Health Tips For Men

Male Balding Linked To Higher Risk Of Heart Disease

September 21st, 2013

malepatternbaldnessIt has been found that men with balding problems may be at higher risk of coronary heart disease. However, men who bald from the front appear to carry no significant added risk for the clogged artery disease that can cause heart attacks. Only men who lose hair at the crown face a higher cardiovascular risk.

Studies by researchers at the University of Tokyo showed that men who had lost most of their hair were more than a third likely to develop coronary artery disease than those with hair. The more severe the baldness, the higher the risk, but only if the balding was at the crown or vertex.

Therefore, cardiovascular risk factors should be reviewed carefully in men with vertex baldness, especially younger men. They should be encouraged to review their diet and lifestyle to improve their cardiovascular risk profile.

About 30 to 40 percent of adult men suffer from male pattern baldness. Up to 80 percent of men suffer from male pattern baldness by the age of 80.

However, it is also noted that male pattern baldness is linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, chronic inflammation and sensitivity to testosterone. All these factors may also lead to cardiovascular disease. Therefore, whether one is balding or not, adopting and maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle is still paramount to keeping cardiovascular risk low.

Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it’s often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know what food for heart health to eat, and which foods to limit, you’ll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.

Here are 8 easy tips on how to improve heart health

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1. Control Your Portion Size

Eat more of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, and reducing your intake of fast and processed foods will keep your weight in control. Keep track of the number of servings you eat per day. At the same time, do not overload your plate. An appropriate portion size would comprise 1/2 cup of pasta, two to three ounces of meat, fish or chicken (about the size and thickness of a deck of cards). Be sure to add in fresh fruit and vegetables. Be sure to limit carbohydrate-rich fruit and vegetables such as bananas, potatoes and sweet potatoes though.

2. Eat Plenty Of Fresh Fruit And Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. The fiber fills you up, and help you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.

Featuring vegetables and fruits in your diet can be easy. Keep vegetables washed and cut in your refrigerator for quick snacks. Keep fruit in a bowl in your kitchen so that you’ll remember to eat it. Choose recipes that have vegetables or fruits as the main ingredient, such as vegetable stir-fry or fresh fruit mixed into salads. Be sure to avoid canned fruit packed in heavy syrup, vegetables with creamy sauces, as well as frozen fruit with sugar added.

3. Replace Refined Grain Products With Whole Grains

Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Or be adventuresome and try a new whole grain, such as whole-grain couscous, quinoa or barley.

Another easy way to add whole grains to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal. Avoid white, refined flour, as well as granola bars and biscuits which tend to contain a lot of sugar.

4. Reduce Your Intake Of Unhealthy Fats And Cholesterol

Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Assuming you follow a 2000-calorie-a-day diet, your intake of saturated fat should be less than 14g. Your intake of trans fat should be less than 2g, and less than 300 mg cholesterol per day.

Reduce your intake of solid fats such as butter, margarine and shortening. Use canola, olive or sunflower oil in your cooking instead. Trim the fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat.

You can also use low-fat substitutions when possible for a heart-healthy diet. For example, top your baked potato with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine.

You may also want to check the food labels of some cookies, crackers and chips. Many of these snacks — even those labeled “reduced fat” — may be made with oils containing trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans fat in it is the phrase “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.

When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.

5. Choose Low-Fat Protein Sources

Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites or egg substitutes are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties.

Fish is another good alternative to high-fat meats. Certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You’ll find the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Other sources are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.

Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — also are good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein — for example, a soy or bean burger for a hamburger — will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.

6. Reduce The Sodium In Your Food

Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. It is recommended that healthy adults have less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon). People aged 51 or older, or those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should keep their daily intake of sodium to less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. The fastest way of reducing your salt intake is to refrain from canned or processed foods such as canned soup and frozen dinners. Preparing fresh foods and using reduced-sodium versions of condiments will further reduce your intake of salt.

7. Plan Ahead And Create Daily Menus

Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and limit high-fat and salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices. If you have had grilled salmon one evening, you can try a black-bean burger the next night. This helps ensure that you’ll get all of the nutrients your body needs. Variety also makes your meals and snacks more interesting.

