Posts Tagged ‘Men's health’

Men Start Your Engines But First Check Under the Hood!

June 27, 2015

Men Start Your Engines But First Check Under the Hood!
This article appeared in the recent Baton Rouge Advocate on men’s health.

Celebrate Father’s Day with your health. Men need to let doctors look under the hood.

We have an attitude in our south Louisiana culture — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! In reality, men do more preventative maintenance on their cars and lawns than on their bodies. But, this attitude should never be applied to health.

Many men don’t receive checkups because they feel that they have a big “S” (for Superman) tattooed on their chests — but no one is Superman. On average, women live 5 to 7 years longer than men. That gap could close if men practiced preventive health as often as women. Fortunately, men’s attitude and behavior is slowly changing.

Not surprisingly, impotence drugs have lured men into the doctor’s office, which is half the battle and usually leads to a prostate screening. Over the years, public awareness campaigns, at-work health screenings and overall understanding of the male patient have aided in improving men’s health.

Before the 1990s, there were no male equivalents to the Pap test or mammogram. But now, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) — the screening test for prostate cancer — is detecting problems early, giving men a myriad of treatment options and, more importantly, saving lives.
This means more time to enjoy their golden years, more time to walk their daughters down the aisle and more time to watch their grandchildren grow. Don’t wait for prostate cancer or other diseases to hit close to home; don’t wait for symptoms.
The only waiting should be done in your doctor’s waiting room.
Neil Baum
Professor of Clinical Urology At Tulane Medical School
New Orleans

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Men Need To Let Doctors Look Under the Hood!

May 2, 2015

We have an attitude in our community if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This may apply to your car but not to our boides and our health. Mos men

Most men do more preventive maintenance on their cars than on their bodies. Many men don’t come in for checkups because they fell that they have a big S tattooed on their chests, i.e, Superman. Fortunately for men – and the women in their lives – this attitude is slowly changing. Women live 5-7 years on average longer than men. If men practiced preventive health as women do with Pap smears and regular breast exams the gap between women’s and men’s life expectancy may close.

Reasons for the change:

National public-awareness campaigns, such as Men’s Health Week (June 14-20). Increasing media coverage of men’s health issues and more public comfort with medical words such as prostate, penis, impotence (ED) and colon helps, as does the growth in men’s clinics that are dedicated to men’s health.

New treatments. Before the PSA – prostate-specific antigen – screening test for prostate cancer, which became widely available in the 1990s, there was no male equivalent for the Pap test and mammograms that drive women into the doctor’s office on a regular basis. In recent years, men have been lured by conservative therapy options available to treat early-stage illness and can actually cure men of some of these severe medical conditions.

Drugs for treating impotence. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest draws in recent years has been Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis – the impotence drugs that has brought men to the physician where other conditions such as prostate cancer can be investigated.

Sensitivity. Doctors are learning they have to look at the male patient as a whole and not just as an organ system. Doctors are making an effort to communicating more effectively with men.

At-work health screenings. Many businesses are now giving “health fairs” that offer simple on-site baseline tests, like blood pressure, diabetes, and prostate or cholesterol screening. There’s no better place than the workplace to reach men.

Bottom Line: Men need to be proactive about their health and take as good care of their body as they do of their cars and their lawns.

Medical Testing At Age 50-This Is Test You Can’t Afford to Fail

January 20, 2013

Most men and women do not need the services of the medical profession between the time they leave their pediatricians around age 18-20 until age 50. The exception is women who see their obstetrician for perinatal care and deliverying their children. Around age 50 you should start making regular visists to your doctor. This article will discuss the routine tests that you should consider when you reach middle age.

When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. (Note that your doctor may recommend additional tests based on your personal health profile.)

