the couch and get moving.  Excessive sitting is the new smoking.  Even if you can’t find time to have an exercise program you can still walk the stairs several times a day.  BTW going up is good exercise, going down is exercise but harder on your hips and knees.  You can also park your car a few blocks away from the office or on the top floor of the parking lot and then walk to work.  Ideally, you should find a way to get 20-30 minutes of activity that increase your heart rate every day.  This includes biking, brisk walking or swimming.

#5 Pay the piper if you play.  If you engage in having a good time with drinking and snacking, then promise yourself additional exercise before or after your party.

#6 Cut the portions or let the palm of your hand be your guide.  An ample serving of fish or chicken should fit into the palm of your hand.  If you find that you are gaining weight or a few more pounds than you would like, cut the portions and cut the alcohol and you can lose 3-5 pounds in just a few days.

#7 Drink plenty of water.  There are so many advantages of drinking lots of water which include:

A perfect thirst quencher  There is no better liquid to quench your thirst than water.  Many people are incorrectly informed that you only need to drink water in hot weather.  The truth is large volumes water are lost through your breath in cold, dry weather.  Although you can substitute other beverages such as colas, coffee and electrolyte drinks, there is no other drink that contains fewer calories and more nutrients than water.  In fact, affricated beverages can act as diuretics and cause the body to excrete water and important chemicals like potassium.

Water aids digestion. Water dilutes the acidity in the stomach and causes the release of enzymes necessary for digestion. Water is also a natural laxative and relieves constipation.

Water cools the body during exercise. As the body heats up during exercise, the internal thermostat promotes perspiration. Internal body temperature can be decreased with the consumption of cold water.  Cold water is best because it is absorbed into t he circulation more quickly than warm water.

Water promotes waste excretion. The kidneys are the paired organs used to remove metabolic bodily water material.  Water is essential for these incredible filters to do their work an flush out the body’s waste products.

Water carries nutrients to the cells. All of the body’[s cells are bathed in a saltwater solution. Blood moves nutrients to the cells and removes the waste products to the kidneys and liver.  Water is necessary to maintain the blood volume to carry out these vital functions.

Water reduces kidney stones. If too much calcium, oxalate or uric acid is excreted in the urine, crystals will form and start the growth of kidney stones. The best treatment to reduce kidney stones is to drink enough water to keep the particles from hitting one another and staring the crystallization process.

Water lubricates the joints. The bones glide against one another with minimal friction because of a lubricant called synovial fluid. Drinking plenty of water incases the synovial fluid and reduces e4h wear and tar on the joints.

Water promotes good skin tone. Skin elasticity is maintained when the body is well hydrated. Chronic fluid loss lead to dry, wrinkled skin.

Water is a diet aid. Drinking a glass of water before each meal leads to a sensation of fullness before you sit down to the table, thus acting as a natural appetite suppressant. Water helps the body metabolize stored fat.  If there is not adequate water to rid the body of waste through the kidneys, then the liver must be called in to do the kidney’s work.  If the liver is doing the kidney’s work, it cannot metabolize body fat and weight loss is slowed or stopped.

Water is a natural relaxer. Water is an excellent way to wash away tension. Swimming induces a feeling of calmness and exhilarates the body, similar to a jogger’s high.

How much water is enough?  The time-honored advice of drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day still holds true.  However, the more you exercise, the more you need to drink, especially if you live in New Orleans in July, August, or September.  A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately one quart of water for each hour of exercise.

Water remains one of life’s greatest medicinal drinks.  It really does keep you healthy and fit and it is good for most of life’s ailments.  Drink up!

Although these 7 suggestions may not guarantee good health, it will certainly lead to an improved lifestyle.  And as my wonderful Jewish mother might say, “It may not help, but it voidn’t hoit!”

What steps can people take today to ensure healthy aging in their future?

September 18, 2015

I am frequently asked by patients about how to grow old gracefully and in good health. Unfortunately, the fountain of youth has not been discovered. However there are steps that everyone can take to make the senior years enjoyable ones providing we have our mental and physical health. This blog will provide some suggestions that I think can lead you to healthy lifestyle in your middle age and older years.

The risk of Alzheimer’s disease
One in eight adults above the age of 65 years old in the United States has Alzheimer’s disease and some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is advancing age. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years after age 65 and after age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent.

Those who have a parent, brother, sister or child with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness.