8. Give Yourself A Treat Now And Then

Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. However, be sure to space out these treats. Do not give yourself an excuse to overindulge.

By incorporating these eight tips into your life, you will improve your chances of having a healthy heart. Who knows, you may very well likely to have a healthier head of hair as well.

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Is Working The Graveyard Shift A Cause Of Prostate Cancer?

August 18th, 2011

causes of prostate cancerThe causes of prostate cancer are hormone-dependent, just like breast cancer. While male and female hormones are crucial to prostate and breast cancer development respectively, female hormones also play a role in prostate cancer while male hormones also play a role in breast cancer.

Both cancers are also impacted by another hormone called melatonin, which is linked with the sleep-wakefulness cycle. A link between breast cancer in women and night shift work has been established. Working at night exposes women to light when they should be asleep in the dark. It is also believed that men working night shifts and exposed to “light pollution” may increase the risk of contracting prostate cancer.

At night, the body’s internal clock says it should be dark. But when exposed to light at night, the brain produces less melatonin. Melatonin serves a critical function in suppressing cancer formation in other organs at the gene level.

Melatonin ins produced in a tiny body located at the brain’s centre called the pineal gland. A grain-size group of neurons in the brain which serves as our internal clock tells the pineal gland to produce melatonin. This internal clock is reset by natural light outside that we encounter every morning on waking up.

This internal clock serves as our body’s chief biological pacemaker, synchonizing all our internal biorhythms, even at tissue and cellular levels, to a 24-hour circadian cycle. We human beings are active during the day and are programmed to sleep at night. Our bodily functions are timed so that the most important biorhythms such as alertness, metabolism and performance are optimal during the day, while sleep is optimal at night. DNA synthesis, healing, recovery and renewal occurs mainly at night.

The resetting of the internal clock takes place every morning when one wakes up and the eyes perceive natural sunlight outside. This natural light is the cue the pacemaker needs to tell the pineal gland to pace itself so it produces the most melatonin at night.

However, if the pineal gland is routinely stimulated by light at night, it might be tricked into turning down or even switching off its melatonin production. When this happens, all our bio-rhythms including those of our sex hormone levels and genes known to be controlled by circadian rhythms, become unregulated.

Over years of shift work, his kind of pacemaker resetting throws cellular biorhythms into disarray. In this way, the prostate in men and breasts in women may become more susceptible to cancer development. A link between light pollution and lymphoma has also been observed.

About 10% of genes are directly subject to this chief pacemaker’s oversight. These circadian genes help to suppress cancer formation. In particular, the Per1 gene is known to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. When the functioning of such genes is disrupted by light pollution, the bio-rhythms of sex hormone levels may also go awry. This may affect some other circadian genes as well. This could in turn cause prostate cancer.

Recent epidemiological studies in Japan and the United States suggest that workers who have to rotate shifts face a higher risk of prostate cancer compared to those who have day shifts only or night shifts only. In March 2009, the Danish government agreed to compensate 40 female nurses and flight attendants with breast cancer who had worked a night shift at least once a week for 20 years. It may be a matter of time that prostate cancer sufferers who have worked night shifts for years will also be eligible for compensation.

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Types Of Hormone Therapy For The Treatment Of Prostate Cancer

April 13th, 2011

Hormone therapy treatment for prostate cancer may be subdivided into two groups: a) surgical and b) medical therapies.

a) Surgical Therapy

The surgical approach is bilateral orchiectomy or the removal of both testicles which the main source of androgen (testosterone) production. Typically, this procedure can be performed as a minor surgical procedure under local anesthesia.

Bilateral orchiectomy can performed through a single incision in the middle of the scrotum or through two incisions, one on each side of the scrotum. The blood vessels that supply the testis and the sperm duct (vas deferens) are tied off, and the testes are removed.

Some urologists perform a subcapsular orchiectomy, whereby the testicular tissue is removed from within the outer coat (the capsule), and the capsule remains in the scrotum, leaving some fullness to the scrotum.

To minimize swelling and bleeding in the scrotum, the scrotum is often wrapped to compress it or a scrotal supporter is used to elevate it. The incision is closed with dissolvable sutures so that the stitches need not be removed.

