Posts Tagged ‘smoking’

Smoking While Pregnant Is Not a Joking Matter

November 28, 2015

Nearly everyone knows that smoking causes cancers of the lungs, digestive systems, liver and other organs.  It is worth nothing that tobacco poses many other threats especially to pregnant women.

Pregnant women who smoke place their babies at risk for complications such as premature delivery and increase neonatal mortality.

Nicotine and carbon monoxide from tobacco smoke inhaled by pregnant women are especially harmful to fetuses, constricting the flow of blood and choking off their oxygen supply.  Babies born to mothers who smoke have lower birth weights as a result of their undeveloped bodies, increasing the risk of heart defects, lung damage, and impaired brain development.  Finally, smoking while pregnant increases the changes of miscarriage and still birth.  Yet despite the severe consequences, studies by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that less than half of smokers who become pregnant quite during pregnancy.

Bottom Line:  If you are pregnant and care about your unborn child, stop smoking.

Blood Pressure Up? Lower It Without Medication

September 24, 2015

Millions of Americans have hypertension. Millions are taking medication to lower their blood pressure. Now the new guidelines indicate that blood pressure should be less than 120 systolic or the highest number and less than 80 diastolic or the lowest number. Here are a few ways to lower the blood pressure that do not require medication.

Exercise more

By following current guidelines on exercise—30 minutes a day, most days a week—you can bring down your blood pressure significantly. If you’ve been sedentary, try aerobic exercise to reduce your systolic blood pressure—the top number—by three to five points, and the bottom by two to three,.

People who get moving are often able to reduce the number of hypertension medications they’re on, he adds. Pick something you like—walking, running, swimming, cycling—and stick with it.

Eat bananas

You probably know that eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, but most people aren’t aware of the benefits of potassium, which counters sodium’s ill effects. Most don’t get enough of this mineral.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people with hypertension may especially benefit from upping the amount of potassium in their diet. Adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams a day. A few good sources: bananas (422 milligrams each), a baked potato with skin (738 milligrams), orange juice (496 milligrams per cup), and nonfat or low-fat yogurt (531–579 milligrams per 8 ounces).

Cut salt

People with normal blood pressure, moderately high blood pressure, and full-fledged hypertension can substantially reduce their blood pressure by cutting salt intake. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that people with hypertension limit their intake of salt to less than 1,500 milligrams (600 milligrams of sodium) a day.

We get most of our sodium from processed foods, so stick with whole foods. When you do eat foods with nutrition labels, be sure to check their sodium content.

Don’t smoke

Smokers are at higher risk of hypertension. But even though tobacco and nicotine in cigarettes can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, smoking itself is not thought to cause chronic hypertension.(Instead, factors associated with smoking, like heavy alcohol consumption and lack of exercise, might be responsible.)

Nevertheless, quitting smoking may help you lower your blood pressure a bit, the other health benefits are countless.

Lose weight

Research has consistently shown that dropping just a few pounds can have a substantial impact on your blood pressure. Excess weight makes your heart work harder. This extra strain can lead to hypertension, while losing weight lightens your cardiovascular workload.

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight may be enough to get your blood pressure under control.

Cut back on alcohol

Even though moderate drinking—no more than one drink a day for women, and two a day for men—has heart-health benefits, drinking too much can elevate blood pressure in some people.

Research has found that consuming more than two drinks a day increases the risk of hypertension for both men and women. If you do drink, enjoy your alcoholic beverage with a meal, which may blunt its effects on blood pressure.

Reduce stress

Managing the stress in your life effectively may help reduce your blood pressure, but there’s not enough research to offer a step-by-step stress-reduction plan for everyone.

There are a number of things that people have developed as practices to induce a state of relaxation and … which one is better, which is the right one, these are questions that remain to be answered in clinical trials. Nevertheless, Burg recommends that people with high blood pressure look into stress management and find an approach they will be able to practice consistently.

Yoga

Yoga is a great de-stressor. A recent study from India recently found that yogic breathing exercises reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension, possibly through their effects on the autonomic nervous system, which governs heart rate, digestion, and other largely unconscious functions.

But people should not think of yoga as providing the same benefit as aerobic exercise. Each potentially produces benefit in different ways.