Genetics (heredity) also plays a role. There are two types of genes that can play a role in affecting whether a person develops a disease—risk genes and deterministic genes. Alzheimer’s genes have been found in both categories. Risk genes increase the likelihood of developing a disease, but do not guarantee it will happen. Deterministic genes directly cause a disease, guaranteeing that anyone who inherits them will develop the disorder.

So what can you do?
Live an active life. Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental wellbeing. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression and arthritis

Maintain your brain. Studies have shown that a lifestyle that includes cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline. That means getting off the couch and onto the sidewalks, parks, or jogging paths. A brisk walk 20-30 minutes a day is all that you need.

Get enough sleep. Older adults need just as much sleep as young adults – seven to nine hours per night. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk and memory problems

Make an effort to reduce stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression, memory loss, fatigue and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection.

What are some foods people can eat now for healthy aging later?
Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables and whole-grains to keep your body and mind sharp.
Colorful fruits and vegetables contain antioxidant which help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells. I suggest you consume colorful vegetables and fruits, such as leafy greens, tomatoes, blueberries and carrots as they contain the highest quantities of antioxidants. You want to enjoy five to nine servings a day.

You need calcium and vitamin D. The calcium and fortified vitamin D in dairy foods are crucial to strong bones and help prevent osteoporosis. I suggest 3 cups of low-fat milk, yogurt, or other dairy products a day.

Whole grains are rich in fiber and help lower cholesterol and provide for regular bowel movements. Examples are oats, quinoa, barley, wheat and brown rice, which also lowers your chance of developing type 2 diabetes and keeps blood vessels in peak condition. You should strive for three servings of whole grains a day.

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish help protect your heart, lower your odds of having a stroke and may even help guard against Alzheimer’s disease. Help yourself to two servings a week of fatty fish such as salmon or tuna.

Finally, maintain a healthy sex life. Sex serves as a form of exercise and can help reduce stress, improve moods and increase overall health. Another advantage of regular sex is that it can actually lower your total cholesterol level, and increase the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or the good cholesterol. And besides….it’s a lot of fun!

Bottom Line: You can’t change your genes or your parents but you can lead a healthy lifestyle by having a regular exercise regimen and having a healthy diet. Both of these will lead to good health and enjoyment of your senior years.

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.

Eat Your Way To Prostate Health-Prostate Cancer Risk Reduction Through Diet

October 27, 2013

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second most common cause of death from cancer in men. (Lung cancer causes more deaths than prostate cancer) Whereas the cause of lung cancer can be clearly traced to smoking, the causes of prostate cancer are less well known. However, there are dietary recommendations that may make a difference.
According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, choosing a healthy diet may be beneficial. 
There is some evidence that choosing a healthy diet that’s low in fat and full of fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of prostate cancer, though study results haven’t always agreed. If you want to reduce your risk of prostate cancer, consider trying to:
Choose a low-fat diet. Foods that contain fats include meats, nuts, oils and dairy products, such as milk and cheese. In studies, men who ate the highest amount of fat each day had an increased risk of prostate cancer. While this association doesn’t prove that excess fat causes prostate cancer, reducing the amount of fat you eat each day has other proven benefits, such as helping you control your weight and helping your heart. To reduce the amount of fat you eat each day, limit fatty foods or choose low-fat varieties. For instance, reduce the amount of fat you add to foods when cooking, select leaner cuts of meat and choose low-fat or reduced-fat dairy products.
Eat more fat from plants than from animals. In studies that looked at fat and prostate cancer risk, fats from animals were most likely to be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Animal products that contain fats include meat, lard and butter. When possible, use plant-based fats in place of animal fats. For instance, cook with olive oil rather than butter. Sprinkle nuts or seeds on your salad rather than cheese.
Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients that are thought to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, though research hasn’t proved that any particular nutrient is guaranteed to reduce your risk. Eating more fruits and vegetables also tends to make you have less room for other foods, such as high-fat foods. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day by adding an additional serving of a fruit or vegetable to each meal. Eat fruits and vegetables for snacks.
Eat fish. Fatty fish — such as salmon, sardines, tuna and trout — contain a fatty acid called omega-3 that has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. If you don’t currently eat fish, try adding it to your diet.
Reduce the amount of dairy products you eat each day. In studies, men who ate the most dairy products — such as milk, cheese and yogurt — each day had the highest risk of prostate cancer. But study results have been mixed, and the risk associated with dairy products is thought to be small.
Drink green tea. Studies of men who drink green tea or take green tea extract as a supplement have found a reduced risk of prostate cancer. If you like to drink tea, consider choosing green tea.
Try adding soy to your diet. Diets that include tofu — a product made from soy beans — have been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. It’s thought that the benefit of soy comes from a specific nutrient called isoflavones. Other sources of isoflavones include kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than a drink or two each day. There’s no clear evidence that drinking alcohol can affect your risk of prostate cancer, but one study found men who drank several drinks each day over many years had an increased risk.
Maintain a healthy weight 
Men with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are considered obese. Being obese increases your risk of prostate cancer. If you are overweight or obese, work to lose weight. You can do this by reducing the number of calories you eat each day and increasing the amount of exercise you do.
Bottom Line: If you are concerned about the risk of prostate cancer or if you have a family relative such as a father, brother, cousin or uncle with prostate cancer which will certainly increase your risk of prostate cancer, you may want to consider a dietary modification as I have described which may decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer.