The advantages of bilateral orchiectomy are that it causes a quick drop in testosterone level about 8 hours after the procedure. Being a one-time procedure, it is more cost effective than the shots.

However, there may be bleeding, infection, permanence and scrotal changes. Patients who are bothered by an empty scrotum may use bilateral testicular prostheses.

Most men who undergo bilateral orchiectomy lose their libido and have erectile dysfunction after the testosterone level is lowered. Other long term side effects include hot flashes, osteoporosis, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, anemia, and weight gain.

b) Medical Therapies

There are three types of medical therapies: luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogues, antiandrogens, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. These prevent the action of testosterone on the prostate cancer and on normal prostate cells (antiandrogen), or prevent the production of adrenal androgens.

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogues are chemicals produced in the brain that in turn stimulate the production of another chemical produced by the brain, the luteinizing hormone. Luteinizing hormone tells the testicles to produce testosterone.

Initially, when a man takes an LHRH analogue, there is an increased production of LH and of testosterone. This superstimulation in turn tells the brain to stop producing LHRN and, subsequently, the testicles stop producing testosterone.

It takes about 5 to 8 days for the LHRH analogues to drop the testosterone levels significantly. The increase in testosterone that may occur initially with LHRH analogues may affect patients with bone metastases, and there may be a worsening of their bone pain called the flare reaction.

Such men with metastatic disease will be given another medication, an antiandrogen, for two weeks or so before starting the LHRH analogue to block the effects of the testosterone and to prevent the flare phenomenon.

LHRH analogues are given as shots either monthly, every 3, 4 or 6 months, or even yearly. There are five forms of LHRH analogues: leuprolide acetate for intramuscular injection (Lupron Depot), triptorelin pamoate suspension for intramuscular injection (Trelstar Depot and Trelstar LA), leuprolide acetate for subcutaneous injection (Eligard), histrelin acetate for subcutaneous implant (Vantas) and goserelin acetate implant (Zoladex).

All five LHRH analogues work the same way, and differ only in how they are administered. The advantage of hormone treatment for prostate cancer is that it does not require removal of the testicles. However, it is expensive and requires more visits to the doctor’s office.

You can’t afford to miss a shot because when the testosterone level rises, the prostate cancer cells may grow. Get the shots on a regularly scheduled basis. If you are traveling, plan ahead and contact doctors in the areas where you will be to arrange for the shots.

LHRH analogues have side effects that may affect your quality of life. Side effects such as hot flashes, erectile dysfunction, anemia and osteoporosis can be treated. Erectile dysfunction occurs in about 80% of men taking LHRH analogues and is associated with decreased libido.

The widely prescribed drug siladenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) are effective in most of these men if they had normal erectile function before starting hormone treatment for early stage prostate cancer. Unfortunately there is no medication to restore libido.

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Hormone Treatment For Prostate Cancer

April 12th, 2011

Easy Ways To Relieve Prostate PainHormone therapy treatment for prostate cancer is designed to eliminate the male hormones (androgens) from the body. Androgens are necessary for the development and function of the male sexual organs and male sexual characteristics such hair growth and voice changes.

Androgens are primarily produced by the testicles, under control of various parts of the brain. A small amount of androgens is produced by the adrenal glands, which are small glands located above the kidneys and which produce many important chemicals. The most common androgen is testosterone.

Prostate cancer cells may be hormone sensitive, hormone insensitive, or hormone resistant. Cancer cells that are hormone sensitive require androgens for growth. Prostate cancer cells that are hormone resistant continue to grow despite hormone therapy. Therefore hormone therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer only works in the former case.

It is important to note that hormone therapy treatment for prostate cancer does not eliminate prostate cancer cells, but rather it is “palliative therapy” in that its goal is to slow down the progression of prostate cancer. Hormone treatment for early stage prostate cancer, or hormone therapy for patients with metastatic disease may work effectively for several years. However over time, hormone-resistant cells will emerge, and the cancer will grow.

When Is Hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer Used?

Hormone treatment for prostate cancer may be used as a primary, secondary, or neoadjuvant therapy. Hormone therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer is often used as a primary therapy in older men who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy and who are not interested in watchful waiting. It is also used in men who have metastatic disease at the time their prostate cancer is detected.