Skip caffeine

Coffee has some health benefits, but lowering blood pressure isn’t one of them. Caffeine can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure, even in people without hypertension.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to moderate your caffeine intake to about two cups of coffee per day. You can check whether you’re sensitive to caffeine’s blood-pressure-boosting effects by checking your blood pressure before and within a half hour after consuming your caffeinated beverage. If it increases by 5 or 10 points, you could be caffeine sensitive.

Meditate

Meditation—whether it involves chanting, breathing, visualization, or all the above—can be an effective stress-management tool for many people, Burg says. Again, the important thing is that it makes you feel good, and that you can commit to doing it consistently.

Bottom Line: High blood pressure should be controlled in order to avoid heart disease or a stroke. Many people can decrease their dependence on medication if they use a few of these ideas to lower their blood pressure. Of course, if the blood pressure does not decrease, you should speak to your doctor about one of the many blood pressure lowering medications.

Urinary Incontinence-Non-Medication Solutions

March 9, 2014

Millions of Americans suffer from incontinence. Americans are already “polymedicated” or taking far too many drugs. Many of my patients are trying to solve problems naturally without the use of medications. This blog will discuss the treatment of urinary incontinence without prescription medications.

Incontinence is a symptom of a urinary tract problem, and there are different types of urinary incontinence. Women commonly have overactive bladder\urge incontinence or stress incontinence with the loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, or with exercise.

Men most commonly experience stress incontinence — the accidental release of urine when the bladder is under pressure — after being treated for prostate cancer.
Another type of incontinence called overflow incontinence, occurs more commonly in men. This is associated with enlarged prostate — benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH can squeeze the urethra and keep the bladder from completely emptying.

Whether you have stress incontinence, urge or overflow incontinence, there are natural steps you can take to support your urinary health and restore continence. If an enlarged prostate is causing your symptoms, you can learn how to promote a normal prostate size.

The lifestyle choices you make and the foods you eat can help you regain control of your bladder. Following are several lifestyle changes you can make that will positively affect your bladder control, prostate and urinary health.
Manage Fluids

Drink pure water. While it is important to stay properly hydrated, you want to avoid drinking in the two to three hours before bedtime.
Supplements

There are several natural supplements that support the urinary tract, and many supplements that shrink the prostate. Many men find urinary health benefits from quercetin, saw palmetto, curcumin, green tea extract, cranberry, stinging nettle and pygeum.

Fruits And Vegetables
These foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. These support prostate health and urinary tract health, as well as being good for the rest of you too.

Consume Healthy Fats
Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats help promote prostate health.

Avoid Food Additives And Sugar
Some foods and additives are harmful to the prostate and your urinary function. Try to avoid the worst ingredients in processed foods.

Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight can worsen symptoms of urinary incontinence by putting excess pressure on the bladder. Exercise helps promote prostate health.

Kegel Exercises
Doing Kegels every day can help improve bladder control. Other alternative treatments such as physical therapy may also be of help.

Avoid Cigarettes Or Drink
Smoking is a risk factor for stress incontinence. Alcohol increases urinary frequency, so try to limit or avoid it.

Drink Green Tea
Green tea health benefits come from its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Whether your drink it or take it as a supplement, look for caffeine-free green tea.

Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine from coffee, tea and soda can promote urinary frequency. A study on incontinence in men and caffeine shows that men who consumed 234 mg or more of caffeine every day were 72 percent more likely to have some urinary incontinence compared to men who drink small amounts.

Avoid Foods That Irritate The Bladder
Foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder include citrus fruits, citrus juice, carbonated drinks and spicy foods.

Go When You Need to Go
Don’t hold your urine when you need to go. Holding it can irritate your urinary tract and possibly lead to a urinary tract infection.

Of course, there are medications and other treatments that can help with urinary symptoms of BPH, but they have some unwanted side effects. Before taking any medications, you should give some of the natural supplements and lifestyle changes a try. They may help and they won’t hurt.

Bottom Line: The first step is to talk to your doctor about what is causing your urinary incontinence and to develop a plan for dealing with the problem. Learn as much as you can about urinary incontinence. If you suffer from urinary incontinence, try some of these non-prescription alternatives. They just might work and will decrease your dependence on Depends!