Thyroid hormone test. Your thyroid, that innocuous looking gland in your neck, is the body’s powerhouse, producing hormones needed for metabolism. Aging (and an erratic immune system) can wreak havoc causing a variety of problems, especially in women. That’s why women should get a thyroid test at age 50 and then every 5 years.
The rectal exam. Dread it; hate it; joke with your friends about it: Just make sure you get one — every year. Along with other tests your doctor may recommend, it may give clues to treatable problems in your colon (think colon cancer) or prostate for men. Screening colonoscopy is recommended for everyone at 50 years old.
Stepping on the scales. This is the age when most people start gaining weight. Watch this weight gain carefully, and fight back with healthier eating and exercise. Being overweight puts you at high risk for developing a number of diseases — and studies show that weight loss can improve your odds.
Blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure is an equal opportunity killer: It kills your heart, your brain, your eyes, and your kidneys. Don’t let hypertension sneak up on you. Get the test. It’s simple; it’s cheap; and it’s quick.
Cholesterol profile. Do you have high cholesterol? Find out — at least once every 5 years (more if you’re at risk for a heart attack). Controlling your cholesterol can add years to your life.
Blood sugar. Untreated diabetes can destroy your health, causing heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness. Don’t let it. Get a fasting blood sugar test at least once every 3 years and take control of diabetes early.
For women only: Pelvic exam and Pap smear. You may think you have suffered enough — at least 20 years of pelvic exams and Paps! But you still need these — especially if you’re sexually active. Ten minutes of mild discomfort once every 1 to 3 years pays big dividends in protecting you from cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
For women only: Breast exam and mammogram. At this age, don’t ever let a year go by without getting a mammogram and having your doctor examine your breasts for any changes. Early detection of breast cancer can save your breast and your life.
Looking for moles: Love your skin. Check your skin monthly for any unusual spots or moles. Be sure to ask your doctor to check your skin once a year, as well.
Protecting your eyes. Vision-robbing diseases become more common as you age. Be sure to get your eyes examined regularly — every 2 years until age 60 and then yearly after that. Go more often if you have vision problems or risk factors for eye problems.
Checking your immunizations. People over age 50 should get a flu shot every year. And don’t forget, even healthy people need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years, and one of those should contain the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough. Be sure to ask your doctor to update any immunizations that you might need. Consider Hepatitis A and B vaccines if you haven’t already had them.

Use your birthday as a gentle reminder to schedule a visit to your dentist, and call your doctor to see if there are important tests you should take. By investing an hour or two now, you may be able to add years to your life.

Bottom Line: When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. Remember of you don’t take time for your health, you won’t have time to enjoy life in your senior years.

For more information on women’s health, I suggest my new book, What’s Going On Down There-Everything You Need To KnowAbout Your Pelvic Health. the book is available from Amazon.com

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Time For A Tune Up-Men’s Health Routine Check Ups

January 8, 2013

Men need to treat their bodies like their cars and visit to the doctor to check what’s under
the hood Men do not usually talk about going to the doctor. Most of the time, it takes serious pain or a major concern to get them to schedule a visit. You may be surprised to know that the urinary tract is most commonly responsible for men’s complaints, as it can bring on problems with obstructive or irritative symptoms. “ ‘Obstructive’ means things like slow urinary stream, difficulty getting the stream to start, difficulty emptying the bladder completely and ‘irritative’ means things like urgency or feeling a strong desire to urinate that you may have trouble inhibiting, having leakage of urine with urge incontinence or nocturia or going to the bathroom at nighttime,” says Dr. Sean Collins, an urologist at East Jefferson General Hospital.

Kidneys can bring on troubles of their own. “Kidney stones can develop with back pain or cause blood in the urine, and the biggest risk factor is not drinking enough fluids when it gets hot outside,” says Dr. Benjamin Lee, a urologist at Tulane Medical Center. The majority of stones are made of calcium but can also be due to recurrent urinary tract infections. “We know that lemonade has a chemical called citrate, which helps dissolve calcium to help prevent stones from forming,” says Lee. It is important to be proactive because if you develop a kidney stone, there is a 50 percent chance you will have a second one in the next five years.

Prostate screenings are vital but keep some men far from the doctor’s office. “Men are intimidated by the rectal examination, but it is not a big deal and takes 30 seconds while the doctor puts a gloved finger in the rectum and feels the prostate,” says Collins. The doctor checks the size of the prostate and whether there is a mass, nodule or hard area that would be concerning and warrant a biopsy. The exam is not anything to be scared of. “Most men leave and say it was not that bad and was worth it if we could find something that could save their life,” says Collins.

Lifestyle choices affect the prostate. “The diet that is best for the health of the prostate is the diet we should be on for cardiovascular health: a low-fat diet, rich in fruits and vegetables,” says Collins. There is evidence that lycopene, a substance found in tomatoes, is good for the prostate. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are also helpful.

Sexual issues are not often talked about by men but are more common than you may think. “We find that erectile dysfunction is a barometer for a man’s overall health,” says Collins. The risk factors for erectile dysfunction are the same for cardiovascular disease. “The reason is the blood supply to the penis is a very tiny artery about two millimeters in diameter, whereas the blood supply to the heart is four to five millimeters in diameter, so it does not take much blockage of the blood supply to the penis to result in impotence,” says Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist at Touro Infirmary.
Thankfully, a lot of progress has been made in this area. “Viagra, Levitra and Cialis are the big advances that totally changed the way the field is approached and who you can help with it,” says Dr. Robert McLaren, a urologist at Ochsner Health System.