Dubai On Dieting-Gold For Gut Loss

July 30, 2013

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There are so many fad diets on the market but this idea is certainly unique and one of a kind.
Dubai’s government will pay residents in gold for losing those extra pounds as part of a government campaign to fight growing obesity in the Gulf Arab emirate.

For every kilogram dropped by Aug. 16, contestants who register from Friday can walk away with a gram of gold, currently worth about $42 US.

Health officials in Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, and in neighboring Gulf nations are spending millions to control obesity among their citizens.

Bottom Line: There’s a law of thermodynamics that you have to consume less or burn more calories by exercise to lose weight. There really is no other way to lose those extra pounds. Maybe adding a little gold to equation might just be the magic elixir to inspire the overweight citizens of the UAE to take off a few kilos.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/07/19/dubai-weight-loss-gold.html

The Skinny On Water-A Convenient Diet Aid

June 16, 2013

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Would you believe that drinking plain water, good ol’ H-2-O can produce a significant weight loss?  It’s as easy as drinking two glasses of water before each meal.  If you drink two glasses of water, it is likely that you will consume 75 less calories at each meal compared to those who do not drink water. 

How does it work?

Water fills the stomach before you start the meal and gives you a feeling of satiety even before you start consuming any food. 

Water also boosts metabolism because your body has to work to bring the ingested liquid to your core temperature.  Those who drink 8-12 glasses of water a day had a higher metabolic rate than those who just drank four glasses a day. 

Bottom Line:  Water is a calorie free appetizer.  It’s also free and it does work and you can expect to lose an additional 6.6 pounds a year.  So drink up…..water that is!

Diet and Cancer

December 7, 2012

The scientists and doctors are telling us repeatedly that weight loss and exercise will give you a leg up on protecting you against many kinds of cancer. It is estimated that 1\3 of all cancers can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a plant-based diet, and being physically active.

If you don’t smoke, controlling your weight is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. More than 100,000 cases of cancer a year could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight.

But now only does ideal weight make a difference but also the food that you eat. People who eat vegetables, beans, fruits nuts, and whole grains, olive oil and fish have fewer cases of cancer and heart disease.

For example cooked tomatoes, such as in tomato sauce, contain large quantities of lycopenes, which may help prevent prostate cancer.

Diets high in fiber from whole grains helps protect against cancer.

And now some good news. Coffee appears to lower the risk of uterine cancer and colon cancer. Men and women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of colon cancer.

Bottom Line: Look at the dietary big picture. Think color. Your plate should have a rainbow of colors: green lettuce, red tomatoes, pink salmon, ruby-red cranberries, bright orange sweet potatoes, and blueberries for desert.

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.

Men, Start Your Engines…Take The Road To Good Health

July 8, 2012

Unfortunately, men, including myself, often have the attitude that if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  As a result men don’t take as good care of their health as they should.  There are some men who will spend more time, energy, and money taking care of their cars than they do of the wonderful machine called their body.  Men seldom see a doctor after they leave their pediatrician’s office at age 20 and never get medical, and especially preventive health care until they over 50 years.  That’s 30 years or a third of your life without any fine-tuning or maintenance.  Is it any wonder that our bodies breakdown in middle age?  It doesn’t have to be that way.  In this blog I will summarize an article, 6 Questions to Ask Your Doctor, by Dr. Matt McMillin that appeared in WebMD the Magazine on July 8, 2012

Your Diet

But eating right most of the time is an essential part of taking care of yourself. No matter how much you work out you can’t maintain a healthy weight unless you stick to a healthy diet. So be sure to satisfy your appetite with good-for-you foods, and make an effort to keep an eye on calories.

Men are often surprised that even though they are exercising four days a week, they are not losing weight. It’s all about portion control.  For example many men drink beer. To burn off the 150 calories in one can of beer, the typical man needs to jog a mile in less than 10 minutes or do 15 minutes of stair climbing.