Men who experience a rise in their PSA after radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, or cryotherapy are given hormone therapy to slow down the growth of the recurrent prostate cancer. Hormone therapy may be given for a period of time before radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy to shrink the prostate gland and make the procedure easier to perform. This is referred to neoadjuvant therapy.

Hormone treatment for prostate cancer comes with side effects such as fatigue, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and even osteoporosis. Discuss with your doctor on what to expect, and research for ways to cope with the side effects before you undergo treatment.

Recommended Resources:

  1. Prostacet Prostate Health Supplement
  2. Hormone Therapy in Breast and Prostate Cancer (Cancer Drug Discovery and Development)

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The Prostate PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) Test

June 30th, 2010

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is commonly used to detect prostate cancer. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made in the prostate gland. PSA liquefies semen so sperm are better able to travel up the female reproductive tract.

When the prostate is healthy, very little PSA escapes into the bloodstream. Sometimes, due to diseases or an enlarged prostate gland, the walls between the prostate and the bloodstream may break down and allow more PSA into the blood. PSA can be detected by a blood test.

PSA test result (www.clarian.org)

The PSA Test

Abnormal levels of prostate-specific antigen often indicate that a man has prostate cancer. Testing for high PSA levels allows doctors to assess a man’s prostate cancer risk. Generally, when cancer is present, the higher the PSA level is, the larger the prostate cancer is and the more likely it is to have spread beyond the prostate.

However, the PSA levels alone do not provide enough information to distinguish between benign prostate conditions and cancer. PSA testing only serves as a screening means to indicate if a prostate problem exists. The doctor takes the PSA test results into account, along with other factors, before deciding if additional testing is required.

Prostate PSA Levels – What Do They Indicate?

PSA is measured in terms of nanograms per milliliter, or ng/ml. A PSA of 4 to 10 ng/ml is considered slightly elevated, 10 to 20 is moderately elevated, and above 20 is highly elevated.

One high PSA reading does not necessarily require more tests. This is because certain factors can cause PSA levels to rise or fall. For example, bed rest may lead to a drop in PSA levels, while cycling may lead to a rise in PSA levels. Before having a PSA test, you may want to refrain from sexual activity for 1 to 2 days. If you have had a cystoscopy, schedule your PSA test only several weeks after your cystoscopy.

If your PSA level is slightly elevated, your doctor may choose to monitor your PSA levels to determine if they continue to rise over time. If levels continue to rise, he or she may suggest more extensive tests.

PSA test results alone is not sufficient to determine if a man has prostate cancer. Most men with abnormal PSA levels are not diagnosed with cancer. Only 25 to 30 percent of men with PSA levels higher than 4 ng/ml will be biopsied and diagnosed with cancer. 15 in 100 men over 50 will have elevated PSA levels but only 3 of these will have prostate cancer. Conversely, there are men with extremely low PSA levels who had biopsies showing cancer.

Because of this, doctors generally recommend the use of the digital rectal examination (DRE) as well as the  PSA test to detect prostate cancer.

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Digital Rectal Examination Of The Prostate

June 29th, 2010

A digital rectal examination of the prostate allows a doctor or experienced health care professional to determine if the prostate is enlarged, hard, or see if there are any [...] Continue Reading…

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Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines And Tests

June 28th, 2010

Since the early 1990s, the American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association have recommended two prostate cancer screening tests:
1) The Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

This is a physical [...] Continue Reading…

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Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

June 27th, 2010

This blogpost explores the potential prostate cancer signs and symptoms that men may experience before prostate cancer is diagnosed. Seeing a doctor and arranging for prostate cancer screening when [...] Continue Reading…

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Three Ways To Prevent Prostate Cancer

June 26th, 2010

Prostate cancer is influenced by a number of different factors. It is therefore not possible to identify a single reason why prostate cancer occurs. However, there are three ways [...] Continue Reading…

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Risk Factors Which Have Little Effect On Prostate Cancer

June 25th, 2010

There have been many attempts to establish links between various factors and the risk for prostate cancer. The factors listed below are what many would think are risk factors [...] Continue Reading…

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