Infertility is a common issue with men being responsible half of the time. “If you have borderline problems with your semen, you can avoid hot baths and jockey underwear and should wear boxer shorts because of the excessive heat of bringing the testicles close to the body,” says Baum. A semen analysis can be done at a urologist or reproductive endocrinologist’s office.
Young men may think they are invincible when it comes to health issues but they aren’t. “In young men, the most common thing we see is prostititis, which is an infection or inflammation of the prostate, and some men who are active or do bicycle riding can have numbness of the bicycle area, which can resolve if they cut back on riding or use specialized seats,” says Collins.

Every man responds differently. “Prostate enlargement is a normal part of aging but not everybody develops problems from it,” says McLaren. Know what to expect. “The prostate is a gland that sits outside the bladder and is normally about the size of a walnut,” says Lee.
Robotic surgery has revolutionized the way prostate cancer is treated and gives men hope as recovery is quicker and less painful. “The da Vinci robot has made the greatest impact and there are medications that can shrink your prostate that were not around 20 years ago,” says McLaren.

It is a good idea to get a blood test to check your testosterone level as well. “It indicates a decrease in production of testosterone by the testicles, which can be treated with hormone replacement therapy,” says Baum. You can do a self-exam of the testicles to screen for testicular cancer, which is common in men between 20 and 45. “They look for a little bump or lump on the scrotum on the testicle. I tell men that if they make a fist and feel the knuckle, that is what the testicle tumor feels like and they can get an ultrasound exam and blood test to help diagnose testicular cancer,” says Baum.

Making wise choices is helpful for all ages. “If you want to make yourself healthier, exercise, eat right and do not smoke,” says McLaren. To prevent heart disease, you should stay away from red meat, salt and other high cholesterol-containing foods. Your health may be partly determined by what you eat. “Men who have diets that are low in fiber and do not have regular bowel movements or have firm, hard bowel movements are at risk for colon disease such as diverticulitis and diverticulosis, which is inflammation around the colon that results in cramping, abdominal pain and difficulty with the stool,” says Baum. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids like cold water oily fish, salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines are helpful.

Self-care is important for men of all ages. “It is interesting that in the top seven cancers in the United States, number one is prostate, number four is bladder and number seven is kidney,” says Lee. Thanks to screenings, lives are being saved. “The message we are trying to get out is that many of these issues are very treatable at an early stage,” says Lee. The health-care community has adapted guidelines with this in mind. “The American Urological Association and the American Cancer Society are really trying to get the word out,” says Lee.

This month is the time to take charge of your health. “The most common problems men run into are cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and colon and rectal cancer, all of which can be prevented by visiting the doctor on a regular basis,” says Baum. A few tests can also be useful. “A stress test checks the heart and blood supply to the heart, a prostate-specific antigen and digital rectal exam rule out prostate cancer and a colonoscopy every five years checks for colon and rectal cancer,” says Baum.

Even if you feel fine, it is important to see your doctor. “Early hypertension has no symptoms whatsoever unless you go to the doctor and have your blood pressure taken,” says Baum. It can lead to a stroke, kidney disease or heart disease if it is not adequately treated. If you do experience any new or unusual symptoms, it is important to report them. “Heart disease can manifest itself as chest pain, indigestion, lightheadedness or headaches, which are signs of high blood pressure and decrease of blood supply to the coronary arteries and to the heart,” says Baum.

Self-awareness is an asset when it comes to protecting your health. Men are often consumed with taking care of their loved ones, however, and end up neglecting themselves. “The main point is that men need to take an active role in their medical care and need to treat their bodies as something very special that needs fine tuning just like their car,” says Baum.

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.

MOVEMBER – THE MONTH FOR MEN’S HEALTH

October 31, 2011

Moustache Season is finally upon us and just in time for Mo Bros everywhere to get their annual health check up. Lets face the facts, most men are known to be more indifferent towards their health, and studies suggest that 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women. Maintaining a good diet, smart lifestyle choices, and getting regular medical check-ups and screening tests can dramatically influence your health. Regardless of age or background, stay on top of your health by following these very important steps:

HAVE AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL
Find a doctor and make a yearly appointment each Movember for a general health check. Getting annual checkups, preventative screening tests, and immunizations are among the most important things you can do to stay healthy. By regularly visiting your doctor, you can greatly minimize your risk level for a number of conditions, from high blood pressure to diabetes to cancer. What better way could there be to celebrate Movember than calling your doctor to schedule a check-up?