Exercise

It’s simple: To get or stay fit, you have to get and stay active. According to the latest federal guidelines, that means a cardio workout of at least 30 sweat-inducing minutes five days a week, plus two days of dumbbell workouts or other weight-training activity to build and maintain muscles. Crunched for time? Kick up the intensity to vigorous exercise, such as jogging, riding a bike fast, or playing singles tennis, and you can get your cardio workout in just 25 minutes three days a week.

Exercise protects against so many conditions — from heart disease to colon cancer to depression — that the best choice is to start exercising now, no matter how healthy you are or think you are. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, see your doctor first and get medical clearance before engaging in a good exercise program.  I also suggest that you read the book, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Ledge, M.D.  This book will give you the motivation and the schedule for a real get-in-shape program consisting of diet and exercise. 

 

Stress Reduction

Stress is harmful. It can wreak havoc on your sex drive, increase your blood pressure, and overwork your heart. Here’s the facts: middle-aged and older men who reported years of moderate to high levels of stress were more than 40% more likely to die than men with low stress.

One of the best stress busters is exercise.  You might also try yoga or meditation in addition to exercise.

The D word-Depression

At least 6 million men in the United States suffer from depression each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. However, many guys don’t like to talk about their feelings or ask for help. Identifying those problems is a crucial part of any man’s checkup. Depression is more than simply feeling sad, unmotivated, and without energy. Depression is a real illness, and it can be life-threatening. That’s especially true for men, because it increases the risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Depression is also the leading cause of suicide — and men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives.

A lot of men are reluctant to discuss their feelings with friends, spouses, their clergyman\woman, or their doctor. Identifying those problems is a crucial part of any man’s checkup. Depression is more than simply feeling sad, unmotivated, and without energy. Depression is a real illness, and it can be life-threatening. That’s especially true for men, because it increases the risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Depression is also the leading cause of suicide — and men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives. “I discuss how common it is so they see they are not isolated,” says White, who screens men for depression during their annual checkups. “Too often, it takes until they reach the end of their rope before they come to see you about it.” Depression is also the leading cause of suicide — and men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives. Medication, exercise, and therapy are all treatment options.

Get your zzzz’s-sleep

It’s hard to overestimate sleep’s importance. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are all linked to insufficient sleep, as are excess weight and mood disorders. A recent study showed that young men who skimp on shut-eye have lower levels of testosterone than men who are well-rested. Lower testosterone translates to a decrease in sex drive and sexual performance including impotence or erectile dysfunction.  Meanwhile, older men risk high blood pressure if they don’t get enough deep sleep.

Sleep disorders can also have physical causes. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), for example, disrupts breathing and forces you to wake up to draw a deep breath. It affects an estimated 4% to 9% of middle-aged men (twice the rate in women), yet as many as 90% of cases go undiagnosed. OSA raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure as well as car crashes, which are more common among the sleep-deprived.

You can vastly improve your sleep by practicing good sleep hygeine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, exercise regularly and early in the day, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, don’t eat large meals at night, skip the alcohol right before bedtime, and use the bedroom for sleep and sex only. If these measures don’t help, see your doctor.

Good Health Equals Good Sex

 Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a concern that goes beyond the bedroom.  Years ago, ED was thought to be just a psychological problem or do to testosterone deficiency.  Now we know that ED is most a problem of disease in the blood supply to the penis and now we have learned that ED is a risk factor for heart disease.  Men with ED are twice as likely to have a heart attack and nearly twice as likely to die of heart disease than other men. Men who have trouble with erections tend to be overweight or obese, and to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The younger you are, the more likely your erectile dysfunction is a sign that you are at risk of heart disease.

Many of the men White sees for ED ask for quick fixes such as erection-enhancing drugs like Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis. For a long-term solution, you need to make some lifestyle changes. Sexual health depends on getting and staying fit, physically and mentally.  Yes, Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis will help but the real solution is to get fit and open up those blood vessels to the heart and also to penis.  Your heart and your sexual partner will thank you.

Bottom Line:  Men, you can’t buy good health.  It doesn’t come in a bottle or with one visit to the doctor’s office.  It comes with discipline, hard work, and the commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle.  Good health is within reach of every man.  Get off of the couch and into the pool, on to the jogging track, or into the gym.  You can thank me latter!

Dr. Neil Baum is a physician in New Orleans and the co-author of ECNETOPMI-Impotence It’s Reversible.