National Health Observances

Sun Safety

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these recommendations to help protect yourself and your family.

Shade

You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.

Clothing

When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor.

If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.

Hat

For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.

If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15, or by staying in the shade.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

Sunscreen

Put on broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.

How sunscreen works. Most sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Cosmetics. Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same sun-protective ingredients used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, be sure to use other forms of protection as well, such as sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.

 

Source https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm 


Too Much Fun in the Sun? 9 Tips for Protecting Your Skin!

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States, as well as wrinkles and blotchy skin. UW Dermatologist Dr. Andrea Kalus kindly provided these 9 tips for minimizing sun damage:

  1. Sunscreen should be the last defense. The first defenses are covering up with clothing or a hat, seeking shade when possible, and avoiding peak hours of sun exposure.
  2. Brand does not matter when purchasing sunscreen. Brand name and generic or store brands all use the same ingredients in sunscreen.
  3. Purchase a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. SPF ratings protect against UVB range UV rays and sunscreens with the added label of “broad spectrum” have protection against UVA also. Protecting yourself against both is important in preventing sunburns and skin cancer as well as wrinkles. SPF 15 blocks 94% of UVB rays (the cancer causing rays), SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 45 blocks 98%. After SPF 45, the increases in blockage percentage are minimal.
  4. Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours for the sunscreen to remain effective.
  5. No sunscreen is actually waterproof. Sunscreens labeled “sweat-proof” or “water-resistant” only last 40-80 minutes. If you are swimming or sweating, sunscreen should be reapplied more often.
  6. Sunscreen expires. Sunscreen is just expensive lotion if you are using it beyond its 3 year expiration date.
  7. 40% of UV rays break through the clouds, so sunscreen should really be worn daily.
  8. Pay special attention to the little ones. Sunscreens contain chemicals that may be absorbed through the skin and in babies under 6 months, regular use of sunscreen may not be great. However, a baby getting a sunburned is probably worse than applying sunscreen when really needed. It is best to protect babies with clothing, accessories, and shade as often as possible.
  9. Don’t forget the sneaky spots! The top 5 places people forget to apply sunscreen are behind the knees, on their feet, on top of their hands, behind and on their ears, and on the scalp.

 

Source https://wholeu.uw.edu/2014/07/16/uvsafetymonth/ 


Types of Juvenile Arthritis

·         Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Considered the most common form of arthritis, JIA includes six subtypes: oligoarthritis, polyarthritis, systemic, enthesitis-related, juvenile psoriatic arthritis or undifferentiated. 

·         Juvenile dermatomyositis. An inflammatory disease, juvenile dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness and a skin rash on the eyelids and knuckles. 

·         Juvenile lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood and other areas of the body. 

·         Juvenile scleroderma. Scleroderma, which literally means “hard skin,” describes a group of conditions that causes the skin to tighten and harden.

·         Kawasaki disease. This disease causes blood-vessel inflammation that can lead to heart complications. 

·         Mixed connective tissue disease. This disease may include features of arthritis, lupus dermatomyositis and scleroderma, and is associated with very high levels of a particular antinuclear antibody called anti-RNP. 

·         FibromyalgiaThis chronic pain syndrome is an arthritis-related condition, which can cause stiffness and aching, along with fatigue, disrupted sleep and other symptoms. More common in girls, fibromyalgia is seldom diagnosed before puberty. 

 

Source https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/juvenile-arthritis/


Points To Remember About Juvenile Arthritis

·         Juvenile arthritis is the term used to describe arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, in children.

 

·         The most common symptoms of juvenile arthritis are joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that don’t go away.

 

·         Juvenile arthritis is usually an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks some of the body’s own healthy cells and tissues.

 

·         To diagnose juvenile arthritis, a doctor may perform a physical exam, ask about family health history, and order lab or blood tests, and x-rays.

 

·         Juvenile arthritis can make it hard to take part in social and after-school activities, and it can make schoolwork more difficult. But all family members can help the child both physically and emotionally.

