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Monday, March 20, 2017

Men: Stop Avoiding Your Health

53% of men say health is just not something they talk about.

 You could probably guess that men are much more likely to talk to each other about the upcoming football game or presidential election than prostate cancer or their family history of cardiovascular disease. But if men don’t talk about their health concerns even to those closest to them, then how does it impact their overall health? A survey by the Cleveland Clinic reveals the truth about men and their sometimes not-so-healthy habits.

 In an effort to raise awareness about men’s health and gain insight into behaviors and attitudes surrounding health topics, the Cleveland Clinic launched their “MENtion It” campaign. They surveyed men ages 18 to 70 about their health, their understanding of health screenings, and the social settings in which they discussed their health concerns with other people.

 Results from the survey found that men talk about current events, sports, and work much more often than their health (not surprising!). Only 7% of men surveyed said they talked about health with a male friend. If health does come up in conversation between men, it is likely regarding an injury, such as bragging rights from being able to tolerate the pain from a broken arm.

 The survey found that most men (60%) see a doctor once a year for a check-up, but only 42% of men talk to their doctor when they have a serious health concern, including gastrointestinal issues, problems in the bedroom, or urinary issues. These issues are considered more private, which is why 48% of men said they would turn to a spouse or significant other rather than their friends, parents, or siblings.

 The survey also tested knowledge about health screenings and found that most men don’t know the correct age to start to get them. Some common misconceptions about health screenings are listed below.

Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Artery Disease
 Men surveyed thought cardiovascular disease or coronary artery disease screening isn’t needed until age 40. The American Heart Association actually recommends screening as early as age 20.

Blood Pressure
 Age 35 is when men should start thinking about blood pressure monitoring; in reality, this should start at age 20 as well, according to the American Heart Association

Prostate Cancer
 Most men believed prostate cancer screening should start at age 42, when in fact the Urology Care Foundation suggests screening should begin at age 55.

Colorectal Cancer
 Most men thought colon or rectal cancer screening should begin at age 42; this should in fact start at age 50, based on recommendations from the CDC.

 While it may not be a popular topic, discussing health and staying educated on important prevention strategies is important for men’s health. If you have any health concerns that you are keeping bottled up, mention them to your friends or family, and most importantly, call your doctor.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Yoga's Benefits Go Straight to the Heart

As popular as it has become, yoga still doesn't get the respect it deserves. It is a serious exercise regimen and every bit as good for the heart as other forms of exercise, according to recent analysis.  And because yoga is a lot less boring than riding a stationary bike, it may even be better than typical exercise when it comes to good heart health.  The authors of the analysis looked at 32 randomized controlled trials of how yoga affected risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

First, the researchers reviewed trials comparing people who used yoga as a form of exercise to people who did not exercise. Yoga participants had lower body mass index (BMI), blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) and cholesterol (both LDL and total) and had higher HDL (good) cholesterol.  They also had lower triglycerides and heart rate, and were more likely to lose weight during the trial. In fact, the only outcomes recorded where yoga did not lead to measurable improvements were fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin.

In trials comparing yoga's effects to the impact of other types of aerobic exercise, such as cycling or brisk walking, the results were even simpler: there was no significant difference between yoga and other exercise. The researchers caution that many of the trials were of rather short duration and had small numbers of participants, so it's possible that the results of larger or longer trials might be different.

Yoga may even have an edge over traditional forms of exercise. It tends to be more acceptable to patients with physical disabilities, including people with joint pain, heart problems and the elderly. It also requires no special equipment and can be performed either alone at home or as a part of a class. Add in that yoga is a lot less boring than a regimen of sit-ups and tummy crunches, and you're left with an exercise that you're more likely to keep doing. And the best exercise in the world won't help you if you don't do it.

Despite its growing popularity, yoga still carries a whiff of flakiness or new-age eccentricity for some who aren't familiar with it. This study should help dispel that idea. Plain and simple, yoga is good exercise.

The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
 January 7, 2015

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

Monday, March 6, 2017

More Dangerous Than Smoking

Smokeless tobacco appears to be even worse for your health than lighting up.

 If you are among those who believe that using smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, keeps you safe from the cancer risks that come from smoking, think again. Not only is this untrue, but smokeless tobacco users have higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their bloodstream than do regular cigarette smokers, according to a recent study.

 There are at least 28 cancer-causing compounds in smokeless tobacco. Dip, chew, snuff, snus — none of them are safe. It's just that their dangers aren't as well known as that of cigarettes because there haven't been as many studies done on their potential to cause harm as have been done on smoking.

 Researchers looked at levels of a compound called NNAL in the current study. NNAL is a breakdown product of the carcinogen NNK, which is only found in tobacco and tobacco products. NNAL measurements are commonly used to gauge a person's exposure to NNK.

 The level of NNAL was nearly three times higher in users of smokeless tobacco as it was in cigarette smokers. And levels of cotinine, a breakdown product and biomarker of nicotine, were also higher in users of smokeless tobacco than in smokers, as was the level of lead in their blood.

 The study looked at data on nearly 24,000 adults who were part of the National Health and Nutrition and Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2012. Despite the study's large size, it only found 488 people who exclusively used smokeless tobacco (did not also smoke), while there were nearly 7,000 exclusive cigarette smokers.

 The FDA and NIH are currently collaborating on a a large longitudinal study, the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, designed to give more specific information on the effects of smokeless tobacco over time.

 Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died in 2014 from cancer of the salivary gland. Gwynn blamed his cancer on decades of chewing tobacco, though a consulting physician on the team that treated him strongly disagrees. Another doctor isn't so sure, noting that cancer tends to occur in the part of the mouth where you chew tobacco.

 Cancer of the salivary gland is so rare that little is known about its causes, and smokeless tobacco has not been linked to it. About all that's certain here is that doctors would not be having this disagreement if Gwynn had chewed gum instead of tobacco.

 Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking. Users run the same risks of gum disease, heart disease and addiction as cigarette users and an even greater risk of oral cancer.

 The study appears in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
 December 4, 2015

 Source: www.TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow.com

 This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
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