KNOW YOUR FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY
Start a discussion with your relatives about health issues that have affected your family. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, so know your family history.

DON’T SMOKE!
If you do smoke, stop! Compared to non-smokers, men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer death in men.

BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
If you are not already doing some form of exercise, start small and work up to a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. If you’re already there, set your sights on 60-minute days.

EAT A HEART HEALTHY DIET
Fill up with fruits, vegetables, whole grains; include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and eat foods low in saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

STAY AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off by physical activities. Over two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese! The USDA and leading cancer researchers suggest that we all fill up on vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and choose lean proteins like fish and legumes over fatty ones like red meat. Evidence suggests that about a third of the 571,950 cancer deaths expected to occur will be related to obesity, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and thus could be prevented.

MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress, particularly long-term stress, can be the factor in the onset or worsening of ill health. Managing your stress is essential to your health & well being should be practiced daily.

DRINK ALCOHOL IN MODERATION
Alcohol can be part of a healthy balanced diet, but only if it’s in moderation, which means no more than a few, drinks a day. A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Alcohol consumption is ok, but should be kept to no more than two drinks per day for men, and one for women.

Ready to be proactive about your health but not sure where to start? Download Movember’s health poster for a checklist by age of what to ask your doctor about.

Do you know the facts? Check out the Movember site for more information on men’s health.
http://us.movember.com/mens-health/resources/

Men’s Health Talk

August 3, 2010

Please join me for a talk on men’s health at St. Charles Surgical Hospital (1717 St. Charles Avenue) on 8-26-10 at 6:30 P.M. Talk is free and refreshments will be served.

Water, Wet and Wonderful

May 3, 2010

Water is one of life’s best elixirs; there are few things as available, inexpensive and health-giving —so drink up.

Even though it is readily available, tasteless and free, most Americans do not drink enough water. And water remains one of nature’s most perfect medications. In fact, water is the most essential component of your diet.

While you can live for several weeks without food, you can live only a few days without water. Water loss of three percent of the body weight or approximately two quarts without replacement can result in weakness and lethargy. A 15-20 percent water loss can be fatal.

Nearly half the total body weight consists of water. To ensure good health, the average person requires two to three quarts of water per day because this is the volume that is lost in perspiration, urine, feces and breath. Nearly half of the food we eat consists of water.

Water is necessary for nearly all bodily functions such as digestion, circulation, excretion, nutrient transmission and temperature regulation.

More specifically, there are thirteen ways that water works in the human body:

  1. Water quenches thirst. 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 of 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 the circulation more quickly than warm water.
  4. 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 and flush out the body’s waste products.
  5. 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
  6. 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 starting the crystallization process
  7. Water lubricates the joints. The bones glide against one another with minimal friction because of a lubricant called synovial fluid. Drinking plenty of water increases the synovial fluid and reduces the wear and tear on the joints
  8. Water promotes good skin tone. Skin elasticity is maintained when the body is well hydrated.  Chronic fluid loss leads to dry, wrinkled skin.
  9. Water dilutes alcohol and relieves headaches. There is no better remedy for a hangover than several glasses of water. Water dilutes the alcohol content in the blood stream and decreases its effect on the brain and central nervous system alleviating headache and hangover associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
  10. Water decreases pre-menstrual fluid retention. Some women experience salt retention during their menstrual periods. This leads to excess water retention as well. Diuretics or water pills only offer a temporary solution. Paradoxically, you can promote salt excretion by drinking more water. As the water is passed through the kidneys, it excretes the excess salt as well as the excess water.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Water aids pregnant women. A pregnant woman should be especially conscious of getting eight to ten glasses of water a day. Water will clear her system of added metabolic body waste contributed by the fetus. It will also help prevent dehydration that may result from morning sickness.

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. A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately one quart of water for each hour of exercise.

Drinking too much water is rarely a problem. Too much water, more than six quarts a day, can dilute body minerals and electrolytes producing lethargy, confusion and if not corrected, convulsions and coma. The treatment is simple: Decrease the water intake and allow the kidneys to flush out the excess.

Bottom Line: Water is truly the elixir of life.  So enjoy one of life’s greatest medicines and it’s free.  Drink up!

Treatment of the Enlarged Prostate Gland With Laser Therapy

April 25, 2010

The prostate gland is a walnut sized organ below the bladder, which surrounds the urethra.  For reasons not completely understood, the prostate gland begins to grow around age 50 and causes symptoms affecting urination.  The enlarged prostate gland is a non-cancerous condition that affects nearly 14 million men over age 50.