 

·         Exercise is key to reducing the symptoms of arthritis and maintaining range of motion of the joints.

 

·         Inflammation inside of the eye and growth problems may also occur with juvenile arthritis.

 

Source https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/juvenile-arthritis


Cord Blood: What You Need to Know

July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to learn more about cord blood—a biological product regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Found in the blood vessels of the placenta and the umbilical cord, cord blood is collected after a baby is born and after the umbilical cord is cut—an important point.

“Because cord blood is typically collected after the baby is delivered and the cord is cut, the procedure is generally safe for the mother and baby,” explains Keith Wonnacott, Ph.D., Chief of the Cellular Therapies Branch in FDA’s Office of Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies.

Approved Uses

Cord blood is approved only for use in “hematopoietic stem cell transplantation” procedures, which are done in patients with disorders affecting the hematopoietic (blood forming) system. Cord blood contains blood-forming stem cells that can be used in the treatment of patients with blood cancers such as leukemias and lymphomas, as well as certain disorders of the blood and immune systems, such as sickle cell disease and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.

“Cord blood is useful because it is a source of stem cells that form into blood cells. Cord blood can be used for transplantation in people who need regeneration, that is, ‘regrowth,’ of these blood-forming cells,” Wonnacott says.

For instance, in many cancer patients, the disease is found in the blood cells. Chemotherapy treatment of these patients kills both cancer cells and the healthy blood-forming stem cells. Transplanted stem cells from cord blood can help regrow the healthy blood cells after the chemotherapy.

However, cord blood is not a cure-all.

“Because cord blood contains stem cells, there have been stem cell fraud cases related to cord blood,” says Wonnacott. “Consumers may think that stem cells can cure any disease, but science doesn’t show this to be the case. Patients should be skeptical if cord blood is being promoted for uses other than blood stem cell regeneration.”

About Cord Blood Banking

After cord blood is collected, it is frozen and can be safely stored for many years. “The method of freezing, called ‘cryopreservation,’ is very important to maintain the integrity of the cells,” Wonnacott says. “Cord blood needs to be stored carefully.”

You may choose to store your baby’s cord blood in a private bank so it can be available if needed in the future by your child or first- or second-degree relatives. Private cord banks typically charge fees for blood collection and storage.

Or you may donate the cord blood to a public bank so that doctors can use for a patient who needs a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

FDA regulates cord blood in different ways, depending on the source, level of processing and intended use.

Cord blood stored for personal use, for use in first- or second-degree relatives, and that also meets other criteria in FDA’s regulations, does not require the agency’s approval before use. Private cord banks must still comply with other FDA requirements, including establishment registration and listing, current good tissue practice regulations, and donor screening and testing for infectious diseases (except when cord blood is used for the original donor). These FDA requirements ensure safety of these products by minimizing the risk of contamination and transmission of infectious diseases.

Cord blood stored for use by a patient unrelated to the donor meets the legal definitions of both a “drug” and a “biological product.” Cord blood in this category must meet additional requirements and be licensed under a biologics license application, or be the subject of an investigational new drug application before use. The FDA requirements help to ensure that these products are safe and effective for their intended use.

Not every cord blood unit will meet requirements for public banking, adds Safa Karandish, M.T., an FDA consumer safety officer. If that happens, some of this donated cord blood may be used for non-clinical research.

Tips for Consumers

If you’re considering donating to a cord blood bank, you should look into your options during your pregnancy to have enough time to decide before your baby is born. For public banking, ask whether your delivery hospital participates in a cord blood banking program.

If you have questions about collection procedures and risks, or about the donation process, ask your health care provider.

FDA also offers a searchable database that maintains information on registered cord blood banks.

Be skeptical of claims that cord blood is a miracle cure—it is not. Some parents may consider using a private bank as a form of “insurance” against future illness. But remember that, currently, the only approved use of cord blood is for treatment of blood-related illnesses.