This blog was inspired and modified by an article Treat Urinary Incontinence Naturally
Dr. Geo Espinosa
http://easyhealthoptions.com/easy-health-options-digest/treat-urinary-incontinence-naturally/

Smoking and Bladder Cancer-Now Another Reason To Stop Smoking

October 2, 2013

Just Say "No"

Just Say “No”


Some important facts about bladder cancer include:
• Bladder cancer is the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S.
• More than 72,000 new cases of bladder cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2013.
• Approximately 15,000 people will die from the disease this year alone.
• Bladder cancer is three times more common in men than in women.
• One in 42 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer during their lifetime.

Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of bladder cancer than non-smokers. Smoking tobacco is the most important known risk factor for bladder cancer. Smoking has been shown to be responsible for half of female bladder cancer cases. The increase in the proportion of smoking-attributable bladder cancer cases among women is likely explained by the greater prevalence of smoking among women.
Here’s the good news: As with many other smoking-related cancers, smoking cessation was associated with reduced bladder cancer risk.
Bottom Line: Smoking is certainly implicated as a cause of bladder cancer. By stopping the use of cigarettes, you can decrease the risk of bladder cancer.

Fertility-Steps To Improve Your Chances

August 21, 2013

Common Causes of Infertility in Men

Hoping for a child

Hoping for a child


About 10 percent of reproductive-age couples in the United States will have difficulty getting pregnant. About 30 percent of cases are due to fertility problems in the man, 30 percent to fertility problems in the woman, and the rest to unexplained causes or multiple factors involving both partners.

If you’ve had regular, unprotected sex for more than a year (or six months if you’re over 35) without conceiving, see your doctor. The National Infertility Association says at least half of those who have an infertility evaluation and treatment will be able to have a successful pregnancy.

A reproductive urologist can identify male fertility issues, recommend treatment options, and help couples decide which options to pursue. You also may want to see a genetic counselor. Sometimes, there’s a genetic reason for male infertility that could be passed down to children. A genetic counselor can help couples understand their options for conceiving.

Read on to learn about the common causes of infertility and available treatments. Keep in mind that success rates may vary because one couple can have multiple fertility problems.

Lifestyle factors. Making healthy choices can improve your fertility. You may be at greater risk of having trouble conceiving if you:

Smoking can be deleterious to your fertility

Smoking can be deleterious to your fertility

• Smoke;
• Drink alcohol heavily; Use drugs;
• Take anabolic steroids;
• Take certain medications, including testosterone replacement therapy;
• Have been treated for cancer;
• Have poor nutrition;
• Are significantly over- or underweight;
• Are exposed to toxins, such as pesticides or lead.

If you have any of these risk factors, be sure to tell us about it during your consultation.

Blockages. A small percentage of men have a blockage in their ejaculatory duct that prevents sperm from getting into ejaculate fluid. If your vas deferens or epididymis tubes are blocked or damaged, they can prevent your sperm from getting to your partner’s egg. Infection, injury, congenital defects, or a vasectomy could cause this blockage.
• Possible solutions: Surgery to repair an obstruction or reverse the vasectomy, or surgery to remove sperm for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Varicocele. Varicoceles (enlarged veins, similar to varicose veins, in the scrotum) raise the temperature in the testes, which may affect sperm production.
Possible symptoms: Some men have scrotal pain, and others have no symptoms. (The problem can be detected through a physical exam or ultrasound.)
Possible solutions: Surgery to repair the varicocele, artificial insemination, or IVF.

Sperm making contact with egg

Sperm making contact with egg


Irregular sperm. If you have little to no sperm, poor sperm motility (ability to move), or abnormally shaped sperm, your sperm may not be able to fertilize your partner’s eggs.
Possible solutions: fertility drugs; artificial insemination with donor sperm (or with your own if your count, shape, and motility are not too abnormal), or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

It’s never too early to quit smoking

February 9, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 8.32.39 PM

Everyone knows that smoking is deleterious to your health. If you are looking for a reason to quite, read the rest of this blog.

Lifelong smokers die an average of 10 years younger than nonsmokers. The good news is that smokers who manage to quite by age 35 can add that decade back onto their life expectancy. Even kicking the habit before age 60 can add 6 more years of life.

Bottom Line: Don’t start smoking, but if you already have, the benefits of quitting are enormous.