The symptoms of the enlarged prostate include frequency of urination, getting up at night to urinate, urgency to urinate, decrease in the force and caliber of the urine stream and feeling that the bladder is not emptying.

The treatment for enlarged prostate includes medication to shrink the prostate gland or to relax the muscles in the prostate to relieve the obstruction.  Surgical therapy includes transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or open surgery for very large prostate glands. Recently laser therapy has become available for treating the enlarged prostate gland and is considered minimally invasive therapy.

Laser therapy is a procedure performed with a small fiber that is inserted into the urethra, the tube in the penis that allows urine to go from the bladder to the outside of the body.  The fiber delivers high-powered laser energy, which quickly heats the prostate tissue, which causes the tissue to dissolve or vaporize.  This process is continued until all of the enlarged prostate tissue has been removed. The end result is a wide-open channel for urine to pass through the urethra.

Laser therapy can be performed in a hospital outpatient center or an ambulatory treatment center.  Usually no overnight stay is required.  However, in some cases when a patient comes from a great distance, has associated medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, or severe hypertension, or is in frail condition, an overnight stay may be recommended.

After the procedure

Most men will go home within a few hours after treatment. If a tube or catheter was inserted after the procedure, it will usually be removed the next day after the procedure.

Most patients experience marked improvement in their urinary symptoms immediately after the procedure.  This improvement typically occurs within the first 24 hours after the procedure.  However, the past medical history, health condition and other factors can influence treatment recovery.

Some men may experience mild discomfort such as slight burring during urination and small amounts of blood in the urine for a week or two.  Also, depending upon the condition of a man’s bladder, he may experience greater frequency and urge to urinate.  This will resolve over time as the bladder adjusts now that the obstruction has been removed.

There is no change in a man’s sexual function after the procedure.  His ability to engage in sexual intimacy after the procedure is unchanged.  Most men can begin sexual activity two weeks after the procedure.  Approximately 25% of men will have a decreased or absence of ejaculation at the time of orgasm.  The fluid is still there but goes backwards into the bladder and passes in the urine the next time the man urinates.

What are the risks of the laser procedure?

Every medical treatment may have side effects.  The same is true for the laser treatment.  The most common side effects include:  blood in the urine, bladder spasms, and urgency of urination.  These symptoms are usually temporary and will subside in a few days or weeks.

Bottom Line: Enlarged prostate gland is a common condition that affects most men after age 50.  Treatment options include medications, surgery and minimally invasive treatment using lasers.  The laser treatment produces a rapid improvement in urine flow, a quick return to normal activities, short or no hospitalization.

If Viagra Doesn’t Work-Prostaglandin Might

April 11, 2010

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition affecting nearly 30 million American men.  It wasn’t long ago that most cases were thought to be do to psychological causes.  Now we know that most men have a physical cause.

Impotence occurs with greater frequency after age 40, although it is not inevitable consequence of aging.  The condition can result from complications of chronic conditions, such as coronary artery disease, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes mellitus.  Side effects of surgery, medications, and psychological influences are also associated with impotence, as are lifestyle factors such as high-fat diet, drug abuse, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

Since July 1995, prostaglandin (Caverject) has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for the treatment of impotence.  Prostaglandin offers men and their partners hope for a problem for which there was previously no approved medication.

Caverject is administered via a small needle through the skin on the top of the penis.  The drug works by relaxing smooth muscle tissue, which, in turn, enhances the blood flow into the penis, creating an erection.  The drug is used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, whether the cause is neurological, vascular, or psychological.  Men who choose this treatment option receive an initial injection from their physician to determine the optimum dosing.  Then the patient can administer prostaglandin once he has been trained in the technique of self-injection.

Prostaglandin is only available by prescription.

An erection usually occurs 3-5 minutes after the injection and will last for 30-45 minutes.  Men are able to enjoy orgasm and normal ejaculation using prostaglandin injection.  However, the recommendation is to limit the use to twice a week.  Side effects include slight pain at the site of the injection, occasional bruising, and less than 3 percent will have an erection that requires medication to reverse the drug effect.

The results of using prostaglandin are favorable since more than 80 percent of patients diagnosed with erectile dysfunction who use prostaglandin experience an erection adequate for sexual intimacy.

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, it is a good idea to see your physician so that the proper diagnosis can be made and the appropriate dose of prostaglandin can be selected.  It is now possible to find an effective treatment for most men who suffer from this common medical problem that significantly impacts a man’s quality of life.

Bottom Line:  If you have tried one of the oral medications for erectile dysfunction and you are not receiving the result you would like, consider self-injection therapy with prostaglandin