Also know that in some cases your stored cord blood may not be suitable for use in the child who donated it. “For instance, you can’t cure some diseases or genetic defects with cord blood that contains the same disease or defect,” Karandish says.

Parents from minority ethnic groups may especially want to consider donation to a public bank, says Wonnacott, because more donations from these populations will help more minority patients who need a stem cell transplant. (The recipients must be “matched” to donors, so doctors are more likely to find a good match among donors from the recipient’s ethnic group.)

“When it comes to public banking, there’s a proven need for cord blood,” Wonnacott says. “And there’s a need especially among minorities to have stem cell transplants available. Cord blood is an excellent source for stem cell transplants.”

And these transplants can be life-changing for patients.

 

Source https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/cord-blood-what-you-need-know


Facts about Cataracts

Facts about Cataracts

When are you most likely to have a cataract?

The term “age-related” is a little misleading. You don’t have to be a senior citizen to get this type of cataract. In fact, people can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. But during middle age, most cataracts are small and do not affect vision. It is after age 60 that most cataracts cause problems with a person’s vision.

Who is at risk for cataract?

The risk of cataract increases as you get older. Other risk factors for cataract include:

  • Certain diseases (for example, diabetes).
  • Personal behavior (smoking, alcohol use).
  • The environment (prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight).

What are the symptoms of a cataract?

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision.
  • Colors seem faded.
  • Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo may appear around lights.
  • Poor night vision.
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye. (This symptom may clear as the cataract gets larger.)
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.

These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye care professional.

Are there different types of cataract?

Yes. Although most cataracts are related to aging, there are other types of cataract:

  1. Secondary cataract. Cataracts can form after surgery for other eye problems, such as glaucoma. Cataracts also can develop in people who have other health problems, such as diabetes. Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.
  2. Traumatic cataract. Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
  3. Congenital cataract. Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. These cataracts may be so small that they do not affect vision. If they do, the lenses may need to be removed.
  4. Radiation cataract. Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.

Source https://nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts


Ergonomics/Overexertion

Take it Easy – Your Body will Thank You

Whether it happens at work or on the golf course, overexertion continues to be a leading cause of injury over all age groups. It was the second leading reason (after falls) that adults age 25-64 ended up in emergency departments in 2013, and the third leading cause for kids ages 10 and older, often from too-heavy backpacks, computers and gaming, and poor posture.

Overexertion causes 35% of all work-related injuries and is, by far, the largest contributor to workers’ compensation costs – more than $15 billion, or 25% of the total cost in 2012, according to Injury Facts 2016®. It also is the #1 reason for lost work days. More than 322,00 people missed work that year due to overexertion. Here are some injury statistics by industry for 2014:

·         Construction – 19,070

·         Manufacturing – 46,040

·         Wholesale trade – 21,100

·         Retail trade – 42,720

·         Transportation and warehousing – 38,960

·         Professional and business services – 23,410

·         Education and health services – 68,720

·         Government – 72,050

Over all age groups, whether work-related or off-the-job, hospitals treated 3,132,271 overexertion-related injuries in 2014, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going downward. What gives?

It’s Really About Ergonomics

Ergonomic injuries are disorders of the soft tissue, specifically of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs caused by:

·         Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching

·         Repetitive motion

·         Working in awkward positions

·         Sitting or standing for prolonged period of time

·         Using excessive force

·         Vibration, resting on sharp corners or edges

·         Temperature extremes

Whether you become injured on an assembly line or typing on a computer, playing video games or helping someone move, it’s important to know the signs. Ergonomic injury is cumulative. Symptoms can include everything from posture problems and intermittent discomfort, to tendonitis, chronic pain and disability.