10 Actions Steps To Prevent Impotence

August 28, 2012


1. Recognize the Normal Signs of Aging. Remember, it may take longer to obtain an erection at age 60 than at age 20. More genital stimulation and foreplay are required as a man ages.
2. Beware of Medications that can Cause Impotence. There are literally hundreds of medications associated with the side effects of impotence. These common medications include tranquilizers, medication for high blood pressure and ulcers.
3. Avoid Tobacco. Tobacco it is a performance-zapper because its effect on blood vessels can decrease blood flow to the penis.
4. Drink Alcohol in Moderation.1-2 drinks per day may relax you and even protect your heart. More than 2 drinks per day may impact your sexual performance.
5. Timing can be Everything. Sexual performance is influenced by body rhythms. Hormonal levels can vary at different times of the day. It is important to find that time of day or evening that is best both mentally and physically for you and your partner.
6. Accept Occasional Failure. One episode of impotence-even if it last for weeks- does not mean that a man is permanently impotent. Stress and fatigue, and anticipation of failure, can paralyze your sex life. Accept occasional impotence as something that happens to every man at different times in his life.
7. See your Physician at least Once a Year. If you are more than 50 years of age, the cause of your erectile dysfunction is usually physical and not due to psychological or emotional reasons. You need to be sure there are not more serious, life-threatening conditions lurking behind the sexual problem.
8. Balanced Nutrition is important for Sexual Function. The American Heart Association states that a low-fat, a low-cholesterol diet prevents heart disease and arteriosclerosis which also affects a man’s erection.
9. Excess Stress. Excessive, long-term stress is “counter erotic” and affects both a man and his partner’s capability to have a happy sexual relationship.
10.Get Help. Persistent, chronic impotence needs medical attention before it interferes with relationships. Not treating erectile dysfunction may result in more severe illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Bottom line: If you or your loved one is suffering from erectile dysfunction see your physician because help is available and no one needs to “suffer the tragedy of the bedroom.” If you want to keep it up, get a checkup!

Secondhand smoke may be a risk factor for children’s bladder irritation

July 25, 2012

Parents smoke may be putting her children at greater risk for bladder irritation. Research from the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey surveyed children from age 4-17. All the children had symptoms of bladder irritation, such as frequency and urgency of urination,. Those with more significant urinary symptoms were more likely to have consistent exposure to secondhand smoke. Of these children, 23% had a mother who smoked and 50% were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke while riding in a car. If you are looking for another reason to begin a smoking cessation program, think about the health of your children and its impact on their bladder.

Lighting Up A Cigarette Can Put The Fire Out of Your Sex Life

April 2, 2011

Smokers will often report that the zing has gone of his thing.  The desire goes out the window and so do the firmness of the erections.  By stopping smoking and beginning an exercise program, you can turn back the clock….the sex clock!

Being able to dump the cigarettes is a real accomplishment — especially when you consider how smoking can become intertwined with the intimacy of a relationship. Researchers at the University of Arizona began to study couples where at least one member of the relationship smoked.

Smoking has a direct, negative effect on the sexuality of a man on every level,” says Panayiotis M. Zavos, PhD, director of the Andrology Institute of America and professor of reproductive physiology and andrology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

From their work with couples being treated for infertility, Zavos and his fellow researchers have found that men’s smoking had a significant and negative effect on the ability to conceive. But they also turned up a surprise: Smoking significantly diminished a man’s sexual desire and satisfaction — even for young men in their 20s and 30s.

The smokers reported having sex less than six times a month, whereas the nonsmoking men were having sex nearly twice as often. This difference is especially significant considering that these couples were actively trying to conceive.

Smoking and sex drive

When diminished desire is combined with impaired performance, overall satisfaction is likely to suffer. When asked to rate their satisfaction with the sex they were having on a scale of 1 to 10, nonsmoking couples averaged 8.7, while couples with male smokers fared far worse with an average of only 5.2. Professor Zavos states, “that nearly any man’s sexual satisfaction and frequency [of having sex] would increase if he stopped smoking.”

Other experts agree that smoking can impair sexual performance. Smoking causes damage to smooth muscle inside the penis that interferes with erectile functioning, says Richard Milsten, MD, co-author of The Sexual Male and a urologist for more than 30 years in Woodbury, N.J.

Bottom Line: If your sex life has gone into the tank and you are a smoker, you might try a treatment that will not only jump start your sex life, but will add life to your years.

Excerpted from WebMD: http://men.webmd.com/features/want-better-sex

Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD