Men are notoriously bad at taking care of themselves. They often need a nudge from their spouse, partner or doctor to keep them healthy.
Dudley Seth Danoff, M.D., FACS, men's urologist and expert for more than 30 years, says that men have a tendency to ignore health issues and hope they go away on their own.
Of course, this doesn't happen. For that reason, here are some suggestions for men to stay healthier in the coming year:
1. Reduce stress and learn to relax. Men in today's business world work long hours without enough sleep, exercise or relaxation. They are often psychologically drained and physically exhausted when they get home. If you are feeling anxious or worried, then having sex is the best antidote. Vigorous sex increases the volume of oxygen in your lungs, quickens your heart rate and raises your effective circulating blood volume, all of which benefit your general health.
2. Pay attention to what you eat. A diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber is very effective in helping men maintain their sexual prowess. A great sex life depends on clean arteries—so don't gum up the works by ingesting saturated fats and bad cholesterol. Wining and dining can be romantic, but too much dining will leave you sluggish, heavy and tired. Reliable evidence supports a low-fat, high-fiber and high-protein diet, in addition to regular exercise, as part of an overall regimen to keep your prostate healthy.
3. Moderate your intake of alcohol (and other intoxicants). The drugging of American men—including the use of alcohol, nicotine and prescription medications—is a major factor in the decline of male sexual health. Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction can cause everything from temporary erectile dysfunction to long-term impotence. There is nothing dangerous about moderate, judicious drinking. But overdoing it with alcohol or illicit substances makes it more difficult for a man to become aroused. Overindulgence delays ejaculation, reduces the pleasure and intensity of orgasms and greatly diminishes the firmness of erections.
4. Get a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test. The PSA blood test is the male equivalent of the Pap smear and mammogram in women. This is a routine, painless way to potentially detect cancer in time to treat it effectively. A PSA test is recommended as part of a routine annual screening for men over 45. Published data has shown that screening using the PSA in conjunction with a standard, digital rectal examination doubles the detection rate of early prostate cancer.
5. Consider serum testosterone blood screening. Progressive testosterone deficiency in aging men can lead to osteoporosis, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, mood changes (the "grumpy old man syndrome"), and the dreaded middle-age paunch. Men who are experiencing some of these symptoms should ask their physician about serum testosterone blood screening, which allows a physician to determine if a patient needs testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). If a man's serum testosterone is below 200 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter), TRT is recommended.
6. Ask your doctor about cystoscopy. More than half of all men over the age of 50 develop a frustrating and sometimes painful condition known as benign enlargement of the prostate, or benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH). BPH causes discomfort, incomplete bladder emptying, frequent urination (particularly at night) and a weak urinary flow. Cystoscopy allows doctors to examine the entire length of the urethra, the prostate and the bladder; check for tumors, polyps, stones and other causes of irritation; and assess the degree of prostatic obstruction. This procedure is relatively painless and can be done in the office in about 30 seconds.
An author and requested guest on national radio and television shows, Dr. Dudley Danoff is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale University Medical School. He has taught on the clinical faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine for more than 25 years and is the founder and president of the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Tower Urology Medical Group in Los Angeles. Urologist to many Hollywood stars and the recipient of national and international honors, Dr. Danoff is also senior attending urologist at the Saban Community Clinic in Los Angeles.
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