Overexertion can be Prevented

Regular exercise, stretching and strength training to maintain a strong core all are beneficial in preventing injury. Following are some additional tips for work and home:

·         Plan a lift before you begin, keep your back straight and lift with your legs

·         Limit the amount of time you spend doing the same motion over and over

·         Take frequent breaks from any sustained position every 20-30 minutes

·         If you work at a desk, move frequently used items close to you, use a footrest and adjust the height of your computer

·         Report pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, tenderness, clicking or loss of strength to your doctor before it becomes a full-blown injury

Source https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/ergonomics-overexertion


Work Safety Topics

Work Safety Topics

Nearly 13,000 American workers suffer an injury every day; each is preventable. Injury should never be a cost of doing business. Here are some of the workplace safety topics NSC is focusing on.

Fatigue

Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day to reach peak performance, but nearly one-third report averaging less than six hours. The effects of fatigue are far-reaching and can have an adverse impact in all areas of our lives.

·         Safety performance decreases as employees become tired

·         You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued

·         Chronic sleep-deprivation causes depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses

Drugs at Work

Drug use at work is a safety topic that is gaining attention. Lost time, job turnover, re-training and healthcare costs are three of the primary implications of drug use regularly confronted by employers. The typical worker with a substance use disorder misses about two work weeks (10.5 days) for illness, injury or reasons other than vacations and holidays.

·         Workers with substance use disorders miss 50% more days than their peers, averaging 14.8 days a year

·         Workers with pain medication use disorders miss nearly three times as many days – 29 days

·         Workers in recovery who report receiving substance use treatment miss the fewest days of any group – 9.5

Driving

Many employers have adopted safe driving policies that include bans on cell phone while driving and on the job. NSC has created a Safe Driving Kit with materials to build leadership support for a cell phone policy and tools to communicate with employees.

Workplace Violence

Every year, 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. This violence fits into four categories: criminal intent, customer/client, worker-on-worker and personal relationship (most involving women).

The deadliest situations involve an active shooter. 

Every organization needs to address workplace violence through policy, training and the development of emergency action plans. While there is no way to predict an attack, you can be aware of warning signals that might signal future violence.

Slips, Trips and Falls

You might be surprised to learn that falls account for the third-highest total unintentional deaths every year in the United States. Fatalities as a result of falls are surpassed only by poisoning (including deaths from drugs and medicines) and motor vehicle crashes.

Fall safety should be a top priority. Construction workers are at the most risk for fatal falls from height, but falls can happen anywhere, and it is important to recognize potential hazards, both on the job and off. Plan ahead and use the right equipment.

Ergonomics and Overexertion

Overexertion causes 35% of all work-related injuries and is the No. 1 reason for lost work days. Regular exercise, stretching and strength training can prevent injury. Likewise, ergonomic assessments can ward off ergonomics injuries, often caused by excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching or stretching.

Struck by Objects

While employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment, employees can take steps to protect themselves at work. Paying attention is vitally important for those operating machinery as well as those working around power tools and motor vehicles.

Source https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics

 


Cancers

Cancers

Each year, over 700,000 men are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 300,000 die from the disease. During the course of a lifetime half of all men will get cancer at least once, and 1 in 3 women will get the disease. Cancer can strike anyone, at any age, but the majority of cases happen to people 55 and over. 

The saddest part about all of this is that most of these cancers and deaths are preventable. At least one-third of cancer deaths are caused by smoking, and another one-third may be caused by poor diet and/or lack of exercise. The 2 keys to beating cancer are early detection and reducing risk. 

The following are common types of cancers found in men. Browse through each type to find out information such as symptoms, treatment options and prevention tips for each condition/disease. 

BREAST CANCER
GASTRIC CANCER (STOMACH CANCER)
PROSTATE CANCER
TESTICULAR CANCER

Prostate cancer is the leading cancer for men in the US. It is followed by lung cancer and then colorectal cancer. The fourth most common cancer is race-dependent: bladder cancer for Caucasian men, cancer of the mouth and throat for African American men, kidney/renal cancer for American Indian/ Alaska Native males and Hispanic males and stomach cancer for Asian/Pacific Island men.

RISK FACTORS
If any of the following are true, you are at risk of developing cancer. It is important that you start having conversations with your healthcare provider about your risk.

  • You smoke (cigarettes, pipes, or cigars) or chew tobacco
  • You drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day
  • You have a family history of cancer
  • You have had cancer in the past
  • You are 55 or older
  • You get little or no exercise
  • You eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet
  • You are African-American 

EARLY DETECTION
You can’t detect cancers if you don’t know what to look for. Below are a number of symptoms that could be indicators. Many of them could be caused by other conditions, but you should notify your healthcare provider if you notice anything unusual or abnormal.

  • Lumps that you can feel through the skin
  • Sores that don’t heal
  • Changes in the size, color, or texture of a wart or mole
  • Blood in the urine, stool, or saliva
  • A cough, sore throat, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing that won’t go away
  • Persistent back ache
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Unexplained pain
  • Pressure or tenderness in the chest
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Chronic nausea or gas
  • Fever that lasts more than a few days 

PREVENTING CANCER
Even with early detection and knowledge of the risk factors, there’s no way to guarantee that you’ll never get cancer. But there are a number of steps you can take that will go a long way toward minimizing your chances:

  • Don’t smoke. Smoking causes 90% of lung cancers and greatly increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, kidney, bladder, pancreas and esophagus.
  • Limit alcohol to two drinks a day maximum.
  • Limit your exposure to sunlight. A little bit of exposure will stimulate your body to produce vitamin D, which researchers think may reduce the risk of a number of cancers. But too much can cause skin cancer. Between 10 am and 3 pm—the hottest part of the day—try to stay indoors as much as possible. When you do go out, always wear sunscreen with SPF (sunscreen protection factor) 25 or greater. If you don’t have sunscreen, wear a hat or stay in the shade as much as possible. Having fair skin or having had severe sunburn in childhood greatly increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Eat a low-fat, high fiber diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. High-fat, low-fiber diets are at least partly responsible for most colorectal cancers. They also increase the risk of pancreatic and bladder cancers.
  • Limit foods that are smoked, salted, pickled, or high in nitrates (such as hot dogs and luncheon meats). These foods are associated with increased risk of stomach cancer.
  • Limit your exposure to PVCs (poly vinyl chloride), tar and creosote (a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from wood smoke on chimney walls). These are linked with a number of cancers, including cancer of the liver and skin.
  • Spend some time getting to know yourself and your body. See your healthcare provider if you notice any significant changes.
  • Get screened as recommended. These tests are designed to detect certain types of cancer (such as colon, bladder, kidney, testiclesprostate) in their earliest stages. Caught early, these cancers can be treated successfully.
  • Take aspirin. Some recent research indicates that people who took aspirin 16+ times a month were 40% less likely to get cancer of the esophagus, stomach, rectum, or colon than those who didn’t take aspirin at all. 

CANCER’S AFFECT ON SEXUAL HEALTH
Sex is an important part of life. Cancer and its various treatments can have an impact on your sexual health, whether you are a man or a woman. These changes can affect people physically and emotionally, decreasing interest in sexual activity as well as self-confidence. Yet patients and healthcare providers often don’t talk about how cancer treatment will affect a person’s sex life and mental health. Fears about erections can sometimes lead to problems. Instead of letting go and feeling excited, a man may be worried about how well he does and his fear of failure can make him fail. Erectile problems caused by anxiety and stress are more common in young healthy men.

Learn about the treatments you will be receiving and ask questions of your healthcare provider:

  • When will it be OK to have sex?
  • Are there any types of sex I should avoid?
  • What safety measures do I need to take, and for how long?
  • What birth control is best for me and how long should I use it?
  • How might each treatment affect my sex life?

Remember that there is no right or wrong way to have sex. Sometimes couples feel cheated if both partners cannot reach orgasm through sex as they’ve always done. But during cancer treatment, there may be times when that kind of sex is not possible. Some couples believe that sex should happen on the spur of the moment, with no planning. But sometimes when you are dealing with a cancer-related symptom or treatment side effect, it is impossible for it to happen like it did in the past. It is important to have open and honest conversations with your partner throughout this time to make sure your feelings are expressed. If one person has a sex problem, it affects both of you, so making your partner part of finding the solution will bring you closer together.

CANCER TREATMENTS AFFECT ON SEXUAL HEALTH

Surgery. Certain operations can cause more sexual problems than others. An example is when a man has had pelvic organs removed (i.e. bladder, prostate, rectum, etc) he may not regain full erectile function. Men who had successful erections prior to cancer surgery are far more likely to regain the success than men who previously had problems. Surgery may result in loss of arterial blood flow, potentially restricting blood flow to the penis or causing nerve damage.

Radiation. Radiation treatments that are directed to the lower abdomen cancers can cause erectile issues because of the damage to the vessels carrying blood to the penis. The potential of interior scar formation is likely as treated areas heal, and therefore blood vessel walls won’t be as elastic as before, preventing adequate blood rush creating a firm erection. Radiation may harm the nerves that control erection and some men may produce less testosterone post treatment. Testosterone levels may increase within 6 months after radiation, and we recommend speaking with your provider to see if further hormone therapy is beneficial. (Men with prostate cancer should not take testosterone, since it may make prostate cancer cells grow faster.)

Chemotherapy. Many men undergoing chemotherapy treatment see no change in erectile function. However, erections and desire may temporarily drop immediately following chemo treatments. In some cases, testosterone treatment may be prescribed to regain desire and erections.

Hormone Treatment. In the case of metastasized prostate cancer, treatment may include balancing a man’s hormone levels. Hormone treatment or hormone therapy starves the cancer cells of testosterone and this helps slow the cancer’s growth. Blocking testosterone can be done by:

  • Using drugs to keep the man from making testosterone
  • Using drugs that block the body from using testosterone
  • Removing a man’s testicles (called orchiectomy)

Decrease desire for sexual activity is a common problem man undergoing hormone treatment experience. Hormone treatment may also cause physical changes in appearance, such as losing muscle mass, weight gain, or increase in breast tissue. Discuss your concerns about side effects with your healthcare provider, because there may be ways to prevent or limit some of these effects.

Many problems men have after cancer treatment don’t typically last long, and as a man begins to feel more in control of his body, there will be an increase in self-confidence and sexual desire improves. In other cases, some cancer treatments may cause a life-long change, and it’s difficult to know what will happen. Keeping open communication with your healthcare providers will help to jointly find the cause of issues and seek treatment to fix them!

Source http://www.menshealthresourcecenter.com/cancers/


Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a general term that includes many different conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. According to the American Heart Association, over 39 million American men (1 in 3) suffer from one or more of these conditions, and every year just under half a million of them die of cardiovascular disease (1 in 4 men)—that’s more than cancer and diabetes combined. Approximately 392,000 men and 419,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year. CVD is also a major cause of disability and decreases the quality of life for millions of people.

Heart disease is a term that may be used to describe any disorder of a person’s cardiovascular system which affects their heart’s ability to function. Other names for heart disease include: ‘coronary heart disease (CHD)’, ‘cardiovascular disease’, or, ‘coronary artery disease’. Heart disease causes congestive heart failure, angina pectoris, heart attack, ischemia, and sudden cardiac arrest. Atherosclerosis is the most common form of heart disease, and is the result of continued narrowing of a person’s blood vessels which supply both blood and oxygen to their heart.

Heart disease is the most common cause of death for men in the U.S. A healthy diet and lifestyle are the most common contributors to good cardiovascular health.  Other conditions you may experience as you age include diabetes and high blood pressure. Modest changes to your diet can help to reduce your risk of developing these diseases.

Because CVD interferes with your heart’s ability to pump blood through your body, it can keep you from enjoying all of your days normal activities; working, time with friends and family, playing with your children or grandchildren, climbing stairs and even having sex.

GENERAL RISK FACTORS
Even if you don’t have cardiovascular disease now, you may have one or more habits or conditions that could increase the chance that you’ll develop it.

Look at the list of statements below. If any of them are true about you, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider today. Just one “Yes” answer means you are at risk. Two “Yes” answers quadruples your risk. Three “Yes” answers increases your risk by 10 times:

  • I’m 45 or older. (Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease doubles each decade.)
  • An immediate family member (father, mother, brother, sister) was diagnosed with high blood pressure or some other kind of heart condition before age 55.
  • I’m African American.
  • I get little or no exercise.
  • I’m overweight or obese.
  • I eat a lot of salty foods and/or I add salt to what I’m eating.
  • My cholesterol is high. .
  • I smoke. (If you do, you are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than a nonsmoker.)
  • I have high blood pressure.
  • I use recreational drugs, such as cocaine.
  • I’m under a lot of stress (at work and/or at home).
  • I drink more than two alcoholic drinks every day.
  • I drink a lot of coffee (not decaf) or other caffeinated beverages.
  • I have diabetes. (More than 80% of people with diabetes die of some kind of CVD.)
  • I’m taking prescription medications that affect blood pressure.

This includes Ritalin (drugs for Attention Deficit Disorder), steroids, migraine medications, any over-the-counter drugs that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine, and any medication that contains stimulants such as caffeine.

YOUR PARTNER: WOMEN AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Many people consider cardiovascular disease as a “man’s disease,” but just as many women as men die from it each year. In fact, it’s the number one killer of women in the United States and is a leading cause of disability. Like men, a woman’s risk of getting heart disease increases as she gets older— especially after menopause. But it’s important to keep in mind that women of any age can get heart disease.

Both males and females often have the “classic” heart attack symptoms: tightness in the chest, arm pain, and shortness of breath, women are more likely to also complain of nausea, fatigue, indigestion, cold sweats, and dizziness. If your partner has any signs of a heart attack, make sure you call 9-1-1 right away—do not wait for her to do it on her own.

According to an American Heart Association survey, only about half of women indicated they would call 9-1-1 if they thought they were having a heart attack. If you wait too long to call for help, by the time you reach the hospital and have the necessary tests, it may be too late for treatment to prevent permanent heart damage. Prevention is important because two-thirds of women who have a heart attack never fully recover. The risk factors for cardiovascular disease in women are the same as they are for men;  age, obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The best way for your partner to prevent cardiovascular diseases is by practicing  healthy lifestyle habits. When it comes to strokes , men and women have slightly different symptoms.

A woman suffering a stroke may experience:

  • Sudden face and limb pain
  • Sudden hiccups
  • Sudden nausea
  • Sudden general weakness
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Sudden palpitations

HEART DISEASE AND SEXUAL HEALTH
Sexual intercourse is good for your heart because it relieves stress and boosts the immune system. Sexual intercourse is another form of physical activity, similar to a 20 minute brisk walk.

There could be some implications with certain cardiovascular drugs used to treat heart conditions. Diuretics and beta-blockers, have been known to cause erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. This should not be a concern if your healthcare providers are all working together to get you the best treatment combinations.

 Nutritional tips for High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease

  • Eat at least three ounces of whole grain cereals such as whole wheat, oats and brown rice per day. Whole grains provide abundant amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are heart healthy.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, which reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart diseases.
  • Limit your sodium intake to 2300 mg/day. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure.
  • Use less oil, margarine, mayonnaise and salad dressings.
  • When using oils choose olive, canola or nut which contain mono-unsaturated fats. Avoid saturated fats such as bacon fat, cream cheese, lard, coconut oil or chocolate.
  • Low-fat or reduced fat dairy products will help to reduce your cholesterol levels. Too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease.
  • When snacking, choose pretzels, popcorn or rice cakes instead of cookies, chips and cakes.

Source http://www.menshealthresourcecenter.com/cardiovascular-health/